It is not known why John Todd and his brother William moved from Ayrshire to Galloway in the 1840’s however at the time of the 1841 Census there were 45 people with the Todd name living in the county, so it is possible that some were related and William and John moved there to take up work. Whatever the reason both William and his brother went on to have large families in and around Stoneykirk and Stranraer.
Let’s begin with my John Todd1808 - 1882 (my g g g grandfather) with more about his brother William later.
In 1837 John married Jessey McDowall (born 1819) at Abbey of Old Luce. Rev'd McCleary presided over the marriage service however Jessey’s father was later to be the resident Minister at the Abbey. . Read more about the Abbey of Luce here.Abbey of Luce
Jessey was born nearby at Stoneykirk. Her family were well established in the area and may have been related to the wealthier McDoull family that owned the Logan Estate from the 12th Century until 1945. Indeed a James McDowall her grandfather owned over 16,000 acres in 1872. It is likely that, although an outsider. John Todd was given tenancy of the Auchleach farm as a result of his marriage into this family.
The MacDowall’s (also spelt McDowall and McDoull) of Galloway.
Jessie MacDowell’s paternal grandparents were James McDowal, a farrier, and Grace McHaffie. They had three children.
(Rev) John MacDowall born on 27 Jan 1781 in Leswalt, Wigtownshire. He lived to 89 and ended his days at his son-in law and daughter’s home Auchleach. Ann who married Thomas Osburn. Grace who married a Mr McMicken
Rev. John MacDowall married Janet (Jessie) Ritchieon 24th March 1813 in Ruthglen or Rutherglen. Because the marriage was outside of the both John and Ann’s parish it was deemed “irregular” and was confirmed at Leswalt on January 2nd 1814. Excerpt from Old Parish Record.
John MacDowall & Janet Ritchie both of this Parish Compeard and produced a Certifcate of their Irregular Marriage by Provost Leitch of Ruthglen baring date 24th March 1813 they were accordingly regularely proclaimed and their marriage Confirmed before the Session this 2 January 1814.
Rev John MacDowall and Janet Ritchie had four children
Jessie who married John Todd in 1837 in Abbey of Luce(See below).
Mary was born on 20 May 1814 in Stranraer, Wigtownshire and married William Williamson, who was the Preacher at Kirkmaiden Church in 1871. She was listed as a Female Servant in the Census of 1841.
Margaret was born 8th November 1819 in Stranraer, Wigtownshire.
Elizabeth Stewart was born in 1821 in Glen Luce, Wigtownshire and died March 29th 1904 in Old Luce Wigtownshire at age 83.Elizabeth married Dr William McCormack who was a surgeon in Old Luce in 1871.
The Reverend John MacDowall left a will leaving land and house at Agnew Crescent Stranraer and other Personal property including Life Insurance worth £1087.18.11 to three sons - in – law or their heirs, namely John Todd, William Williamson and William McCormack. He gave lifelong use of the house at Agnew Crescent to his daughter Ann and an annuity of £2.0.0 for her life to his daughter Grace. Margaret was not mentioned so she may have pre- deceased him. His last days were spent with his daughter Jessie & her husband John Todd at Auchleach. Here is an excerpt from that will: “I the Reverend John MacDowall do hereby leave and bequeath to my son-in-law John Todd Farmer in Auchleach everything belonging to me in the house at Auchleach at the time of my death and also the sum of one hundred pounds sterling over and above whatever may be due for my board in consideration of the trouble taken by him in the management of my affairs and also for the sympathy shown by him and his wife and family to me in my increasing infirmities.”
The Abbey of Luce has a long and interesting history details (see in Abbey of Luce The chapel continues to be used today, especially for weddings.
John and Jessie Todd lived and worked as a tenant farmers on Logan Estate on the 300 acre farm Auchleach, with 10 men and 6 boys working for them.
John and Jessie Todd had 11 children:
Jessie born 1839 who married James Murray Ferguson
Agnes, born 1841
William born 1842 (see below)
Jane born 1844
Elizabeth Stewart born 1846
Maggie born 1847
John born 1849
Mary born 1851
Alexander (Alec) born 1853
Thomas born 1854
Grace born 1856
John died in 1882 and left a Will in which all his living children are named and gives a great deal of detail of the 3 farms that he tenanted. Of particular interest in the Will was the specification that the children of his deceased children, including Jessie's children namely James, John and William Ferguson would receive the portion their mother would have received. He left the tenancy of the three farms to his sons and “the rest to be divided amongst my children.... and grandchildren the children of my deceased children Mrs Jessie Todd or Ferguson and Mrs Agnes Todd or Cowan. Declaring that such grandchildren shall only receive equally among them the shares which their said mothers would have received had they been alive.
Family stories would have it that John Todd Ferguson was particularly upset by this as he had worked at Auchleach and Auchness since leaving school and had expected to be bequeathed the tenancy of Auchleach. It was not long after this that he moved to Manchester and then later to Australia.
Jessie Todd (nee MacDowall) outlived her husband and died at about 70 years of age on 28th October 1887 and a Memorial stone can be found in Stoneykirk graveyard(lot 82) to her memory along with her husband John and 4 of their children. In the same churchyard is a grave stone with a commemoration by John Todd to the lives of the four children that predeceased him..
A letter was written by a William Leiper to John Todd Ferguson in South Australia in 1924 reports on many of John’s Todd cousins, the children of his mother ( Jessie Todd’s) brother William and their children. No family connection has been made to William Leiper however a photo of his son indicates that he lived near to John Todd Ferguson in Manchester and went back to Wigtownshire Scotland when the Fergusons left for Australia. He may have been a friend from John's time spent in Wigtownshire on the family farm. Below is an excerpt.
I had Fred Kelly here for a night at Newdy. Fred is altogether retired and very much wishes to get something in this area. Both he and his Wife like Wigtownshire and as he has plenty to live on all he wants is some congenial job to occupy his time. ..........His only child is a very handsome youth of 16 or a7 years of age. He is more like the Todds & is taller than his dad.
Fred is practically none altered since you saw him but Jane (Todd.. his wife) is showing wear- perhaps more in the colour of her hair than in her features but she has a happy content look about her that not one of her sisters has- unless Alec (Mrs Johnstone.) Jessie is really an old woman & neither Mrs Grierson nor Mary (my research shows that Mrs Grierson was Mary so here he may mean Helen)are a patch on Jane for a contented appearance.
I see H.R.H.Wm T Ferguson ( Johns brother William Ferguson) of Mark occasionally very occasionally as I think dines before he comes to town on Fridays. He is as brisk on foot as the first time I saw him. He gets the credit for being a better farmer than some of those that have been at it all their lives.
Old Lady CowanMains of Park now lives fairly comfortably in Stranraer. Wm Cowan Liverpool has retired from business and still lives in Liverpool. He has 2 sons nice smart lads in their twenties. One is in his stockbroking office and the other is in a commercial firm. Geo. has a small holding near Glenluce village & also has a mill where oatmeal is made but very little oatmeal is either made or eaten these times. Geo keeps fairly steady & is considered by good judges to be a decenter (sic) man than his father. I don’t know just how much he will benefit when his step- mother dies.”