#31-DNA-1 James McCubbin & Mary McMurdo

The Homeplace – Dunscore, Dumfriesshire

Dunscore (gaelic dun-sgoir fort of the sharp rock) Dunscore is a village and a parish in Nithsdale, Dumfries & Galloway. It is situated 10 miles north-west of Dumfries.The parish has always been Dunscore but the name for the village until the mid-19th century was Cottack. Dunscore itself, which contains the parish church, stands on elevated ground The parish is butterfly-shaped, measuring 11½ miles from east to west, its width varies from 3½ miles to 100 yards! The highest point in the parish is Bogrie hill in the Esslin Glen which rises to 1,416 feet. The parish presents a striking variety of scenery from fertile, green, flat countryside to barren, rough, heather and mossy hillsides. It contains iron age forts and several ancient burial mounds. It is also thought that there was a Roman camp on Springfield Hill in the lower end of the parish. The Cairn river rises above Moniaive and flows through the parish to join with the Nith at Lincluden. In ancient times, it is thought there was a lake/loch in the area between Throughgate and Mansegate.

At the opposite end of the parish, Robert Burns farmed Ellisland from 1788-1791 and it was here that he wrote Tam O Shanter. Lag Tower, Dalgonar and Chapel, were the homes, for many centuries, of the Grierson family. The infamous Robert Grierson was a supporter of Claverhouse and persecuted many Covenanters in the area. He died in Dumfries in 1730 but was buried in Dunscore Old Churchyard in the east end of the parish.

Early Families

James McCubbin 1710-1770. He married Mary McMurdo, 1723. The couple had four children, James, b. 1733, John, 1736, Mary, 1744 and Robert, 1746, All appear to have been born Dunscore.  His MI reads: “In memory of James McCubbin, Portioner Edgartown. Died March 11th 1770 aged 60. Also Mary McMurdo his spouse who died Nov 2nd 1785 aged 75.” He left Sasine 1794 to sons James McC of Edgarton & John McC of Springfield, each one fourth part of Edgarton.

1. First son James, b 1733 – see below. 2. John 1736-1812, married Margaret Corrie, 1777, no issue. 3. Mary McCUBBIN born 1744, died an infant.  4. Robert McCubbin 1747-1761.

1. James McCubbing, born 1733-1814, was the earliest found ancestor with the spelling of the McCubbing name which runs consistently through the generations of this family.  He was a Farmer. He married Janet Swan circa 1776. The couple had five daughters, Mary, Janet, Margaret, Sarah, Nicklos and finally sons, John, born 1790, and James, born 1797. Their father James McCubbing left a will July 1815.  Lands involved were Edgarton & part of estate of Friarscarse. John, son, recorded, but had previously received money. Son James received 1000 pounds, Mary, daughter, Janet, spouse to Joseph Kennan, Joiner at Kellieston, Margaret, Daughter & Nicholas, spouse to William McWhae at Maryholme also beaqueathed. Wife Janet Swan received 100 lbs when demanded as well as some lands & property.

John McCubbing and Mary Swan – James and Janet’s son, John, born circa 1790 in Dunscore, married Mary Swan, 1812 in Brae, Lochrutton. As his ancestors before, he was a Farmer. In 1817 records show that he bought and sold 1793 cattle for which he paid £10466. He went frequently to Ireland, and cattle he bought there were sold at Dumfries.  A partnership with a group of cattle dealers, was a losing concern and his land at Springfield was sequestered.

His energy and resilience is apparent by the fact that in 1851 he again was a Farmer  of 464 acres in Crossmichael. He appeared on the census of 1861 in Barr of Spottes, Urr, KKD; age 72, a Farmer of 32 acres. He died in 1861. He left a will and bequeathed his children, John, Joseph, Jessie, Elizabeth & Mary, and g’children, Robert & John, who were children of deceased son Robert. John, wife Mary and three of his sons are buried at Urr.

John and Mary were the progenitors of a large percentage of persons with the McCubbing name. They had thirteen known children in a span of 20 years, between 1814 and 1834; James, John, James (2), Robert, William, Alexander David, Hugh, Janet, Joseph, Elizabeth, Hugh Douglas, and Mary.

(1) James, first son died, 8 months old.

