#02 McCubbin of Ballantrae

The Homeplace


Ballantrae.  South west of Colmonell, and forming the most southerly point of the county, the village of Ballantraestands on the right bank of the Stinchar, where it is crossed by a bridge, and ends in the sea, four and a half miles below Colmonell, and 13 miles south-south-west of Girvan. It is a seaport and fishing station, with a small artificial tidal harbour; has a post office, with telegraph, money order and savings bank departments; a Commercial Bank, a number of shops, a hotel, Established and Free Churches, a public school, and ruins of an ancient castle. Population in 1871, 515; in 1881, 426. (from Ayrshire Roots, Notes on the way through Ayrshire 100 years ago).

Early Families

Alexander(i) McCubbin married Jean McIlwraith in 1736, Ballantrae, Ayr. Their son, also named Alexander(ii) was born there, 1742. He married Jean Gray, 1770.


In Ballantrae they had three sons and three daughters. Their youngest son, Alexander(iii), born 1794, married Ann Aitken, 1817. Their first three sons were born in Ballantrae. By 1823, nearly 90 years after his  grandparents were married in Ballantrae, Alexander and his young family had moved on, likely excited about a new job in Dailly, Ayr, twenty miles to the north.

There were McCubbin connections there, maybe not relatives, but old historical records show a relationship between the Kennedys and Hamiltons of Bargany and the McCubbins of Troddunock and Knockdolian. During Alexanders employment at Bargany, he was recorded on various documents from General Servant, Farmer, Land Steward and at the time of his death, Baron Officer at Bargany House, Dailly. The remainder of Alex and Annes fourteen children were born at Dailly. Census records show that the McCubbin famly dwelt at Lovestone House and Gateside Cottage on the Bargany Estate.

Old Dailly and Bargany

Old Daily is a small village with a few houses still standing and the ruins of a 14th  century church. The churchyard has the graves of five Covenanters although eight. One of these is John Semple of Eldington who was shot in April 1685 by Jacobean soldiers for harbouring Covenanters, after a tip-off from Alexander Fergusson of Kilkerran. Old Dailly church is built on the site of an earlier Celtic chapel dating around 1236. The church is the burial ground of the Dalrymple Hamilton family of Bargany, the Cathcarts of Killochan and the Boyds of Penkill.

Alexander McCubbin, his wife Ann are buried here at Old Dailly.

Bargany House, 19 miles southeast of Ayr on the banks of the River Girvan, is a late 17th Century unfortified mansion. An ornamental bridge was erected c.1756 known as the Dukes Bridge. The house was probably built for the Dalrymple – Hamilton’s. This estate  was known through history as being the land of the Bargany Kennedy’s. It has had many alterations over the centuries.

Bargany and Old Dailly

Sir Hew Dalrymple Hamilton of North Berwick and Bargany was elected M.P. for Haddington-shire in 1795. Sir Hew married Lady Jane daughter of Adam first Viscount of Duncan on the 19th May 1800. On Lady Janes death in Paris, in March 1852 her obituary was full of praise for her long connected liberal, judicious, and unobtrusive charities (that) have long been doing a great deal of good to the youthful and poorer classes, and where her singular urbanity of temper and kindliness of manner endeared her to all ranks.”

By coincidence one of Scotlands renowned painters the Reverend John Thomson (1778-1840) came from Dailly, his works are exhibited in the National Gallery of Scotland.

This was the atmosphere in which the McCubbin children were raised, while their father, Alexander, took care of the grounds and eventually became a senior employee of the estate.

Leaving Scotland

Although they lived in what may appear to have been an idyllic area of Scotland, almost all of Alex and Annes children left home in their early twenties to make new lives and homes for themselves. They spread far and wide around the world and in some cases never saw one another again. The first to leave was David, who became a Master Mariner and resided in Liverpool. Next were Anderson, Peter and James. Not to be outdone, off to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, went John, Alexander, Mary, Hamilton, Jane, Sarah and Wilhelmina. Clement settled in America.

This was the day of travel by sea, by sail. Journeys were long, sometimes dangerous, often tedious.

Firstly, to preface the story of the McCubbins, its worth knowing that the above Davids son Alexander, known as Alex, was a Mariner, and had been to New Zealand. Back in Liverpool,  England, he wrote a 42 page letter to his Aunt Sarah Potts (nee McCubbin) from the Griffin Hotel in 1896. Beautifully written and full of family information, the letter was carefully saved for over a hundred years by the family in New Zealand and now graciously shared with us. His words illuminate this Scottish familys life in the 1800s.

Alex, our letter writer gives an impression of a sea voyage, this one being the reverse of journeys when they all left Scotland. Also he expresses his delight upon seeing family after so long a time away.

I shall now commence with my departure from New Zealand on the 12th March 1866, bound for London on board the old “Thracian” as Chief Mate. Quite a host of young fellows from Dunedin, with whom I had become acquainted, came down to the bay with us the morning of sailing to wish us “God Speed”. They left us at the Heads, and we proceeded upon what proved to be a long and tedious voyage, even more so than our outward passage in the “Jessie Gilbert”. I need not here describe the passage home; your experience outward was just a fair sample. The Captain Tyack by name, an old man verging on 70 years looked kindly to me, and I was glad to think I pleased him, and handled the ship to the best of my ability, and his satisfaction, but Oh; it was a long passage.

