Robert Jobson – Born 1816
This is a work in progress as I now have quite a bit more info to add.
Robert was born somewhere in England in 1816, most likely near Alnwick in Northumberland, as this is where his father John Jobson was known to be staying at Bolton Mills as a farmer. Robert appears to have moved to Scotland near Hawick or St Boswells around the1830’s, where he met his wife Margaret Riddle.
Margaret was the daughter of Adam Riddell and Isabella Cairns. Adam was a Master Joiner who stayed for a while at Overhall cottages, Wilton, Roxburghshire. Margaret appears to have been one of eleven brothers and sisters.
Robert and Margaret married on the 27th June 1835 at St Boswells Green by the Reverend George Ritchie, and by the Census of 1841, were living in a small village called Smailholm in the Scottish Borders.
He was an Innkeeper, and by 1841, they had three children, John aged four, Adam aged three and Robert who was 3 months old. From around 1835 until before the 1841 census, they appear to have stayed around Hawick in the Scottish borders, as appearing in the register here, are their first two children. Robert their third son is shown registered at the parish of Smailholm.
They most likely stayed at the Inn in Smailholm, described here by The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland:
"The steading at Smailholm farm is an early nineteenth century building which was originally used as a posting inn. The New Statistical Account of 1845 states that a stretch of turnpike road ran through the village. The inn, which overlooked it, would have provided welcome relief to travellers, giving them a place to rest or change horses. However, the author of the account, the local minister, Thomas Cleghorn, mentioned that the village had an inn and an alehouse, and observed that 'the effect on the morals of the people is distinctly unfavourable".
Thomas Cleghorn, the minister, was their neighbour at this time and obviously didn't like the drink? Thomas had been minister of this parish since 1796, when he took over from his Grandfather the Rev. Alexander Duncan. Rev Alexander Duncan and his grandson Rev Thomas Cleghorn were Ministers of Smailholm from 1743 to 1847, 104 years between them. Dr Duncan was the minister when Walter Scott lived at Sandyknowe and was the prototype for Rev Josiah Cargill in Scott's "St Ronan's well".
Robert Jobson and his wife Margaret had a servant called Mary Riddle, who was most likely Margaret's older sister and a Groom called William McKay.
Around this time, "the Tweedside coach betwixt Kelso and Edinburgh passes through the village every lawful day at nine o'clock in the morning, going north, and at two o'clock PM going south.".... I don't know if it was a £1 plus 50p booking charge? Perhaps not!
Perhaps what Smailholm is more well known for, is its Tower and nearby "Sandy knowes" Farm where Sir Walter Scott once stayed, the farm being owned by his Grandfather.
In 1843 Robert’s first daughter Isabella is born in the Parish of Smailholm, named after her Maternal Grandmother.
1845 Murder near Smailholm
In 1845 Robert’s brother Archibald becomes involved in a murder case, when two men arrive at the door of his Inn with a cart containing the body of a dead woman. This as you could imagine would be quite a shock to anyone and being in the days before telephones, he rides off to Kelso to advise the authorities. The full story told here from the “Newcastle Courant” of March the 7th 1845
SHOCKING MURDER NEAR KELSO.
A considerable degree of excitement was caused in the neighbourhood of Kelso on Thursday morning last, by a report that a man had murdered his wife near the village of Smailholm, which is between five and six miles from that town on the road to Edinburgh. The main facts are as follows: - A man named William Murray, an Irishman, but who has been employed as a labourer on the turnpike road at Smailholm, where some extensive improvements are in progress. While residing at Smailholm he married Mary Watson, a young woman somewhat respectfully connected in the locality, and who has met an untimely and shocking end, by – there are strong grounds for suspecting – the hands of her own husband. On Wednesday afternoon last Murray and his wife were in Kelso, and before leaving the town they called at a public house in Roxburgh street, kept by John Weatherstone, and had some drink; but it does not appear that when they took the road homewards, either of them were the worse for what they had taken. While in the house, they seemed to be on the most friendly terms with each other.
They left Weatherstone’s house at about ten o’clock; and at about eleven they were passed by Mr Tait, banker, the Rev. Mr Kell, and Mr Douglas, banker, who were coming along the road into Kelso. This was a part of the road on this side of Broadloan Toll, about a mile from Kelso; and Murray and the deceased were then standing at the side of the road, in high altercation. Murray using violent and threatening language towards her. This was the last that was seen of them until about two o’clock on Thursday morning, at which time Murray awoke some of the inmates of Western Muirdean cottages, which are between three and four miles on the road. He stated that his wife had fallen ill and fallen down upon the road, and requested assistance to bring her forward. A farm servant then dressed himself and accompanied Murray back to the spot, where they found the ill-fated woman lying un-able to move, and disfigured by blood and injuries about her person and dress. On their attempting to lift her, she feebly said, “Oh, let me alone;” and she never uttered a word afterwards. They carried her to the cottages, into one of which she was taken. Murray then left for the purpose of procuring a cart at Smailholm, but as he did not return, a cart was obtained from Mr Turnbull, the tenant of Muirdean, into which she was put. She had remained insensible during the whole of the time she was in the cottage, and almost immediately after she had been placed in the cart she expired. This was between seven and eight o’clock in the morning.