(2) The second John McCubbing of John McCubbing and Mary Swan was born in 1817 in Dunscore. He married Elizabeth Grierson on 31 Aug 1841 in Buittle, Kirkcudbright. Like his father and grandfather he appeared to be a successful Farmer. The census of 1851 finds him, age 36, in  Mid Laggan Parton, Kirkcudbright; living with wife & children.  He was a Farmer of 350 acres inc 200 acres heath employing 2 labourers.  By the time he was 44 years old he appeared on the census of 1861 in Shirmers, Balmaclellan, KKD;  A Farmer of 300 acres, employing 8 labourers.  He appeared on the census of 1871 in Shirmers, Balmaclellan, KKD; Head of Household, a Farmer of 300 acres, 150 arable. And finally, he was recorded as a retired Farmer as listed on death reg in 1880. in Glenelg, Uddingston, Bothwell,  Buried at Balmaclellan.  John and Elizabeth had seven children, between 1842 and 1855. They were James Grierson, John, Mary Swan, William McMillan, Robert Swan, Isabella Grierson, and Elizabeth. All four sons left the farm. James died at the Bank of Scotland, Lanark, John became a Master Draper in Middlesex, William became a Law Clerk in Glasgow, and Robert became a Solicitor and Bank Agent in Bothwell. Of the daughters, Mary died age 23, of Phthisis, Isabella married George Walker and lived in Berwick on Tweed, Elizabeth, died age 20 at Boreland, Irongray.

Robert, the Solicitor, had died four years before his namesake, Robert Swan McCubbing,had died in 1915, while in military service. All four of Robert’s living sons served in the military during the ‘Great War’.

(3)  James McCubbing, the third son of John McCubbing and Mary Swan was born circa 1818 in Dunscore. He married Isabella Waugh, 1847 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. As had been his grandfather, father and brother, he was a Farmer. He worked 180 acres employing 4 laborers. At the age of 48, in 1866, he immigrated to Kentucky, USA; with wife and children. (see ‘Leaving Scotland’ below)

(4)  Robert McCubbing, the fourth son of John McCubbing and Mary Swan was born 1819. He appeared on the census of 1841 in Foreside, Lochrutton, Kirkcudbrightshire; a Farmer, listed as 21 yrs. He married Janet Leckie on 12 Nov 1841 in Lochrutton, Kirkcudbright. . He died in 1844 in Lochrutton, KKD, age 25 (likely of Phthisis).

(a)  Robert McCubbing. He was born, 1842 in Lochrutton. He appeared on the census of 1851 in Barr, Urr; at the farm of his uncle, Alexander David McCubbin. Age 8. In 1861, he was bequeathed in his grandfather John McCubbing’s Will, “a sum of fifty pounds payable on attaining twenty on years of age”. He died on 1 Aug 1879 in Kissock, New Abbey, Kirkcudbright, at age 36; of Phthisis, a Single person,

(b)  John McCubbing, was born, 1844 in Loneside Farm, Lochrutton, Kirkcudbright. John was born shortly after his father’s death. He appeared on the census of 1851 at Foreside, Lochrutton, Kirkcudbright; living with widowed mother. He was listed as a Scholar. In 1861, he was bequeathed in his Grandfather John McCubbing’s will, the sum of fifty pounds upon attaining twenty one years of age.  He appeared on the census of 1871 in Dovewell, Lochrutton, KKD; living with mother Janet Leckie Carruthers and stepsisters. He was recorded as a Cattle Dealer. He married Sarah Redmond Drummond, 1871 in Glencastle, Caerlaverock, Dumfries.  He appeared on the census of 1891 in Drum Farm, Lochrutton, Kirkcudbright; age 45, living with wife and 6 children. Listed as a Farmer with 5 employees.  He appeared on the census of 1901 in Drum, Lochrutton; Head of Household, a Farmer & Employer, living with wife, 3 sons & 1 employee. He died,1921 in 14 Laurieknowe, Maxwellton, Troqueer, Kirkcudbright, at age 76.

Edited Obituary provided by descendant, Dennis Marshall:

Mr. John M’Cubbing, late of Drum, Lochrutton

“A prominent and much respected personality in agricultural circles in the South of Scotland has been removed by the death of Mr. John M’Cubbing, late of Drum, Lochrutton, who passed away on Wednesday evening at 14 Laurieknowe, Maxwelltown, where he had resided since retiring from farming three and a half years ago.  Mr. M’Cubbing who was 75 years of age, had been in failing health for about six months.  The name of M’Cubbing has long been associated with Lochrutton.  Mr. M’Cubbing was born at Foreside, Lochrutton, which was for many years occupied by his father.  As a young man, Mr. M’Cubbing started farming on his own account in Kissock, Beeswing.  In 1879 he acquired a lease of Drum, which he occupied for the long period of 39 years, retiring at Whitsunday, 1918 .  For some years he occupied both holdings, but later gave up Kissock and took a lease of Foreside.  That farm is now in the hands of the third generation of the family.   Mr. M’Cubbing’s eldest son, Robert having succeeded him there.  Mr. M’Cubbing went in for mixed farming and was very successful, always working his land according to the best methods.  He was a well known breeder of Clydesdales, of which he kept a stud. He bred a useful stock for farm purposes, and exported animals to all parts of the world.  He was also a noted exhibitor and frequent prize winner at the national and local shows, and had several cups to his credit.  In other branches of stock rearing he was also very successful, and the Drum stock was always welcomed in the district markets.  Mr. M’Cubbing’s sense of public duty led him to render many services to his native parish and county.  For many years he was a Justice of the Peace for the Stewartry, and a member of Lochrutton School Board and Parish Council, in all of which capacities he did much useful work.”

