The Watson Story

Provided by Sherree Haring (nee Lawrence), (6th descendent from William Watson Cellardyke Fife, Scotland and 4th descendent from James Donaldson Watson his Grandson, who migrated from Cellardyke to Australia in 1854, during the Gold Rushes, on the ship Oliver Lang when he was 20 years old).

William Watson our Great Great Great Great Grandfather was a  shoemaker from Cellardyke, Fife, Scotland. He was born 1758 and died Nov 1842 aged 84 years.
The Kingdom of Fife
Cellardyke, is in the Kingdom of Fife, on the Eastern Coast of Scotland. It is in Kilrenny Parish and part of the former Burgh of Kilrenny.
Close up Map of the Cellardyke area that wrongly alludes to Cellardyke being part of Anstruther Easter (there is something confusing going on here as pointed out by Sonny*)
Cellardyke Scotland
Priceless aerial photograph of Cellardyke provided by Sonny Corstorphine, whose friend took the photo in March 2003. (Too early in the year to have any boats in the harbour) Sonny lives in the large white house with the grey slate roof left of centre, three streets back from the harbour with the long red brick building behind it.
 (you can figure out exactly where this has been taken  using Sonny’s aerial photo as a guide)
Cellardyke was originally thought to have been called Silverdyke, but the pronunciation got lost somewhere along the way.  It is a small coastal fishing village.  Watson was the most common name and there were many unrelated Watson’s in the area.
The population of Cellardyke in 1841 was 1,526.  Of this 108 were Watson’s. (There were only 80 Smiths).  Inhabitants of Cellardyke are known as ‘Dykers’.
In 1881 there were 206 Watsons, (193 Smiths), 30 Donaldsons
Currently on the Electoral Rolls there are 12 Watsons left in Cellardyke, possibly not our relatives.  Also 6 Donaldsons.
Watson is thought to be of the Buchanan Clan or the Forbes clan, however  it is unlikely Watson’s ever had a true tartan because Tartan links are a modern concept, not reality based.
Buchanan Tartan
Forbes Tartan
There were so many Watson’s in Cellardyke that family groups were once known by their nicknames.  Those in the fishing industry as Puckie’  or ‘Patchie’ (Puggy Patch),  or as  the  ‘Hanksie’ Watson’s.   
There are also the Ruser Watson’s who Harry Watson is related to and Water Willie Watson who is Sonny Corstorphine’s GG Grandfather and the sole survivor of a boating tragedy at the mouth of Cellardyke Harbour in February 1800. We are not blood related to either Harry Watson or Sonny Corstorphine’s GG Grandparents, we are only distantly to related to both of them through the marriage of our Margaret Donaldson Watson (James Donaldson Watson’s sister) who married a John Watson from the ‘other’ Watson family.
There were also the ‘Singing’, ‘Barony’ and ‘Forrester’ Watson’s.  Of the ‘Forrester’ Watson’s there was a sub group called ‘Dirty Jack’ who drove a steam drifter that ran on coal.
Sonny Corstorphine who presently lives in Cellardyke is also descended from a shoemaker who died the year our William Watson was born, our descendents may have shared the same shoemaking premises in different decades.
Snippet from Paul Watson (JD’s great grandson)
An interesting snippet that Annette told me long ago (forgive me Annette if the details have become idealized and also for the dodgy Scottish accent and stereotyping):
She and husband, Don (Watson) apparently visited the old Watson stomping grounds, probably in the 80’s (I presume it was Cellardyke). Don apparently located a distant relation, who was the keeper of the “bootie hoose” (sic) (boathouse). Admittedly, they would have stuck out like sore thumbs as tourists, and many tourists (from ex-British colonies) to remote places in Britain and Ireland are probably looking up traces of family history, but the story goes that when Don knocked at the door of James Watson’s “bootie hoose”, the same fellow answered the door with the remark/accusation “Och, and yee’d be a Watson then!”. Don does look very Watsonish, but anyway it’s an amusing story.
Population               Year   1755            total inhabitants       1348            
1801                                              1043
1851                                               2194
1901                                               2950
1951                                               2271
John Street Cellardyke Scotland
William Watson ——married —Jean/Jane/Janet Clarke/Clerk
b 19/2/1756 -58                                                         b1762
d 14/11/1842 aged 84                                               d 1837
Shoemaker                                                           aged75
Buried Kilrenny       
A Kilrenny Church

