#45-DNA-3 Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Weir

The Homeplace

Rhins of Galloway

The Rhins of Galloway. McCubbins are known to have inhabited the Rhins of Galloway for four centuries –  from the small farms and villages to the port town of Stranraer.  The Rhins of Galloway is a hammer-head peninsula in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Stretching more than 25 miles (40 km) from north to south, its southern tip is the Mull of Galloway, the southernmost point of Scotland.

The principal settlements are Stranraer at the head of Loch Ryan and the small village of Portpatrick on the west coast, other villages are dotted up and down the peninsula, including Kirkcolm, Leswalt, Lochans, and in the South Rhins; Stoneykirk, Sandhead, Ardwell and Drummore.

Sitting on the west coast of Scotland receiving the westerlies from the Atlantic, the area receives a large amount of rainfall (around 1000 mm annually); this has led to the peninsula being principally used for farming, with the relatively flat land offering good dairy and beef production. Due to the seas very much ‘surrounding’ the land the area sees a significant effect of the North Atlantic drift, which ensures that the land is cooled in the summer and warmed in the winter, producing a stabilizing effect on the temperatures. Severe frosts are therefore minimized and this allows the area to play host to numerous tropical palms and flora which otherwise could not exist this far north

Having been settled from ancient times, the area has a long history, forming part of the western kingdoms that collectively ruled most of western Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales.

Subsistence lifestyles are likely to have been dominant throughout much of the peninsula’s history. Farming would have been practiced to satisfy the needs of the tenants and, later on, the estates. Fishing would have generally been practiced on a local scale for local consumption rather than export. Due to the very sparse populations that lived in the area it was not until the Industrial Revolution that changes from a basic subsistence crofting lifestyle would be noted. More about the Rhins

The McCubbin family moved up and down the peninsula, wherever employment took them. They knew the land well, were hardy and strong, and survived where many others didnt.  Most lived into their 80s. Alexander McCubbin, born in Auchintibbert, died at the ripe old age of 101.

Early Families

Alexander McCubbin married Agnes Weir, daughter of Richard Weir and Agnes McGill, about 1815.  According to his son William’s death registration, Alexander was a Joiner.

Alexander was the catalyst for the McCubbin Family History Association.  “He was my husband James’ great great grandfather. After a fruitless search to find any birth, marriage and death records,  I (Lorna Kinsey McCubbin) started connecting with other McCubbins of the world. Ultimately this led me to start the family history association with Penny McColm, who was also searching for an Alexander McCubbin. As it turned out, Penny and James are ‘DNA cousins’. We were delighted to find out that the Alexander’s were related through DNA probably about 300 years or more.”

This is the story of five generations, following through Alexander born c1790, William c1816-1901, Peter 1862-1941, Thomas 1891-1969 and his children.Kirkmaiden


William McCubbin – Agricultural Labourer, Farm Servant, Crofter c. 1816 1901

William McCubbin, son of Alexander, was born in the Parish of Stoneykirk. According to the Old Parish Register of Stoneykirk, William married Anne Chalmers in 1840. In the census of 1841, William and Annie and their baby daughter of 5 months, were living at Ardwell, Stoneykirk.  Ardwell, was a large farming estate, a fermtoun employing  several farm labourers.

William moved from farm to farm throughout his working life, looking for better wages and lodging for his family, which soon grew to nine children. A strong and healthy man, at the age of 74, he was still working as a Farm Labourer. At 84 he was listed as a retired Farm Servant.

Scotland’s People describes the Farm Servant and Agricultural Labourer,

“They were the foundation of lowland Scottish agriculture. Hiring could be a continuation of existing employment or a new contract established at a “hiring fair”, and for the Farm Servant, it was normally for a one year period, or at least six months. The Agricultural Laborer on the other hand was paid day wages, hired on a short term as and when work was needed, and therefore much more characteristic of arable farming, for planting, hoeing, reaping etc.”

Thus, from 1841 to 1901 we find William and Annie living in various locations around Stoneykirk and Kirkmaiden parishes Ardwell, Creechan, Cardrayne (or Cardrain), Cardryne, Pulinkum, Killdrine Cottage, Barhill and Clanyard.

