was born in 1776 in the Parish of Muthill. Muthill (pronounced ‘Mew-thill)
is a small village situated two miles East of Crieff. The Parish of
Muthill however, took in the surrounding areas, which included the small
village of Braco (pronounced Brake – o). The Jack family had been in
the Braco area for some considerable time and were small farmers in the
area. William’s brother Robert, farmed Silverton Farm, situated just
outside Braco on the Braco to Kinbuck Road.
Records of the Commissariat of Dunblane
for the years 1539 – 1800 show JACKS’ in the Braco area over a
lengthy period of time. In 1657 a James JACK is shown at ‘Silvertoune’.
In 1749 a William JACK is shown living at ‘Silvertown’, Parish of
Muthill. The records of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in
Perth, show that a Robert JACK, died on 4, February 1864 aged 12 years.
He died in ‘ a field about 30 yards distant from the farm of
Silverton’. Cause of death is shown as
‘killed by the bursting of a gun’.
The oldest JACK recorded in this
Commissariat however, is a Patrick JACK, a Slater, described as ‘son
to umquhile Hew JACK in Doning’ (nowadays Dunning), in 1623. Dunning
is situated a few miles from Braco.
Braco today is a very small village, and
back in these days must have been smaller still, yet it is believed that
at one time as many as nine families of JACKS’ lived there. These
people are undoubtedly relatives of our William JACK.
William JACK’S father was
Alexander JACK and his mother Margaret McEWAN. Little is known of this
man other than he was a working class man, who spent his life engaged in
manual work, whether it be working on the many farms in the Strathearn
area, or in the Mills which were predominant at the time. He married
Elizabeth CHRISTIE in 1803 and by this union had six children, ALEXANDER,
JAMES, ROBERT, JOHN, ELIZABETH and PETER. The first named ALEXANDER,
is the Author’s Great, Great, Great Grandfather.
William JACK arrived in Crieff from the
Braco area in 1815, along with his family. He made his home in the
Burrell Street area of Crieff in a one-storey house on the West side of
the street, known at some point as ‘Lorne Cottage’. He took
up various types of manual labour in the town, including a spell running
a Saw Mill. It is not known what happened to Elizabeth CHRISTIE but at
some point William married Janet MCEWAN. However, it is likely that she
died at an early age, as divorce in these days was frowned upon. To his
wife Janet MCEWAN, William had the future millionaire David,
and daughters Margaret, who died when only a child, and Christian.
Burrell Street, Crieff 2001
It seems that the family were of humble
means and were known to have resorted to renting an acre of land behind
their house, on which they kept a cow to supplement their slender
William JACK lived out the remainder of
his life at Burrell Street, dying there on 12, April 1855 aged 78 years.
He was buried within the grounds of the Old Muthill Church (now an
Ancient Monument). His headstone, ‘Erected by his son David JACK’
is still seen to this day. By the time of his father’s death,
David was living in America, and on his way to becoming a rich land