Williams parents may have been James Watson and Elizabeth Brydie. The Brydie’s were Stonemasons.
Jean’s parents may have been William Clark and Janet Lyall                           
William and Jeans’s known children were Janet born 1791Alexander born 1794, James born 1797, Thomas born 1800 and Preston (female) who died in 1826.
Jean and William’s second child,
Alexander is our GGG Grandfather.
Alexander Watson  –m 30/11/1827–  Margaret Donaldson
Born 19/11/1794                                                      born 14/4/1805
Cellardyke Fife                                                         died 9/3/1843
Died 4/12/1864                                                        Aged 38 years 
Cellardyke buried Kilrenny                                      * Broken headstones still exist in Kilrenny                                                                                                                                  
Aged 70 years                                                          Kirk Yard for Alex and Margaret
Master Builder/Stonemason          
Alexander and Margaret had four known surviving childrenWilliam Watson a Baker born 1831 died 1906, James Donaldson Watson born 1833 died 1914, Margaret Donaldson Watson born 1837 and Jane Clarke Watson born 1842.
After their mother Margaret died in March 1843, their father Alexander married Janet Reekie in Oct 1843 and she became a stepmother to William 12 years, 10 year old JD, 6 year old Margaret and one year old Jane.
Margaret later went on to marry an unrelated John Watson and they  named their first born daughter Janet Reekie Watson in honour of Margaret’s  stepmother.
(There were 14 Reekies living in Cellardyke in 1881)
Note on JD’s brother the Master Baker William Watson Jnr
Sonny Corstorphine from Cellardyke has provided the following information-
Regarding William Watson, born 1831, he was still living with his wife in Cellardyke in 1861. He was a master baker and employs 1 boy. He moved away from Cellardyke by 1871 and from his later family, and I think that he may have lived in Ceres (the birthplace of his wife Janet Milne) in that year. By 1881, he has moved to Edinburgh and the census entries are as follows-