The contents of their house would go with them as they flitted to each home; table and chairs, bedsteads, mattresses, crockery, all loaded on a horse-drawn cart. They lived without roots, always on the edge of a move and as a result were fiercely self-sufficient and independent of mind. By their early teens the McCubbin children would be out earning their own wages. William and Annie would have been concerned for their young and vulnerable daughters, working at neighbouring farms. Their concerns were well founded. Soon they would be were caring for one or more grandchildren in their home, among them a bright son of daughter Agnes, named Robert, who retained his mother’s surname.

Many Scots at this time were illiterate as evidenced by the use of X marks, instead of signatures, on the statutory birth, marriage and death certificates. William signed his name with an X on all the birth certificates of his children.

William and Annie were determined their children should be educated not an easy task on a farm workers income. Annie became very enterprising in supplementing the family income.  She kept a Dame school in Drummore and boarded Lodgers among them farm workers, a schoolmaster, and a rather well known Wigtownshire poet, named McCammie.

The Dame school would correspond with a present day nursery. This was common practice in Scotland in the late 1700’s and 1800s. A woman of some education would be paid 1d a week or similar to educate very young children, mainly teaching the alphabet, simple numeracy and to read the Bible the main source of literature.

From the age of five years old, McCubbin children were listed in the censuses as scholars. By the time they left home they were literate, loved reciting poetry and were not afraid of a good days work.

In the mid 19th century, childhood diseases were rife with measles, whooping cough, mumps, diphtheria. One of the remarkable things about the nine children of William and Annie McCubbin is that all nine of them reached working age. Some daughters – Agnes, Annie and Elizabeth were listed as Domestic Servants at their marriages. Thomas was a Spirit Dealer and Baker. Peter progressed from Ploughman to Grieve (a farm foreman.) William John was a Dairyman. All in all the McCubbins were a bright and healthy lot.

William John, the Dairyman, son of William and Annie is forever remembered in the McCubbin family. He was a favorite uncle and much loved by his nieces and nephews. He died tragically. Following is the account of the accident in the local newspaper:

“On Fri 25th Aug, 1922, Wm John McCubbin, small holding Barnchalloch, while cycling home from Stranraer he collided with a ‘Shell’ (petrol) Lorry at Keenans Corner near Colfin quarry. He sustained serious injury to head and arms. He died later that evening in the Garrrick Cott Hospital, Stranraer. He was about 62 years and leaves a widow and grown up family.”

William Sr. died at the age of 86 in 1901 at Clanyard Bay. Annie Chalmers McCubbin died there too, of Heart Failure, at the age of 84, 1905. Her son, William John signed the death register, listing his father as William McCubbin, Crofter.

William and Annie’s nine children were born between 1841 and 1862. Following is the story of their youngest son Peter.

Peter McCubbin Ploughman, Grieve, Dairyman, Farmer,  1862 – 1941

Peter McCubbin, the ninth and youngest child of William McCubbin and Anne Chalmers, was born at Cardrain Farm, Parish of Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire, Scotland, in April 1862. His father, William was an Agricultural Labourer and signed his sons birth register with an X.

Not far from Peters birthplace, over a few hills, could be seen the lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway.  The sun rose over the Bay of Luce and set over the Irish Channel. South of the Mull, the Isle of Man could be seen.

We next find Peter listed as 8 years old and a scholar in the Kirkmaiden census of 1871, living at Pulinkum Workers House, with his father, William, 55, a labourer, his mother, Annie, 49, and brother John, 13, also a scholar. Living there too, was daughter Agnes Johnston, widow, 28, and children William, 8, Robert, 5, and Mary, 1.

 “Peter McCubbin was a well learned man. When Peter’s father’s family lived at Pulinkum, a schoolmaster lived as a boarder with the family. The school master taught and Peter was ‘able to take it.’ He taught them a lot. Peter could recite poetry, Robbie Burns and many others.  His younger sister Bessie didn’t go to school until 7 years old.  Peter taught her, related daughter-in-law Betty Fitzsimmons McCubbin

When he went to school, his father William had to pay a penny a week to the school master. Peter was a great reader, could quote the Bible and recite all kinds of poetry,” related grandson Peter  Heron.

Peter would have worked along side his father, when not in school. Often the whole family would help out as required when hired by a large farm such as Pulinkum.

