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Glenbuchat Heritage

7 Glennies in New Zealand 2
The Glenbuchat Image Library
7 Glennies in New Zealand 2

Glennie Family in New Zealand

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Amongst the many great and famous players whose careers the author records is that of Alexander Walker, christened 18.04.1819 in Rhynie, Strathbogie, Aberdeenshire, the son of John Walker and Margaret Wilson.
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Alexander Walker acquired a knowledge of mensuration and surveying Alexander Walker.. Fiddler but devoted himself to gardening and fiddling. He invented instruments for leveling and land-surveying which he intended for the Great Exhibition of 1851, through which he came to the attention of Sir Charles Forbes of Castle Newe (see contents page) who had a residence in Kensington. Thus it happened that Alexander Walker came to lead the music for the Scotch Reels at the great ball given at the Guildhall in London on the occasion of the Exhibition and attended by the Royal Family and 1700 guests. Sir Charles thereafter employed him as gardener at Castle Newe from which Alex sallied forth on occasion to join the orchestra at the Queen’s Balmoral parties. He published in 1866 a collection of two hundred of his own tunes dedicated to Sir Charles.

With so much to hold him amongst his native hills, it comes as a surprise to notice his uprooting of himself, at the age of fifty-one, in 1870 to join his brother in far-off Vermont, later moving first to near Albany, then to a market garden of his own called Forrestdale in Williamston, Massachusetts. He was still going strong in 1898 as farmer and land surveyor and writing home occasionally to the local newspapers, through which source we learn that he had composed about one hundred and eighty ‘ melodies in the Scottish style’ since going to America. The best known of his earlier compositions is ‘The Braes o’ Letterfourie’.

Our great, great grandmother, Margaret Walker was born in 1765 at Kildrummy and christened at Towie and while a direct link has not at present been discovered I strongly suspect that she and Alexander Walker were closely related. This offers an explanation of the reason for James Glennie in 1879 naming his son John Walker Glennie, for the story of musicians from Bellabeg House playing for the Queen and for the legacy of fiddling and Scottish music which James brought from his home and left with his descendants. Alexander Walker and the Glennie family on the Newe Estate of Sir Charles Forbes would be contemporaries in the 1840’s and 1850’s and if my surmise is correct related through the Glennie’s grandmother, who could have easily been his aunt.

An interesting sidelight also turns up in Emerson’s book concerning the origin of names. He records that Donald Grant of Grantown, Strathspey, was described as the ‘best Strathspey and Reel player of his time’, who had two sons ‘nearly equal to him’, and two brothers, William and John, distinguished as the ‘two Glennies’, having been born in Glenarder, parish of Knockando, Morayshire.

On November 20th 2004, the Balfour and Districts Historical Society held a public meeting in the Balfour Hall for the launching of their book “Balfour Pioneers to Present”, a detailed history which had been six or seven years in the preparation and publication. Two Glennie descendants from the district attended, i.e. my son Alexander and I accompanied by our wives, Evelyn and Margaret Glennie. It was a very interesting occasion, excellently organized with the hall laid out with historical exhibits, photographs and records. Amongst the numerous old items and relics was a poultry cage containing three magnificent Wyandotte’s fowls patiently sitting with bowls of wheat and water. All went well whilst the speeches proceeded until the hens woke up and amid great hilarity started cackling in unison and fully drowning out the Southland District Council spokesman. They were abruptly removed from the hall so that the programme could continue.
During the afternoon we met the present occupier of the Glennie property, Mr. Paul Eaton and his mother, Mrs Thelma Eaton, the latter being a committee member of the Society. From them we learned that the Eaton’s moved on to the property in the 1930’s and that there had been several occupiers since Harriet Glennie and her family left in 1905

Glennie FamilyL New Zealand

Alexander Glennie,
Older brother of James, was born at Heughhead in Strathdon (photo page 4) on 23.12 1833 and arrived in New Zealand on 10.06.1859 and fetched up in the South Island where he married Sarah Prestidge at Balmoral, Hurunui River on 9.2.1864.

