Alexander Jackson at Barnhill Farm


2016 Barnhill farm wmEric Flack contacted me recently, emailing, “My great grandfather was Alex Jackson who aged 45 emigrated to Kyle Hays County Texas in 1886. He went with his wife Martha 41, John 22, Janet 18, Alex 17, Martha 15, Annabelle 10 (my grandmother) and Agnes 7. The sailed on the steamship State of Georgia arriving in New York. A daughter Elizabeth was born in Kyle, Texas. The family returned in 1889. Alex Jackson farmed at Barnhill. Also what what might interest you is that in 1957 Elizabeth and her husband came over from the USA. I do know they consulted lawyers regarding the terms of the lease the Jacksons had signed over mineral rights at Bardykes Colliery back in 1892. The family “story” is the mining company falsely “VASTLY ” underestimated the coal reserves by employing surveyors in the control; of the coal company. I did look up this legal document in the Mitchel Library about ten years ago.”

Alexander Jackson was born about 1840, in Barnhill, Blantyre to Martha Young, age 34, and John Jackson, age 38. He was their 7th child in what was a huge family. After his birth, Alexander’s brother William was born in 1839 in Blantyre. His sister, Martha was born in 1844 in Blantyre, brother Robert S in 1846, sister Helen H in 1849 and sister Agnes in 1851. In all 12 children. In 1841 they lived at Barnhill and the family farmed the lands surrounding their farmhouse. That same year 3 agricultural labourers lived with them, so it would have been a full household!

The family farmed at Barnhill Farm House and were direct relations of the Jackson family who lived nearby in the grander Bardykes House.

In 1861, Alexander was a ploughman. The farm was extensive at 75 acres and his father John employed 3 men and a boy, (as well as the family). With them that year was 17 year old Christina Fleming, a dairymaid.

Shortly after in the early 1860’s, Alexander moved out of Barnhill and Blantyre and it is here that I wish to suggest an amendment to Eric’s email. According to my research, Alexander married Isabella Todd and they moved to farm 40 acres at Burnbank Farm in Hamilton. i.e he married Isabella, not Martha.

On 25th June 1866, Alexander’s mother Martha Jackson died. Alexander was just 26 years old. Tragedy followed on 27th April 1869 when elder sister Janet died. The 1871 census shows Alexander Jackson (30), wife Isabella (26), John Jackson (7), Janet Jackson (4), Alexander Jackson (2) and Martha aged 1 month. The names tie up well with Eric’s email, so it is the same family. With them that year was 21 year old Mary McKechnie a farm servant.

On 5th April 1877 when his father John Jackson died. His parent both gone, it may have been the life event which triggered going to America. If Martha was the name on the passenger list crossing the Atlantic with Alexander, then this was actually his sister. It is perhaps more likely given all the children went too, that his wife Isabella went with him and this requires to be checked on passenger lists.

The family did indeed return in 1889, for they are all back in Blantyre at Barnhill Farm in the 1891 census. Alex was 50 that year and the family were with him , farming that location again, just as he had done in his younger years. However, he only did this a short time, for a year or so later he moved to Lesmahagow with his family. It is there he died at his home , Springbank on 21st February 1895 aged 54. He left behind his widow and children and had been suffering from bronchitis for several months. The Stewart family ended up as owners after the Jacksons departure from Barnhill Farm.

Regarding the legacy of mineral rights, this was likely more closely attached to the large family of Jacksons at Bardykes who owned much of the land in Barnhill and Bardykes. I have heard from others that the Jacksons had lost out on a fortune from the wealth of coal below Spittal and the success of the Bardykes Colliery.

Pictured in this modern photo is the location of the former Barnhill Farm.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

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