There seemed to be an inheritance of some form that did not come to his father William.

The only mention Betty McCubbin ever heard was told by Peter. When Peter was doing a dirty job on a drain when he was about twelve years old, his father William said, while handing him his tea, Nay a very nice job for you to be doin, but we didna get our share.

At the age of eighteen the census of 1881 listed Peter living at Cardrain Croft with father William, 64, mother, Annie, 56 and Mary, 10, granddaughter to William and Annie.

It was Christmas Eve, 1884, when Peter married Janet Burns at Cardryne, Kirkmaiden. They both gave their ages as 21 years old. Peter was a Ploughman. Janet was a Domestic servant. Both were living and working at Cardryne. On a large farm, a ploughman and a domestic servant were somewhat higher on the employment scale than regular labourers and outdoor servants.

Peter, having learned the art of ploughing by the time he was married, was well on his way to being able to support his family which would number ten children in the next twenty two years. In an era when many children were dying early in life the McCubbins lost only one child. Their first one, Agnes, died as a toddler.

Peter had moved from Cardryne, north up the Rhins peninsula to Balyett, then Boreland and Balgreggan Farms. Just a month before little Agnes died, a son, William John, was born at Boreland, July 23, 1855. Also at Boreland, son, Peter was born on Feb 24, 1889. At this point in their lives, Peter and Janet were obviously searching for better wages and accommodation, hoping to improve their lot in life. Peter was listed as an Agricultural Labourer at the above locations. By 1891, Peter and Janet had three young boys, William J, Peter and Thomas. They were living in a cottage at Balgreggan Mains, Sandhead in Stoneykirk Parish. It was a fairly comfortable size, having four rooms with one or more windows.

It was a good place to raise children with the village of Sandhead and its school nearby. True to its name, there was a long sandy beach nearby. Thomas, Agnes Jane, Janet, Annie and James, were all born at Balgreggan.

High Culgroat Farm, Stoneykirk, was Peters next place of employment. Peter was listed as a Ploughman in the census of 1901. William John, 13, a scholar, Peter, 12, a scholar, Thomas, 10, a scholar, Agnes Jane, 8, a scholar, Janet, 6, a scholar, Annie, 5 and lastly, James Shaw, 2. Elizabeth (Bessie) was born there in 1902.

As Peter advanced through his life he moved from ploughing into the dairy industry. Dairying was a major industry in Galloway during Peters life. It was not unusual for a ploughman to progress to the byre and the care of the cattle that inhabited it. The ploughmans work was hard and the physical demands were such that it could not be continued with indefinitely.

Dairying was also demanding work with a longer day. The cattlemans day began about 4.00am. He was the earliest riser in the farmtoun. His day was the longest on the farmtoun by far, with even the Sabbath bringing but little respite.

By this point Peter would have been skilled at many areas of farming and for several years he worked as a Grieve (a manager or foreman) of the farm.

Peter and Janets tenth child, Robert, was born at Eldrick Hill, Sept 1, 1907. Bob, as he would be known, became a close working partner with his father. He was able to learn the many skills Peter had acquired through the years and carry on where his father had left off.

Just before the outbreak of the 1914/18 war, Peter and Janet moved to Drumdoch, Castle Kennedy. Peter was responsible for the cow herd and dairy.

In the late 1920s he was raising pigs and dairy cattle at High Glenstockadale or Rawer as it was known. Rawer, was likely the first farm on which Peter would have been his own boss; where he took on a lease of his own. He was now on the elevated status of Farmer in the records. It was a milk & pig producing farm. It sat on marginal land and grew turnips and oats. Fuel for the house was peat from the bog-land east of the farm. Peat cutting and stacking on the moor for drying was a pre-harvest activity. The peat was brought in to the farm after the harvest and built into a large stack for the winter. The peat fire provided a cozy warmth in the kitchen.

He later had a farm at Balcarry, Glenluce with his son Bob. Neither father nor son owned any of these farms, since the lands were leased. But, Peter had no trouble getting a farm to lease, according to grandson Peter Heron. Peter relates,

“He was sought after for advice and was renowned as a good farmer. He was also a skilled craftsman who built his own carts, made his own ropes and invented a plough.

