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Land King
The Story of David Jack
Chapter Two - William Jack and his Family


 Muthill Old Church and Tower

William JACK 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’.

Silvertoune Farm, Braco 2001
Silvertoune Farm, Braco 2001

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

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 income.

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 baron.


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