We arrived in London on August 20th, (1866) 5 months and 5 days, and I took up my abode in the same, coffee tavern, where we all stayed previous to leaving in the “Jessie Gilbert”. I was not there long, just a fortnight, until I had the old ship discharged. I had accepted the Captain’s offer to take me with him again, and I remember it was on a Saturday afternoon that we were washing down and cleaning up to receive the Captain and his wife and daughter, and I was to return home with them to spend the night, and Sunday, as I had proposed going home to Bootle for a week on the Monday, when a Hat began to show itself above the bulwarks, coming up the ladder at the ship’s side, followed immediately by another. I did not for the moment take familiar tones to my ear, and next moment I was delightedly shaking hands with my Father and Uncle James, who had come down to London on business, and took me by surprise in this way.The Captain and his party came on board soon after, and after I had introduced them, they spent a very pleasant afternoon together, and then took me away with them to their Hotel.

On the Monday I journeyed to Maddock Lodge, (My uncle James’ place in Cheshire). Having spent a few days with Uncle James and Aunt, I proceeded home to Bootle and found my Mother and brother James, and all our surrounding friends in good health and spirits.

Occupations & Accomplishments

The following are some of the occupations and accomplishments of the children and descendants of Alexander McCubbin & Anne Aitken

DAVID, born  Ballantrae, (1819 – 1883), left home in Dailly for Dumbarton, in his late teens. He found employment with D&C McIver Shipping company. Dumbarton is situated on the Clyde River west of Glasgow and at the time was a vast shipbuilding area. Shipbuilding became the rivers most important export and the expression Clyde built became known around the world as a guarantee of first-class workmanship.

David married Ann Thompson in 1840. By 1851 we find David was employed with the Cunard Steam ship Niagara of Glasgow in Liverpool.  His brother Alexander, who eventually settled in Melbourne, Australia, was also aboard the Niagra employed as a Baker/Pantry Steward.

David and his growing family lived in a large family house in Bootle, a suburb of Liverpool with close access to Canada Dock situated on the Mersey river. By 1871 after the children had all left home, David and Annie moved to Kirkdale.

David was clearly instrumental in helping his younger brothers getting employment with Cunard. Many members of the extended McCubbin family were employed by the Cunard Company over the years. As Davids finances improved he purchased several hotels in Liverpool area including the Griffin Hotel and the Sefton Arms Hotel. The Melbourne Hotel also appears to have been purchased or leased on behalf of Davids brother Peter.

David died at the Griffin Hotel, age 64. He had nearly 40 years in the service of the Cunard Company. He left a considerable estate to his family. The couple had four children, Alexander, James, Annie and David.

His son Alex relates in his letter to his Aunt Sarah;

And now a word or two about our great loss, my Father. He was still in active life, fresh and vigorous, and to look at him you would have thought he would have been spared to us for many years to come. He however had one weak spot, his heart. This had been brought about no doubt, by the severe attack of fever he had whilst carrying troops during the Crimean War, and he was perfectly aware of the fact. He had been out in the tender to the Bar, one stormy night, to one of the steamers, got frightfully wet and received a chill which brought on “acute rheumatism” This eventually touched his heart, and he expired after only a week’s illness. He was calm and collected, and perfectly conscious to the last, and died as I hope to do, like a brave and upright man, leaving all his worldly affairs in perfectly methodical order, with no loophole for family wrangling.

He is sadly missed by the old servants of the Company he so long and faithfully served, many of whom have been pushed out of position under the new regime, and miss the fostering care he had for his old boys.

Alexander McCubbin, son of David McCubbin and Ann Thompson (1841 – 1906) was born in Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire and appeared on the census of 1871 in Kirkdale, Liverpool, Lancashire, West Derby; at the household of his parents, a Mariner, unmarried, age 29.

Liverpool with Bootle

Alex tells of his marriage:

I was sailing as Purser, first with the Cunard Line, then the White Star, and latterly up to 1874 in the Marquis of Bute’s Line between Cardiff, (South Wales) and New York. I was married on the 6th January, 1874 to Mary Hough. Her family lived in Bootle Village near the Waterworks, and performed all the Cunard Company’ and Union’s laundry work.

They had a nice dwelling house, and beautiful garden. It used to be a favourite walk round there on Sundays, by many people to view the gardens of Bootle Lodge as it was called. I was married there, and we had a great day. Davie McKissock was my best man, and as usual was the life and soul of the whole affair.

After a few months, my Father purchased a house for us in the Public line, called the “Sefton Arms” and situated in Gt.Homer St. I commenced well, but in the course of a few years allowed the old enemy to get the upper hand of me, and bring me almost to Death’s door. My Father took me out of the business , and placed a manager in, and we worked the place until after Father’s death, when it was sold to R.Cain the Brewer.

By this time I had recovered, and was occupying a fair position at Canada Dock Foods Station of the London and North Western Railway Co. this was the happiest period of my first marriage. I had now a family of four in the following order, David, Minnie, Annie and Alex. It was at Alex’s christening that my Polly (as she was always called) his mother, received her death chill. It was a bitter cold day in January and the Church was like an Icehouse. It was what they usually have in English Churches “Christening Sunday” and their being quite a number of babies that day, we were kept too long. Seeing that this was Polly’s first day out since the birth, and she was still delicate as might be expected. She had not the strength to throw the attack off.