It was a sad day when Peters beloved wife Janet died at Rawer. In a shaky hand, Peter wrote in the family Bible; Janet Burns, Died 1 March 1934.


I can well recall visits to Rawer before & after Grandma’s death. I was there on the day of her funeral. A strong feature in my memory were the regular visits to and from members of the family, the Camerons, Taits, Straitons, Herons. Bill & Bob McCubbin had cars which greatly facilitated travel. However, during the war years petrol rationing severely restricted the visiting – with no petrol for social travel, only business. All these visits were friendly and there were many spirited discussions on politics, conduct of the war and the problems of food and other rationing and farming with the shortage of manpower., Peter Heron

When Bessie and her Da got together, sparks were flying – and politics! Bessie was strong Labour Party,”   …related Betty.

I holidayed at Rawer, two or three times, from about 1937 through to 1940 when the McCubbins moved to Balcarry at Glenluce. In the earlier years I would accompany Uncle Bob to Stranraer – with horse & cart – for family & farming provisions. Later they acquired a Ford car & trailer for such trips.

I remember climbing the hill south of the farm at Rawer to watch the Atlantic convoys being marshaled by the naval escort and sheltered by an umbrella of flying boats from the base at Stranraer. related Peter Heron

As Peter got older, Bob took more responsibility of the farm. He courted Betty Fitzsimmons who lived at Glaick above Leswalt with her family. They married in Leswalt Manse shortly after Janet died. Betty was welcomed with open arms into Rawer. Alex McCubbin recalls,

Dad (Bob) and Grandad needed the womans touch in the house. By all accounts they were happy times and Robin was born at Rawer.

Granda remained active – peat cutting, implement repairs – for which he had a smithy and joinery. One fascinating activity was rope making using tools made by the two men. They were very self sufficient. I loved to get in the workshop with Grandfather. He’d show me how to do things. He was a great yarner telling us stories.”, Peter Heron

Peter read the Bible every day, kneeled at the bedside. Sunday was a day of rest – ‘no doin’ on Sunday.”

The McCubbin children were kept in order. When they were little and acting up Peter would say, “Get yer boots on yer comin’ with me – and off they’d go to church.

All the McCubbins were bright sparks. All teachers were pleased when a McCubbin was in school. They were well behaved children,” said Betty.

“He was an ‘easy father’, but if you were in trouble at school you were in trouble at home. said Peter.

When asked about the longevity of many McCubbins, Peter Heron said

“The McCubbins fed well. They looked down on ne’er do wells who didn’t look after their children.

In 1939, a big opportunity appeared. Balcarry Farm, near Glenluce had been divided up by the Department of Agriculture into smaller farms and was to be leased out. Peter, Bob, Betty and young Robin, moved to Number 1, a holding of about 65 acres.

At Balcarry, when Peter was in his late 70s.  Betty said fondly,

“We couldn’t just put him in a corner. He’d do odd jobs. He liked taking Robin for walks, reciting poetry as they went Burns, The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

Peter McCubbin died of Cerebral Haemorrhage at the age of 79 in 1941 at Balcarry Holdings.  His death register lists him as a Farmer.

Bob and Betty remained on Balcarry Farm. They raised four boys and a girl there. All were educated well.

Thomas McCubbin 1891 – 1969

Thomas MCCUBBIN, the third son of Peter and Janet McCubbin, was born on 5 Jan 1891 in Scotland; at Balgreggan, Stoneykirk. In the census of 1901, Thomas was listed as 10 years, a scholar, living with his family at a farm called Culgroat, a short distance from Balgreggan.

Thomas and his brothers and sisters, William John, Peter, Agnes and Janet attended Sandhead School. Preschoolers, Annie, 5 and James, 2, remained at home.

Tom had fond memories of life around the Sandhead area. The sandy seashore was close to home. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and old family friends would often visit.

His mother, Janet, had family in Drummore area and Stoneykirk. Tom would have been old enough to remember Peters parents, William McCubbin and Annie Chalmers McCubbin.  Annie came from an old Kirkmaiden family. All of these people had family who had drifted back and forth between Ireland, Galloway and Ayrshire, for centuries.

Doris McCubbin Andersons memories of her father, excerpted from her autobiography, Rebel Daughter, 1996.

