Jim's Genie Jottings

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

Biography: Thomas Ballantyne (1826-1873) - Paternal side

Thomas Ballantyne

Basic information about this person: \click here\

Thomas Ballantyne was the eldest child of Thomas Ballantyne and Margaret nee Scott. He was born at Lickperwick (East Kilbride) on 26 July 1826 and was baptised on 6 August.

Thomas would have been raised on farms where his father worked as an agricultural labourer. The family income was low and Thomas had no choice other than to seek employment in his early teen years. By the time he was 15 years old Thomas was living with the family of farmer James Semple at Hamilton (in East Kilbride), about 12 miles from his parent's house at Bogton. (Hamilton is where his grandmother - Janet Park - had been born seventy years earlier.) He was probably earning his keep as an agricultural labourer.

Thomas was fortunate to secure an apprenticeship soon afterwards. He became a baker, a trade that kept him employed for the rest of his life.

He married Christina Ballantyne on 20 July 1851 at Mearns (Renfrew), about 9 miles from East Kilbride. They were both living and working nearby, he as a baker and she as a dairy maid. Since they were both the same age and both came from East Kilbride, it is likely that they were childhood friends before they each moved to Mearns. It is also possible that they were distant cousins, because both their Ballantyne grandfathers came from East Kilbride.

Their first child was born at Busby (4 miles from Mearns) in 1852. She was named Christina after her mother's mother, Christina Dow. Next came a son who was named Thomas for his father's father. The third child was born at East Kilbride and named Margaret Scott Ballantyne after her father's mother. Another daughter, Helen, was born two years later at Carmunnock (presumably at the house of her grandparents, Thomas Ballantyne and Margaret nee Scott).

Four years later the family of six had moved north of the River Clyde to Bushyhill in the parish of Cambuslang. Two years after that, when their youngest daughter Jean was born, the family was living at nearby Tollcross. These areas were at the centre of industrial Glasgow, surrounded by coal mines, iron foundries, steel works and other highly polluting heavy industries. It may be that there was more demand for bakers in this area where the population was growing rapidly. Nevertheless, because of the dreadful pollution the population of these areas had a life expectancy that was significantly lower than that of the farming communities from which they had come.

Thomas's wife Christina died at just 40 years old on 8 March 1867 from a strumous abscess on her thigh, leaving him with five children ranging from 4 years old to 15 years old.

Thomas followed his wife into the grave just six years later, at 46 years old. His death was initially put down to chronic alcoholism, but this was changed to apoplexy after a post mortem was carried out.