In 1881 William lived at    His family consisted of-

30 Alva Street, Edinburgh


William Watson (head)  age 49 born Cellardyke, Fife. Master Baker employing 3 men and 2 women.
Janet Milne Watson (wife)  age  46  born Ceres Fife.
Margaret D. Watson  age20  b Cellardyke.
Jessie M. Watson  age 19 b  Cellardyke.
Alexander Watson  age16  b Cellardyke.
Eliza M. Watson  age14 b  Cellardyke.
William Watson  age 12  b Ceres.
Alison P. Watson  age10 b Ceres  (the 2nd of that name).
James M. Watson  age 9  b Ceres.
Chrissy L. Watson  age 8  b Ceres.
David E. Watson  age 6 b Ceres.
Watson Memorial Plaque
Alexander, his wife Margaret Donaldson and their Grandaughter Alison Pride Watson 9 years old and her father (their son) William (the Baker) and his wife Janet Milne.  Plaque restored by Alexander’s son James Donaldson Watson’s family (hey that’s us!), all done by Don Watson and his wife Annette, note mention of Pinegrove, Lockington.
A note on the Donaldson’s
sasine which is a legal document drawn up on the transfer of land was discovered and copied in Scotland by Beverley Weston during her 2000 visit.  It reveals that-
Our GGG Grandmother Margaret Donaldson who married Alexander Watson was the daughter of James Donaldson and perhaps Margaret Lessells. After his wife Margaret’s  death James  married Agnes Young 20 years his junior in 1839 when James was 65 years old.
Margaret Donaldson’s siblings were Margery who married John Leckie whose occupation was a Cooper, Elspeth who married John Leslie a farm hand, and Christian who married James Wood a mariner.
(Eleven Leslies lived in Cellardyke in 1881.  And 57 Woods)
Gravestone of Jane Clark Watson and family.
Gravestone of Alexander’s daughter Jane Clarke Watson and her family, The Thaws (note Alexander and Margaret’s head stone with the broken top removed and the new brass plaque in the background). ( Also immediately to the right is the light blue stone with silver writing commemorating Sonny’s Uncle who died in WW1) Note:  The Kilrenny Kirkyard, now only accepts cremation urns for burial.
*the above information was collated with the very generous help of the ‘Cellardyke genealogists’ Harry Watson, Beverley Weston, John Watson and Norma Brown.
And also with the help of our very own Annette Watson wife of Donaldson James Watson, from Lismore, NSW who helped with both the information above and below.
Alexander and Margaret’s second son James Donaldson Watson decided to immigrate to Australia during the gold rushes where he met and married a girl from Kings County Ireland named Catherine Fogarty.
James boarded the ill fated RMS Tayleur sailing ship which left Liverpool on 19th January, 1854 when he was aged 20.  He was accompanied by two other masons from his area, both of who drowned.  Out of 581 passengers and 71 crew, 380 were drowned with many being dashed against the rocks in a vain effort to reach safety.  Following is a summary of the shipwreck-
The Tayleur
Launched 4th October 1853   – Maiden Voyage 11.55am Thursday 19th January 1854 Wrecked around midday Saturday 21st January 1854
James Watson aged 75
In 1910 at Tennyson, Victoria, Australia
No. 469 – Saturday. Feb 4. 1854 – price ½d.
“:-  About 12 o’clock, noon, I was in bed, when David Nicolson came below and said the ship was near land, and that were in danger; Thomas Wilson was sea-sick, and lay still, but I went on deck immediately, and was there only a short time when she struck on Lambay Island.  This might be about one o’clock. A rope was attached to the island from the vessel, and many of the people were getting on shore by it.  I resolved to get on shore by that means, if possible, and advised David Nicolson to follow me, but he declined, thinking the vessel would hold together.  It was with difficulty I could get at the rope, from the crowd of passengers which surrounded that part of the vessel to which it was attached, but I at length succeeded, and warped myself on shore.  Scarcely had I reached the Island, when the ship gave a lurch which broke the rope, and all on it were cast into the sea and drowned.  After I was on the island, I saw David Nicolson standing on the deck, and called and beckoned on him to come; but I never saw Thomas Wilson, which might be caused by the number of people on deck.  David Nicolson, was 21 years of age, and Thomas Wilson, 23.”
The above was written by my GG Grandfather James Watson aged 20, he had boarded the Tayleur on its maiden voyage to make the long trip to the Australian colonies. 
The rocky shoreline of Lambay Island.
On board with him were 580 other passengers, all looking forward to starting a new life.  The atmosphere of excitement and ‘newness’ that was apparent on that day, as he boarded with his two masonry friends, flooded the decks with an air of eager anticipation.
Within 48 hours their hopes were dashed upon the jagged rocks of Lambay Island in what can only be described as a horrendous struggle for life against insurmountable forces of nature.  There were 380 passengers and crew lost that day. 
Of the hundred women on board only three survived, having crossed the rope to the island as many lost their grip from the line that promised safety and fell into the thrashing waters below, the weight of their gowns taking them into the depths.
Many bodies were lashed so violently against the rocks that they were left bloodied and dismembered, their clothes having been torn and shredded from them.
Others were gruesomely wedged between rocks.  Desperate attempts were made by fathers to save their terrified children, but their efforts were in vain and only one baby survived.  No doubt carried in his father’s teeth as he warped his way along the rope to safety.
The scene was the most pitiless and futile of any shipwreck as they were only 20 meters from land.  The rocky cliff and the violent seas were their doom; there was no pleasant beach for them to wash onto.
My GG Grandfather only survived because of the bravery of some other men who had  miraculously had the foresight to take a rope from the Tayleur to the island and fasten it amongst the rocks so that many including my GG Grandfather could warp their way to safety.
. “ I resolved to get on shore by that means, if possible, and advised David Nicolson to follow me, but he declined, thinking the vessel would hold together. “
This resolution had saved young James’ life. 
“Called and beckoned on him to come”
David Nicholson, would not, or could not leave the ship and was to drown along with the other 379 souls who perished that morning.
. “There were seven persons belonging to this neighbourhood on board; namely, Dr. R. Hannah Cunningham, wife and child, Kingsmuir, drowned; David Nicolson, mason, Pittenweem, do; Thomas Wilson, mason, Peat Inn do; David Pratt, seaman, a native of Cellardyke, but now residing in Dundee, saved; and James Watson, mason, Cellardyke, do., - so that out of this list of seven, only the two last are now living”
Dr Cunningham referred to above was the ship’s doctor and he had struggled to his last breath to save his wife and child but he could not.  The forces of the ocean and the harsh shoreline of Lambay Island had thwarted his every desperate attempt.
For the survivors a miserable night was spent.  Many where injured and lay freezing and hungry.  It was a pitiful sight but what was far worse was the sight of those who had not made it.

