The Links to Uphall

In the graveyard of the Church of St. Nicholas in Uphall is a headstone with the following memorial:

This stone was erected by James Wilson
to the memory of his father,
James Wilson
who died Dec 3rd 1787,
aged 63 years
And also of his son,
David Wilson
who died in infancy1

The monument is a vital link in a chain of facts leading to the ancestral families of James Wilson. That it exists in Uphall is also significant. James Wilson and Catherine Boak had ten children:

  • Mary WILSON bapt. 30/09/1782 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (This Day James Wilson in Corstown and Catharine Boag his Spowse had a child Baptised named Mary. Witnesses John Wardrop and William Hunter Elders)
  • James WILSON bapt. 11/07/1784 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (This day James Wilson and Katherine Boak his Spouse had a Child baptised names James. Witnesses George Lowrie and John Hunter)
  • William WILSON bapt. 09/04/1786 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (This day James Wilson & Catherine Boak his spouse had a son baptised named William.)
  • David WILSON bapt. 29/06/1788 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (Kirknewtown 29th June 1788 - James Wilson and Catherine Boag his spouse in Corston had a son Baptised named David - Witnesses John Wardrop and James Hunter - Elders)
  • David WILSON bapt. 20/06/1790 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (This day James Wilson in Corstown and Catherine (Boog) his spouse had a son baptised named David. Witnesses Robert Millar & James Hunter.)
  • Thomas WILSON bapt. 29/04/1792 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (This day James Wilson Plowman in Crosstown and Catherine Boak his Spouse had a son baptised named Thomas.)
  • Robert WILSON bapt. 01/01/1795 in the district of Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian. (Robert Wilson, son of James Wilson, Crosstown and Catherine Boak his Spouse was born on the 1st day of Jan 1795 and Baptised on the 26th day of Feby following.)
  • Margaret WILSON born 01/10/1798 in West Lothian (not proven).
  • John WILSON born 06/07/1801 in the district of Curriehill, Currie. (John, lawful son to James Wilson and his wife Catharine Boag in Curriehill was born July the 6th and baptised the nineteenth instant before the congregation.)
  • George WILSON born 12/12/1803 in West Lothian (not proven).

No death record has been found for James and Catherine's son David, but the fact that the next sibling was also named David indicates the earlier sibling had died. David's death corresponds to the headstone memorial, and a second vital link is the corresponding death or burial registration for James Wilson (Snr.) which states that James died or was buried on 7 December 1787:

1787 Dec 7 James Wilson from Corston.2

The mention of Corston once again confirms the links suggested by the headstone. Corston was a tenated farm on the Dalmahoy Estate:

Dalmahoy (Gael. dail-ma-thuath, 'field to the north'), a mansion in Ratho parish, Edinburghshire, 1½ mile S by E of Ratho village, and 2½ miles W by N of Curriehill station. Built partly in the early years of last century, partly at subsequent periods, it has grounds of great beauty, commanding fine distant views, and open to strangers. The estate, having belonged from 1296 and earlier to the family of Dalmahoy, passed in the middle of the 17th century to the Dalrymples, from whom it was purchased about 1750 by the seventeenth Earl of Morton; and Dalmahoy is now the chief seat of Sholto John Douglas, twentieth Earl of Morton since 1458 (b. 1818; suc. 1858), who holds 8944 acres in the shire, valued at £9041 per annum...3

The sprawling estate is listed as in Ratho, and Kirknewton, and was home to both James and a David Wilson. According to research conducted by Margaret Rackham:

David was a tenant of a farm called "Corston", sometimes spelled "Crosstown" and in various other ways...James, father of "our" family, was "Plowman", the next position of responsibility on the farm. "Corston" was a farm at the southern extremity of the Morton estate. Adjoining it was "Morton" farm. Collectively the estate was known as "Dalmahoy".4

Helen Brown also added:

Margaret Rackham found their deaths (David Wilson and his wife Margaret Auld) and the reports of biers being sent to Corston Farm to take them to Uphall churchyard...5

A bier is a stand on which was placed the deceased, or the deceased in his or her coffin if they could afford it, and over time we hope to find those records and add them to this site. An immediate task however was to find a James Wilson born to a James Wilson sometime between 1745 and 1765. There are four potential candidates in West Lothian, two in Carriden, one in Bathgate, but the obvious first choice is the James Wilson baptised on 8 October 1851 to James Wilson and Mary Davidson in Uphall or Strathbrock.6

The Wilson's of Uphall have been extensively researched (but not exhaustively) and the proposed arrangement of the families is presented in The Wilson Family of Uphall Register.