James Wilson and Agnes Patterson

James Wilson was the second child and oldest boy of James Wilson and Catherine Boak. He was christened on 11 July 1784 in the parish of Kirknewton and East Calder in Midlothian, Scotland:

This day James Wilson and Katherine Boak his spouse had a child baptised named James, Witnesses George Lowrie and John Hunter.1

The relationship of the witnesses to James parents is unknown but they witnessed the baptism of other children on other occasions so they may have been elders of the church rather than blood relatives or personal friends. There is information that James was born on 4 July 1784 but there is nothing to substantiate that assertion.2

James is next recorded as marrying Agnes Patterson on 21 June 1816 in Uphall in Scotland.3 This event has not been found despite reviewing the Old Parish Registers of Scotland for Banns and Marriages for the period 1800-1825, and searching for Wilson, Patterson or Paterson marriages.

Agnes Patterson has been reported as being born on 4 March 1793 but again this is not substantiated with any other records, and the reporting of a birth date without known parents makes the information suspect.4

James and Agnes would ultimately have ten children, six of whom, including their mother Agnes, would ultimately emigrate to Van Diemen's Land in Australia. Thier first child, James Wilson Jnr., was born on 3 April 1817 in Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland and christened on 13 April 1817 in Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland.

April 3rd
This day James Wilson servant to Mr Calder Burnley and Agnes Paterson his Spouse had a son born and baptised upon the thirteenth day of April by the Rev. Mr Simpson Min of this Parish, before the Congregation - Named - James5

There are unsubstantiated reports that James Jnr. visited Van Diemen's Land at some stage.6 We do know that he emigrated to Canada and lived there the rest of his life.7

Another boy followed when William Thomas Braidwood Wilson was born on 9 January 1819 in Edinburgh, Scotland. William was christened on 22 January 1819 in St. Cuthberts Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.

[January] 22nd
James Wilson labourer at Dalry and Agnes Paterson his Spouse had a son born 9th current named - William Thomas.8

Regarding the history of St. Cuthberts, apparently the Church sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, and according to the modern St. Cuthberts' website:

...there have been at least seven church buildings on ... [the] hallowed spot below Edinburgh's Castle Rock. The church's close proximity to the Castle meant it was often caught in cannon crossfire between opposing armies and, as a result, sustained either severe damage or was destroyed.9

James and Agnes' third child was yet another son, John Wilson, born on 2 December 1820 in Edinburgh, Scotland. John was christened on 13 December 1820 in St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.

James Wilson labourer at Tyne Castle Toll and Agnes Wilson his Spouse had a son born 2nd current named - John10

The couple's first daughter, Catherine Wilson, was born on 5 January 1823 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Catherine was christened on 16 January 1823 in St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.

James Wilson Gardener Tyne Castle Toll & Agnes Paterson his Spouse had a daughter born 5th current named - Catharine.11

By the beginning of 1824 the Wilson family comprised James (40) and Agnes (31), and their children James (7), William (5), John (3) and Catherine (an infant). At the end of that year James and Agnes had their fifth child when David Wilson was born on 5 December 1824 in Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian, Scotland.12 David was christened on 9 January 1825 in Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian, Scotland.13

A sixth child and fifth son followed with the birth of Robert Wilson on 8 December 1826 in Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian, Scotland.14 Robert was christened on 24 December 1826 in Kirknewton, East Calder, Midlothian, Scotland.

8th Dec 1826
is the birth day of Robert child of James Wilson of Kirknewton Parish, and Agnes Paterson his Spouse, baptised 24th Dec before the Congregation by the Rev. Alex. L. Simpson15

The remaining four children attributed to James and Agnes Wilson have not been found in any other repository other than Margaret Rackham's family group sheets. However it seems likely that they had birth\christening information copied out and certified by the church just before they emigrated (20 March 1855), with the original extracts for Thomas and George surviving. 16 Mary Wilson was born on 17 January 1830 in Borthwick, Scotland.17 George Wilson was born on 10 November 1832 in Midlothian, Scotland;18 and baptised on 25 November 1832 in the secession church East Calder. 19 Thomas Wilson was born on 10 March 1836 in Midlothian, Scotland;20 and baptised 20 July 183621 and Jane Wilson, the last of James and Agnes' children, was born on 10 August 1839. Jane doesn't appear on the 1841 census and so circumstantially died around 1840.22