“The gale continued to tear across the island”

The cargo of Gravestones went straight to the ocean’s floor


Some survivors made their way on Sunday morning to the mainland aboard one of the lifeboats.  A return boat brought food and comfort to the survivors.  On Monday morning the ‘Prince’ took 230 survivors back to the mainland.
The Tayleur lay undisturbed until 1957 until divers located her.
Some more information about the RMS Tayleur can be found at :
The Tayleur Bell
Pottery on the Tayleur


The survivors were offered free passage to continue their journeys to Australia but my GG Grandfather chose not to take up this generous offer from the White Star Line.  Instead he boarded the Oliver Lang from the Black Ball Line later that year and arrived safely in Port Phillip Bay to start his new life.
Within 5 years he had met and married an Irish girl from Kings County.  They had eight healthy children and both James and his wife Catherine lived to the age of 81 years and are now buried in the Pinegrove cemetery just out the road from the town of Lockington in North Central Victoria where I grew up.
James then boarded the  Oliver Lang  (Catherine came out on the Echunga) this is a description of the ship on its voyage to New Zealand 4 years after James boarded it for Port Phillip in 1854, the trip took around 100 days. 
Oliver Lang
Ship: 1224 tons
Captain: Joseph Mundle
Surgeon Superintendent:
Sailed London June 18th 1858 – arrived Wellington September 18th 1858
The Oliver Lang was built at Quebec, and on her maiden voyage to Liverpool was wrecked at Bantry Bay (southern Ireland), but was got off and repaired. She made her first appearance in Wellington in 1856, arriving there on December 19th of that year after a smart passage of 85 days from Liverpool. After arriving at Wellington in 1859 she was beached at “Kaiwarra“. One story says that she had had a mid-ocean colision with the barque Shan which damaged her hull while the second story says that she arrived in Wellington safely and was blown ashore by a squall. Either way she was condemned and remained there until she broke up.
White Wings – Sir Henry Brett
Our GG Grandparents
James Donaldson —— m  20/7/1859— Catherine Fogarty
Born 29/10/1833                                                   born 25/3/1840
Cellardyke Fife Scotland                                      Kings County
Died a bloody long way away                               Died a bloody long way away
16/4/1914 Tennyson Victoria
Australia                                                                died Rochester                                            Farmer                                               18/8/1921
Both Buried at Pinegrove near Lockington, Victoria, Australia
James Donaldson Watson, his wife Catherine Fogarty* and their eight children and Thomas O’brien at Tennyson Victoria Australia about 1910.