It soon developed into rapid Consumption and she sank to rest on the 29th January 1880, in her 33rd year, just a few days over 6 years since our marriage.

Baby Alex was “sent to Cheshire, to be nursed near a farm.”

Alex met his second wife Susannah Haigh in Cheshire while visiting his boys David & Alex.

“In this way I became acquainted with my present wife, then Miss Haig. She was a Scotch lass. She knew my little boys, and was kind to them, and I became attached to her. We were married and came to reside at the Griffin.”

In the census or 1891 Alex was listed as a Licensed Victualler  in Kirkdale. In 1901 he was listed as a Hotel Proprietor on Derby Rd. Alex died at Myrtle Cottage, Crieff, Perth, Scotland, age 64 of Chronic Nephritis.

Alex had five children, David, Minnie, Annie, Alexander Oscar and John Jack.  David, became an employee with G&J Burns, the Glasgow line of steamers. Annie was a Teacher. Alexander worked in the office of the Cunard Company.

James Thompson McCubbin son of David McCubbin and Ann Thompson (1844 – 1924) born Liverpool, Lancashire, married Anne ‘Annie’ Reynolds, daughter of ‘Captain’ Reynolds, 1866 in West Derby, Lancashire. He appeared on the census of 1881 in 16 Salford Rd, Formby, Lancashire; head of household, living with wife & children, all born in Liverpool – Annie, Thomas, David Aitken, James, Alexander, Clement, Mitchell, John, Hamilton, Mary Anne, Edith and Reynolds.  In 1901 he was at 13 Alexandra Road, West Kirby St. Bridget 8, Hoylake Cum West Kirby, Cheshire; a retired Engine Fitter. He died age 79.

Their son, David Aitken, (1870-1948), married Mary May Magdalen. She died and he married Lucie Clegg, 1897 in Cape Town, South Africa. He died in South Africa age 78. His children were, Hamilton, David William, Charles and George Reynolds.  David had been employed by the South African Railways. David George Reynolds, second son of David, was a World War 1 Air Ace.

The fourth son of James Thompson McCubbin and Annie Reynolds, was Alexander (1873 – c1888)

“Alex was lost at sea, the ship he sailed in, never being heard of since leaving Liverpool 8 or 9 years ago”

Youngest son of James McCubbin and Annie Reynolds, was Reynolds McCubbin (1885 -1972). He served in the 4th Kings Liverpool Regiment.  He developed asthma at an early age and  moved to Canada. During his early days there, Reynolds and his friend John Tetlow worked as clerks for the Hudson Bay Company. They were so short of money that they lived in a tent until it grew so cold that John said his watch froze under his pillow. John returned to England. Reynolds worked as a farm servant for the Hays family near Lipton, Saskatchewan. When WW1 broke out he joined the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. Upon his return he took up homestead rights near the Hays farm. He lived in a tent all summer and one winter until he had some land cleared and a house built, all the while courting the nearby farmers daughter, Ada Hays, whom he married in 1922. The couple had five children, Amy, Jean, Mabel, Isabel and William Bill.

Bill relates They went through some good times and bad on the farm, the dirty 30s being the worst. Somehow they managed and we never went hungry. Dad even managed a little brew now and then.

Reynolds died age 86 and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery.

David McCubbin son of David McCubbin and Ann Thompson, (1850-1866), died at sea. Related by his brother Alex,

“I was rather surprised to learn that my little brother David, had adopted the life of a sailor, and had been bound apprentice to Mr Donald, now Sir Donald Currie, a former manager of my Father’s firm, D&C MacIver, and had sailed on his first voyage on board the “Tantallan Castle” for Calcutta, from which, poor little fellow, he never returned. My mother very singularly became low spirited, and it was owing to a dream or premonition she had about my brother David. I shall not attempt to explain or analyse these mysterious communications. I know that she placed great faith in their accuracy, and her forebodings were only too sorrowfully borne out a month later, when we received an intimation that he had been buried at sea in the Bay of Bengal a few days out of Calcutta, on his homeward voyage. He had been suffering from Dysentry and had been in Hospital up to within a day or two of his ship’s sailing. The Captain wished to leave him behind until he was perfectly strong, but David begged so hard to come home again, backed up by the pleading of the Captain’s wife, who was going on the voyage with them, that he consented to him coming on board again. The Doctors also thought that when he got away on the strong sea air again, he would recover quickly again, but it was not so. He took a relapse, and was buried as I have already stated within 10 days of leaving. This sad event coming so soon after my sister Annie’s, completely prostrated my mother, and she lay for many months, almost at the point of death herself. My Father too, is aged quite perceptibly in a few weeks, and he lost a good deal of his old happy spirit from that time.”

PETER, born Dailly, (1823 – 1863), married Susan Hill, 1853 in West Derby, Lancashire. The couple had a son, William, b. 1854 in Birkenhead, Cheshire. A daughter, Annie, b. 1858, Cork, Ireland, married her first cousin James Alexander McCubbin (who went down with the Lusitania), son of Alexander McCubbin and Ann McWilliams, in 1876, West Derby, Lancashire. Annie died in 1885 in Liverpool.