Their son John died of consumption in January 1840 and was interred in Uphall cemetery on 12 Jan 1840. 23

1841 Census
The 1841 Census at Borthwick, Midlothian lists for Locqharriott: James (Labourer 50), Agnes (45), James (24), William (22), David (Ag Labourer 15), Mary (10), George (8), Thomas ( 5). Also on this page are Catherine Wilson (17) and Robert Wilson (14) who were working nearby as a Labourer and Servant respectively.

Following the 1841 census the children of James and Agnes Wilson started to make their own way in the world. William Thomas Braidwood Wilson married Janet Dewar Wightman on 19 June 1846 in Borthwick, Scotland.24

Unfortunately it would appear James Wilson Snr. didn't get to see his remaining children prosper, as he is reported to have died on 21 January 1851 in Crichton, Scotland at the age of 66 years. According to the same source he was buried in Uphall, Scotland.25 No death registration matching that report has been found but a James Wilson did die on 25 January 1851 in Uphall at the age of 66 and was buried three days later on 28 January 1851, with both events occurring in Uphall. The cause of death may have been apoplexy, or a stroke (the register is unclear).26

Margaret Rackham, a notable Wilson family researcher, has recorded that:

It has been written in various notes that ... James was the James Wilson [who was] Surgeon Superintendant of the Royal Navy [however his] death record and christening records in England show his occupation as farmer, labourer, servant to Mrs. Calder at Burnbrae, overseer at Seims. He worked at Loquheriot [sic] Farm at Crichton, Scotland and his wife was a "farm servant" on the shipping list when she departed Scotland in 1854.27

1851 Census
Four months after James'senior's death, the 1851 Census of Crichton, Midlothian lists: Agnes Willson 55 Head born Corstorphone; her sons James 33 Ag Lab; David 26 Ag Lab and George 18 Ag Lab all born Kirknewton and Thomas Willson 15 Ag Lab born Borthwick. Also at Crichton is Robert Willson 22 Ag Lab on 46 acre farm Currielea, owned by Henry Douglass. Daughter Catherine is listed at Stow as the housekeeper to her future husband and her sister Mary is a servant nearby in the household of William Tweedie. Also servants in the Tweedie household were siblings Jean and James Hardie who remained in Scotland and were still writing to Mary in 1909 (Jean having married George Muir in the meantime).

On 2 September 1851 James junior marred Margaret Barclay of Edinburgh, this is recorded twice in the registers of St. Cuthberts28 and Crichton29 An alternative marriage for James was proposed by Margaret Rackham, with Catherine Veitch as the bride and the marriage taking place in 1853.30. James and Margaret likely emigrated to Canada in 1852.

On 1 Jan 1853 Catherine married Walter Smail at Stow.31 This couple emigrated to Canada at some stage (as did Walter's brother John) and they are listed in the 1861 and 1871 census at Ontario, Grey South, Egemont, next door to John and his family. Walter and Catherine had no children and she was forced off the farm by John's family after Walter died in 1890 (according to a letter sent by a family friend to her sister Mary in Tasmania). Catherine ended up in an institution and died 15 Oct 1894 at Wentworth, Ontario.32

On 1 May 1853 James and Agnes' daughter Mary gave birth to a daughter Agnes, although the father of the child is unknown. Agnes would later name her first born son David Neil Wilson so there is some chance this may have been the father's name.
Following the death of her husband James Wilson, Agnes was sponsored by her brother in-law George Wilson to emigrate to Van Diemen's Land, and the family arrived aboard the Storm Cloud on 29 August 1855. The ship had sailed from Glasgow on XXXX. The relevant passengers were Agnes Wilson, with five of her family from Midlothian, Scotland: David (aged 30, ploughman), Robert (aged 28, ploughman), Mary (aged 25, dairy maid, with her illegitimate daughter Agnes), George (aged 23, ploughman), and Thomas (aged 19, ploughman).33