My father came from a large farming family in Wigtownshire, Scotland, where the name McCubbin was as common as Smith. A great raconteur, he said his family had originally been McKibbons. Some of them went to Ireland and got kicked out for sheep stealing. When they arrived back in Scotland, they couldnt spell their name, and so they became McCubbin, he would relate with relish. One of my Scottish aunts claimed to have traced the family back to the Stuarts, but my father said you could prove anything if you paid enough for it. Another, perhaps more authentic, theory was that the McCubbins originally came from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, but none of his family believed this. Not being a Scot was worse than being a sheep stealer.

He was bright in school, and his mother had wanted him to become a minister in the Presbyterian Church. But when he was fourteen, the teacher thrashed him for something he was convinced he hadnt done and cracking the switch over his knee, my father walked out of the school forever. Afterwards, he was apprenticed at several jobs but couldnt settle down at anything. Finally his parents decided to send him to the colonies.  I was bound for Australia, he would say, but the boat sank at the dock, so they put me on the next boat to Canada.

Although he admired his gentle father, and deeply loved his feisty little mother, as the third son, my father probably felt he never received his full share of attention in a family of nine. I think he always wanted to make it big and return home triumphantly. He was just eighteen and sporting a large black moustache when he arrived at his uncles farm in Saskatchewan in 1909. That first Christmas, he spent most of what he earned to buy his mother a beautiful gold watch with Maple Creek Saskatchewan engraved on its face.

The following year, he persuaded his older brother, Peter, to come to Canada. They homesteaded in a log cabin in Saskatchewan on adjoining quarter sections. He used to tell us how they made porridge, which was so inedible that they tossed it out in the snow. It froze and they used it as a doorstop for the rest of the winter. After one year, Pete went back to Scotland to become a railway engineer where he was called Peter McKibben. My father, impatient with farming, and hearing rumours of a boom in Calgary, moved on.

Rebecca Laycock, later the mother of Doris, John and James McCubbin, owned a boarding house in Calgary. Her two sons, Fred and Reg, from her first marriage lived with her.

Mama first noticed my father when he passed the house wearing a big fur hat, which she thought hilarious typical of green immigrants from the British Isles. Two or three days later, he was at the front door, inquiring about a room, and he became one of the boarders. Although my mother was a married, though deserted, woman, they fell in love. A year later, when the First World War broke out, my father immediately joined up. His reason for enlisting wasnt patriotism, he was always quick to tell us: it was the adventure that intrigued him. He was actually afraid that the war would be over before he got there. My father spent four ghastly years in the trenches amid that terrible carnage. He was gassed and wounded.

Tom returned to Calgary after the war. In 1921, Doris was born, then John in 1929 and Jim in 1931. The depression began in 1929. It was a hard time for everyone.

Doris relates, The Great Depression colored everything.  There simply was not enough money. Not only were my older half brothers, Fred and Reg unable to get jobs, neither was our father, who had lost most of his money in the crash of 1929, able to get a job. Every dime had to be accounted for, and every possible way to save money was explored. Everything was repaired or made at home.

With all the work of a rooming house we all had chores to do and were expected to do them without any coaxing or checking. We learned very early the value of money and the importance of getting a job and working hard at it.

Things improved after Daddy got a job at the Canadian Legion.

Although he never quite lost his accent and when he got excited he would lapse into a brogue I could barely understand. He never ceased to amaze me with the wealth of Scottish lore he knew. When he shaved he would bellow away in the bathroom with a repertoire of Scottish songs and ballads that astounded me.

He constantly challenged us both mentally and physically with puzzles, riddles, and games. (At the time I felt all these exercises were designed to prove we were all idiots and the school was teaching us nothing.) In fact, with his collections of puzzles, his miscellany of weird bits of knowledge of geography, literature, science and whatever else interested him, as well as his stubborn anti establishment stance on almost everything, he was easily the most stimulating person around in my early life.

He was a great yarn spinner and would describe beating his way to school through snowdrifts over his head. If he got the strap at school he claimed he got another thrashing at home too.  He claimed, from where they lived, he and his older brother, Peter, could swim in three different parts of the ocean in one day.