James Donaldson Watson aged 20 years son of a Master Builder in Cellardyke and a stonemason himself and also brother of a Baker decided that  he wanted to do something different and emigrate to Australia, during the gold rushes, he came out on the ship ‘Oliver Lang’ in September 1854  (after the failed attempt on the Tayleur) and 5 years later he married the Irish girl Catherine Fogarty*.  They married in Geelong and both led long full lives before dying in Rochester, Victoria, Australia,  James aged 81 in 1914 and Catherine aged 81 in 1921. 
*Please note Fogarty pronounced Foe garty not Fog arty.
Catherine Fogarty was born in Kings County (as were the Egans and McIntyres).
Kings County Ireland.
Catherine’s mother died when she was a child and her father remarried and she was reared by a family of the name Gannon, who may have migrated with her. 
She left for Geelong as a 16 year old on May 30th 1857 on the Echunga and arrived in Geelong on 19th August 1857.  She travelled as an assisted migrant under the sponsorship of a Mr Morrison of Moorabool Street Geelong where her sister Mary already resided (perhaps as a housekeeper).
Moorabool Street Geelong Victoria Australia
Geelong’s population went from 8,000 in 1851 to 22,000 in 1853. It thereupon stabilised, not reaching 30,000 for another sixty years.During the late 1850s some of Geelong’s notable institutions and buildings were created: Geelong Grammar School and Geelong National Grammar School (later the Matthew Flinders Girls’ Grammar) in 1858, the Town Hall, Market Square, the mechanics’ institute, and the railway connection to Melbourne was opened. In the municipal sphere Geelong’s future was curtailed like Melbourne’s, with the creation of closely adjacent road districts and suburban councils – South Barwon and Bellarine/Indented Head roads districts, Newtown borough (1858) and Geelong West borough (1875).
From Irish Heritage Newletter
Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake 
As I sat in my window last evening,
The letterman brought it to me
A little gilt-edged invitation sayin
Gilhooley come over to tea”
I knew that the Fogarties sent it.
So I went just for old friendships sake.
The first think they gave me to tackle
Was a slice of Miss Fogarty’s cake.
There were plums and prunes and cherries,
There were citrons and raisins and cinnamon, too
There was nutmeg, cloves and berries
And a crust that was nailed on with glue
There were caraway seeds in abundance
Such that work up a fine stomach ache
That could kill a man twice after eating a slice
Of Miss Fogarty’s Christmas cake.
Miss Mulligan wanted to try it,
But really it wasn’t no use
For we worked in it over an hour
And we couldn’t get none of it loose
Till Murphy came in with a hatchet
And Kelly came in with a saw
That cake was enough be the powers above
For to paralyze any man’s jaws!
Catherine and James’ eight children were Alexander born 19/11/1860 Lethbridge Vic, died 16/6/1929 buried Pinegrove, Thomas born Ballarat 19/11863 died 28/9/1929 Bendigo buried Pinegrove,  Margaret born 16/9/1865 Williamstown Vic died 2/5/1943 buried Pinegrove, Julia born 5/10/1867 Karngun Vic, killed 21/11/1912, Jane born 14/9/1870 Karngun Vic, who married Thomas O’Brien’s son Thomas, died 24/1/1952 buried Pinegrove, Catherine born 14/3/1873 Karngun Vic died 23/11/1934 buried Pinegrove, Bridget born 28/7/1875 Echuca died 14/4/1966 Echuca, William James born 1878 Rochester died 1962 Moonee Ponds buried Rochester, Victoria, Australia.
Black line traces James and Catherine’s location at the time of their children’s births, starting with marriage in Geelong, followed by births in Lethbridge, Ballarat, Williamstown, Karngun Parish (just west of Geelong 3 births), Echuca and Rochester.
Watson Graves at Pinegrove
Left James Donaldson and Catherine Fogarty
Reddish on the right with angel Margaret Egan/Watson, Margaret Rita Mary Watson (Rita), Thomas Watson
James Donaldson Watson and Catherine Fogarty’s son-
Thomas is our G Grandfather
Thomas Watson              —-m 1888—                Margaret Egan
Born 19/1/1863 Ballarat                                                                     born 1870 Mia Mia (Vic)
Died 28/9/1929 Bendigo                                                                     died 14/12/1906 Tennyson
Buried Pinegrove                                                                                                          Buried pinegrove
Died age 66 years                                                                              died aged 36 years
Margaret Egan around 1886
Thomas then aged 43 married the housekeeper Anne Slattery five years later when he was 48, they had no children.  Therefore, when Alex our Grandfather was 15 he acquired a Stepmother.  They also would have continued to care for Rita from the age of 6 years until her death at age 27 years of cardiac failure at Tennyson on 26th November, 1927
Thomas owned two 2 Storied shops in Pall Mall Bendigo where Annie Watson continued to live after Thomas’ death in 1929 until her death.
Note on  ‘Katie, Jimmy, Sandy and Rita’ Watson
The children grew up at ‘Rockleigh, Tennyson. 
Katie married William John Gladman from Milloo/Tennyson/ Bendigo and had four known children Hubert who married Gertie and had Shirley, Patricia, Peter, Kathleen, Wayne and Tracy.  Nellie who married Frank Mitchell and had Fred and Chris.  Tom who married Valma and had Gerry, Phillip, Mark, Maryanne and Catherine.  Margery who married Gilbert Elliot and had Roslyn and Murray.
Jimmy married Elsie May Fullerton  b 1/01/1892 Elmore died 1964 Pyramid Hill, a school teacher and had Maurice, Alec, Jim, Kathleen, Geoff, Mark and Don
1901 Snapshot
It was a very different Australia that our Grandparent’s were born into at the turn of the century.  For example in 1901 when Alexander Hugh Watson was 5 years old, the total population of Australia was only 3,773,801 people and only 1,201,070 lived in Victoria.  The average age of people living in Victoria was 23 years old.  The average annual income was 46 pounds.  58.4% of houses were made from wood, iron, lath and Plaster, Slab, Bark, Mud etc. 33.8 % were made from Stone, Brick, Concrete etc. and 5.6% were made from Calico, Canvas etc.
(quoted from
Alex grew up at Rockleigh the homestead that his father had built at Tennyson.  He was a grazier and an Orange Orchardist on a property that was one road back from the Tennyson store and  two roads south called ‘Yeaman’s’ (Currently owned by Chappels )and used to travel in his T-Model Ford to the Bendigo shop to sell fruit on Monday and return Friday.  At some stage when Elaine was 12 years old they returned to live at Rockleigh.  He later become the Proprietor of the Lockington café until his retirement in 1958.
Alex and Jean continued
The newly weds lived in Bendigo where Rupert Egan was born on 1st September, 1926 when his mother Jean (Grandma) was one week from her 17th birthday.
She then had Bruce William at home on 9/11/1927  at age 18,
Ian Thomas born 29/11/1929  at age 20
Elaine Margaret 9/12/1931 at age 22, Beryl Ruth 15/1/1934 at 25 and Sam (Russell Alexander) 20/2/1950 at 40 years.

