So back onto the Wilson’s line
and we now look at the McCamon family who appear in Helen’s
ancestry when Jessie McCamon married Helen’s grandfather Joseph
McKinstry Wilson on 11th December 1936.
The McCamons can be traced back to the early 1800 where we find John
McCamon. John can be found in the Wigtownshire Parish of Kirkcolm and
we have found at least 3 generations to come from there.
Kirkcolm, possibly named after St. Columba, forms the twenty square
mile northern tip of the Rhinns peninsula, with the Irish Sea beyond
Milleur Point to north and west, Loch Ryan to the east, and Leswalt
parish to the south. Historic remains are relatively few; forts are at
Caspin and Corsewall Point, Corsewall Castle is nearby, and the church
and chapel of St. Bride's and Kilmorie. Corsewall lighthouse, on the
treacherous northwestern coast, looks out to Rathlin Island in Ulster,
to Kintyre, Arran and the Cumbraes. It was built in 1815 for the
Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses by Robert Stevenson, engineer
father of Robert Louis Stevenson. Formerly named Stewarton, Kirkcolm,
with the parish church and cemetery, is the only village. Although
there were mills on the burn from Loch Connel, and the women of this
district were noted for expertise in the home industry of muslin
embroidery, agriculture is the only industry.
Notable for long leases of 21 years to life, there were some forty
farms in 1840 on the steep pasturelands, interspersed with some arable.
Dairying supplanted cattle raising from about 1820, but Kirkcolm once
claimed the best black Galloway cattle in the Rhinns. Commercial
fishery was for salmon in the north and herrings and oysters in Loch
Ryan, while the Wig's deep water off Marian Port was a base for
Sunderland flying boats of RAF Coastal Command providing air cover to
Anyhow, back now to the McCamons. The earliest one we have found is
John, who married Mary Dedd, daughter of William Dedd and Helen
Originally I had found the surname as McDedd from records on the IGI,
however it was Jenny Carter who highlighted me that it should be Dedd.
She had this on her records and told me " Now I see where you got the
Mc from. The MS prior to the surname actually means maiden
name. and not Mc as I think you may have read it."
John was a farm servant. They were married in Kirkcolm on 29th October
1837 and I have the birth of a daughter to them. Grace
McCamon was born 1841 in Kirkcolm and this is Helen’s great great
I am fairly sure this Grace is our one as it is the only Grace McCamon
found when searching the records from 1553 to 1901. She was christened
on 1stAug 1841 in Kirkcolm and the IGI record her parents were John
McCamon and Mary Dedd.
Thanks to Jenny Charles, I now know of other brothers to Grace. These
were found by Jenny on 1851 census where we find John, head of
household aged 37 - Farm Servant, Mary wife also aged 37. Then we have
William aged 13, Grace aged 10, John aged 6, and Robert just 2.
A couple of years later another boy would arrive - Andrew who was christened on 4th may 1851.
We have no other information regarding these siblings apart from for John. John was born around 1844. He married on at
least two occassions. First in 1867 when he married Mary Ann Brattin.
Mary Ann died a year later in child birth. John married again in 1870,
this time in Maybole to Letitia Burns and they went to live in
Stranraer. On the 1881 census they are shown living in Barnhills with 9
children - Henry 11 Hugh 10 John 9 William 7 Andrew 6 David 5 James 3
Mary 2 and Margaret 7mths.
In 1885 John wrote a letter to his sister, we believe this to be Grace
as we have not found any other. The letter is shown below, photocopying
has reduced the quality of it so a translation is placed below it.
15 Feb 1885
From John McCamon
Dear Sister ?????????
I lift my pen to write you a few
lines to let you know I received your kind and welcome letter. Dear
sister I am very sorry to tell you the loss of my dear beloved . Dear
sister it is a sad loss to me and to my dear little children.
Dear Sister the lord will help me
through all my trials and sorrows. Dear sister my dear Lettitia had a
long time of trouble. She was not very well all summer. She got worse
about November last and in December worse. I sent for the Doctor, when
he came he said it was congestion on the lungs. We got bottles after
bottles every bottle helped her and ??????????? she took a fit of
spitting up blood. I sent for the doctor when he came he give her a
bottle when he was gone away I asked him if there was any danger. He
told me there was great danger. He told me there was something in her
inside. She had no pain for a fortnight before she died.
She died without a struggle she
hardly spoke any the day before she died. The only thing she said to me
was that I was good to her. Dear sister there was nobody to attend to
her but myself and John. I washed and bathed all at night when I came
in from my work.
I have seen me washing to twelve
o’clock. Dear Sister I have nobody in the house but John. He
isn’t thirteen yet. I hope you are keeping better yourself.
Hendrie, Hugh, John, William, Andrew, David, James, Mary, Maggie and
Thomas, they all join in writing these compliments to their uncle and
Dear Sister I remain your brother John McCamon in death.
John may well have passed away before 1891 as Jenny is unable to find him on the 1891 census.
Grace had at least one child, John born 23rd April 1860 in Kirkcolm, no
marriage can be found for Grace and there is no father listed on
John’s marriage certificate when he later married Isabella Ross
Stevenson, but John’s birth is found on the IGI with mother
showing as Grace McCamon but no father is listed.
They are shown together on the Kirkcolm Census for 1861. Grace is 20 and John is 11 months.
I am currently looking into some more children born in Kirkcolm, where
the mother is listed as Grace McCamon and no father is listed. These
are James born 6th Oct 1864, William born 16th Nov 1866, Annie Campbell
born 15th June 1871 and Janet Osborne born 2nd Oct 1874.
William, born 16th Nov 1866, is shown on the Kirkcolm 1871 Census
living with Grace on her own. She is 31 and is working as a sewer. No
sign of James though who would have been 7.
To the 1881 census and Grace is no longer found. Not sure why as she
did not pass away until 1888. It is a shame that she is not on there as
we might have found Annie Campbell. Janet Osborne died in 1878 but
checking through the deaths there is not one listed for Annie Campbell
McCamon, so like James before they have just vanished along now with
Grace passed away on 18th July 1888, in Kirkcolm when she was only 48
years old. A copy of her death registration is shown below:
First John married a female called Maggie and they had several children as shown on the 1901 census for Kirkolm.
John McCamon 42 Ploughman
Maggie McCamon 45
Jane McCamon 16
John McCamon 13
Nellie McCamon 7
Jessie McCamon 4
Following Maggie’s death, I do not know when, he then married
Isabella Ross Stevenson, daughter of Charles Stevenson and Janet
Spiers, on 25th June 1915 in Leswalt, Wigtownshire.
The marriage certificate shows them both to be farm servants. They had
four children, Jessie, Helen’s grandmother, born 16th April 1917,
John, Mary and Anna.
Jessie, as we mentioned in chapter two married Joseph McKinstry Wilson. She is shown below later in life with Helen.