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 Alexander Borthwick

(3rd son of John BORTHWICK and Elizabeth DINWOODIE)

Early Life / Marriage / Descendants / Remarriage & death of Mary McNight

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Early Life

Born on 6 August 1797, Alexander Borthwick was baptised in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. At the time the Old Parish register for Moffat recorded his father John as being "in Penucleigh" "in Ruccleigh" "in Ruerleigh" (or similar place). Squeezed in at the bottom of the page ...

Augt 6th John Borthwick in Ruccleigh and Betty Dunwoodie his Wife had a Son Born & he was Bapd. Called Alexander.

Nothing is known of Alexander's early life or education. By 1820, however, aged 23 years, he was a farmer living with his father at Langlees (or Longlees) near Biggar.

Marriage to Mary McNight, or Craig

Alexander Borthwick married Mary McNIGHT (or CRAIG), believed to be the daughter of Alexander McNight & Mary Craig (who had been baptised 29 August 1802 in Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland). The marriage record has not yet been located. Nor is it known why Mary used both her father's & her mother's surnames.

[Note, 2 January 2002: A recent breakthough in research (see below) confirms that Mary's father was Alexander McNight and her mother a Craig.]

Some time after 1820 the family moved from Biggar to Glasgow, Scotland where Alexander was recorded as a porter of Renfrew in 1837, and a "cowfeeder" of Taylor St in 1841.

Alexander & Mary had at least eight children but Alexander died about 1841 at 56 Taylor St, Glasgow. His widow & young children must have struggled at times until Mary sailed to Australia with youngest son, George Lillie BORTHWICK, on the "Shalimar", arriving in Melbourne in November 1857. They came to join an older son, Alexander, who had travelled to Australia in 1852 & become a successful pioneer of paint manufacturing.

I've found children & grandchildren of Alexander & Mary Borthwick in the 1881 census & would love to contact any descendants still in Scotland, or elsewhere. (Aside from the Australian family of Alexander Borthwick & Janet Auld the only contact I have at the moment is Cary Christopher, in San Diego USA, a descendant of Mary Borthwick & David Congalton. In early 2000 Cary found me via rootsweb message boards.)

Please email me if you think you have a connection.

Descendants of Alexander Borthwick & Mary McNight

Later I will add much more, but for the moment will simply summarise these families. A little more information regarding some spouses can be found on the Borthwick Spouse families page:

1. Mary Borthwick married David CONGALTON, son of Robert Congalton & Helen Brown, on 26 October 1845 in Barony Parish. They had a large family:

i. Alexander Borthwick Congalton (emigrated to NZ)
ii. William Congalton
iii. David Congalton
iv. Jane Lilias Congalton
v. Robert Congalton
vi. George Congalton
vii. Marion Congalton
viii. Janet Congalton
ix. James Forest Congalton

Mary died & David Congalton remarried a Sarah Cooper PATTISON in 1869.

2. John Borthwick probably married Margaret LAING, daughter of James Laing & Margaret Russell, on 30 January 1853 in Denny, Stirling, Scotland. Their family ...

i. Margaret Russell (Maggie) Borthwick
ii. Elizabeth Borthwick
iii. Mary McKnight Borthwick
iv. Alexander Borthwick
v. James Laing Borthwick
vi. Janet Thomson Borthwick
vii. John Borthwick

3. Alexander Borthwick. I will create many more pages for Alexander ... He came to Australia in 1852 and married Janet AULD on 17 November 1853 at St Enoch's Presbyterian Church, Melbourne. Their children were:

i. Josiah Auld Borthwick (died as a child)
ii. Alexander Borthwick
iii. Mary Borthwick (infant)
iv. John William Borthwick (child)
v. Archibald James Borthwick
vi. George Lillie Borthwick
vii. Jessie Elizabeth Borthwick
viii. Isabella Josine Borthwick

Alexander established the Victorian Varnish Co, a paint manufacturing business in Melbourne. In 1897, after Janet Auld's death, he remarried Marie ROTH, daughter of Ursus Roth & Marie Henzelher.

4. William Borthwick, was born about 1831 according to the 1841 census, but nothing further is known. I have not been able to locate him in the 1881 census. Did he come to Australia, or New Zealand? Or did he die as a young man?

5. Robert Borthwick, born at Patigill (or Patigill) near Borgue, Kirkudbright, Scotland on 9 June 1833. I believe that Robert, who was a painter, is the Robert Borthwick who married Martha SCOTT on 1 February 1853 in Glasgow, but this has not been confirmed. This couple came to Australia around 1862 & then went to New Zealand. Children of Robert & Martha were:

i. possibly Robert Borthwick (if so, he died as an infant)
ii. Mary Borthwick (infant)
iii. Martha Borthwick (infant)
iv. Robert Borthwick
v. William Borthwick (infant), born in Melbourne, AUS
vi. Jane Borthwick, born in New Zealand
vii. Martha Borthwick, born in New Zealand

6. Janet (Jessie) Borthwick married Robert BROWN on 5 July 1867 at Anderston, Glasgow. He became a Land Steward on one of the Marquis of Tweedale's farms at Haddington, and later at Newlands. In the 1871 census the family was at Hermiston Farm Cottage, Currie & in 1881 at Pub Rd Grange Cottages, Newlands. Children were:

i. Margaret Inglis Brown
ii. Robert Brown
iii. Alexander Borthwick Brown
iv. Mary Jane Brown

7. Elizabeth Dinwiddie Borthwick married Thomas MEIKLE, son of Thomas Meikle & Catherine Findlay, on 17 July 1857 at 95 Nelson St, Tradeston, Glasgow. Their children were:

i. Thomas Meikle
ii. Ann Thomson Fraser (Annie) Meikle
iii. George Lillie Meikle (infant?)
iv. Alexander Borthwick Meikle
v. Elizabeth Dinwoodie Borthwick Lillie Meikle (Bessie)
vi. William Findlay (Willie) Meikle
vii. Catherine Findlay Meikle (infant)
viii. Georgina Meikle
ix. Mary Meikle

In the late 1800s Elizabeth wrote a number of letters to her brother Alexander in Australia. These have helped to identify other members of the family in Scotland.

8. George Lillie Borthwick. Born 16 June 1841. Came to Australia in 1857 with his mother on the ship "Shalimar". He joined hs brother in the paint manufacturing business in Victoria & NSW.

Remarriage and Death of Mary McNight

In December 2001 I discovered that Mary Borthwick, nee McNight, had remarried in 1858, just a year after arriving in Australia. Her husband was William Steel. He died before Mary and it seems that they did not have any children. Mary herself died in 1876 at Emerald Hill, Victoria. She is buried in Melbourne General Cemetery.

Copyright: Ann Carson 2001
All rights reserved.
Updated: 2 January 2002