22 thoughts on “The Watson Story

  1. Fascinating! I particularly love the picture of your ancestor, James Donaldson Watson, the one who survived the Tayleur shipwreck. I’ve written a book on the Tayleur disaster, which will be out for the 160th anniversary of the shipwreck next year (see e.g. ) and it’s wonderful to see a picture of a survivor, and read of his later life. Great site!

    1. Nice work Gill…..nice to meet you and also very keen to read it…I am Cindy’s (Lucinda ;P) brother. Interesting that the wreck is near Dublin….William must have met Mick O’Brien there, since they were on the same ship out to Australia…did it embark from Dublin I wonder?…..the Watson’s and O’Briens have been firmly linked (including by inter-marriage) ever since…from Paul Watson.

      1. Hi Paul, nice to meet you too! The Tayleur sailed from Liverpool and was destined for Melbourne but her compasses didn’t read right because of her iron hull (and there were a host of other factors involved too) and 48 hours into her journey she wrecked at the base of some cliffs. She wasn’t meant to be anywhere near the Irish coastline. There were about 111 Irish people on board who’d already travelled to Liverpool for embarkation. Does this help any? Do feel free to get in touch if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

  2. hmmm……a few anomalies observed in the Pinegrove cemetery recently…..perhaps someone can clear them up? Firstly, there appear to be two gravestones for James Donaldson’s sister Jane Watson and husband Oliver Thaw….one shown on this site at Cellardyke AND one in the Pinegrove cemetery. The Pinegrove headstone is not in the same location as the other Watson graves, but clearly says Jane Watson and Oliver Thaw, both born in Cellardyke. Perhaps this is not a headstone as such. but a memorial erected in memory of JD’s sister? Does anyone know who erected it and when? The other question here is, apparently they were married and had a number of children, why then did she keep her maiden name, which would have been very unusual for the time? try to get a photo of the Pinegrove headstone and post it, as my sister Linda took one on her phone.
    The other strange business at Pinegrove is the placement of certain Watsons in the same graves as their elders, with their names later added to headstones. Old Uncle Alex (Thomas’ brother) appears to have been piled in on top of his sister-in-law, Annie Slattery (Thomas’ second wife) and there is something else strange about that combined grave/headstone, which I can’t remember. This one is particularly ironic, as Mum remembers going to a funeral there and hearing Annie Slattery muttering that there was something wrong because people were in all the wrong places.

  3. Hi Lucinda! Sorry for the enormous delay in replying, I mustn’t have clicked the notification button when I commented here last year. My book’s out now, and I think this might be the cheapest link I could find for Australian suppliers (though I’m happy to be corrected!) – I’d particularly love to hear what you and Sherree make of it as you’re (I take it) both descendants of James Watson who was on the wreck? I’m going to Dublin to visit the wrecksite next month, pay my respects at the memorials, and do some talks and book signings. I’ll post some pictures on my site when I do. If either of you have any questions or would like to know more please do get in touch. I’m on twitter as @GillHoffs or if you go through my wordpress site my contact details are listed there too. I’m really keen to raise awareness of the RMS Tayleur and the bravery of her passengers and crew. If you have any suggestions about people, publications, or places to contact about this I’d really appreciate the headsup! Cheers, Gill

  4. Thanks for putting your family history online in this way, with so many atmospheric old photos as well, for all of us Cellardyke family-history obsessives! When I was researching my book “Kilrenny and Cellardyke: 800 Years of History” in the 1980s, I obtained lots of photocopies of interesting documents from the various record offices in Edinburgh, and I actually have a copy of the Inventory of the Personal Estate and Effects of the late Alexander Watson .. Mason, Cellardyke”. It runs to 12 pages! This bit will interest you –
    “Thirdly, I hereby give, grant and dispone to James Donaldson Watson, Mason, Cellardyke, my youngest son, his heirs and assignees whomsoever heritably and irredeemably All and Whole That house of two Storeys and yard at the back thereof with the pertinents lying on the north side of the street of Cellardyke and presently possessed by George Wilson, Innkeeper, and myself [and so on and so on]“. The “Dykers” had the Bethune family as their feudal superiors, and Alexander’s parents William Watson and Jane Clark had received their “half tenement and half yard” in a charter granted by the then head of the family, Gilbert Bethune of Balfour.
    Harry D. Watson

  5. Don and Annette – a few nights ago the BBC Two series “Coast” was all about the Irish Sea and contacts between the people on both sides over the years, and the last item in the programme was about the “Tayleur” disaster. If the series is shown on Australian TV you might want to look out for that prog.