JAMES, born Dailly, (1825 – 1868) was born at Dailly, Ayr. He married Elizabeth Clarke Thomas, 1857 in Walton on the Hill, Lancaster. At her marriage, Elizabeth was given property in The Old Ropery, a public house, in Liverpool. This still exists in the business centre of Liverpool.  It is a small lane off a side street which itself is off a main street.James became a Licensed Victualler.

James had a country house named  Maddock Lodge in Cheshire – near Delamere forest. On the eve of his birthday, James accidentally shot himself whilst cleaning a gun at Maddock Lodge. He was aged 46.

A heart rendering account of his death was written in Alex letter to his Aunt Sarah.

It is a long story, but I will endeavor to give you a full and true account. No one can do so as well as myself, because I had been closely connected with him at this unfortunate time.  To begin with, I had better perhaps describe how he came to meet his death so swift.  Perhaps you remember how my Father used members of his family who were within reach to spend the Xmas with him in the old house in Lower Mersey View. Well my Uncle and Mrs James were with us as usual, hearty and well all that week. Xmas day fell on a Friday, that year (1868) and Uncle returned home to Cheshire on the Saturday evening, leaving Aunt James at Lower Mersey View. I was to have accompanied him, but he wished to take his gun with him, which had been left for repairs with old Richards, of Old Hall Street. On our way to Lime St. Station we called there but the gun was not ready, much to Uncle’s annoyance, and also to poor old Richard’s, who attributed Uncle’s death to this circumstance. Uncle then requested me to remain behind until the Monday (when the gun was to be ready), and bring it on to him myself, and assist him to stock his house with a little Game, to be in readiness for his New Year dinner, which I daresay you will remember was also his birthday, and at which the family were to be present.

On the Sunday evening after his return home, being impatient to be doing something on the Monday, he took down an old gun from the top of his wardrobe, where he had placed it the previous summer, to be out of the way of his Stable Boy, whom he had an idea had been poaching a bit, and the Old Gun, which I may here say was Grandfather McCubbins, and which had been presented to him by John McKissock the Miller, and of which he was very proud, and had been usually hung up in the Stable, he found quite rusted up. He got his vice and tools out, and prepared to clean it. He took the Barrels of the Stock, and began working to remove the nipples, but could not succeed. he then placed the breach of the barrels in the stove down through the top, you know the style of an American Range, something similar to the one we had in Lower MerseyView. Well having let them get what he considered sufficiently heated he took them out placed them in the vice and succeeded in removing one nipple, but not able to remove the other, he prepared to give the barrels another heat. All this time his servant girl Ruth was sitting by the Range reading, and to whom he was chatting quite happily. I fancy I can see him full of life and bustle, and looking forward to having everything nice for his big bother David’s critical eye and to give him an enjoyable visit to celebrate his natal day.

Well, to resume, he placed the barrels again in the fire when there was an immediate explosion, and he staggered to the sofa., exclaiming “My God Ruth: I am a dead man” and expired immediately. It was found that the chamber of which he had removed a nipple had discharged a full charge of No.4 shot through his Lungs and that he must have placed the Old Gun away fully loaded, and forgotten that it as so. The servant girl Ruth, was paralysed with horror, and for a few moments was incapable of any action being quite alone in the house, the Stable boy being away as it was Sunday off.

When she regained her nerve, she rushed off through the fields to the nearest neighbor, a Mr. Peter McGill. Farmer, about a mile or so distance, and brought back his nephew John McGill, who was a great crony of Uncle’s. He found him quite dead and lying on the sofa, where he fell, with a smile on his face as if peacefully asleep and naturally, but it was the last great sleep from which there is no awakening until the sound of the great Trump. John McGill wired my Father on the Sunday night to the effect that his brother James had met with a serious accident, and to come at once. He had to post through with horses, it being too late in the evening for any other mans of conveyance, and found Uncle laying just as I have described.

What a visit! twas not in this manner he expected within fifty hours to meet his brother again. I leave you to picture his distress at this sudden termination of his bright little brother’s life, and the sorrow of everyone who knew him. A Coroner’s Inquest was duly held, verdict as might be expected “Accident”. We buried him in the Old Delamere Churchyard, on the last day of the year, the eve of his birthday, and all our fond anticipations of spending a delightful

New Year with him were turned to sorrow and distress.

ALEXANDER (twin to John), born Dailly (1827 – 1877), became a Master Baker. Having spent his childhood in the Dailly area he would most likely have done an apprenticeship with a local  baker, or maybe in the kitchens of Bargany. The McCubbin family was connected by marriage with the McKissock and Aitken families who were farmers and flour millers in the same area where they lived in Scotland. Alexander appears to have entered the service of Sir George Warrender a descendant of the Bargany Dalrymple-Hamilton family, in the beautiful house Cliveden on Thames as a baker. Alexander married Anne McWilliams, in 1848, in St Giles in the Fields, London. By 1850 they were living in Liverpool. Alexander and his twin brother John worked for the Cunard Line, Alexander as a Baker, John as a Barkeep. It was a good way to earn money for their passage while they were waiting to sail to Australia.