THIS splendid clipper ship arrived from Glasgow on Sunday afternoon, with 360 immigrants, after an unprecedented run of 71 days. ...We believe that about half-the emigrants are to be forwarded to Sydney, and that the remainder, some of whom are for Mr. Williams at the Mersey Coal Company, arrive under Bounty Tickets for this colony.34

Once in the colony the family were established with their cousins in the lower midlands of the island around the township of Oatlands, and in particular with the settlement known as Mount Seymour. The family became synonomous with a property called "Crichton", no doubt named after the similarly named location in Scotland where they were living before they emigrated.35

Presumably the family were assisted by George Wilson, Agnes' brother in-law. The family also established the Wilson Brothers as a well known local business enterprise. Socially the Wilson's appeared to have mixed largely amongst themselves as many first and second cousins later married. George Wilson, aged 42, married Margaret Wilson, aged 19, on 28 November 1876 in Oatlands, Tasmania.36 Margaret was born on 1 November 1858 in Oatlands, Tasmania, the daughter of Alexander Wilson and Margaret Smith.37

WILSON-WILSON-On the 28th November, at Salt Pan Plains, by the Rev. Lachlan Campbell; George Wilson, of Crichton, near Oatlands, sixth son of the late James Wilson, Mid-Lothian, Scotland, to Margaret, daughter of Alexander Wilson, Salt Pan Plains, near Tunbridge.38

George and Margaret would have three children before George's untimely death on 5 March 1882 at Ponsonby Vale in Tasmania, 6 months after being gored by a bull. He was recorded as aged 49.39 He was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania. Margaret, his widow, would later remarry Thomas Eadie Jnr. and have a further three children.

The month after George's death in April 1882 the Wilson family were warning the public about trespassing on their Crichton and Ponsonby Vale properties:

CAUTION.-All persons TRESPASSING, hunting, or shooting on Crichton or Ponsonby Vale, Eastern Marshes, after this date will be PROSECUTED, without respect to persons. WILSON BROTHERS.40

Later in that decade Agnes Wilson (nee Patterson) died on 7 December 1888 at the "Crichton" property in Oatlands, Tasmania. Agnes was recorded as the wife of a farmer, aged 93 years, and the cause of death was noted as "old age". Sarah Ann Thomas, the wife of the undertaker, was the informant for the event which occurred on 10 December 1888.41 Agnes was buried at Oatlands, Tasmania.42

In March 1895 the "Crichton" property was mentioned in a report about severe winds in the Oatlands area:

THE RECENT CYCLONE IN THE MIDLANDS - Our Mount Seymour correspondent writes : - Whilst a party of pleasure-seekers were passing along in the vicinity of the Five Mile Marsh on Saturday they came upon a 6ft. sheet of corrugated iron about a mile beyond the residence of Messrs. Wilson Bros, at Crichton. How it got there seems somewhat mysterious, though from every appearance it is one of the missing sheets from the railway station of Oatlands, and was landed where found by the recent cyclone, a distance of 13 miles. To anyone who may doubt this fact the sheet of iron can be seen at Messrs, Wilson Bros., Crichton, where it will be found darkened on one side, apparently from the smoke of an engine. The course of the cyclone can be prominently traced all the way to Mount Seymour from Oatlands, where it first struck, and there are many instances to show its terrific force. Two large trees near the cottage of Mr. A. Wilson were uprooted, and hurled simultaneously across tbe garden, striking a corner of the house where the family had all gathered. Fortunately no one was injured, though considerable damage was done to the garden and house. Had the tree come a little closer death must have been inevitable to some of the family.43

Robert Wilson, who had remained single, died on 11 February 1897 at the "Crichton" property in Oatlands, Tasmania. The cause of death was recorded as "cancer of the stomach". He was recorded as aged 69.44 Robert was buried on 13 February 1897 in Oatlands, Tasmania.45

Wilson.-On February 11, 1897, at "Crichton," Mount Seymour, Robert Wilson, aged 69 years. Funeral leaves "Crichton" at 8 o'clock on Saturday.46

