Jim's Genie Jottings

A history of the Fleming, Jolliffe, Kessey and Murphy families of New South Wales - and their forebears

Biography: Thomas Ballantyne (1799-1887) - Paternal side

Thomas Ballantyne

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This Thomas Ballantyne was born at Netherton (East Kilbride) on 2 May 1799, the second son of Thomas Ballantyne and Jean nee Park. He would have been raised on his father's farm that was eventually inherited by his older brother John. He married local girl Margaret Scott at East Kilbride on 9 November 1823. She had been born on the farm Greenhills (East Kilbride) on 17 April 1803, the third of nine children of William Scott and Margaret Craig who had married at East Kilbride on 31 January 1796.

Thomas and Margaret had eight children, all born at East Kilbride. The couple struggled to support their family on a labourer's wage. When the 1841 census was recorded, only the youngest four children were still at home. They had been forced to arrange for their eldest son Thomas, aged 15, to begin working as an agricultural labourer, like his father. He resided with the family of farmer James Semple at Hamilton, 12 miles away. His older sister (Margaret) and younger brother (William) were both living with their maternal grandparents, William Scott and Margaret nee Craig, at Greenhills, 35 miles away. William Scott died six years later (aged 79) and his wife outlived him by at least 5 years.

Thomas was still working as an agricultural labourer at East Kilbride in 1851 but, soon afterwards, he and his wife moved to the small village of Carmunnock (three miles from East Kilbride) where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Thomas graduated from working as an agricultural labourer to the building trade. He was variously described as a mason (like his son William) or a builder. It seems likely that he was a self-taught mason who was entrepreneurial enough to go into business as a builder.

Thomas and his wife had to care for their youngest daughter Agnes throughout her life due to her epilepsy. In 1861 Agnes and her mother were taking in laundry to supplement the family income. They were still doing so twenty years later.

Agnes died in 1883, aged 42. This probably saved her from a difficult situation later on, because both her parents died in 1887. They had both outlived their oldest son, Thomas Ballantyne (born 1826).