Bouyed up by the tales they had heard of the gold rush and the many opportunities they believed to be found in Australia, Alexander and Anne, with a small child and a newly born baby, set off on the long and arduous journey to Australia. They settled at 164 King Street, Melbourne where the bakery was established. He died, age 49, after falling down a flight of stairs at his bakery. Children were; William John, James Alexander, Frederick, Mary Ann, Robert, Harriet, Wilhemina and Helen.

Facts about some of Alexander and Annes children;

Alexander and Anns second son, James Alexander Jim born Liverpool (1852 – 1915), married his first cousin, Annie McCubbin, 1876. Annie died just nine years after they were married.

Of his cousin James, Alex the letter writer relates;

My Mother has bought a house in St Albans Road (not far away from here) and my two girls live with her. Minnie is the housekeeper and Annie is a Teacher. My cousin James Alex, (from Australia) also resides with them [at this point a widower]. He is one of the most popular Pursers in the Cunard Service, and has a host of influential friends. He is in great demand with the ladies, and there is a good many caps set for him, but so far he sails along, a general favourite amongst them, with no marked preference for anyone in particular.

Said Kathleen’s father Frederick of his brother James,

“The first thing he did, when I met him in London, was to insist that I buy a new hat. “You look like a cowboy in the hat you’re wearing!” he told me. “I refuse to go out with you unless you buy a new one.”

Tragedy struck in 1915.  Kathleen Mangan recalled;

When Uncle Jim was drowned, he was Purser on the Lusitania and lost his life when that fine ship was sunk in the Atlantic, by a German submarine in 1915. He must have had a premonition, that the Lusitania would not make the Atlantic crossing, because he wrote to father just before she sailed and told him of his fears.

Grandmother always kept Uncle Jim’s photograph in a silver frame, on the mantel-piece, in her sitting-room, at the Rose of Australia. And that’s the way I seem to remember him, looking very dashing, in his Naval uniform and cap, his expression serious. I wish I had known him, he seemed so much like my father. Dear Uncle Jim.”

It was a sad day for the McCubbin family of Liverpool and in far off Australia. James had been planning to retire to Golder’s Green, England, after the voyage.

Kathleen relates;

“I recall a family gathering at the hotel (The Rose of Australia) when all the family met there, in grandmother’s sitting room, to mourn the death of our Uncle Jim. My father was fond of him–talked about him a great deal.

Alexander and Annes third son, Frederick McCubbin (see our page for him),  born 165 King St. Melbourne, at the Bakery.  Frederick, affectionately known as The Prof, was to become one of the most prominent and well known artists of Australia. Raised in the home of his father, a Master Baker, and after a short formal education, his father sent him off into the world.

By the early 1880s, his work began to attract considerable attention and won a number of prizes from the National Gallery, including a 30-pound first prize in 1883 in their annual student exhibition, and by the mid-1880s began to concentrate more on the works of the Australian bush that made him most famous.

Frederick married Annie Moriarty in 1889. After a successful career as an artist and professor,  and having raised six successful children in their own right, he died in South Yarra.  Frederick and Annies surviving children were; Louis Frederick, Alexander, Hugh Montgomery, John Sydney, Nora Sheila and Kathleen McCubbin.

Louis Frederick, OBE, the eldest son of Frederick and Annie (1890 – 1952) born Rathmines Rd, Hawthorn, Vic. After an art education, in 1916 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, 14th Battalion, and served in France from November 1917 as a stretcher-bearer with the 10th Field Ambulance. He was appointed an official war artist under the Australian Records Section scheme to the 3rd Division working on war dioramas. He was awarded the Crouch prize for landscape in 1928 and in 1931 was commissioned by the Australian National Travel Association to paint a series of pictures of the Barrier Reef. He was president of the Victorian Artists’ Society in 1933-35. During 1935 he was senior instructor in drawing and painting at Swinburne Technical College, Melbourne, and in 1935-36 he undertook further work on the dioramas for the War Memorial. In 1936 he married the widowed Stella Elsie Mary Jackson.

McCubbin was director of the Art Gallery of South Australia in 1936-50, and revitalized it through his many innovations. He was a member of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board in 1945-52. In 1947 he was appointed O.B.E. He retired through ill health in 1950 and returned to Melbourne.

Louis McCubbin worked under the influence and the shadow of his father, who depicted him as a child in his paintings; and before World War I they occasionally exhibited together. McCubbin died, childless, in 1952. His work is represented in several Australian public collections.

Writes sister, Kathleen;

Louis was the most responsible member of our family. Being the eldest of the four boys he possibly had this position thrust upon him. He had to cope with our problems when things went wrong, and he would take over the control of the household whenever mother was not well or our parents decided to take a holiday. He was always there, a tower of strength in the background of our lives, organizing everything from milking the cow and caring for the garden to pursuing his career as an artist at the National Gallery. We only realized how dependent we were on Louis when he enlisted in the AIF in 1916 and went into the army.”

He died childless, Parkville, Vic.

Alexander, second son of Frederick and Anne, (1893 -1945) was born Rathmines Rd, Hawthorn, Vic. He married Florence Lillian Eyre. He became an Author and Publisher.

