The Robb-Thomson-Young family: the next generation

This post continues my account of the family of George Robb (1769 – c.1811), Glasgow merchant and brother of my great-great-great grandfather Charles.

In recent posts I’ve written about Penelope Thomson’s two marriages, first to George Robb and then to John Young, as well as about Penelope’s brother Henry and his family.

Given the degree of inter-marriage between the Robb, Thomson and Young families in the next generation, it would probably be useful in this post to offer an overview of events in the 1830s and 1840s, before providing more detailed information about individual families in future posts.

When John Young died in 1827, his widow Penelope was 50 years old. Of her children from her first marriage to George Robb, George junior was 21, Elizabeth 20, and Jean 17. As for the children from her second marriage to John Young, Penelope junior was about 12, Janet 11, and John 8. Penelope’s brother Henry and his wife Jean had two children: John Thomson was now 16, and Jane Sharp Thomson 13.

Blythswood Square, Glasgow

The first of this next generation to marry was Jean Robb, Penelope’s youngest child by her first marriage to George Robb. The parish register for Glasgow Barony reports that ‘Archibald Graham Lang merchant residing in Glasgow and Jean lawful daughter of the late George Robb merchant residing in Blythswood Hill’ were married on 2 April 1830 by Rev. Dr. Gavin Gibb. According to Wikipedia, ‘Blythswood Hill was developed as a result of the westward expansion of the city in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Likened to Edinburgh’s New Town, it housed the city’s wealthy merchants and shipping magnates in four (or more) floored Georgian townhouses. The centrepiece of the area is Blythswood Square’.  Assuming that Jean was still living at home with her mother when she married, this record provides a clue as to where Penelope Thomson lived after the death of her second husband John Young, and the consequent sale of Meadow Park House. Rev. Dr. Gavin Gibb was, among other things, a professor of Hebrew at Glasgow University and a former moderator of the Church of Scotland.

A year later, on 26 June 1831, Jean Robb’s older brother George married his half-cousin Jane Sharp Thomson, daughter of his mother Penelope’s brother Henry. The parish register notes that George was employed as a ‘writer’  (in other words, a solicitor or lawyer), that Jane was the daughter of the late Mr. Henry Thomson (thus confirming that he died before 1831), and that both parties resided in Barony. The latter was a parish that included many of the rural districts to the north of Glasgow which have now been swallowed up by the city. Barony parish church survives as Strathclyde University’s Barony Hall.

One year after this event, on 24 January 1832, there was another marriage between half-cousins when Jane Thomson’s brother John, 20, married Penelope Young, daughter of Penelope Thomson by her second marriage to John Young. Penelope junior would have been only 17 or 18 at the time. John was said to be resident in Blythswood Town, while Penelope is described as the daughter of ‘the late John Young Esq. Meadow Park’. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Archibald Wilson of Cardross, the clergyman who married Penelope’s parents.

On 12 October 1835, Janet Young, daughter of Penelope Thomson and John Young, and Manchester-born merchant Jackson Walton, were married by Rev. Nathaniel Paterson in Glasgow.

On 16 August 1836, the last unmarried cousin, Elizabeth Robb, sister of George junior and Jean, married Glasgow merchant John Burns. She was 29 and he was 31. Jean, who was said to be residing in Barony, was described in the record as the ‘daughter of the deceased George Robb Esq. merchant Glasgow’. This ceremony was also conducted by Rev. Nathaniel Paterson, minister of St. Andrew’s parish.

In 1839, John Thomson died at the age of 28. The 1841 census finds his 25-year-old widow, Penelope Young, and her two children, living with her mother Penelope in Regent Terrace, Glasgow. On 9 June 1844 the Glasgow parish register records the marriage of ‘William Meikleham writer in Glasgow and Mrs. Penelope Young residing at Helensburgh relict of John Thomson late merchant in Glasgow and eldest daughter of the deceased John Young of Meadowpark’.

The following year – 1845 – saw the death of Elizabeth Robb, husband of John Burns, at the age of 38. Elizabeth’s half-cousin Janet, husband of Jackson Walton, also died around this time, since her widower had definitely married his second wife, Eliza Ann Nicholson, by 1846. Janet’s younger brother John Young died in 1846 at the age of 27; he appears not to have been married.

The year 1847 saw two deaths in the older generation. Penelope Young, formerly Robb, nee Thomson died in December (as noted above, three of her children – Elizabeth Robb, and Janet and John Young – had predeceased her). At some point during that year, Penelope’s unmarried half-sister Elizabeth also died, leaving a will which would be contested four years later by various members of the younger generation of the multiply-connected Robb-Thomson-Young family.

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