The Meikleham bankruptcy

I wrote in these posts about William Meikleham (1802 – 1852), who married Penelope Young, daughter of Penelope Thomson and John Young, in 1844. I mentioned that he had been declared bankrupt and died in Milwaukee, USA. 

It appears that Meikleham’s offence went beyond normal business failure. I’d overlooked this reference in the court case that originally alerted me to the complex Robb-Thomson-Young-Meikleham connections:

Mrs. Penelope Meikleham’s husband, William Meikleham, was indicted upon a criminal charge, and he having failed to appear, sentence of outlawry was pronounced against him, and has continued unrecalled ever since. This sentence was pronounced before the testatrix’s death, in January 1847. Prior to this, a sequestration of the estates of William Meikleham was awarded on 24th November 1845, and the claimant James McClelland was appointed trustee.

This suggests that Meikleham’s financial problems began quite soon after his marriage to Penelope Young, and that his response to the situation only made things worse. I wonder if being pursued by the courts led to his departure for America – as far as I can see, Penelope did not accompany him, and later census records show him as absent from her home (though they stayed together long enough to produce two children, in about 1846 and 1847). I also wonder whether his bankruptcy affected his wife and family financially, and whether Penelope’s share in her aunt Elizabeth Thomson’s estate was forfeit to pay her wayward husband’s debts…

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