Alexander’s first job was with Thomas Lothian the publishers, a job that brought him into close contact with writers, books, and all the inside workings of the publishing world.”

Said Kathleen;

My brother Alexander loved to write stories. He used to sit at the desk in his bedroom writing in the light of a flickering bracket gas-lamp until the early hours of the morning. I slept in the bedroom next to his and sometimes I would awake during the night and hear him reading out loud to himself from one of his stories. He loved drama and tales about famous people; Napoleon, for example, issuing orders to his soldiers. I can still see Alexander with a lock of dark hair falling over one of his shining brown eyes, a hand clutching the lapel of his jacket, acting the part of Napoleon. Occasionally he would invite me into his room to listen to one of his stories and I would sit there transfixed and promise myself that one day I would write a story like one of Alexander’s.

He died in Melbourne, Vic, at age 52. They had one child, Frederick John.

Hugh Montgomery (1894 – 1976) married Ruby Winifred Francis. He was born 1894 in Wolsley Cres, Blackburn, Vic. They had three children, John and twins Charles and Susan. Hugh was the co-founder of Radio Parts, now a very large retailer of products and spares covering the electrical, computer and digital industries. Penny recalls early visits to their large old house;

Best of all, off the back verandah ran several rooms one of which held a large cabinet full of drawers filled with cousin Charlies butterfly collection. the colours in those butterflies were spectacular. As a child I had never seen anything like it. They also had a large collection of history books which also fascinated me.

Hugh died in Melbourne, Vic, at age 81.

John Sydney (1896 – 1953) fourth son of Frederick and Anne, married Bette Anderson. He was born 1896 in Brighton, Vic. He was a “born inventor”, quotes Kathleen Mangan;

“Sydney was always experimenting with some new idea, be it ever so crazy, and attempting to make it a reality. It was not until after the First World War that he became involved with new techniques of wireless. Marconi’s discovery became almost an obsession with Sydney. He saw its great potential. He studied wireless and experimented with it and became intensely involved with short-wave, that elusive wave-length that came out of the crackle of static and cirumnavigated the world. His workroom – the one-time servants’ quarters at the rear of The Deanery – became cluttered with coils, wires, valves, tools and loud-speakers, all the impedimeta essential for the construction of the large super-heterodyne sets which were once the wonder of the wireless world and which Sydney manufactured commercially”.

He died, age 56, in Melbourne, Vic.

Nora Sheila (1898 – 1976) daughter of Frederick and Anne was an Artist. She was born in Brighton, Vic. Reminiscing about her sister, Kathleen said;

“She was a sensitive and dedicated artist, and appeared to reach the pinnacle of her success during the 1930’s, receiving rave notices from the art critics and exhibiting with top-ranking artists. She was a member of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors and painted some excellent designs for Philips Radio displays. These were used Australia wide and earned Philips a reputation for outstanding window-displays. During the Melbourne Centenary in 1934 she designed more than half the floats in the procession that was held to mark the event. On the eve of the Second World War she came first in a national competition for the best float to represent Australia in the famous Florida Festival of Roses but she was unable to go to America because of outbreak of war.”

Sheila died age 78 in Balwyn, Vic.

Kathleen (1906 – 1999) youngest daughter of Frederick and Anne, was born 1906 in South Yarra, Vic. She married John Mangan in 1931 in East Melbourne, Vic. Penny relates of her mother;

As the matriarch of the clan Kathleen relished her position and at times she reminded me of a royal holding court. There were afternoon teas with visitors who called to see her, she was wined and dined and became accomplished at public speaking.

Kathleens lfe long ambition to be a published writer came true in 1984 when she was aged 78. Her first book Daisy Chains War then Jazz was followed by Autumn Memories published in 1988.

Kathleen died at Kew, Vic, age 92.

(~~End –  Frederick McCubbin and Anne Moriarty family~~)

Wilhemina Minnie, (1863 – 1911), second youngest daughter of Alexander and Anne, was born in Melbourne and married Charles Alexander, 1887 in Melbourne.  She  became a Hotel Keeper after she and her husband were separated. Wilhemina died in Melbourne.

Helen Nellie, (1865 – 1936) youngest daughter of Alexander and Anne, born in Melbourne, was in the Hotel Business with her sister, after her parents sold the bakery. Nellie died in Camberwell, at age 71.

Kathleen McCubbin Mangan relates;

“My grandmother and Aunt Nellie retired from the bakery business when it became too much for them. With three sisters married it was more than they could cope with. So they lived a retired life for a time, until my Aunt Minnie became estranged from her husband. This was a very serious thing for a woman in those days and poor Aunt Minnie was hard pressed to know what to do to support herself. She had no family fortunately, but she had to find a way of earning a living and finding a way to keep herself. After a fruitless search for employment, Aunt Minnie and Aunt Nellie decided to pool their resources and go into the hotel business. They purchased the licence of The Rose of Australia Hotel on the corner of Bourke and King Streets. A better class hotel with a good reputation.

“Whatever will people think!” said Grandmother McCubbin, admonishing her daughter. “My two daughters in the hotel business! We shall be ostracized.”

“But I must live,” Aunt Minnie counted. “What would you have me do, Mother?”

“I shall never hold my head up again,” grandmother grumbled. “The shame of it!”