The body was taken in the cart to Smailholm, where it appears Murray had been resting himself, quite apathetic as to the dangerous condition of his wife. He was met by the parties in charge of the body a little on this side of Smailholm, coming towards Muirdean with some clean clothes for the deceased. The body having reached the Head Inn at Smailholm, and the circumstances being explained, Mr Jobson landlord of the inn immediately rode down to Kelso, and took information to the Fiscal’s office here. Messrs Armstrong and Johnston, county police officers, immediately set off to apprehend the prisoner. Mr Smith the district fiscal, proceeded to Smailholm to enquire into the circumstances; and Dr Wilson, and Mr Purves surgeon, to examine the body, with a view to making a report.
The officers had no difficulty in apprehending Murray. He had returned with the corpse on meeting it: and offered no resistance to the officers, when in the course of an hour or so afterwards, they arrived and took him into custody. He was brought down and lodged in the prison at Kelso; and on Friday morning taken to Jedburgh gaol.
The unfortunate woman was dreadfully and brutally mangled in various parts of her person. On the examination of the body by the medical men on Thursday, it was found that the body and head exhibited a number of frightful contusions; in almost every limb there were broken bones; there was also a fracture of the spine; and one of her great toes was nearly severed from the foot. The cap and a considerable portion of the dress were literally torn to tatters, and at a part of the road near where it branches away to Muserig from the Whiteburn turnpike, rags of the poor victims dress were found strewed about, near where there was a considerable accumulation of blood. It would appear from these indications that this was the spot where the bloody work had been performed; and the victim seems to have been dragged along the road in the most inhuman manner to the spot where she was taken up by Murray and the cottager. What adds to the horror of this bloody tragedy is the fact that the unfortunate deceased was several months advanced in pregnancy.
The above are the main facts of this dreadful murder. J. Stevenson, Esq. Procurator Fiscal for the county is engaged to-day, in taking a precognition of the case; but the investigation being strictly official and secret, we can give no account of it. There can be no doubt that the wounds received by the deceased were the immediate cause of her death. These wounds appear to have been inflicted by some blunt instrument like a stick or a stone, and some of them might be caused by kicks. As to the motive which could induce the prisoner perpetrate such a horrid deed, we are at present in the dark. There is a rumour of something having occurred while the prisoner and deceased were in Weatherstone’s house, to excite the jealousy of the former, but we mention it as a rumour only. There were no appearances, from the contents of the stomach, of the unfortunate woman having been drinking.-Man of Monday
On a happier note, Robert and family celebrated the birth of another son William born in Smailholm in 1845 .Also this year John Jobson, Robert’s brother gets married to a Mary Pringle at the Farm house of Fairnington near Kelso. John has been staying in Kelso since at least 1837 as shown in “Pigot's & Company’s Directory of Scotland. Moving forward to around 1849, we find the Family have moved recently to Kelso, after a brief stay in Musselburgh. They now have six children, John born 1837, Adam 1839, Robert 1841, Isabella 1843, William 1845, and George Archibald in 1847.
1849 Drowning in Loch Awe
In 1849 Robert learns the sad news that his brother John has drowned in a terrible accident in Loch Awe in Argyle, not only that but it appears he has died bankrupt and is due various parties money.
John appears to have been an Innkeeper in Kelso at the “Queens Head” Hotel since around 1837, and he had married Mary Pringle of Farnington Farm near Kelso in 1845. An Interesting fact I learnt about John is that in 1847 a John Pringle “assigned all his personal Estate and Effects unto Job Jobson” (John) and in 1848 John Pringle dies. I believe this was his father-in-law. I can only imagine he has now come into some money, as now he moves up to the Estate of Hayfield and Larrichbane in Argyle, on the banks of loch Awe. He had a stock of Black cattle of the “pure West Highland breed”, which was reputed to be one of the best in the country. However on Thursday the 26th July 1849 John is out tending to some calves on an outcrop of land, and instead of riding his mare around the long way back to his farm he attempts to swim across a small bay to the mainland. Unfortunately, the mare stumbles in the water and rolls right over taking John with it. He fails to appear on the surface for over half an hour and all attempts to save him are in vain, his wife, her three sisters, a nephew, and various servants were present, it must have been a very disturbing and upsetting time for them all. The accident was reported in many different newspapers of the time.
It appears John had only moved to this estate only about five or six weeks earlier, and from the knowledge I have of all the farm stock and many servants, that he must have been pretty well off, but this appears not to have been the case. In April 1850 published in the Edinburgh Gazette were details of the Sequestration of John Jobson’s Estate. Sequestration is the legal term used in Scotland to describe personal bankruptcy. You can find out more about this document in the chapter called “Brick Wall”, where I explain how, had I not found this, I may never have discovered who my 4x Great Grandfather was. John who has drowned was my third Great Grand Uncle.
