Melville & Martin Families
Jessie Melville was born in the town of Cargill, parish of Ruthven, Perthshire about 1849, as Jannet Melville. Coming to Australian in her teens she married Colin McPherson at the Presbyterian Manse, Ballarat on 13 August 1870 aged 20. She had 14 children – see the McPherson file for their details. Jessie died at Ballarat on 20 August 1924 and is buried at Buangor where they had farmed for many years.
Jessie’s parents were Margaret Martin (born 1827 or 1828 in Alyth, Perthshire – 1878) and Thomas Melville. Thomas Melville was a miller. It is most unlikely that they married.
Margaret Martin’s father, John Martin, a carpenter (known in Scotland as a ‘wright’), was born in Perthshire in 1806. He married Janet Howie in Cargill, Perthshire on 11 December 1825. She had nine or ten children. John Martin had passed away some time before his daughter Mary married in 1851.
The children include:
- Martha Martin (about 1825 to ?)
- Margaret Martin (1827 or 1828 to 1878)
- Mary Martin (1829 or 1830 to 1902)
- Jannet/Janet Martin (about 1830 to 1902)
- Helen Martin (probably about 1832 to ?)
- Susan Martin (about 1834 to ?)
- William Martin (about 1836 to ?)
- Jean Martin / Jane Martin [possibly this is the same person] (about 1838 to ?)
- John Martin (born 25 August 1840 at Burrelton)
At the 1841 census these people lived in Adams Street, Cargill.
- John Martin, aged 35, occupation, Wright, county of birth, Perth
- Jannet Martin, 35, born out outside the 1841 Census County.
- 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
At the Scottish census of 1851 Margaret Martin, her sisters, a brother, and her daughter Jannet lived at No. 7 Bridgend of Ruthven. On the River Isla this was the site of woolen mills.
- 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
Notes on Places Mentioned Above
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 – a fertile Scottish valley. Most workers in Cargill where linen handloom weavers or agricultural labourers. Bridgend of Ruthven, to distinguish it from other Bridgends, was a site of mills about 16 miles north-west of Dundee and 12 miles from Cargill. The River Isla runs through the village and marks the border between Perthshire and Forfarshire, the latter being popularly known as Angus. Alyth is a town about 3 miles west of the Bridgend of 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 should 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….
Move to Dundee
At the 1861 Scottish census the Martin family had dispersed. Margaret and her daughter, lived at High Street, Galts Land, Lochee. Lochee then on the outskirts of Dundee was the site of a large jute factory. Jannet Melville was now recorded as Jessie, possibly to distinguish her from her aunt Janet/Jannet who lived with the family.
- Margaret Martin, 33
- Janet Martin, 28
- William Martin, 23
- Jessie Melville, 11
The Martins Emigrate To Australia
Margaret Martin emigrated to Victoria in probably 1864 or 1865 with daughter Jessie Melville, although shipping records have not been located.
At least three of Margaret Martin’s brothers and sisters had previously emigrated to Victoria, including:
- Mary Martin, who married James McIntosh of Fowlis Parish on 19 December 1851, and disembarked at Geelong 17 June 1854 on the Conway, with infant daughter;
- youngest sibling John Martin who arrived from Greenock on 26 June 1857; and
- Jannet/Janet Martin who in 1863 married William Uwins in the Ballarat area.
It is unclear whether any of the other Martin children emigrated – Martha, Susan, Helen, William, Jean and Jane.
Margaret Martin in Victoria
Margaret married Northern Ireland-born William Coffield (1846-1920) (spelt Cofield on the certificate) on 27 January 1868 under Presbyterian rites at Buninyong near Ballarat. He was aged 22, she 40 (although 35 is stated on the certificate). William was a carrier, Margaret a domestic servant. By July Margaret had a son, John James Coffield (1868-1933). On 4 November 1869 a daughter, Nance Coffield, was born at 225 Humffray Street, East Ballarat.
Margaret died aged 50 from meningitis on 14 March 1878. William Coffield remarried to Martha Hartley (1857-1925) in 1880 who gave birth to nine children. William died 21 January 1920. Coffields long continued to live in Humffray Street.
Margaret Martin’s Siblings in Victoria
- Mary Martin married James McIntosh on 19 December 1851 in Scotland and emigrated to Australia on the Conway, arriving at Geelong 17 June 1854. Both declared ages of 24 and they were accompanied by their infant daughter Jane McIntosh (1852-1941). Mary died in July 1902 and is buried in Ballarat Old Cemetery, while James died 25 May 1906. Jane married John Grenfell.
- Janet (Jessie) Martin married William Uwins in 1863. They lived at Mount Edgerton south-east of Ballarat and had a large family which included: Mary Jane Uwins 1864–1938, Harriet Wheeler Uwins 1866–1949, John Martin Uwins 1868–1956, Martha Uwins 1873–1960, Frances Uwins 1878–? and Janet Howie Wheeler Uwins. William died aged 51 in February 1886. Janet died 27 January 1902 aged 67. They are buried together at the Mount Egerton cemetery.
- John Martin (1840-1925) arrived 26 June 1857 as a 16 or 17 year-old. He married Preston Wylie (1842-1922). They farmed at Durham Lead near Buninyong and close to Ballarat. Their children incuded: John Martin (1868- ), Janet Howie Martin (1870- , married A. McKenzie; Walter Martin (1872- ), Preston Heggie Martin (1873- ), married T.J. Gilbert; Mary Martin (1876-1956 ) married John McKenzie; and Janes Agnes Martin (1877- ), married J. Ritchie. John died 28 March 1925 aged 85 at Craigleigh, Durham Lead.
The history of Jessie Melville’s father Thomas Melville in uncertain. He is perhaps the Thomas Melville christened 5 September 1924 in Dundee. The parents were David Melville and Margaret Fleming. They were married 5 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
Note. A marriage of Mary Martin to Hugh Smeaton at Cargill is noted as it may be of later interest.
Special thanks to Fran Stewart.