Robert McGrigor married Janet Scot in 1751. Janet was from Borlich, not far from Aberfeldy. We know they had at least three children, James, Elspeth and Thomas, these children being born in LaggannaCardoch in the parish of Dull. I have searched in all the old maps and found no trace of the village. I believe the clearances may have been the cause of this community being wiped forever from the record books. Laggan na Cardoch must have been a reasonably big crofting community because in the course of my research I noticed many other families residing here and many children being born from here.
Thomas, I believe was the Thomas who was born in the parish of Dull in 1764 and later went on to marry Margaret McLaren in 1762. Thomas and Margaret had at least eight children of which Alexander was the 6th and the 3rd son. At the time of Alexander's birth 1800 Thomas and Margaret were of Aberfeldy.
In 1825 Alexander married Margaret Munro, the daughter of John Munro and Grizel MacFarlane. John McGregor was born the third child and fist sone of Alexander and Margaret. They had 8 children that we know of, all but James the last born were born in Aberfeldy, James in Perth.
Helen was Born in Perth in 1837, the daughter of William and Jean Ritchie. They lived on South St which was not far from the McGregor home.
John became a stone mason by trade and it was through this trade that he was able to move relatively freely around the world in search of a better life for his family. In 1858 John and Helen sent sail with the two children for Table Bay in Cape Colony. Little John was just three years old and baby Helen was not quite one year old. They travelled in the ship the "Gypsy Bride". The following is based on a report from Esme Bull's book "Aided Immigration from England.
Little Helen was among the children to die of measles on the Gypsy Bride. John and Helen eventually made their way to Colesburg by bullock wagon, a journey of about a month. It was in Colesburg, it is believed that John rebuilt the first Dutch Reform Church. This church (pictured below) was originally built in 1830 with a thatched roof. This building was demolished ad the church below was completed in August 1866. The Architect was Welchan and Read and they used four builders from Cape Town but there is no mention of names. Messrs Ross and Hobkirk were the master stone masons.
During this period of time in Scotland John became a master Green Grocer in Glasgow. The wanderlust must not have left him though, as he next went off to America, this time on his own. John was disillusioned with America and soon returned to Scotland. After the births of Christina in 1870, William in 1872, Charles and Jane in 1873, James Alexander in 1874 and the subsequent death of Christina, William, Charles, and Jane, the family decided to immigrate to New Zealand.
The family settled in Oamaru where Robert was born in 1876. Among other places, John was involved in the building of the first hotel at Weston, the Methodist parsonage, and a lovely big home at Duntroon known as Otekaike. It is believed he was the main contractor in the construction of this magnificent home. At some stage he had 30 men working for him on this project which bankrupted him.
Helen was a midwife and was a great help to many, many births in Oamaru around that time. Later on Helen ran a General Store. This was in her name alone because John's bankruptcy meant he was unable to own a business. John was a heavy drinker and it is said that on finding a new barrel of liquor she would knock out the plug. He hid his drink from her in the outside toilet. It is believed that Helen's Grandmother came to New Zealand to visit the family. She only spoke Gaelic but helped in the shop occasionally.
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