John Robb, minister at Longside, and the Robbs of Pittrichie

Following on from the footnote in my last post, about John Robb, minister at Longside: my fellow family historians, John and Marina, and I are still trying to determine whether he was a cousin of Alexander Robb of Logie Newton. But let’s assume for now that they were related. So what do we know about Rev. John Robb?

He was born on 14th January 1814 in Aberdeen, the son of James Robb, wright, and ‘Convener’ in the city, and his wife, Barbara Milne. James was born in about 1794 (I haven’t been able to establish where, or who his parents were). Barbara, who was born in about 1796, was the daughter of John Milne (about 1767 – 1861), a farmer at Mill of Grandholm. Her older brother was Alexander Milne (born about 1795) , a merchant and Dean of the Guild of the City of Aberdeen, who built and lived at Pittrichie House in Udny. James, said to be of St. Nicholas parish in Aberdeen, and Barbara were married in 1813 in Old Machar.

James and Barbara had a number of other children besides John, all of whom were born in Aberdeen, including: James (1817), Alexander (1820), William (1824), George (1827), David (1830), Alexander Milne (1833) and Ann (1835).

George became a merchant in Abderdeen and the treasurer of the city. There are census records that appear to show him working as a ‘wholesale grocer’, and living with Barbara, suggesting that his father James died at a fairly young age.

Barbara’s father, John Milne, died in 1861, and her brother, Alexander Milne of Pittrichie, died in 1869. As for her siblings, her sister Ann died in 1847 and her brother, John, in 1855. Another brother, William, had died in infancy in 1803. This means that the property at Pittrichie probably devolved to Barbara (by then seemingly widowed) at Alexander’s death, when she herself was already about 73 years old. Her son George became the proprietor of Pittrichie, either at this time or in 1872, when Barbara herself died.

In the meantime, John Robb became a Church of Scotland minister. In the 1851, 1861 and 1871 census records we find him living in the manse at Longside, together with a few servants. In June 1876, his brother George died of typhoid fever, and we can assume that John immediately became the owner and master of Pittrichie. In December of that year, he married Jane Isabella Lawrence, daughter of Nathaniel Lawrence, a surgeon, at Bridgend of Auchlee, just north of Longside (his wife’s home parish). He was 62, described as ‘proprietor of Pittrichie (parish of Udny), bachelor’, and she was 35.

At the time of the 1881 census we find John, 67, and Jane, 35, living at 257 George Street, Aberdeen (the same address given for John’s brother George at the time of his death). He is described as a minister of the Established Church, whereas her ‘occupation’ is given as ‘proprietor of Pittrichie, Udny’. They have two domestic servants living with them. I’ve yet to find them in the 1891 census. I don’t think they had any children.

Jane died in February 1898, age 57, and John just over a year later, in July 1899, age 85. They were buried at Longside.

There’s a ‘Milne of Pittrichie’ enclosure in Udny kirkyard, which bears the following inscription:

Erected A.D. 1856 by Alexander Milne of Pittrichie in memory of: (top Left) his mother Ann Duncan d. at Pitrichie House 27 Sept. 1840 aged 70. His father John Milne for 47 years farmer at Mill of Grandholm d. Pittrichie House 24 Nov. 1861 aged 94. Above Alexander Milne of Pittrichie sometime merchant & Dean of Guild of the City of Aberdeen d. there23 Nov. 1869 aged 74 & was interred here. (top right) Ann Milne his sister d. Pittrichie House 13 Mar 1843 aged 38. John Milne his brother d. Perth 19 June 1855 aged56. William Milne his brother d. in infancy at Mill of Grandholm 1803 who are all interred in the churchyard of Old Macher. Barbara Milne his sister, spouse of Convener James Robb d. Aberdeen 26 Dec. 1872 aged 76. (bottom Left) George Robb of Pittrichie sometime merchant & treasurer of the City of Aberdeen b.7 Feb. 1827 – d.14 June 1876. An affectionate & dutiful son, a loving & beloved brother. Barbara Janet Leslie of Pittrichie youngest dau. of Rev. John Leslie minister of Udny, grandniece of Alexander Milne of Alexander Milne of Pittrichie d. Aberdeen 17 Apr. 1951 aged 89, (bottom right) Rev. John Robb of Pittrichie sometime minister of Longside b.14 Jan 1814 – d.17 July 1899, his wife Jane Isabella Lawrence b.23 May 1841 – d 17 Feb1898 – they wer interred at Longside. Alexander Milne Leslie of Pittrichie younger son of Rev. John Leslie minister of Udney, grandnephew of Alexr. Milne of Pitrichie  d. Pittrichie house 8 Sept 1937 aged 78.

As John Brechin helpfully points out, if Rev. John Robb of Longside / Pittrichie and Alexander Robb of Logie Newton were first cousins, then their fathers – James Robb of Aberdeen and William Robb, farmer of Auchterless, must have been brothers. But more research is needed before we can confirm that theory.

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