After many disagreements grandmother finally consented to live with her daughters at the Rose of Australia. But, with one condition, that she would never set foot in the bar or any part of the hotel, open to the public. To be seen near a common public bar would be the worst fate that could befall a woman in her position”

John, born Dailly, (1827 – 1874),  was a twin to Alexander, born  in Farm of Yarding, Dailly, Ayr.

The search for gold seems to be the reason for John emigrating from Scotland. It appears he found some gold in Australia and purchased property on King Street, the future site of his brother Alexanders bakery. John seemed to be on a never ending search for gold, firstly in the Victorian gold fields, then on to New Zealand where the Otago Gold Rush had commenced in 1862. Also, all his sisters were in New Zealand.

New Zealand

He operated the first stone built hotel in that city, and is recorded as being there between 1863 and 1866.  By 1869 he was the proprietor of the Oriental Hotel in Princes St, Dunedin. It was at this hotel that his wife, Annie Taylor died in giving birth to their second son, Hubert in 1865. John remarried to Mary Gillies in 1870.  About 1872 he moved to Hokitika on the west coast of the south island, where he had the Robert Burns Hotel in Revell St.

Hokitika was founded on gold mining in 1864, it was a centre of the West Coast gold rush. By late 1866 it was one of the country’s most populous centres.

After the death of his wife, the two sons of his first marriage (Hubert Jack and David John) were left in Melbourne with his twin brother’s family at the bakery, where they grew up.

John finally went to Darwin where his luck eventually ran out. His occupation is shown as a Barman on his death certificate.

(1) Hubert John ‘Jack’ (1865 – 1924) born in the Otago Hotel, Dunedin, he married Annie Harris in 1905 in Norwood, SA. They raised two sons, Hubert Jack and William. He died in Melbourne, Aus.

(2) David John (George) (1868 – 1938) born in Dunedin, NZ, he married Adeline Howard, 1896 , Malvern, Sth Aust. He was a Baker. According to records, “David George McCubbin sold his bakery on Chapple Street, Broken Hill for Sixteen Hundred pounds in 1911.” He died in Ararat, Vic. They had six children, Kenneth George, Howard, Nellie, Athol, Jean and John.

Mary, born Dailly, (1829 – 1895), went to New Zealand with her sisters, and married Swiss, Ruffino Taminelli in 1868, at the house of Thomas and Sarah (Marys sister) Potts, in Hokitika.

Of Mary, in his letter to his Aunt Sarah (Marys sister) says Alexander;

Your letter came duly to hand conveying the mournful news of Aunt Mary’s death.Poor Aunt Mary, I did not know her so well, and only remember her twice, once you will remember when you were laid up with the Smallpox, that is the last time I can remember her, just previous to her going to Australia.

Hamilton (i), born Dailly, (1831 – 1874) moved to Hawaii. There he married Mary Kamalu-pau in 1869.  He died in Hilo, Hawaii, at age 43. Their son, Hamilton (ii), was born between 1871 and 1873 in Hamakua. He was an Engineer at a sugar Mill, Maao Sugar Central Occidental Negros P.I. Hamilton (ii) married Kahipa ‘Mary Lucille’ Keaukahi, 1903. He was something of an inventor and an article appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser in 1918, praising him for inventing a Submarine Killer an underwater weapon, For use in strafing the Hun Undersea Pirates. He died in 1927 in the Phillippines. Hamilton and Kahipa had eight children, all born in Hawaii. His sons, William and Hamilton sadly contracted Leprosy and spent their adult lives on the island of Molokai in the Kalaupapa Settlement. All other family members, were found to be free of Leprosy.

Kalaupapas reputation as a leprosy colony is well-known. Hansens disease, the proper term for Leprosy, is believed to have spread to Hawaii from China. The first documented case of Leprosy occurred in 1848. Its rapid spread and unknown cure precipitated the urgent need for complete and total isolation. With the advent of sulfone drugs in the 1940s, the disease was put in remission and the sufferers are no longer contagious.  http://visitmolokai.com/kala.html  The name Hamilton has been carried down through the generations in this branch to this day.

Jane, born Dailly, (1832 – 1879). She appeared on the census of 1851 in Loveston, Dailly; age 19, a Scholar, living with parents & siblings. She married George Findlay, an Engineer, residing at St James Street, Glasgow, age 24. Bride, a Housekeeper, residing at Gateside Cottage, Dailly, Ayr. Father listed as a Land Steward.  Shortly after the couple married, they sailed to New Zealand where George established a Saw Mill and Timber Factory, which was prosperous.

Jane and George had four children all born in NZ. Their third son John George Findlay born 1862, Hokitika distinguished himself as a barrister and politician. He became Attorney General of NZ and was knighted by King George V. He then became The Honorable Sir John George Findlay KCMG. John George died 1929 in England, age 67.

In a letter written by George Alexander Findlay about 1877, was described as such Mrs Findlay is still the same jocular happy creature..her only fault being that she is too devoted to her husband and family. Jane died in Dunedin, NZ, at age 46.

