Three (or four?) generations of Alexander Robbs in Auchterless

(1) ALEXANDER ROBB (1714 – 1811)

We know from his tombstone in Auchterless kirkyard that the Alexander Robb who married Mary Raeburn was born in about 1714. We also know that Mary was born in 1723, the daughter of Alexander Raeburn of Boggs, and that she married Alexander in 1743, when he was 29 and she was 20.

There is a record of an Alexander Robb of Mains of Badenscoth having a son Peter baptised in 1740, and the same names occur in a record for 1742: presumably the first child died and the second was given his name. It’s unclear whether this is the Alexander who would marry Mary (he would have been 26 and 28 respectively), and this was a child born out of wedlock or from a different mother, or whether it’s another Alexander altogether.

In 1744, an Alexander Robb in Scotackesfoord had a daughter Elspat. Although Scotackesfoord is an archaic place name, we know from a later record that it was part of the Badenscoth estate. Since one of the witnesses to Elspat’s baptism was Alexander Raeburn, we can assume that the child was Alexander’s and Mary’s, born about a year after their marriage. The other witness was Alexander Robb senior of Mains of Badenscoth. All the evidence points to this being Alexander’s father (so perhaps there were at least four generations of Alexander Robbs?)

Two years later, in 1746, Alexander, still in Scotackesfoord, had a son Alexander, and the witnesses were the same two men. We know from inscriptions in Auchterless kirkyard that this is the Alexander who would go on to marry Amelia Cruickshank (see below). A year after this, in 1747, Alexander Robb ‘younger’ in Scotackesfoord was a witness at the baptism of Mary, daughter of Alexander Robb of Mains of Badenscoth. Was this his father, still producing children, or yet another Alexander from the same family?

In 1749, Alexander Robb of Mains of Badenscoth had a daughter Mary, but since ‘our’ Alexander was in Scotackesfoord in both 1747 and 1753, this is unlikely to be him. We know he was in Scotackesfoord on the latter date, as this is where his son James was baptised. The Laird of Badenscoth was one of the witnesses, suggesting that Scotackesfoord was part of his property and Alexander one of his tenants.

The records mention an Alexander Robb at Camaloun in 1755 and 1758, and in Fyvie in 1757, but we can’t be sure if this is ‘our’ Alexander.

We know that he and Mary ended up at Logie Newton, where Mary died in 1808 and Alexander in 1811. It’s unclear, though, whether he is the Alexander Robb of Logie Newton, mentioned as a baptismal witness in 1761 (he would have been 47), or the Alexander Robb younger of Logie Newton to be found there in 1767 and 1769. By these later dates, he would have been in his fifties, and the description ‘younger’ might have passed to his son (see below). The same question applies to the Alexander of Logie Newton, mentioned as a witness in 1773, 1774, 1776 and 1779,and as a sponsor in 1776.

What’s clear is that there was a Robb farming at Logie Newton from – by the latest – the early 1760s.

(2) ALEXANDER ROBB (1746 – 1833)

We now from the same family tombstone in Auchterless Kirkyard that Alexander, son of Alexander Robb and Mary Raeburn, was born in 1746, and putting this together with information from the OPRs, we can conclude that he was born at Scotackesfoord.

In 1779 Alexander married Amelia Cruickshank, daughter of George Cruickshank of Glenmellan (just along the road from Logie Newton). He would have been 33 years old and she, having been born in 1752, would have been 27.  It seems likely that the Mary born to Alexander Robb junior of Logie Newton that same year, whose baptism was witnessed by another Alexander Robb (his father?), was the daughter of Alexander and Amelia.

Certainly the Alexander Robb born at Logie Newton in 1782 was their son, as one of the witnesses was Amelia’s father George Cruickshank, now living at Hassiewells. This is the Alexander mentioned below. Alexander and Amelia may also have had another son, John, born in 1788.

Amelia died in 1829, aged 77, and Alexander in 1833, aged 87, at Logie Newton. Commemorated on the same tombstone is John Thomson, their grandson, who died in 1830, aged 22 (so born in 1808). It’s possible that he was the son of their daughter Mary. In the 1841 census we find the Alexander Robb who is probably the son of Alexander and Amelia, living in Aberdeen. Among those at the same address are Mary Robb, aged 60 (so there’s an approximate age match) and William Thomson, 30, a watchmaker – another son perhaps? Mary might have been a widow by this stage, though I’ve yet to find any record of her marriage.

(3) ALEXANDER ROBB (1782 – 1865)

Alexander, son of Alexander and Amelia, and grandson of Alexander and Mary, was born at Logie Newton in 1782 and farmed there until 1841 (when he was about 59) at the latest.  As mentioned above, by that date he was living at Canal Side in the Greyfriars district of Aberdeen, and was described as being of ‘independent means’.  Perhaps he inherited enough money to retire when his father died in 1833? By 1851 he was living at 13 Canal Street with Janet Paterson, a domestic servant, and his circumstances hadn’t changed ten years later, when he is described in the census records as a ‘retired farmer’.

Alexander died from chronic bronchitis in 1865, aged 82.

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