Sarah was born on 18.08.1834 where family lived at Hororata and ran the brewery. Their first child, Mary Jean was born on 27.02.1865 but died at Christchurch on 06.12.1865. They moved to Nelson probably following the West Coast gold rush of 1865 where their son, John Walter was born in 1866. By 1873 they were back in Queenstown where Alexander’s young brother James was married in 1876 and their son Gordon was born (in a tent) the same year. He went gold seeking and had a claim near Moke Creek, 4kms west of Queenstown on the Glenorchy Road with his brother James (See note 29 page 143). Alexander also did some cattle droving in the district from Glenorchy to Kingston where the railhead was located. In the 1880’s Alexander with his family moved to Invercargill being recorded as living in the first house in Earn Street on the right from Clyde Street in 1889 (See photograph page 20). They later lived at 74 Lewis Street where Alexander died on 8.10.1916 in his 83rd year. Sarah died at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr David Craig of 32 Lowe Street, Invercargill on 1.6.1918 in her 85th year

Alexander used to disappear into the hills for long periods on his own with his muzzle-loading shotgun prospecting for gold which he was known to bring home in useful amounts enough to make a heap on a plate. One area he covered was in the Waiau River region of Western Southland where a creek is said to be named after him (this might well be Glennie's creek at Te Whara Beach in Preservation Inlet named in an 1895 mining application by a George Wood and others to the Riverton Wardens Court in 1895.). He also worked on shingling roads about Invercargill. His brother, James in the 1880’s was probably doing this kind of work as a contractor but it is not known whether they worked together. It seems that contact between Alexander’s and James’s families was not particularly close after James moved to Balfour some 50 miles distant.

Alexander’s and Sarah’s family were:
Mary Jean 27.2.1865 – 6.12.1865,
John Walter 14.6.1866 – 17.5.1918,
Alexander 02.06.1868 – 04.07.1955,
Edward 8.2.1870 – 16.7.1908,
James 8.12.1871 - 16.06.1934,
Sarah Ann 24.2.1874 - 14.08.1953,
Gordon 14.8.1876 –12.5.1940 died whilst duck shooting on the Invercargill Estuary at Duck Creek near Awarua Radio (See inside front cover .. and Papers Past Evening Post / Southland Times 13.05.1940).

William Glennie,
was born on 19.06.1835 at Strathdon, the only other brother of our grandfather, James to survive into manhood. A draper and silk mercer from the parish of Old Machar in Aberdeenshire, at age 31 he married Isabella Ross, aged 30 from Little Tolly Strathdon,at Strathdon on 22.9.1866 (See page 145). Isabella Ross
They had three births registered in Aberdeen:-
Jane Anne Glennie at 29 Thistle Street on 4.1.1868,
Julia Glennie 25.07.1871 6 Crimon Place,
Isabella Ross Glennie on 17.8.1869 at the same address
William Glennie in 20.07.1873 also at 6 Crimon Place.

They lived at Crimon Place until 1875 when they moved to Westerton Cottage, Cults, and remained there in 1878/79.

The 1881 census had the family living at 54 McKinlay Street, Govan then in the 1891 Census at 20
St James Street, Govan. In 1901 the family is recorded at 24 Vernon Street, Maryhill, Glasgow. William’s occupation was given as a retired draper. By now only Jane and William of the children remained at the address with parents William and Isabella.

Presumably, William was quite well off at this stage. He died on 10.05.1905 aged 69 years, at 24 Vernon Street, Maryhill, Glasgow. Isabella died on 26.02.1927 still at Maryhill aged 90 years. Both are buried in the Lambhill Cemetery, Section L, Lair 283, Glasgow


Jane Anne never married and died on 07.05.1951 at 163 Great George Street, Hillhead, in the Burgh of Glasgow. The cause of death was given as coronary artery disease. At the time she was attended by her neice Margaret Lusk. She is interred in the Lambhill Cemetery

Juliamarried Hugh Glennie Lusk (1870 - 29.02.1929) a tea taster/agent on 17.07.1894. Her address at the time was given as 20 St James Street, Glasgow. They had a family of 3 sons and 4 daughters:-
Hugh Glennie (1896–18.05.1937),
William (born 08.08.1897), Isabel (1899-1967),
John (born 1902),
Jane (born 1903),
Julia Mary Ann (02.08.1907 – 1966)
Margaret (born 1908)
Julia pre deceased by her husband Hugh died on 31.10.1931. She is buried in the Lambhill Cemetery, Section H, Lair 66, Glasgow.

