1856 September 30 | Craigman Pit
John Kennedy (42) | Fall of stone
John Kennedy was born on 27th December 1814 at Dalquharran coalworks Dailly , the son of William Kennedy and Jane Murdoch.
John married Marrion Robertson, daughter of John Robertson, cotton weaver in Pailsey and Isabella Semple. Together they had six children Ann (1842, Dailly), William (1844, Dailly), Jane (1846, Tarbolton), John (1849, Coatbridge), Francis (1851, Tarbolton) and Janet (1854, Birnieknowe, Auchinleck) before the family moved to Coalburn, New Cumnock.
John found work as a miner at the pits as Craigman. These pits had been established along with others at Marchburn* to the north by John Nisbet and George Sloan , Sloan was married Nisbet’s sister Agnes. (N.B. in later years when Craigman farm closed , the farm of Marchburn adopted the name of Craigman).
On the 17th September 1856 daughter Jane was born at Coalburn but sadly 13 days later her father John was killed while working at Craigman. His entry in the Scottish Mining Website records the cause of death as “A back weight fell upon him in a sinking shaft“, while his death certificate recorded that he was ‘killed by a fall of stone, not certified‘. John was buried in the Auld Kirkyard, New Cumnock, there is no record of a headstone.
The following year the Nisbet and Sloan partnership dissolved and Nisbet transferred his activities to working coal at Coalburn and Guelt and limestone at Benston.
Widower Marion, finding work as a hand-sewer, had another daughter Catherine born at Coalburn in April 1859. Two years later she married widower William Hardy, coalminer living at Craigbank, New Cumnock and the following year a daughter Mary was born at Craigbank. Marion and William along with younger ones in the family moved to Kilmarnock, where William worked in the woollen mills. In 1875 William, now working in the coal miner at Kilmarnock, died aged 60 years old.
Meanwhile daughter Jane had married widower George Sloan, the co-founder of the Craigman and Marchburn venture, who was no longer a coal-master but a coal-miner. In later years Marion returned to New Cumnock to live with daughter Jane and her family at Connel Park. In 1897 Marion died at Dalleagles aged 63 years old. Jane, who was born 13 days before her father John Kennedy was killed, died in 1929, aged 83 years old.
National Library of Scotland
- All maps reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
- Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments
- Census Records
Scottish Mining Web-site
 J.L.Carvel, The New Cumnock Coal-field (1946)