He talked so much about his home and the various towns there that once when the teacher asked us to name the capital of Scotland I shot up my hand and called out “Stranraer” the nearest large town where my father had grown up.

Johns memories of his father:

One of my most profound memories of Dad was the evening ritual at the dinner table. He presided like a ship’s captain with a group of midshipmen in training. The lead question generally was about the things we had learned that day at school, but sometimes would center on some item in the news of the day. Inevitably, some aspect of our newfound knowledge would be challenged by dad and a totally different point of view would be offered up. I must admit, however, that I never had the courage to present any of my father’s views to my teachers. Later, when I was out on my own, I was always reminded of his final statement after most discussions, “Don’t be a sheep!” It was his lasting reminder that to follow the crowd was to settle for mediocrity.”

Jims memories of his father:

“My Dad had a Bantam rooster approach to life. He was colorful and had quite a good sense of humour.  What I got from Dad was his ability to convince me that there was nothing I couldnt do. If somebody else had done it, you could too. And, it was kind of a contradiction, because I think in his own way he was timid himself. And I say that in the greatest respect.

As a younger man, hed been through four years in the trenches at Vimy in the First World War, went on a gold rush to Panama, tried farming in Saskatchewan, tried his hand at being a mechanic and lost his money in the stock market crash of 1929. By the time I was born he was in his 40s. His only risk taking by then was buying Irish sweepstakes tickets, which at the time were unlawful to buy in Canada.  One of the biggest days of his life was when he won the Irish Sweepstakes”.

Doris relates in Rebel Daughter:

After all the years Father had expected his ship to come in, it finally did in 1966. I returned from a trip to Germany to be greeted by a long-distance call from my thrifty mother, who never phoned other than in emergencies.  I assumed that my father, who had been in the hospital, had died. Not at all. He had won $60,000 in the Irish Sweepstakes. They had been featured on the front page of the Calgary Herald and interviewed on TV and radio.

Mama immediately wanted to take a trip, but everyone thought my father was too frail. However, a few months later he went off on a spree with his Canadian Legion buddies and came home late at night none the worse for wear. The next morning she told him that if he was well enough to get drunk and stay out all night, he was well enough to take a trip back to the Old Country. She booked the tickets that day.”

The stress of the journey was too much for Becky. She died suddenly shortly after they arrived in Scotland.

Thomas died at the Colonel Belcher Hospital for Veterans in 1969. At his funeral ceremony, Doris relates; After the minister finished, four grizzled veterans from the First World War marched up the aisle and placed a single poppy on the coffin. It was a ceremony for Red Chevrons veterans who, like my father, had joined up in 1914.

Doris Hilda MCCUBBIN 1921- 2007, was the only daughter of Thomas and Becky McCubbin. She was educated at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. She married David Anderson in 1957 in Toronto, Ontario and they had three sons. After a long and interesting career of fighting for women’s rights she died of Pulmonary Fibrosis at the age of 85. Following are some excerpts from the press:

“Canadian Press March 2, 2007

TORONTO — Doris Anderson, a magazine editor, author and campaigner for women’s rights who died yesterday, was an independent spirit always ready to defy authority in defence of her principles. When she became editor of Chatelaine magazine in 1957, she said she was determined to give readers “something serious to think about, something to shake them up.” During the next 20 years, with Anderson at the helm, the magazine tackled problems faced by working mothers, pay equity, legalization of abortion, outdated divorce laws and family violence, including battered children.

Chatelaine became one of the few places where feminist ideas were available to women. By the time she left in 1977, the magazine’s circulation had more than tripled. “Doris had a better agenda of where she wanted to take women of this country than anybody I knew,” writer and social activist June Callwood once told the CBC.

Wrote Debra Black of thestar.com, Mar 3, 2007 (excerpts):

“..Anderson had a profound impact on the face of Canadian feminism.

… She agitated for the creation of a Royal Commission on the Status of Women through the 1960s. That commission’s report eventually launched Canada’s feminist revolution. And she was responsible for women getting equality rights included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Landsberg said.  Anderson resigned her position as chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women over the issue. Her resignation prompted a wave of protests and lobbying by women for their rights to be included in the Charter.  It was a fight, Anderson was proud to say, that women in Canada won and in April 1981 women’s equality rights were added to the Charter.  She remained active politically throughout her life, running for Parliament in 1978 and campaigning more recently for proportional representation in federal elections and lobbying for more women politicians on Parliament Hill.