John and Sarah had the following seven children:

1. Robert 1972-1930. Married Agnes Dalgleish
2. John 1874-1921. Married Annie Kyrinse
3. Sarah 1876-1932. Married Peter Little
4. William 1878-1918 – died in action
5. Janet 1881-1898
6. James born 1884
7. Alexander 1885-1966. Married Elizabeth Robertson

(5)  William McCubbing was born in 1820. He appeared on the census of 1841 in  Dryburgh Farmhouse, Crossmichael, Kirkcudbrightshire; living with parents & siblings. He appeared on the census of 1841; a Farmer at home of his parent’s as noted from census. He married Jane Boyd, 1842 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. He died 1849 in Dryburgh; age 27. Buried at Urr.

(6)  Alexander David (1) McCubbing was born in 1821. Died an infant Barr of Spottes, Urr.

(7)  Alexander David (2) McCubbing was born 1823 in Barr, Urr, Kirkcudbright. He appeared on the census of 1851 in Barr, Urr, Kirkcudbright; Head of Household, unmarried, farmer of 200 acres employing 7 labourers. He appeared on the census of 1861 in Cubbox, Balmaclellan, Kirkcudbright; Head of Household, age 36, a Farmer 148 acres employing 2 men and 2 women.  He had a son, Alexander, with Sarah McNairn, 1866.  He appeared on the census of 1871 in Shirmers, Balmaclellan, Kirkcudbright; at household of brother John McCubbing, 45, gave his occupation as Shepherd. He died 1888, Maxwellton, Dumfries, at age 65. Son Alexander, born in Kells, He was apparently raised by his mother and grandmother, Mary McNairn. He married twice and had six children. He was a Master Builder when he died 1928.

(8)  Hugh McCubbing was born in 1824. Died an infant.

(9)  Janet ‘Jessie’ McCubbing  was born 1826 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. She married John Ross circa 1844. She died on 20 Dec 1871 in Markfast, Urr, Kirkcudbright, at age 45; of Phthisis, years, They had five children, John, Jessie, Alexander, Mary and Margaret.

(10)  Joseph McCubbing was born 1828 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. He appeared on the census of 1851, Dryburgh, Crossmichael; living with parents & sister Mary, unmarried, age given 22, employed on the farm He died on New Years Eve, 1858 in King St Inn, King St, Dumfries, age 30; phthisis & Intoxicating drink. Registered by John Swan, Innkeeper, Dumfries where the deceased died. Farm Assistant, single. Buried Jan 1,1859 at Urr with parents.

(11)  Elizabeth McCubbing born 1830 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. She married James Craig,1848 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. She appeared on the census of 1851 in Barr, Urr, Kirkcudbright; living with brother, Alexander & nephew of Alexander, Robert, 8 yrs. She married William Clark, 1853 in Urr. William a Farmer. She died 1881 in Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbright, at age 50; of Phthisis Pulmonalis, years. She had five children, Janet Craig, and Robert, Mary, Maxwell and William Clark.

(12)  Hugh Douglas McCubbing was born on 15 Apr 1833 in Urr, KKD.

(13)  Mary Swan McCubbing  was born 1834 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. She was a Housekeeper at time of marriage in 1856. She married William Burnie, a Farmer, in1856 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. She died 1911, Castle Douglas, Kelton, Kirkcudbright. Children were John, Mary, Jessie and William.

Leaving Scotland

Going to Canada

Alexander McCubbing 1885-1966, was the son of John McCubbing and Sarah Drummond. He married Elizabeth Robinson, 1906, in Dumfries. In their early twenties, they left Scotland for Canada. They were in Oxbow, Saskatchewan, then took up a homestead* (see Dominion Homestead Act in Facts of Interest below), 13 miles southwest of Unity in the Scotstown district. They raised nine children.

