One of the inscriptions in Auchterless kirkyard, mentioned in my last post, reads as follows:  ‘In memory of Alexander Robb b Newton 1782 – d Aberdeen 18 May 1865 aged 82.’

I’ve found the death certificate for this Alexander Robb, and it turns out that he was the son of Alexander Robb (1746 – 1833) and Amelia Cruickshank (1752 – 1829). Described as a farmer and single, the younger Alexander died from chronic bronchitis in the parish of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen.

In the 1861 census, just 4 years earlier, we find Alexander, a ‘retired farmer’, living in the same part of Aberdeen – at 13 Canal Street, with Jane Paterson, a domestic servant. Ten years before that, in 1851, he was living at the same address, with the same companion.

He’s probably also the Alexander Robb to be found living at Canal Side in Greyfriars, Aberdeen, in 1841, with Mary Robb (60), William Thomson (30), a watchmaker, and Isabell Faskin (60). Alexander is described as being ‘Independent’ (i.e. of independent means). Mary might be his sister: his parents had a daughter of that name in 1779. The tombstone of Alexander’s parents, Alexander and Amelia, also mentioned a grandson, John Thomson. Might the William Thomson mentioned here be another grandson, and could Mary be his (widowed) mother?

The younger Alexander’s independent means (an inheritance perhaps?) might explain why he was able to retire from farming and take up residence in Aberdeen in his fifties.

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