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The housing situation was appalling. In 1851 there were, on the west side of the river 44 families living in 29 houses. Many of the house would degenerate into mere bothies or boarding houses for mill workers.

 
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Grange & Gilgin
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History heading

Melville Family

Jessie Melville

Jessie Melville married Colin McPherson at the Presbyterian Manse, Ballarat on 13th August 1870. She was born in the town of Cargill, parish of Ruthven, Perthshire in 1849, as Jannet Melville. Her parents were Margaret Martin and Thomas Melville. Thomas Melville was a miller. At the Scottish census of 1851 Margaret Martin, her sisters, a brother, and her daughter "Jannet" lived at 7 Bridgend village, Ruthven in the shire of Forfar. The census record:

  • Margaret Martin, Head of House, 24yrs of age, Housekeeper
  • Martha, Sister, 22, Flax Reeler
  • Mary, Sister, 21, Flax Spinner
  • Jannet, Sister, 19, Flax Spinner
  • Helen, Sister, 17, Flax Spinner
  • Susan, Sister, 15, Flax Spinner
  • Jane, Sister, 12, Flax Spinner
  • John, Brother, 10, At school
  • Jannet Melville, 2, Daughter

At the 1861 census the family lived at High Street, Galts Land, Lochee. Lochee is these days part of the city area of Dundee.

  • Margaret Martin, 33
  • Janet Martin, 28
  • William Melville, 23
  • Jessie Melville, 11

Her death certificate in 1924 indicates that she was 74 year of age and had been in Victoria for 60 years. Given that the 60s years is probably rounded it means that she may have arrived aged about 14 years in about 1864. It is not known when Jessie came to Australia, or whether her mother and other members of the family accompanied her.

For her children see the McPherson file. She died at Ballarat on 20 August 1924.

Notes on Scottish Places

Cargill is situated l0 miles north of the city of Perth. It is a small town located on the River Tay in the Strathmore region. Ruthven (pronounced Riven) is a village 16 miles north-west of Dundee (& about 12 miles from Cargill), also in the Strathmore region. The River Isla runs through Ruthven.

From the "New Statistical Account of Angus (p.328-329)":

"Mills were built on every suitable and available river and two were built at Ruthven - one close to the old bridge and the other at Craigie-linn. These mills required workers and so the increase of the population was brought about. In 1851 the population was 503, but there were then two mills for threashing corn, a meal mill, a flour mill, and a sawmill, besides the two spinning mills. The mill at the bridge employed 18 men, 90 women and 14 boys; and that at Craigie-linn four men, and 30 women. By 1885 only one meal mill and one turning mill remained".

"When the mill-owners set up their factories...they seem never to have bothered their heads as to how and where these workers sould live. The housing situation was appalling. In 1851 there were, on the west side of the river 44 families living in 29 houses. ...many of the houses about the Bridge would degenerate into mere bothies or boarding houses. Many houses about the bridge have disappeared....

Jessie Melville's Mother - Margaret Martin

There is no evidence that Margaret Martin married Jessie's father, Thomas Melville. Margaret is perhaps the daughter of John Martin and Janet Howie of Cargill. At the 1841 census these people lived in Adams Street, Cargill, with county of birth:

  • John Martin, 35, Wright, Perth
  • Jannet Martin, 35, Outside Census County (1841)
  • Margaret Martin, 15, Perth
  • Jannet Martin, 10, Perth
  • Susan Martin, 7, Perth
  • William Martin, 5, Perth
  • Jean Martin, 3, Perth
  • John Martin, 9 months, Perth

Margaret Martin, according to the 1861 census was born at Alyth in Perthshire.

Most workers in Cargill where linen handloom weavers or agricultural labourers.

At Jessie's marriage in 1870 at Ballarat the minister noted that "the written consent of the bride's mother [has been] delivered to me prior to the marriage". This was required because she was under 21 years of age. It is unclear whether this indicates that Margaret Martin was thus not in Ballarat.

Thomas Melville

A Thomas Melville was christened 5th September 1924 in Dundee. He is perhaps Jessie Melville's father. The parents were David Melville and Margaret Fleming. They were married 5th June 1815. Other children included:

  • Charles, christened 1 Dec 1816
  • Peter Bruce, christened 27 Apr 1820
  • David, christened 18 Aug 1822

At the 1841 census the following people lived at "Milln East Wynd", Dundee.

  • Margaret Melville, aged 55, "Independent", born outside the census county.
  • Charles Melville, aged 20, warper, born in Angus
  • Peter Melville, aged 20, rope and sail maker apprentice, born in Angus
  • Thomas Melville, aged 15, brass founder apprentice, born in Angus

NB. A marriage of Mary Martin to Hugh Smeaton at Cargill is noted as it may be of later interest.

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This page modified 01 July 2002