McCubbins of the United Kingdom

Peter McCubbin of Stoneykirk & his children Peter, James Shaw, Agnes & Elizabeth. Railway worker is Joseph McCubbin of Girvan & Irvine

When the census of 1881 was taken in Scotland, there were 540 McCubbins listed. The largest group were in Ayrshire, with 172 individuals. The next highest numbers were, Wigtownshire with 136, Lanark with 99, and Dumfriesshire with 58. By 1901 there were 620 McCUBBINS living in Scotland.

Census, marriage & death records of the 19th century reveal a wide variety of occupations in which McCubbins were involved. Textile Industry: Calico Printer, Handloom Weaver, Woolen Weaver, Calico Printer, Bleacher, Clothier, Tailor. Agriculture: Farmer, Farm Servant, Dairyman, Ploughman, General Labourer, Agricultural Labourer. Construction: Builder, Joiner, Plasterer, Mason. Ship Building & Sea: Ship Carpenter, Fisherman, Seaman, Master Mariner. Hospitality: Coachman, Hostler, Hotel Keeper, Victualler/Spirit Merchant. Service & Professions: Physician, School Master, Session Clerk, Minister, Accountant, Baker, Shop Keeper. Railway: Railwayman, Porter, Engine keeper, Station Master, Plate Layer, Telegraph Clerk. And others: Lithographic Printer, Book Binder, Brass Finisher, Coal Pit Labourer, Engine Fitter, and Miner

A large majority of McCubbin women, at the time of their marriage, were employed as Weavers, Domestic Helpers, Dairymaids, Shopkeepers, Cashiers, Milliners and Dressmakers.

In today’s world, large families of up to 14 children is an anomaly. Back then, it was the norm. Some of the larger families whose descendants now span the world are:

Alexander McCubbin & Ann Aitken, married 1817, Ballantrae, Ayrshire.
Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Jackson, married 1808, Leswalt, Wigtownshire.
Alexander McCubbin & Mary Stewart, married 1784, Kirkinner, Wigtownshire.
George McCubbin & Agnes Lorimer, married 1815, Balmaclellan, Kirkcudbright.
William McCubbin & Ann Chalmers, married 1841, Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire.
Peter McCubbin & Janet Hannah, married 1835, Girvan, Ayrshire.
Daniel McCubbin (born c1759) & Margaret McGhie of Girvan, Ayrshire.
John McCubbin & Anne Patterson, married 1827, Keir, Dumfriesshire.
Shaw McCubbin/McKibbin (born c1811, Ireland) & Sarah Graham who settled in Girvan.


“So Jimmy Lynch is a traveller now. Well that’s a whole lot better than following the plough and he was a nice lad was Jimmy and deserves to get on.” (from a letter to Bessie McCubbin Tait from her brother, James Shaw McCubbin of Calgary, Canada, dated 1928.)

A ‘traveller’ was a salesman, going from door to door, selling wares, materials, and their skills as tailors (called Drapers). Most went to England and thus they became known as Scotch Drapers or Itinerant Drapers. For Jimmy Lynch, several McCubbins and scores of others like them, it was a way to get off the farm, to seek their fortune, to see the world.

Many became rich by dint of hard work, and returned to Scotland and bought farms or emigrated to America or Australia. Thus, we find in the the census England of 1881 & 1901 McCubbins who were Drapers, Commercial Travellers & Tailors, as well as women who worked alongside their husbands as Dressmakers. Some of them spelled their name McCubbing & McCubbine. There were 99 McCubbins included in the census of England in 1881 and 112 in 1901.

Liverpool attracted several McCubbins. Some of the descendants of Alexander McCubbin & Ann Aitken were involved in Shipping & Innkeeping.

May 7, 1915, was a sad day for the McCubbin family of Liverpool and afar, when James McCubbin, head Purser on the Lusitania, was lost at sea, when the ship was sunk by a German torpedo. James had been planning to retire to Golder’s Green, England, after the voyage. James was a son of Alexander McCubbin & Ann Aitken.

On the Isle of Man, at the time of the 1881 census, the only McCubbin family recorded was that of Charles McCubbin, 69 yrs. & Agnes Thom, 59 yrs, along with their son William. Charles was a farmer of 100 acres. He & Agnes had raised several of the children in Kirkcolm & Inch, Wigtownshire before settling in Maughold, Isle of Man. In Wales, the McCubbin name was rare as well. One family was recorded on the census of 1881. That of John McCubbin, 41, born Scotland, a Gamekeeper, his wife Margaret (McMaster) & four children Mary, Anne, David & Hannah. John & Margaret had previously lived in Whithorn, Wigtownshire. In Ireland, the name McCubbin is a rarity. McKibben was the spelling for most Irish, who had been, or would be, McCubbin back in Scotland.

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