  6. Hey Jack and fam….
    I just found something on Trove which you all might be interested in, but don’t know how to post it. A wedding story about the original James Donaldson’s niece Margaret (daughter of John Watson Watson, James’ brother apparently) who also came to Tennyson at some stage and was married there. I will post it here with the link. She may also be in Pine Grove cemetery as Margaret Reisinger. Anybody know any Reisingers? (or it could be Roisinger)
    Paul Watson

    The Bendigo Independent
    Wednesday, April 5th 1893
    On Easter.Monday, an interesting wedding took place at Tennyson, when Mr. Martin
    Reisinger, foreman of Mr. T. Spencer’s mill, Rochester, was united to Miss Margaret
    Donaldson Watson, second daughter of Mr. John Watson Watson, Fifeshire. Scotland. The marriage ceremony took place at the residence of Mr. James Watson, uncle of the bride, and was solemnised by the Rev. Mr. Neilson.
    The bride wore an elegant costume of fancy tweed trimmed with rich ottoman silk. with diamond jewellery, handsome felt hat and leathers, with gloves to match. Miss J. Watson, sister, was bridesmaid and was attired in a charming costume of fancy biscuit color trimmed with shot silk lace, gloves and hat to match. Mr.Alec Watson, cousin of the bride, was groomsman,” ’After the ceremony, the bridal party, with about 80 guests, partook of a dejeuner, at which the health of Mr. and Mrs. Reislngcr was proposed by the Rev. Mr. Neilson and warmly honored. Other toasts followed, in which good wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the happy couple were the theme. The festivlties were kept up till early the next morning. The presents for the bride were of large number and value.|||l-category=Article|||l-state=Victoria|||l-title=806

      1. Then you’ll love the description of Aunty Katy’s wedding below Harry, 80 guests seated in the dining room at Beanly Park….must have been quite a house!! …..and the set of carving knives from Mr. & Mrs. Ham? haha

      1. Thanks Jack, my pleasure….here’s a description of Aunty Katy’s rather sumptuous wedding at Beanly…Old Uncle Alick (sic) seems to have been popular as a groomsman….not sure why?