As an active member of Equal Voice, an advocacy group dedicated to electing more women, Anderson was an “inspiration,” said Rosemary Speirs, a former Toronto Star reporter and head of Equal Voice.”She was one of our most effective speakers. She’d go out with her snowy white hair and her strong face. She was tall and stood up straight. She talked to young women about being equals and achieving an equal place in society. They were tremendously excited by her.  “She was fully engaged to the very end. She was a wonderful person to know. She had that great laugh and she always wanted to know what she could do to help.”

Most recently she was the head of the Ontario Press Council and was the chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island. She also wrote a number of books, including three novels and an autobiography Rebel Daughter and sat as the president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.

Anderson also was an officer of the Order of Canada, the winner of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, recipient of a Persons’ Award, and she had honorary degrees from the University of Alberta, the University of Waterloo and Simon Fraser University. But it was her work in Chatelaine that perhaps best speaks to the collective imagination and aspirations of Canadian women.

“She was a beacon. When she started editing Chatelaine, the ideal of what a North American woman was, you stayed home raising your nuclear family,” Speirs said. “Magazines talked about how to please your man. Doris was instead writing a feminist column in Chatelaine and bringing that perspective to Canadian women.”

…But she was as equally committed to her sons as the world around her. “She was a fantastic parent,” recalled her son Stephen…”

Here’s a recent Toronto Star article about Doris.

Thomas John MCCUBBIN, son of Thomas and Becky McCubbin was born on 1930 in Calgary. John was a Ranch Hand in Cross A7 Ranch, Nanton, Alberta, then having saved enough money, he studied engineering at the University of Alberta. For a time he was a Disk Jockey and Radio Announcer in Calgary, then became a Geophysical advisor with Shell Oil. He married Gladys Eva Wilson in 1951. He was Senior writer then became assistant to the President of the International Division in New York, NY, USA. He was sworn in as a US citizen along with Gladys and children Cheryl, Karen & Brent in Nov 1964 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA. He was with Mobile Oil as Public & Government Relations Manager in London, England. He continued his career in relations in Tripoli, New York, Saudi Arabia and then back to Fairfax, Va, retiring in 1992; Winters in Florida and summers in Cape Cod with Gladys.

John and Gladys had four children. John died in August, 2009 in Charlottesville, Virginia with his family by his side.

James ‘Jim’ McCubbin, born 1931, was the youngest son of Thomas and Becky McCubbin. He relates his early life in Calgary, Alberta, Canada –

“Farmers, ranchers, cowboys, Indians with their horses, dogs running under the wagons, trapoizes, papooses; what more could a pre-schooler want?  And I lived right in the middle of it all, near the city center in the Calgary of the early 1930s.  For me, it was a thrilling place to live. I was a curious kid and had an endless number of fun things to see and do.

I was able to explore my little world very early.  There was a large general store just around the corner from our house (where the main city library now stands)  and the variety of interesting characters that shopped there was endless. It was a scene from the wild west.  On our street we had almost every ethnic group one could imagine. There were people who had emigrated from all corners of the world. I remember the clothing, the food, the smells, the different customs. Across the street was a junk yard. Not far from that a blacksmiths shop. A block away a fire hall.   So, it was a continuous round of short little trips to see all the goings on at each of these wonderful and fascinating places.”


Early occupations: Farmer, Ploughman, Dairyman, Dairy Manager, Officer KOS Borders, Baker, Domestic Servant, Scotch Draper (a travelling tailor), Train Driver, Nurse, Painter, Grocery Store Proprietor.

Leaving Scotland

Going to Canada

Thomas McCubbin, son of William and Janet, immigrated to Maple Ridge, Saskatchewan, 1909

William McCubbin, son of William John of Balfern, married Florrie Reeves and immigrated to British Columbia, Canada in 1968. He died there in 1989.