Robert was the subject of a eulogy in the Mercury later the same month:


The district has lost two of its old and much respected residents in the persons of Mrs. J. E. White, Lint Hill, and Mr. Robt. Wilson, Crichton, within 9 days intervention. The former was the mother of a long resident and highly respected family here, and was honestly upright in all her dealings. The latter was a brother of the well-known farmers Wilson Bros., and of whom it must be said he has left foot prints on the sands of eminent Industry. His illness was long and painful, being that of internal cancer. Both were interred in the Presbyterian Cemetery at Oatlands, the cortege on both occasions being very representative.47

David Wilson, who like his brother Robert had remained single, died on 23 February 1901 at "Crichton" in Mount Seymour, Tasmania.48 David was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.49

Mary Wilson, another of James and Agnes' children who remained single, died on 28 May 1910.50 Mary was buried in the Uniting Church Cemetery at Oatlands, Tasmania.

WILSON.-On May 28, at Crichton, Mary Wilson, in her 81st year. Funeral will leave her late residence on Tuesday morning, at 9.30, and arrive at the Presbyterian Cemetery. Oatlands, at 1 o'clock.51

William Thomas Braidwood Wilson died on 9 March 1912 at his "Hillside" property in Mount Seymour, Tasmania.52 William was buried in the Uniting Church Cemetery at Oatlands on 12 March 1912.53

Thomas Wilson died on 18 March 1924 at Ponsonby Park in Whitefoord, Tasmania.54 He was buried at Oatlands, Tasmania.

WILSON- On March 18, at Ponsonby-park, Thomas, late Wilson Bros., Crichton, in his 89th year. Funeral will move from his nephew's residence at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, arriving at Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, at 2 p.m. Friends respectfully invited to attend.55

The relatives of the late Thomas Wilson at Ponsonby-park, Ponsonby Vale, and Crichton, wish to thank all kind friends for telegrams, floral tributes and letters of sympathy in their recent sad bereavement, especially Mr. Fred. Burbury, of Hilly-park, Parattah, for his trouble and kindness.56