Isabella Ross as well never married and died on 27.09.1947. Like her sister Jane Anne her death was also recorded at 163 Great George Street, Hillhead in the Burgh of Glasgow. The cause of death was given as a haemorrhage. At the time her nephew John H Lusk was present. She too is interred in the Lambhill Cemetery

William the last child was born in Old Machar in the Burgh of Aberdeen on 20.07.1873. He was recorded as living at 24 Vernon Street, Maryhill, Glasgow (the family home) in the Census of 1881 and 1901. In 1907 William was living in Bradford, Yorkshire
William Glennie 20.07.1873 - 02.03.1956 was a portrait painter and artist. His grandson Garry Watt and family live at Le Carves near Bergerac in the south west of France. Garry is a 3rd cousin of Alex Glennie of Invercargill, New Zealand. Alex and his wife Evelyn Glennie visited Le Carves in the spring of 2013 to meet Garry and his wife Marie-Pierre, staying for several days. Garry owns several of his grandfather's paintings. (See picture of paintings above)
On the 03.07.1907 in the Burgh of Blythwood, Glasgow, William aged 34 married Jane Garry also 31 years.
William and Jane had daughters:

Sheila Ross Glennie (09.04.1908) who married William Nichol and had two sons Rory Nichol (1944) and Robin Nichol (1939 – 2000),
Jean Lyall Glennie (27.11.1911 – 28.01.1958) who married William Miller and had two children Ross Miller (1941) and Jean Miller (1943),
Mary Bonar Garry Glennie (07.05.1915 – 07.12.2008) who married Graham Watt and had two sons Graham Guthrie Watt (10.08.1939) and Garry Chisholm Watt (04.05.1941 at Bristol).

Ross Family

Isabella Ann Glennie was born on 26.05.1838 in Strathdon. On 27.04.1871 she married William Ross (26.05.1840 - 08.08.1935) of Old Machar, Aberdeenshire. The minister who married the couple was Isabella's uncle Rev John Bremner, brother of her mother Jane Bremner (see page 8).

Like her brothers Alexander and James before her who emmigrated to New Zealand, Isabella and husband William Ross also migrated from Scotland. Departing from Glasgow on 05.05.1871 as unassisted immigrants with other Ross family members they arrived in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Australia on the vessel Loch Leven on 29.07.1871 after a passage of 75 days. In heavy weather the vessel had suffered some damage near the Cape of Good Hope when she was crippled aloft by the carrying away of her main and mizzen topgallant masts. In addition to the passengers she also carried a cargo of iron, hardware, machinery, bottled beer, bulk and case spirits (from the Melbourne Argus 1871).