1850 A Daughter for Robert & Margaret
Better news was on offer in 1850; Robert and Margaret have a second daughter who they name Margaret. Robert Jobson, her father, head of the house is now 37 and still shown as an Inn Keeper on the census of 1851. They are staying at Wood market Street Kelso, in Robert’s new “Turf Hotel”. The Turf Hotel having previously been a bank, then bought by Robert, who converts it into a Hotel. There were now two Grooms, George Anderson and Joseph Balla staying with them as Lodgers. Betsy Dull was their cook and Margaret Muir a House servant, this now looks like a bigger Inn than they were previously at in Smailholm. As a matter of interest, I found another Robert Jobson who is 2 years old in the 1851 Census, shown as being a Grandson staying with David Robertson Bridge Street Kelso. He is an Illegitimate baby, not sure of any connection yet?
Through research in the Post Office Edinburgh and Leith Directories, I learn that around 1854, we find Robert, Margaret and family are now living in Edinburgh. It appears they are staying at 15 Flesh Market Close. Robert is listed in the "Hotels and Inns." section of the Post Office directory of the time. His neighbours all seem to be in closely related trades, we have tavern- keepers, spirit dealer, vintners, and hotels, all neighbours in this lane. “Fleshmarket Close”, also an Ian Rankin novel, in his “Rebus” series, took its name from a meat market situated there. The close is now in two distinct parts; originally, it was one long close, and between 1855 and 1860, Fleshmarket close off the royal mile in Edinburgh, was divided in two by Cockburn Street. It looks like it has not yet been built in 1854 as Cockburn Street does not feature in this edition of the directory.
However this is the only mention of my Great, Great, Great Grandfather Robert Jobson since he left Kelso, in any of the Post Office Edinburgh and Leith Directories, as in the next edition in 1855, Margaret Jobson is listed by herself as "Jobson, Mrs R. refreshment rooms, 32 Whit-field place. Robert appears to have died with confirmation of this appearing later on. Margaret Jobson appears to run the Refreshment rooms herself between 1855 and 1859, at 32 Whitfield Place in Leith. However tragically on the 5th of June 1858 her son William has died at the age of 14 years old, and had been an apprentice cooper, it appears he died of Tetanus after some form of accident. William’s burial took place in Rosebank Cemetery, and his death certificate confirming that his father, Robert is now dead. “Robert Jobson, Innkeeper, Deceased”. So far, I have been unable to find any official documentation of Robert’s death, as it would appear to have happened before 1855, and the introduction of official registration in Scotland. I now have a hunch, that, perhaps William’s father is buried at Rosebank Cemetery. The Cemetery is located between Pilrig Street and Broughton Road in Edinburgh. It opened in 1846 by the Edinburgh and Leith Cemetery Company, and includes a mass grave, marked by a Celtic cross, of 215 men of the Royal Scots who came from Edinburgh and Leith and killed in the Gretna Rail Disaster of 1915. Also found here are the memorials of many Leith ship-owners and merchants, and of two servants of Queen Victoria.
Since I wrote the paragraph above, I now know of Roberts’s fate, as in the 1854 Kelso Chronicle 29 December is written, Deaths: “In November last, Mr Robert Jobson late of the Turf Hotel, Kelso, and formerly of the George Hotel Berwick, fell over his ship and was drowned near Aswege, North America.”
Around 1860 Margaret moves to 87 Kirkgate in Leith, with her family of Robert, Isobella, George and daughter Margaret. As shown in the census of 1861, Margaret Jobson, the mother is now a Spirit Dealer with her son Robert a Spirit dealers manager, daughter Isabella is a shop assistant, and young Margaret is still at school.
1861, brings the marriage of Margaret's son Adam to Catherine Bilton at Ladykirk, Berwick. They have two lodgers staying with them at Ladykirk Stables as shown on the 1861 census:
William Lyall and James Gray both Under Grooms. Adam had been named after his Grandfather Adam Riddell. Adam and Catherine go on to have two children Jane and Robert, they may well have more but I leave them here for now.
Meanwhile, Margaret Jobson does not seem very settled, and her stay in the Kirkgate is short lived as by 1862 they have moved to 33 Shore, Leith where Margaret is still a Spirit Merchant. However, it is not until about 1863 that she becomes more settled, then moving to 14 Commercial Place, Leith, and running the “Baltic Hotel”. She is there for around eighteen years, until her death in 1881.
Margaret seems to have done very well during her time at the Baltic Hotel not only running it but also providing catering for other external events, as was reported in “The Caledonian Mercury” of Thursday 25th January 1866. “The works sat down to an excellent supper, purveyed by Mrs Jobson of the Baltic Hotel Leith-“Margaret also had her fair share of crimes at the Hotel one such reported in the Edinburgh Evening news on 25th September 1874. A female servant at the Hotel has had her purse stolen.
In 1865, Margaret's son Robert Jobson gets married to Isabella Brydon, more on this later, but first the tale of Ernesto Zoff…………….