1877: William Wilson

1877 Nov 20| Pathhead Colliery

  • William Wilson (50) | Run over by railway waggons

William Wilson was born at Dalhanna farm in September 1827 the son of William Wilson and Jean Campbell, His mother was the daughter of William Campbell, Laird of Dalhanna and Margaret Young, the daughter of the Reverend James Young, minister of the parish of New Cumnock, one of the ministers that Robert Burns rebuked in “The Kirk’s Alarm”.

In 1855 William married Margaret Howat who was born at Dalleagles, the daughter of Willian Howat, handloom weaver and Jean McWhirter and together they had 8 children.

The family lived in Polquheys Road, Pathhead and William worked at Pathhead Colliery. In the 1861 census record his occupation is recorded as Engine Keeper as Mineral Borer in the 1871 records while later records have as an Engineer and Pitheadman.



Pathhead and Pathhead Colliery

On 20th November 1877 William Wilson, now 50 years old, made the relatively short walk to the pithead of Pathhead Colliery . The events of later that afternoon are described in a short report in the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, Saturday November 24, 1877 as follows –

FATAL ACCIDENT – As William Wilson, employed at the Pathhead Colliery was engaged on Tuesday afternoon taking the waggons down the lye, he stumbled and fell. The waggons passed over his legs, mangling  them so much that although medical was soon at hand, he only lived a short time. Wilson, who belongs to the locality leaves a widow and a large family.

The fatality is not recorded in the Scottish Mining web-site, perhaps because William was not a miner, but he was certainly an employee of Pathhead Colliery.  The additional notes to his death certificate

“injuries received by being run over by a coal waggon on the Railway at Pathhead Colliery parish of New Cumnock belonging to Messrs. James and Robert Gray coalmaster there”.

William died of his injuries at his home in Polquheys Road . His widow Margaret with the younger children continued to live at Pathhead for a time, where son William worked as a Railway Clerk at New Cumnock Station. She later moved to Glasgow along with her son William  and died there in 1886, aged 56 years old.

Willam Wilson the great grandson of the Reverend James Young, his wife Margaret, his son William that had died in infancy and a second son William who died in Glasgow lie together in the Auld Kirkyard, New Cumnock.


National Library of Scotland

  • http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
  • All maps reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
  • Ayrshire, 042.06, Surveyed: 1895, Published: 1896

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Scottish Mining Web-site