1856-Sep-30: Craigman Pit

1John Kennedy42fall 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 Paisley 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.

Map 1: Coalburn | By permission of National Library of Scotland

John found work as a miner at Craigman pits which had been established along with others at Marchburn* to the north by John Nisbet and George Sloan [1]; Sloan was married to Nisbet’s sister Agnes. (N.B. in later years when Craigman farm closed , the farm of Marchburn adopted the name of Craigman).

Map 2: Craigman Pits | By permission of National Library of Scotland

On the 17th September 1856 daughter Jane was born at Coalburn but sadly two weeks after her 10th birthday 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.


[1] J.L.Carvel, The New Cumnock Coal-field (1946)
Scottish Mining Web-site
Fatal Accidents 1856
Reproduced by Permission of National Library of Scotland
Map 1: Coalburn
Map 2: Craigman Pits
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