James Ross (born 07.02.1842), younger brother of William, at age 27 years also migrated to Australia. He arrived at Port Philip Bay, Melbourne on 04.10.1869 two years before William, Isabella and the rest of the Ross family aboard the ship Great Victoria. James married Mary Ann Andrews (born 05.04.1845) on 04.10.1876. He died on 14.05.1921 and is interred alongside his wife (died 15.03.1919) in the Coburg Cemetery, Victoria
William and Isabella began a new life at Comely Bank in the Parish of Nillumbik later known as the Shire of Eltham in Victoria near Melbourne. Comely Bank was situated across the Yarra River from what is now known as Finn’s Reserve. A substantial home was built there at some point by Captain Charles Swanston (1789- 1850), a banker. Swanston Street, Melbourne was named after him.
Many early residents of the district were tenant farmers who leased land from the absentee owners or were employed on the farms. William and Isabella leased Comely Bank for dairying and fattening cattle. The nearby Yarra River was normally crossed by boat. More than one bridge was constructed across the river from Templestowe and washed away by floods. The Ross family home was large, constructed of wood with wide verandas on two sides and grape vines and passion fruit trailing along it. The house in later years was destroyed by fire long after the Ross family had moved.
William and Isabella Ross went on to have three children:
William John Ross was (16.11.1875 - 11.03.1938) was born at Eltham, Victoria and died at Balnagowan, Templestowe aged 64 years. William married Emma Smith (29.04.1870 - 24.12.1944) on 15.11.1905 at Templestowe. She was the daughter of John Smith and Emma Hewish.
William and wife Emma had one son, also William John Ross (22.08.1906 – 29.11.1990). The family lived at Monckton for a time before moving to nearby Pine Brae and then building a new home at Balnagowan in 1917/18. Balnagowan was destroyed by fire in 1939. They were a stalwart Presbyterian family, in particular Emma. She played the organ and taught Sunday school. The local Presbyterian Church was built on land donated by Emma’s family.

William John Ross Born 1906
Their son William John Ross married Mary Isabel nee Ross (23.11.1904 - 02.05.1999) on 17.08.1937 at Nannella, Victoria. At some point they made their home in Canberra. A daughter Marie became Mrs Bernie McLindon and in 2010 also lives in Canberra. Both William and his wife Mary passed away in Canberra. They are interred in the Templestowe Cemetery, Melbourne alongside other Ross family.

Alexander Ross (24.07.1877–01.08.1946) born in Eltham, Victoria. He was the 2nd child of William and Isabella Ross. Married Florence Katie Crichton in 1912.
They had issue:-
Eric Alexander Ross (1915 – 19.07.1981) a milkman married a Lorna Johnson.
Marjorie Isabel Mary Ross (06.12.1916 – 27.06.2007). Never married. Nursing Sister and Tutor.
William Wallace Ros (1919 – 2003). Married Joyce Lorraine Broussard (died 01.04.1996).

Eric and William Ross had 5 children between them. Together with their wives and sister Marjorie Ross are all buried in the Templestowe Cemetery, Melbourne.
His wife Florence Katie Ross died 04.03.1932 aged 46 years. Alexander died at Ivanhoe, Victoria 01.08.1946 aged 69 years and is interred with his wife Katie alongside other Ross family in Templestowe Cemetery.

Ann Helena Ross (28.06.1879 – 06.10.1957) also born in Eltham, Victoria was the 3rd child of William and Isabella Ross. Ann never married and became a school teacher. She is interred in Templestowe Cemetery, Melbourne alongside her parents and brothers.
Both William and Isabella spoke without a broad Scottish accent. William was a man of few words and enjoyed reading books. He smoked a pipe and like most Scottish folk loved a “wee dram” of whisky. He also had some ability with carpentry tools. William suffered from various maladies in midlife, including rheumatic fever (twice) and asthma but despite these inflictions lived to the age of 95 years.
William died on 08.08.1935 and is buried in the Templestowe Cemetery.

William Ross
Isabella apparently adapted well to life in Australia and settled in quickly at Comely Bank. She never much liked crossing the Yarra River by boat and would take the long way by horse drawn vehicle to cross a bridge at Heidelberg then back to Templestowe. Perhaps her memories of the voyage out from Scotland on the Loch Leven were still too vivid in her mind. She was seasick for much of the time. William and Isabella moved from Comely Bank in 1918 to their son William and wife Emma’s newly built home at Balnagowan.
Isabella had a bad fall and broke her hip in 1919 spending the next two years in a wheel chair. She died on 03.04.1921 and is buried alongside her husband William in the Templestowe Cemetery (Photograph above).

Following the death of Isabella, William moved to Foote Street, Templestowe opposite the cemetery to live with his daughter Ann Helena Ross a school teacher at Heidelberg until his death in 1935.


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