  • 1. GROS OPR Births 690/0030 0083 and IGI Batch No. C116905
  • 2. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 5.
  • 3. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 5.
  • 4. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 5.
  • 5. GROS OPR Births 690/00 0030 0174 Kirknewton and IGI Batch No. 7424112.
  • 6. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 6.
  • 7. Oxley, Gwenda, Family letters and research includes exact date\place of death
  • 8. GROS OPR Births 685/02 0140 0444 St. Cuthberts and IGI Batch No. C119877
  • 9. St Cuthbert's Parish Church. 5 Lothian Road. Edinburgh. Scotland. EH1 2EP; http://www.st-cuthberts.net
  • 10. GROS OPR Births 685/02 0330 0146 St Cuthberts and IGI Batch No. 7228628
  • 11. GROS OPR Births 685/02 0330 0303 St Cuthberts and IGI Batch No. 7312214
  • 12. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 14.
  • 13. IGI Batch No. C116906
  • 14. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 15.
  • 15. GROS OPR Births 690/00 0040 0039 Kirknewton and IGI Batch No. 5004151
  • 16. Oxley, Gwenda Family letters and papers
  • 17. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 16.
  • 18. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 26.
  • 19. Oxley, Gwenda family letters and papers - extract of batismal record of George Wilson created 20th March 1855
  • 20. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 29;
  • 21. Oxley Gwenda Family letters and papers - extract of birth\baptism information for Thomas Wilson created 20 March 1855
  • 22. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 5.
  • 23. GROS OPR 672/00 0244 Uphall or Strathbrock. 1840 John Wilson Aged 19 of Lochhariat died of Consumption Jan 1840, interred 12 Jan Uphall.
  • 24. GROS OPR Marriages 674/0030 0219 Borthwick and IGI Batch No. 7114611.
  • 25. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 5.
  • 26. GROS OPR Deaths 672/00 0030 0257 Uphall or Strathbrock
  • 27. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 5.
  • 28. GROS OPR 685/2 book 47 St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh. James Wilson, contractor residing in the village and Parish of Crichton and Margaret Barclay, residing at 41 Arthur Street in this Pariah, third daughter of the late Alexander Barclay, Miner at newlandrigg in the Parish of Borthwick have been thus several times duly and regularly proclaimed in the Parish Church of St. Cuthbert in order to marriage and no objection offered - Married.
  • 29. GROS OPR 681/3 CRICHTON. James Wilson, labourer Crichton and Margaret Barclay residing in the West Parish of Edinburgh gave up their names for proclamation in order to marriage on 24.5 1851 were twice proclaimed on 25th May and once on 1st June and no objections offered were married on 2nd September by Reverend Mr Crawford of Crichton.
  • 30. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 6.23 December 1853 in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 31. GROS 699/0050 0262 STOW. Walter, Shepherd, Burnhouse, son of late William Smail, Shepherd same place & Catherine Wilson, Burnhouse, daughter of James Wilson Crichton Parish, both in the parish of Stow gave in their names in order to marriage 1st January 1853. Having been duly proclaimed they were married shortly after by the Rev Mr Brydon, Free Church, Stow.
  • 32. Barton, Wentworth; digital image; Katharine Smail died 15th October, 1894 female aged 66. Home Duties born Scotland, presbyterian. Cause of Death exhaustion of Dementia, Physician: Asylum physician. Informant J.W. Reynolds M.D. registered 15th October 1894
  • 33. AOT Shipping Arrivals CB7/12/1/5 BK 26
  • 34. The Courier Tuesday 28 August 1855
  • 35. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Crichton,_Midlothian,_Scotland
  • 36. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1876/630.
  • 37. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1858/1677 (as an un-named female).
  • 38. The Mercury Monday 11 December 1876
  • 39. AOT Death Registration RGD 1882/535.
  • 40. The Mercury Monday 10 April 1882 and Thursday 13 April 1882
  • 41. AOT Death Registration RGD 1888/619
  • 42. Grave 1061.
  • 43. The Mercury Wednesday 20 March 1895
  • 44. AOT Death Registration RGD 1897/536.
  • 45. Grave 1062.
  • 46. The Mercury Friday 12 February 1897
  • 47. The Mercury Tuesday 23 February 1897
  • 48. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1901/1374
  • 49. Grave 1063.
  • 50. The death registration for Mary Wilson cannot be found, although the newspaper notice confirms the event.
  • 51. The Mercury Monday 30 May 1910
  • 52. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1912/766
  • 53. Grave 3069.
  • 54. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1924/304
  • 55. The Mercury Wednesday 19 March 1924
  • 56. The Mercury Tuesday 6 May 1924



Gillian Wilson
Gillian Wilson's picture
Agnes Paterson - another parentage possibility

Agnes' parentage is not certain, but given the standard naming conventions of the time we would expect her mother to be Mary and her father's name to appear early in the sons names. A possible set of parents are John Paterson and Mary Purdie, who married at St. Cuthberts on 9 Sep 17921
This couple had at least 3 children, Agnes born 15 Jan 1794 whilst the couple lived at Greyfriars in Edinburgh, Catherine born 22 Jan 1796 and registered St Cuthberts, and William born 10 Sep 1804 also registered St Cuthberts.
In the 1851 Crichton census Agnes' birthplace is listed as Corstorphine (Edinburgh) and her age as 55.
The 1841 Crichton census lists John Paterson 80, pauper residing on the East side of the village of Pathhead on his own and this John Paterson is buried in the Crichton churchyard.2

John Paterson dying at Crichton in 1846 aged 84 lends credence to this theory, as do the very accurate birthplaces listed for Agnes and son William's family in the 1851 census - hers is listed as Corstorphine..

  • 1. GROS St Cuthberts 685/002 0170 0374 9/11/1792 Paterson John wright in CausinwaySide and Mary Purdie residenter there, daughter of the late Robert Purdie, farmer in the parish of Bigar gave up their names for proclamation of Banns Matrimonial.
  • 2. GROS Crichton 681/00 0206. Register of Deaths 1846
    John Paterson residing Pathhead aged 84 died 4th July 1846 buried 7th July 1846. Old Age.