Sarah, born Dailly, (1833 – 1910), married Thomas Potts on 6 Jan 1859 in Loveston, Dailly, Ayr, Scotland; Groom, 28 residing Barnsmill, a Wood Merchant. Bride, 28, living at Loveston, father listed as a Baron Officer, She died in Woodstock, South Westland, New Zealand, at age 77. The couple had 12 children, including twins (who died same day of birth).The next two children died as toddlers, one at sea travelling to New Zealand. In New Zealand, three more children died young; a sad and difficult time for Sarah and her husband.

Clement, born Dailly, (1835 – 1867), married Mary Ann Gross, in Jersey City, USA. Alexander, his nephew wrote:

I was then offered a pursers position, on the steamers, which I accepted, and was put on the New York service. On my first voyage, and several subsequent my Uncle Clement and I met in New York. He was then Chief Steward of the S.S.”Corsica” trading between Havannah (sic) & New York, and was doing very well. He had married a Miss Gross whose people were fairly well off. I need hardly say I spent many pleasant evenings with him. He had grown quite a fine looking man, and could speak Spanish like a native. He was a very fair French Linguist as well, and had a good smattering of German, and was quite popular in Jersey City, and with all he came into contact, but our reunion was soon severed by his untimely death, brought about by an attack of Yellow Fever, that scourge of the West Indies, which seized him just after leaving Havannah for New York.

Wilhelmina, born 1838 in Loveston, Dailly (1838 – 1881), emigrated to New Zealand 1861. She gave birth to a child in 1865 in Hokitika at the Weld St home of her sister Sarah. He was named Joseph Moody McCubbin, as shown on his birth certificate. The father, Joseph Moody Johnstone, was a Mariner, born in the Shetland Islands.  Wilhelmina died at her residence, Provincial Hotel Stafford Street, Dunedin, where she was employed as a Housekeeper.

Her son was most likely brought up in her sisters, Sarah and Marys families in Hokitika.

Later in life he sometimes went under the name William Joseph McCubbin. William became a butcher then later an insurance agent. He married Florence Mary Law in 1891. They had 6 daughters, who in their own right had eventful lives. William was extremely proud of his family.

Military Service

Reynolds MCCUBBIN served with the 4th Kings Liverpool Regiment in England. In Canada, during WW1 he began military service April 1916. He was wounded in the hand and mustard gassed. He was discharged January 1919.

James Thompson (iii) MCCUBBIN signed on for the Territorial Army the day before WW1 was declared and was sent to France in 1914. James distinguished himself and was awarded the Military Cross. In 1939 he volunteered for service with the British Army. He was commissioned as a captain and with his knowledge of the Egyptian language and ability to write in Egyptian, he was placed in the Intelligence Corps.

Louis Frederick MCCUBBIN, OBE enlisted with the 14th Battalon of the AIF, served with the 10th Field Ambulance., then appointed official war artist affiliated with the Australian War Records Section. He worked as Officer-in-Charge of Camouflage for the 3rd Division AIF until 1920.

George Reynolds MCCUBBIN, D.S.O. At the age of 18, he joined the Royal Flying Corp.  On June 18th 1916, he was on patrol over the Western Front, when 3 enemy planes were seen on the horizon. A dramatic dogfight ensued with German air ace Max Immelman, who was greatly feared for his flying skills in avoiding his enemies and his reputation for having shot down 15 allied planes.

2nd Lieutenant George Reynolds McCubbin received the Distinguished Service Order as per the London Gazette of 27 July 1916 and the same Gazette carried notification of the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to 5800 Corporal James Henry Waller.

The citation for McCubbin’s DSO reads “For conspicuous gallantry and skill. Seeing one of our machines about to engage two Fokkers he at once entered the fight, and his observer shot down one Fokker, which crashed to the ground. On another occasion when returning from a bombing raid he saw one of our machines being followed by a Fokker. He recrossed the lines to attack and his observer shot down the Fokker. Although very badly wounded in the arm he successfully landed his machine well behind our lines.”

The first combat was that in which Immelmann was killed; the second was on 26 June 1916.

George was eventually promoted to Major; he later became a well-known and highly respected businessman in Johannesburg.

5 Generation Descendancy Chart

The large part of this profile was researched and compiled by Penny McColm, grandaughter of Frederick McCubbin.

Her book published for immediate family, The Leaving of Scotland, The Exodus of a Generation, A History of the McCubbin family of Ayrshire, 2008 was edited for the McCubbin website by Lorna McCubbin, 2010. 1.THE LETTER. Griffin Hotel, 2 Derby Road, Liverpool, 27 January 1896, written by Alexander McCubbin2. AUTUMN MEMORIES, Kathleen Mangan, 1988, Georgian House, Melbourne, Aus. 3.THE LATROBE JOURNAL, No 24 October 1979, State LIbrary of Victoria Foundation


Ann Jewell McCubbin, Bill McCubbin & siblings (Sask), Bill Smart, Charles McCubbin, Rod & Andrew McCubbin, Darren McCubbin, Lesley McCubbin, Margot Edwards, Dr Richard Rawstron, Marjory Woodward, Sheila Martin, Alastair Downey, Andrew McKenzie, Kathleen Mangan, Neil McCubbin, Ian McCubbin, Geoffrey McCubbin, Malcolm McCubbin, Chris McCubbin, Penny McColm, Lorna McCubbin

Next #09-DNA-3 Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Jackson, Kirkcolm, Leswalt