Kilmarnock & District History Group · Kilmarnock · Ayrshire · KA1 3HY

James Allan - Caprington Castle's Head Gardener


We received an e-mail from Justine Sara in Australia this week which included the following interesting story of her ancestors in Kilmarnock.
If anyone has any information on the Allan family please let us know and we will pass it on to Justine.


Seven members of my ALLAN family are buried in block 191, Plot 28 of the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin. Details complied by Adair KIRKLAND m/s ALLAN

Family Background in Scotland.

James ALLAN was born at Falkland, Fifeshire, Scotland on 15 May 1838, and his wife Margaret m/s KIDD was born on 4 February 1840 at West Calder, Midlothian, Scotland. They were married at West Calder, Scotland on the 10th March 1865 by the Reverend William Learmont. They lived the following twenty-two years at Cunningham’s Caprington Castle, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland where James was head gardener. A family of ten was raised, but as tuberculosis was rife among them, the decision was made to move to Dunedin to the healthier climate recommended by friends who had settled there.

 Sailing to New Zealand.

The two eldest sons, William age 21, and James Kidd age 19, were sent out first, sailing on the “Langstone” to Port Chalmers on 20th May 1885. William kept a diary of the journey which is still in the possession of our family. Their sister Euphemia, the 5th child, born 1st Dec 1871 died, died four months later, on the 26th September 1885, at the home of her aunt Jeannie KIDD at West Calder, Midlothian, Scotland, only a few months before the rest of the family sailed to NZ on the “Pleiades” from Greenock. James ALLAN senior died at sea on the 25 December 1886, aged 48, and was buried at sea off the south west coast of Australia near Cape Leeuwin. The widowed Margaret arrived at Port Chalmers on the 7th January 1887 with seven children, to join her two eldest sons. The youngest of nine, Janet (Jessie) was only three years old.

The family settled in Cumberland Street, Dunedin but after only two years, tragedy struck again with the death from consumption of 22 year old William ALLAN on the 23rd May 1888. The Northern Cemetery Burial Registry [1872-1890] records that he was a clerk, and that his brother James ALLAN was the informant. The Northern Cemetery Plot Purchase Book records that Class 1, Block 191 Plot 28 was purchased by their mother Margaret ALLAN on the 23rd May 1888 and William was buried there three days later on the 26th May.
Only twenty days later Ann Wardrop ALLAN born 21st March 1870 and aged only 18, died of consumption. Her brother James was the informant, and she was buried on the family plot on 12 June 1888. The family in the Cumberland Street home must have felt devastated.

James Kidd ALLAN born 25th Feb 1867 was a carpenter by trade but he was to only have  eight years in Dunedin before he too was stuck down with consumption on 23rd Dec 1892, aged 25.
Two of is younger sisters were also afflicted with tuberculosis.
Apparently any family who could afford to give their children cow’s milk in their diet while in Scotland, unknowingly gave them this illness - the diary herds were not tested for TB as they are today and no antibiotics were available.
On 9th May 1901 daughter Margaret ALLAN was buried aged 24, having died on the 7th May, and two years later on 22nd April 1903 Mary ALLAN who died on the 20th April was buried. She too was only 24 years of age.
The widowed mother Margaret lived to see her two younger sons married. Robert, born in 1867, married Catherine DONERY in 1900, and John born in 1875 married Sarita (aka Rita) MORITZSON in 1911. Four children were born to Robert and Catherine, Margaret Oliver (aka Madge) in 1900, James Livingston in 1902, Robert William Wardrop in 1903  and John Kidd before their grandmother died on 19th Dec 1911. Sadly she did not live to know John and Sarita’s two children Margaret Sarita (aka Peggy) born in 1913, and John in 1916, or to be present when her youngest child Janet (aka Jess) married Frederick Sidney SHRIMPTON at the home of Louis MORITZSON on 14th Feb 1912 at Dunedin. They too had two children, Sidney Allan born 1913 and Margaret Jean (aka Peggy) born 1919. The older sister Jane (aka Jean) born in 1873 had helped care for her siblings and mother and did not marry, but lived with the SHRIMPTON’S in Timaru from 1912 until her death in 8th Jan 1939. She and the SHRIMPTON’S were buried at Timaru Cemetery. Both Sidney and Jess died in 1941.

The final burial in the Northern Cemetery family plot was of John ALLAN. His marriage to Sarita had ended in divorce. He and his children spent much time at Robert and Catherine’s home at “Taieri Lake”, Rock and Pillar and after the death of Robert of cancer in 1922 John came often to help care for the large garden. He died there on 29th Sep 1949 aged 73 years.

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