From his Unity homestead he became known for his Clydesdale horses.

Horse breeding became a leading enterprise in Saskatchewan, with homesteads providing a ready market. By 1907 the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture reported that large numbers of Clydesdale and Percheron stallions with the very best blood obtainable were making regular appearances at local fairs and  exhibitions.

Alexander’s barn was filled with ribbons won by their Clydesdales. In 1933, the world’s largest Clydesdale was owned by Alexander McCubbing, Unity, Sask, Canada. It was bought at the Chicago Exposition for $1,000.00, 1800 lbs, 19 hands high, bred at Drum Farm, Beeswing, Scotland.

Going to America

James McCubbing, the third son of John McCubbing and Mary Swan was born circa 1818 in Dunscore. He married Isabella Waugh, 1847 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. As had been his grandfather, father and brother, he was a Farmer. He worked 180 acres employing 4 laborers. At the age of 48, in 1866, he immigrated to Kentucky, USA; with wife and children. (see ‘Going to America’ below) He was (after arriving in America) the inheritor of  the farmland of Deanside from his uncle Robert Swan of Brae, Lochrutton, but by this time he was settled in America so he sold it to his cousin Thomson. James was soon a successful farmer in America and he called his Kentucky farm Deanside. He died in 1898 in Fayette County, Kentucky. A biography of his life and family, was featured in ‘Kentucky History, 1922, History of Kentucky, Vol 4, Biographies‘ available on-line at Ancestry.com.

Excerpts below:

“Fayette County, Kentucky, gained citizens of the finest qualities of mind and heart when the late James McCubbing and his wife established their home within its gracious borders, shortly after coming to America from their native Dumfriesshire, Scotland, where they were born and reared and where their marriage was solemnized.

Upon coming to this country Mr. McCubbing wisely chose Kentucky as the stage of his live-stock operations. He forthwith established his residence on the farm still owned and occupied by his children, and here he achieved marked success in the breeding and raising of fine Shorthorn cattle. He exhibited cattle from his farm at various stock shows and county and state fairs, and gained many prizes on such exhibits. The Young Mary strain of Shorthorns is still maintained on the McCubbing farm, which is eligibly situated five miles from the City of Lexington. The place is well improved, and under the management of one of the daughters of Mr. McCubbing its prestige as a stock farm is being admirably maintained. Mr. McCubbing, a man of fine intellectuality and mature judgment, left a definite impress upon the community.

Mr. and Mrs. McCubbing are survived by five* children, all daughters, namely: Mary Swan, Marion, Jessie, Isabelle and Margaret. This remarkable family of sisters remain at the old home place, and Miss Jessie McCubbing has shown great executive and practical ability in the active management of the farm since the death of her father. Miss Isabelle McCubbing and Miss Margaret McCubbing have achieved distinctive popularity and success in connection with the pedagogic professions, and both are teachers in the Picadome Consolidated High School, one mile south of Lexington. Misses Mary S and Marion McCubbing preside as hostesses at the family home, which is a center of gracious and cultured hospitality. The McCubbing sisters, like their parents, have thus proved a most valued acquisition to the civic and social life of Fayette County.”

More at:

CUB Report 2010  Clydesdales, Shorthorns and the Art of Animal Husbandry
CUB Report 2009  Deanside Farm 
CUB Report 2006  The Five McCubbing Sisters of Fayette, Kentucky

* When the above article was published in 1922, William had died by then and only his five sisters were living at the time.

William MCCUBBING, son of James McCubbing and Isabella Waugh, was born 1848 in Urr, Kirkcudbright. He emigrated in 1866 to Kentucky with his parents. He married Rachel Elizabeth Hagyard in 1886 in Lexington, KY.  He appeared on the census of 1900 in Magisterial Dist 8, Fayette, KY, USA; living with wife and children. William owned his farm. The farm was nearby his widowed mother’s farm and was free of mortgage. William and Rachel had five children, Esther Belle, born 1887, Marion Beatrix, died age 7, James Edward, 1892, Jane Elizabeth, 1895 and Willie Margaret, 1898. William died 1906 at age 57. The farm stayed in the family until 1953 when approximately 100 acres, including the homestead (Deanside) was sold by James Edward McCubbing’s widow upon his death. (James was the grandson of James and Isabella McCubbing, the original 1878 purchasers). The remaining approximately 200 acres remained in the family as a dairy, beef, and tobacco farm until sold for development in the 1980’s.

The McCubbing name continued on through son James Edward ‘Eddie’. His son, also James Edward, was born 1919.

