James Easton and Isabella Kerr

James Easton was born on 16 September 1834 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland, the fifth and youngest child of James Easton and Harriet Rutherford.1 Nothing is known about James' early life. His father died in November 1849 when James was just 15 and the next event reported in James' life is his marriage at the age of 25.

James married Isabella Kerr on 5 August 1859 in Ladhope, Roxburgh, Scotland. James was living at 41 Channel street, Galashiels and described as a journeyman shoemaker. His father James was described as a carter, deceased, and his mother as Harriet Rutherford. Isabella was living at Market street, Galashiels and described as a domestic servant. Her father was recorded as Walter Kerr, woollen weaver, and her mother as Helen Kerr (the maiden name is not decipherable), deceased. George Burns and John Burns were witnesses.2 John Burns was probably James' brother in-law.

James and Isabella had the following children in the 1860s:

  • Helen Easton, born on 29 January 1860 in Ladhope, Roxburgh, Scotland.3
  • Harriett Rutherford Easton, born on 31 March 1862 in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland.4
  • Jane Easton, born on 5 April 1864 in Ladhope, Roxburgh, Scotland.5 Jane died on 24 July 1866 in Ladhope from Tubercular Ulceration of the Bowels. Jane had also been suffering from Measles for three weeks. James Easton, her father, recorded as a Shoemaker, registered the event.6
  • Isabella Kerr Easton, born on 14 July 1866 in Ladhope, Roxburgh, Scotland.7
  • Mary Jane Easton, born on 14 July 1868 in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland.8

1871 Census

James and Isabella had the following children in the 1870s:

  • James Kerr Easton, born on 12 July 1871 in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland.9
  • Walter Easton, born in 1875 in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland.10
  • George Easton, born in 1880 in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland.11

In total James and Isabella had eight children. Throughout his life James was consistently referred to as a shoemaker the family were persistently located in the town of Galashiels. The birth registrations in Ladhope reflect changes in land divisions and not changes in the location of the family.12

Galashiels in Selkirkshire, Scotland
Google Maps

For the 1881 census, held on 3 April 1881, the family were recorded as follows.13

Name Relationship Condition Age Sex Occupation Birthplace
James Easton Head Married 46 M Journeyman Shoemaker Lilliesleaf, Roxburghshire
Isabella Easton Wife Married 40 F Shoemaker's Wife Earlston, Berwickshire
Helen Easton Daughter Unmarried 21 F Woollen Weaver Galashiels, Roxburghshire
Harriet Rutherford Easton Daughter Unmarried 19 F Woollen Weaver Galashiels, Selkirkshire
Isabella Kerr Easton Daughter Unmarried 14 F Woollen Weaver Galashiels, Roxburghshire
James Easton Son Unmarried 9 M Scholar Galashiels, Selkirkshire
Walter Easton Son Unmarried 6 M Scholar Galashiels, Selkirkshire
George Easton Son Unmarried 10mo M   Galashiels, Selkirkshire

Harriet Rutherford Easton married Robert Hunter on 29 December 1882 at 181 Gala Park road in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland. Robert was recorded as a wool factory worker living at 227 Gala Park road in Galashiels and Harriet as a wool loom weaver living at 181 Gala Park road, Galashiels. Robert was the son of John Hunter, ploughman, deceased, and Isabella Messer. Harriet was recorded as the daughter of James Easton, journeyman shoemaker, and Isabella Kerr. Harriet's sister Helen was a witness to the wedding.14

Isabella Kerr Easton married John Lees Smail on 19 June 1890 at 8 Croft street in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland. John was recorded as a wool spinner living at 46 Albert place in Galashiels and Isabella as a wool loom weaver living at 8 Croft street, Galashiels. John was the son of Robert Smail, baker, and Mary Lees, both of whom were deceased. Isabella was recorded as the daughter of James Easton, shoemaker, and Isabella Kerr. Isabella's sister Helen was a witness to the wedding.15

For the 1891 census, held on 5 April 1891, the family were recorded as follows.16

Name Relationship Condition Age Sex Occupation Birthplace
James Easton Head Married 56 M Shoemaker Lilliesleaf, Roxburghshire
Isabella Easton Wife Married 50 F   Earlston, Berwickshire
Helen Easton Daughter Unmarried 31 F Woollen Weaver Galashiels, Roxburghshire
James Easton Son Unmarried 19 M Woollen Millworker Galashiels, Selkirkshire
Walter Easton Son Unmarried 16 M Woollen Spinner Galashiels, Selkirkshire
George Easton Son Unmarried 10 M Scholar Galashiels, Selkirkshire

James Kerr Easton emigrated to Van Diemen's Land sometime between 1891 and 1899. A James C. Easton arrived in Launceston from Melbourne on the Pateena on 16 January 1896 which may represent James Kerr Easton.17 He married Agnes Isobel White on 21 August 1899 in Oatlands, Tasmania.18 Agnes was born on 17 July 1868 in Oatlands, Tasmania, the daughter of John Ephraim White and Agnes Easton.19 James and Agnes were first cousins.

1901 Census

James and Agnes Easton had three children in Tasmania before emigrating to New Zealand between 1902 and 1904. They had a further three children in their new home in New Zealand. In April 1911 James Kerr Easton was living in Gisborne, New Zealand when he was charged with manslaughter. After an altercation with a shop owner the latter fell and struck his head, dying a week later. When the case was heard in September 1911 the judgement returned was "no bills", meaning that the case was closed and would not be pursued.20

Isabella Easton, nee Kerr, died on 22 September 1911 at 136 Croft street, Galashiels. The cause of death was a cerebral embolism, probably a stroke. Isabella was recorded as the wife of James Easton, shoemaker, and as the daughter of Walter Kerr, dairyman, and Helen Gray. Isabella's death was registered by her son Walter who was living at 9 Bridge street, Galashiels..21

James Easton Snr. died on 14 November 1913 at 4 Croft street, Galashiels. James had been suffering from Pneumonia for four days and the cause of death was recorded as heart disease and senility. James was recorded as a shoemaker, and as the widower of Isabella Easton. His parents were recorded as James Easton, farmer, and Harriet Rutherford, both deceased. James' death was registered by his son Walter who was then living at 17 Walter street, Langholm.22

Agnes Isobel White’s husband James Kerr Easton died in January 1925 in Gisborne, New Zealand.23 James was buried on 6 January 1925 in Taruheru, New Zealand.24 Agnes Isobel White died in May 1925 in Gisborne, New Zealand.25 Agnes was buried on 21 May 1925 in Taruheru, New Zealand.26

The fate of James' siblings, Helen Easton, Harriet Hunter (nee Easton), Isabella Smail (nee Easton), Mary Jane Easton and Walter Easton has not yet been determined.