Military Service

Peter MCCUBBIN, son of Peter and Janet, served in France as a Tram Driver, W.W.1

Thomas McCUBBIN, son of Peter and Janet, served 4 years in the trenches at Vimy Ridge, with The First Canadian Contingent, W.W.1

William MCCUBBIN, son of William John of Balfern, was a Fireman during the blitz, W.W. 2

Facts of Interest


While it is normally believed that the Gaelic language was restricted to the north and west of Scotland what is not generally known is that the language was also native to south west Scotland particularly to Galloway.

Records from the time of the Roman occupation inform us that the earliest recorded language of southern Scotland was akin to Welsh. The epic poem the Goddodinwas written in this early British language, it tells of a battle between the Northumbrians and the Britons of Strathclyde. By the late 6th century the Celtic Christian Kingdom of Rheged became established in western Galloway. The capital of this Kingdom being Dunragit, which lies just to the east of Stranraer.

The presence of the Gaelic language together with archaeological evidence indicates the colonisation of Galloway by Irish migrants, the Gall Ghaidhill(foreign gael) after whom Galloway is named. The Irish influx is believed to have occurred during the 7th and 8th centuries.

Across the head of the Mull of Galloway there are two earthen ridges known as the Double Dykes. It was believed for a long time that these structures were associated with a possible British line of defence against incoming Scots from Ulster, this theory is however disputed by modern historians.

Gaelic place names abound in Galloway, examples include Ballantrae (the town on the beach); Cairn Ryan (the Kings Hill) and Drummore (the Big Ridge). There is evidence of Gaelic speaking people even as far north as Kyle in Ayrshire with Troon from An t-Sron (the nose). The prevalence of Gaelic surnames in Galloway also attest to its having been a Gaelic speaking area, examples including MacCulloch, MacDowell, McKibben, McMaster and McKee (names which are also common in County Down).

It is believed that Gaelic was still widely spoken in Galloway until the mid 16th century. By 1560 Lallans Scots was commonplace throughout south west Scotland, as the language of both the Kirk and the courts. Ecclesiastical and legal pressure led to Scots gradually replacing Gaelic as the everyday speech of the common folk.

There is evidence however that a number of 17th century Scots settlers took the Gaelic language with them to Ulster. In his book Presbyterians and the Irish Language, Roger Blaney quotes evidence supplied by various historians and states that many of the lowland Scots settlers in Ulster were probably bi-lingual in both Scots and Gaelic.

Excerpt from a fictional story of a young lad of Balgreggan, Stoneykirk, in the seventeenth century:

“My father said we had no option but to leave Balgreggan but where could we go? One of the cottars, McClellan told my father that the tinkers often spoke of land and money to be had ower the sheugh [sea] in Ulster for anyone with a good back and willing hands. The decision was made, we would sell our Oxen, Ewes and Goats and take the boat fae Portpatrick tae Donaghadee.

My fathers cousin John Kelly of Wigtown had made the same trip many years before us. My father told us that his cousin had gone across with Montgomery of Braidstane in Ayrshire around the year sixteen hundred and six. John Kelly had been given life rent of 20 acres of good land in the Parish of New Town Ards. The Lady Montgomery had seen to it that my father’s cousin also had grazing rights for his stock, fodder for the winter a house and a garden plot.

With a favourable wind and following a short but rough passage of some three hours we landed in the port of Donaghadee on the shores of County Down. This was no strange land as the tinkers had rightly told us, the Scots tongue was as broad there as in Wigtownshire. The names of the town folk were also well kent tae us, Campbell, Gibson, Dixon, McKee, Kennedy, Johnston, McCubbin, McCulloch and of course Kelly were all present. I began to wonder if our ship had not been blown back onto the shores of Galloway!”

Talk given by Charles Kelly, Associate Member from Scotland, at the Annual General Meeting of the North of Ireland Family History Society, on Saturday, 20 May 2000.  It was also reprinted in NI Roots.  Over the Sheugh

4 Generation Descendant Chart

Contributors: Betty Fitzsimmons McCubbin and children, Doris Anderson McCubbin, TJ McCubbin, James and Lorna McCubbin, Peter Heron, Pamela Strain, and thank you to the many descendants who contributed to the family story of Peter and Janet McCubbin.
Sources: Rebel Daughter, An Autobiography, by Doris Anderson, 1996, Key Porter Books. Ltd Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Next #49-DNA-3 Robert McCubbin of Inch