1878: James Ferguson

1878 Jul 15| Lanemark No. 1 Pit

  • James Ferguson (41) | Accidental explosion of blasting powder

James Ferguson was born in Stevenston, Ayrshire ca. 1836 the son of James Fergusson and Annie Hamilton. Two of his siblings were born in Stevenston while others that followed were born in Riccarton, Dailly, Kilmarnock, Kilmaurs and Dalmellington. By 1851 the family had moved to Dalmellington where young James, now 15, worked in the pits at Craigmark alongside his father and younger brother Allan. Ten years later the family are living at Danrconner Square, Auchinleck finding with father and sons working in the local pits.

Soon after the family moved to St. Quivox where in 1862 James married Elizabeth McMillan and their first child, Agnes, was born the following year.

Tragedy struck in 1864 when his father James, now 66 years old, was killed by a fall of stone at the Craigie No.1 Pit, Ayr owned by Robert Brown. The following year Brown moved to New Cumnock to become a founding partner of the Lanemark Coal Company.

James Ferguson moved to New Cumnock coalfield, ironically to find work at the Lanemark Coal Company.  Daughter Annie (1866) was born at Coalburn but died from fever the following year at which time the family were living at Connelpark where James worked as an Engine-Keeper. Another daughter Margaret (1869) was born at Pathhead while James was back to working underground. Still in New Cumnock the family returned to Connelpark, living at 11 Boig Road.


Connel Park

Connel Park

On the move again the family settled at Boig Road, Connelpark. It was here that son Allan (1877) was born but he died a few days later.  Elizabeth fell pregnant again the following year and a son James Allan Ferguson was born on 30th June 1878 at Connelpark. Tragically just over a fortnight later James Ferguson, 41 years old, was killed on the 15th July by an accidental explosion of blasting powder. Baby James’ birth was not registered until 19th July and his father is recorded as being deceased on his birth certificate.

Widow Elizabeth moved to Girvan with her three children where she found work as a charwoman.


National Library of Scotland

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  • Ayrshire XLII.9 (New Cumnock)Publication date: 1896   Revised: 1895

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