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James Newlands was born 12th August 1827 at Broomhill, Botriphnie, Banffshire. He was the fourth child of John Newlands, a handloom weaver, and his wife Christina Cruickshank. The sponsors at his baptism were James Innes and Helen McWillie. James’ father died at an early age leaving his mother with a family of five young children to bring up.
James married Christina Dickie on 31st December 1854 in the parish of Keithhall, Aberdeenshire, but the exact location is unknown, neither is it known which of the two (if not both) was resident there at the time. It is interesting to note that the marriage took place on the last day before civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths became compulsory in Scotland (1st January 1855) and it may possibly have been the last marriage ever recorded in the old parish records.
The following year, at the time of the birth of their first legitimate child (Mary), James was serving as a County Police Officer in the village of Slateford (nowadays within Edinburgh city). Before Mary, two children named James and Isabella had been born in Aberdeenshire. Sister Ann, one year younger than Mary was also born in Slateford, followed by Christina, Margaret, Elisabeth, Helen, John, Charles and William all at Botriphnie in Banffshire. By 1861 the family were living at 5 Hill Street, Newmill, and two further sons, Benjamin and Mitchell had been born in Keith. A total of 13 children. Plus a granddaughter, Christina Beddie, also living at the same address and also born in Keith.
It is not known how long James served as a Police officer, but he subsequently became a shoemaker. At the 1861 census he was employed as a ‘Book Canvasser’. James and Christina were living at 62 North Road, Forres at the time of Christina’s death in 1904. James spent his last years in Stonehaven where he died alone and in poor circumstances in 1911 almost seven years to the day after Christina had died. He died of Senile Decay (old age ?) at 84 years old.
Daughter Christina became Mrs. Howie and lived in Dufftown. She is well remembered by one of Mary’s granddaughters who spent some holidays with her as a child. Christina was apparently well travelled for her day and had visited Canada.
Daughter Elisabeth became Mrs. James Gray and lived in Keith. These two were the grandparents of Hebbie Gray, who became a renowned musician and music teacher in and around Keith and Banffshire and Morayshire in general. Hebbie married Shona Ross in the RC chapel in Keith in 1959.
Daughter Annie married William Young of Macduff. Daughter Margaret went to live in Broughty Ferry.
The remaining children are without trace currently, although it is believed the youngest son Mitchell was employed by a railway company in the Glasgow vicinity.