        The Bendigo Independent
        5 Aug 1902
        On August- 6, at St- Patrick’s Church, Tennyson, a wedding took place’, the contracting parties being Miss Kate Watson, fourth daughter of Mr. Jas. Watson, of Beanly Park, and Mr. Eldred Cox, of Coolamon, N.S-W. The bride, who was given away by her father, looked exceedingly
        charming in a magnificent dress of white Japanese silk, the bodice was fashioned in Russian style, trimmed with white applique, and draped to effect with bunches of chiffon, the skirt being plain and finished at the foot with serpentine flounces and train, with the usual wreath and veil. The bridesmaid Miss Mary, sister of the bride, wore a dress of soft white silk, with guipure trimmings and picture hat. Mr. Gilbert, brother of bridegroom, was groomsman. After the ceremony, which was performed by Prior Meredith, the party drove to the residence of the bride’s parents, where sumptuous breakfast was elaborately laid out in the dining hall, which was decorated with evergreens and lilies, and seated 80 guests. After the breakfast, Prior Meredith proposed the toast of the “Bride and Bridegroom”, referring to them in terms most eulogistic and wished them long life and happiness. The bridegroom suitably responded. The other toasts were, the bridesmaid, by Mr. E. Cox, and responded to by Mr. G. Cox; the parents, by Mr. M. O’Brien, and responded to by Mr. Watson; the ladies, proposed by Mr. D. McIntyre and responded to by Mr. Woolcock ; and the chairman, proposed by Mr. T. Watson. Prior Meredith suitably responded.
        In the evening the happy couple left for Rochester, amidst showers of rice and congratulations, en route for Sydney, where the honeymoon is to be spent. The bride’s traveling dress consisted of blue frou frou with black glace silk strappings, and white front sequin toque. After the departure of the bride and bridegroom, the company adjourned to the hall, where dancing was kept up with spirit to the music of Messrs. O’brien, E. Seiersen, and E. Windridge, assisted by several ladies.The wedding presents were costly, numerous and of a useful— as well as ornamental character.
        Among many may be enumerated the following : — Bride to Bridegroom, Gladstone bag; Bridegroom to bride, gold diamond bracelet ; father of bride, cheque; mother of bride, household linen; Mr. A. Watson, cheque; Mr. and Mrs. J Murphy, ringer; Mr. T. Watson, cheque; Mr. &Mrs. T. O’Brien, case of tea-knives; Mr. J. Watson, jun. cheque; Mrs.; E- L. OBrien, tea set ; Mr. and Mrs. M. O’Brien’
        picture, toilet, and trinket tray; Mr. and Mrs.O’Brien, clock; Miss Gannon, silver cruet; Mr. Gill Cox, pair vases; Mr. A. Yeaman, celery glasses ; Mr. D. McIntyre, silver cruet; Miss Lizzie O’Brien, pillow sham in shadow work; Mrs. and Master J. Stewart, dinner knives and carvers; Mrs. Yeaman, crystal salad bowls; Miss Taylor, afternoon tea-set; Mr. & Mrs. Seiersen snr., cheque; Mr. S. Cox, silver tea spoons; Mr. and the misses Ailen, silver butter knife; Mr. S. 0’Brien, silver salts in oak stands; Mr.
        and Mrs.Jer Murphy, linen table cloth; Mr. B. Cox, opal jug; Mr. & Mrs. Green, jardinière; Mr. & Mrs. Orchard, table cloth; Mrs. Joyce, tea knives; Mr. T. Parr, clock; master M. O’Brien, pickle jar; Miss Mary Watson, sewing machine and dish cover; Misses Joyce, drawing-room ornaments; Mr. & Mrs. Clohesy, tea set; Master J. O’Brien, sauce bottle; Miss Mollie O’Brien, hand mirror; Miss Eilleen, Seiersen, crumb tray and brush; Master Ed. Seiersen, stew pan. Miss Rita Watson, silver cake stand; Miss Katie Watson, crystal sugar basin; Miss Cassie O’Brien, china teapot; Miss B. Yeaman,
        crystal jelly dish; Mr. G. Patuflo, sausage machine; Miss Nellie 0’Brien, jam dish; Miss. Jasper, silver cruet; Miss M. White, ornaments; Master J Watson, salts; Mr. & Mrs. E.P. Seiersen, fire screen; Messrs E & C Ham, set carvers in case; Miss M. O’Brien, photo in frame; Mrs. Walters, sessert knives and forks and tablespoons, Miss E. Windridge, cake stands; Mr. & Mrs.Mrs. G. Draper,
        drawing-room lamp;.Mr. & Mrs. Shaw, butter dish; Mr. and Mrs. ()Woodcock, silver butter dish; Mr. E. Windridge, sauce-bottle; Miss.K Murphy, damask cloth; Master AIick Watson, butter dish.|||l-category=Article|||l-state=Victoria|||l-title=806

      2. PS it seems JD’s niece Margaret Donaldson Watson was Jane Watson’s sister (maybe followed her out?) and their mother Margaret was one of our Watsons, while the father John Watson Watson was not….eeeishh…..

      3. Watson has always been the commonest surname in Cellardyke, so Watson/Watson marriages were inevitable. My great-grandparents were James Murray Watson and Margaret Watson, and I’ve traced their common ancestry back to a Thomas Watson and Ann Craigie who were married in 1715. And I can tell you that the house Thomas and Ann lived in is now named and numbered 30 George Street. I know that because they are mentioned in the deeds, which an acquaintance of mine has seen.

        The man who founded Watson’s factory in George Street, a major employer in the town, was the son of an Alexander Watson and Grizel Watson (cousins), both descended from Thomas and Ann.

        The records of birth, marriage and death (OPRs) of Kilrenny parish, incl. Cellardyke, date from 1577, and having studied them I can tell you that Watson is the commonest name mentioned even then.

        References to John Watson Watson are a bit misleading. The way the Cellardyke people did it was to put the wife’s maiden name in brackets after the man’s name, and as John Watson married Margaret Donaldson Watson, he could be referred to in writing as John Watson(Watson). The brackets are necessary.

        John Watson would have been a 2nd cousin of my great-great-grandfather David Watson(Murray). John’s wife Margaret Donaldson Watson wasn’t related to my family.


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