Afton’s Laird and the Father of Auckland

John Logan and Martha McAdam

On the wall of Laight Farm in glorious Glen Afton in the parish of New Cumnock is a memorial plaque to John Logan of Knockshinnoch and Laight to celebrate his support of his acquaintance Robert Burns. The Bard visited his friend on a number of occasions at Laight and refers to him as ‘Afton’s Laird’ in his satirical attack on a band of Ayrshire ministers in  “The Kirk’s Alarm”, including the Rev. James Young of New Cumnock.

BurnsPlaque_LaightJohn Logan married Martha McAdam in March 1779 and together had nine children.

  • James (1780)
  • John (1782)
  • Sarah (1783)
  • Margaret (1786)
  • Katherine (1788)
  • Jean Campbell (1791)
  • Wihelmina (1792)
  • Martha(1794)
  • Thomas(1797)

Of interest to our story is Logan’s third daughter Katherine.

Katherine Logan and Sir James Campbell

Katherine  Logan was born on 1st August 1788 at at the family home at Laight.

Laight, New Cumnock
Laight, New Cumnock

Her father also had a residence at 12 Buccleuch Place , Edinburgh where the family lived in the winter for educational purposes (the current building is part of University of Edinburgh estate) and it perhaps was here that she met her future husband Dr. John Campbell, son of Sir James Campbell , 3rd baronet of Aberuchill.

Together they had seven children

  • James
  • John
  • Martha
  • John Logan
  • Mary Anne
  • Regina
  • Katherine.

Of interest to our story is the third son John Logan

Sir John Logan Campbell and Emma Wilson

John Logan Campbell (1838)
John Logan Campbell (1838)

John Logan was born on 3rd November 1817 at Edinburgh, by which time the second born son John had died (d.1813) and his brother James died (d.1819) soon after.

John Logan Campbell  followed his father’s footsteps studying medicine and graduating from the city’s university.

He intended to seek a commission as a medical officer in the East India Company. Instead, Dr John Logan in July 1839, boarded ship, as the ship’s doctor, and emigrated to Australia.

The following year he sailed for New Zealand where he and fellow Scot William Brown established the first merchant firm in Auckland and were soon buying up property while in the 1840’s Auckland blossomed from a settlement of tents and huts to a bustling town of some 8,000 residents.

In the mid-1850s, John Logan Campbell became involved in politics, first as a provincial superintendent, then as a member of the House of Representatives of the City of Auckland and for a brief period in New Zealand’s parliament under the Premier and Edinburgh born Edward Stafford. Before the close of the decade he went on his travels and in 1858, he married Emma Wilson in India. Together they travelled Europe and started a family.

Returning to New Zealand in 1871 he bought out his partner William Brown and over the next 25 years he cemented his place as one the most esteemed men in New Zealand and earned the accolade of ‘Father of Auckland’.

In 1901, when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visited Auckland, Campbell accepted the position of Mayor of Auckland for the duration of the royal tour, following which he gifted a large part of his One Tree Hill estate to the people of Auckland as a public park to be called Cornwall Park.

Courtesy of Ed O'Keefe Photography
Statue of Sir John Logan Campbell      (Courtesy of Ed O’Keeffe Photography @

The following year, on the coronation of Edward VII, he was knighted and the people of Auckland responded by having a bronze statue of Sir John Logan Campbell erected at the gates of Cornwall Park.

Sir John donated more land and gave generously to needy causes, especially those associated with mothers and young children. In his will he left money to support social, charitable and educational causes.

0n 22nd June 1912, Sir John Logan Campbell, son of Katherine Logan of New Cumnock, passed away and he was laid to rest on the summit of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) , followed by the largest funeral cortege in Auckland’s history.

Michael Campbell CMNZ – US Open Golf Champion 2005

In February 1969, Michael Campbell was born at Hawera, some 250 miles south of Auckland, close to the Maori tribal lands (iwi) of both his father and mother.

Michael was also the great great great grandson of Sir John Logan Campbell.

Michael Campbell (Courtesy of USGA / Johm Mummert)
Michael Campbell  US Open 2005       (Courtesy of USGA / Johm Mummert)

In 1993, a successful amateur golfer he turned professional and in 1995 he travelled to Scotland to compete in the Open at the Old Course, St. Andrews and finished in a tie for 3rd place.

Ten years later he enjoyed greater success by winning the US Open, at Pinehurst, North Carolina pipping Tiger Woods to the title by two strokes.

Three months later he defeated Paul McGinley in the final of the HSBC World Match Play Championship and as well as the title he won golf’s richest prize of £1,000,000.

In the New Year’s Honours List 0f 2005, Michael Campbell became a Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his marvellous efforts in winning the US Open.

New Cumnock Golf Course with Glen Afton in the background
New Cumnock Golf Course with Glen Afton in the background

In a neat twist the first Honorary President of New Cumnock Golf Club in 1913, was William Hyslop of Bank, grandson of Margaret Logan and Willam Hyslop and great grandson of John Logan of Knockshinnoch and Laight.

Perhaps one day, Michael ‘Cambo’ Campbell – the great great great great great grandson of John Logan may grace the finest 9 hole golf course in Ayrshire!

Acknowledgements and Sources

  • Thank you to Rhonda Queen, (genealogist of the Hyslop family) for making the connection with Sir John Logan Campbell.
  • Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand Sir John Logan Campbell Biography
  • Ed O’Keeffee Photography  @
  • The Logans of Knockshinnoch, James McAdam Hyslop (Edinburgh, 1885)


  1. Great work as always.
    Any connection between these Logans and the Laird of Logan in Cumnock?
    BestD. B. McCowan, P.Eng., Past ChairProfessional Engineers Ontario Educati

  2. Thank you Bruce. A Happy New Year to you and your family,

    There does not seem to be a blood line connection between the Logans of Knockshinnoch and the Logans of that Ilk (Laird’s of Logan) but their paths continually cross in terms of land ownership with New Cumnock. There may be stronger links through marriage with both sides marrying into the McAdam family from neighbouring parish of Dalmellington. John Logan of Knockshinnoch also befriended one of the Logans of that Ilk during his time with the East India Company.

    The Logans of Knockshinnoch acquired many lands in New Cumnock from the Gordons of Earlstoun (Dalry, Kirkcudbrightshire), the family having being created Barons of Afton in 1706 and hence the title ‘Afton’s Laird’

    The Gordons also owned land at Stair on the banks of the River Ayr. Catherine Gordon Stewart of Afton and Stair was the great patroness of Robert Burns. Her daughter Catherine married William Cunninghame of Enterkine and their son William married the heiress of the Logan estate and became known William Allason Cunninghame of Afton and Logan, you may recall seeing a plaque to him in Old Cumnock Parish Church. So we now have another Logan as ‘Afton’s laird’ …… clear as mud 🙂

    all the best

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s