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Scottish Australian Ancestors


I read with interest your page on immigration. I have two main branches of Scottish immigrants, Reid (and Kydd) family, who came on the James Moran as part of the Scottish Bounty Scheme in 1839, and the Cowdens, Paisley weavers who came out in 1853. These families intermarried. I have several interesting stories about them. My great-grandfather, James Cowden, emigrated to Rhodesia and became a prominent pioneer there. But the story I thought most interesting for now, is that of the poem given to my ancestors Alexander (Sandy) Reid and his wife Smith Kydd, shortly after their marriage and before they took ship. I’ve copied from her Geni profile, so there is a little preamble below:

Smith Kydd was the fifth child of eleven born to her parents between 1811 and 1833: Isobel, William, Betty Hill, Margaret Smith, Smith, Robert, Elizabeth, James Taylor, Betty , Thomas Ross, and Ebenezer. The marriage of Smith Kydd and Alexander Reid was recorded in both their parishes, hers at Arbroath and his at St. Vigeans.

Her marriage certificate lists Alexander Reid's occupation as blacksmith, and Smith Kydd's as servant. After they married they lived with her parents at Barn Green, Arbroath, for 5 weeks, where they were recorded in the 1841 census, before they boarded the James Moran on 12th of June 1841, for Australia, arriving 6th October 1841.

They carried with them a poem written by Brother John Garie of the Arbroath Ark Tent, presented to them at a soirée on 1st June 1841, held in honor of "Brother and Sister Reid":

"We met around the festal board
our hearts in friendship bound.
Sweet sympathy to share with those
who leave their native ground.
No longer in fair Scotland's Isle
can they endure to stay
but hasten all o-er the stormy seas,
for regions far away.
Those scenes endeared to youthful love
can no longer bind
and hope with all its fairy joys,
will soon be left behind.
Why thus from every loving friend
can they so early roam?
What can induce the youthful pair
to seek a foreign home?
Is it because they wish to tread
o'er some romantic plain
and find amidst its living charms
all early joys again?
No, no, but since oppressors do
those lovely islands sway
destroying hope's last opening bud,
this leads their hearts away!
And now they fondly wish to find
beyond your distant skies,
What in their own beloved land
A tyrant power denies.
They go in peace, with our best love,
unto yon regions fair
and may that grace which keeps us here
still keep their bosoms there.
Then, though removed from friends most dear
He will lead safely on
and in, at length, to His own bliss
When time's short hour is gone. "

The Reids settled first in Sydney, where their eldest son, Robert, was born in 1842. They moved to Yass, where Alexander set up a successful business. She was pious, and is said to have set up a school house in Yass. She died as a result of severe burns suffered when her skirt caught alight while she was asleep in front of the fire, with her youngest son, Alexander, in her arms. Her daughter Elizabeth nursed her for a month. She was buried in the Presbyterian section of Yass cemetery. Alexander survived his burns but died of a teething problem in 1859. She left behind eight children.

The Smith name is somewhat unusual, but derived from the custom of naming children in order after ancestors, and where the names were duplicated (such as Betty, in this case) the surname could be adopted to differentiate.

Gary van Wyk
New Jersey

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