1884-Aug-27: Boigside Pit

1.James McQuisten11fall of stone

In 1861 Thomas McQuisten (born 1839, Dailly) was working as a coal cutter in Corsehill, Kirkoswald when local farm servant Mary White claimed he was the father of her new born son. Following a paternity claim the child was named Hugh McQuisten. Ten years later Thomas is living in Waterside , Dalmellington with his son Hugh and his new wife Martha Jardine when their son Kennedy (Dalmellington,1871) is born, The baby’s birth certificate notes that Thomas and Martha were married on 18th February 1870 at Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA.

The family move to Connel Park, New Cumnock here Thomas worked in the pits of the Lanemark Coal Company. It was here on 2nd June 1873 that son James was born and the New Cumnock branch of the family expand with the birth of Jeanie (1875), Thomas (1878) and David (1880).

The following year Thomas McQuisten was appointed one of the Colliery Oversman in the Lanemark Coal Company’s Boigside Pit. Eldest son Hugh, colliery joiner married local girl Margaret Paterson and started a family of their own at Connel Park.

Boigside Pit | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Tragedy struck in the summer of 1884 when Thomas’s son James who had only turned 11 years old in early June went to work in the pits during the school holidays –

SAD ACCIDENT – On Wednesday last, a boy aged 13 years* named James McQuistan, son of Mr McQuistan, oversman, was accidentally killed in Boghead Pit**. He was working with a man named Gray, when a large stone fell from the roof, killing him instantly. The lad had only gone into the pit during the school holidays. It is not yet known whether blame is attachable to any one.

Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald 27 August 1884
  • * Based on Birth Certificate data James was 11 years 3 months old.
  • **Should read Boigside Pit

Thomas McQuisten and his family continued to live and work in New Cumnock for a number of years during which time five more children were born. The family later settled in Ayr where Thomas worked in the local pits. His son Hugh McQuisten and his family later settled in Kilmarnock where Hugh continued to work as a joiner.

Footnote: The name McQuisten appears in a number of variations.


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[1] Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald 27 August 1884
National Library of Scotland
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Boigside Pit
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