Going to Australia

Robert Swan McCubbing, the son of John McCubbin and Elizabeth Grierson born 1851, Kells, married Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Gover, 1883. Robert, a Solicitor and Bank Agent died in 1911. At some point following his death, his wife Lottie and children moved to Australia. Australian military records show sons Robert, Charles, John and James as living in Western Australia – Fremantle and Perth.

Military Service

The following 4 are sons of Robert Swan McCubbing and Jean Gover

Robert Swan MCCUBBING 1884-1949
McCubbing, R S
Honour / Award:  Military Medal
Service Number:  3596
Rank:  Private
Unit:  51st Bn
Service:  Army
“On 2 Apr 1917, in the attack on SOREUIL, PTE McCubbing, a stretcher-bearer showed great courage and endurance in tending and carrying in wounded throughout the day under machine gun shell fire.”
Date of London Gazette:  26 May 1917, page 5196, position 64
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette:  11 October 1917,
He died on 12 Oct 1949 in Perth, Australia

Charles Edward MCCUBBING 1886-1952
Began military service 1916
Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, 72nd O/S Battalion C.E.F.
(Description 29 yrs, 7  months, 5’11”, Fair Complexion, Blue Eyes, Light Hair.
A Presbyterian. Mother, ‘Lottie’, next of kin living at Freemantle, West Australia.
An Orchard Inspector.
Rank Corporal. Reg #130267
From Canadian Archives, WW1
More about Charles Edward from Western Australia Maritime Museum
Origin: Uddingston Scotland
Departed from: London
Arrived Fremantle on: 19 May 1921
Aboard: Ormonde
Original occupation: Soldier/Farmer
Occupation in Australia: Manager
Wife: Elsie KYTE
He died 1952 in Western Australia at age 66.

John MCCUBBING 1890-
Began military service on 7 Feb 1916
A clerk, living at 73 East St, Fremantle, West Australia.
Served in 44th Batt AIF
Ended military service on 10 Dec 1918 in Australia
Source: Nominal Roll http://www.awm.gov.au.

James Unwin MCCUBBING  born 1895
Began military service on 22 Aug 1914 in Australia – 11th Battalion.
Ended military service on 8 Oct 1918 in Australia;
Was RTA as recorded on Nominal roll Australian War Memorial records
Wife: Louisa Cook.

Descendants of James McCubbing and Isabella Waugh

James Edward ‘Eddie’ MCCUBBING 1892 – 1953
Began military service 1917
Single. Residence RR8 Lexington, Kentucky
Source: WW1 Draft registration card
Wife: Lenna Rogers

James Edward MCCUBBING 1919 – 1976 (son of James E. Sr)
Began military service 1941 in Fort Thomas, Newport,
Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officer, USA.
Grade: Private, Component: Enlisted Men, 2 years High School, Civil Occupation – Automobile Serviceman. Married, Height 72, Weight 185. Source: US World War 2 Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.
Wife: Emma Jean Cook

Son of John McCubbing and Sarah Drummond

William MCCUBBING  1878 – 1918
Honour/Award: Military Medal
Began military service 1917. Kings Own Scottish Borderers (1 year) Lance Corporal, 50th Bn Canadian Infantry.
Residence: 1325 15th Ave West, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A Butcher
Died: in action, Lens, France, age 39, of wounds
Source: Attestation Paper – Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1917.
and Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Wife and children: Agnes Austin, and John, Margaret, Sarah, Agnes and Mary.
Grandson Mike Clark relates: “Four years later his wife, Agnes died during the Spanish flu epidemic. All the five children then were put on a train, the story goes, and they all came back to the Dumfries area.”

Facts of Interest

Dominion Lands/Homestead Act  Canada

“The Saskatchewan landscape changed as the Dominion Lands Act/Homestead Act came into effect in 1872. While Saskatchewan would not become a province until 1905, settlers arrived during the mid to late 1800s because of promises of land grants by the  government. The Dominion Lands Act of 1872 outlined the provisions for granting homesteads to settlers: free homesteads of 160 acres were offered to farmers who cleared ten acres and built a residence within three years of a registered intent to settle a specify land claim.” Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.

5 Generation Descendancy Chart

Scotland – Billy McCubbin, Leslie McCubbin, Mike Clark
USA – Dennis Marshall, Chesley Jaracz, Ed McCaw
Canada – Jean Miskiman – Saskatchewan
Australia – Andrew Bowman, Diana McCubbing Neale,
New Zealand – Margaret McColl
Co-ordinator for Australia – Penny McColm
Co-ordinator for Dumfries – Kathy McCubbing Hopkins
Layout – Lorna McCubbin

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