William John Macpherson 1837 - 1915

Family of William John Macpherson c1900

William John Macpherson and Family
L to R Back Row:  Flora, Peter, Kate and John
Middle Row: William, Harriet (mother) William J (father) Annie and Christina
Front Row: Robina and Harriet.  Edinburgh c 1900





Sometime between 1851 and 1855, William John must have made the decision to leave home in the Parish of Farr, Sutherland and pursue his fortune in the South, possibly working his way down to Edinburgh and no doubt walked most of the way.  He would have been confronted by language problems upon his arrival in Edinburgh, Gaelic his first language was not in common use in the Capital City in the late 1850’s.


William John was married on the 13th November 1866, at St. Catherines Place, Grange, Edinburgh.  His wife was Harriet Cameron, born October 1845, in the Parish of Moy, Inverness-Shire, the daughter of William Cameron, a shepherd at Delnies Farm near Nairn and his wife Catherine (Cameron)  Cameron.


It seems most likely that William John and Harriet met in Edinburgh, perhaps at Church or through mutual friends of Highland origin.  Harriet was working in Edinburgh, as in the marriage certificate her occupation is given as “domestic servant”, and her address was Roseville Cottage, Grange, Edinburgh.


William John’s occupation at the time of the birth of their second child Catherine in February 1869 was given as “General Labourer”, but by May of that year he was a “Cooper”, in 1875 – 1884 he was a “book deliverer”, and in 1891 an “insurance agent”, so he appears to have prospered reasonably well.


The family move around considerably in Edinburgh, and so far four addresses have been noted for them.


  • 1869             - 5 Roxburgh Place
  • 1871 - 1872 - 40 North Richmond Street
  • 1875 - 1885 – 4 East Adam Street
  • 1891 – 1915 – 14 West Preston Street


Their lives had spanned most of Victorias’s and King Edward VII’s reigns, and they must have seen many changes through the years.  The City of Edinburgh had grown enormously.  Both gas and electricity had been introduced into homes, streets and factories, revolutionising heating, lighting and manufacturing methods.  City transport was made easier with the new tram-cars, and the new, noisy, smelly motor-cars were making their appearance on the roads.  Railway lines had been criss-crossing the countryside for some time, and two magnificent new stations, each complete with a sumptuous hotel, were built at either end of Princess Street, one for the Caledonian Railway and the other for the North British Railway.  Public schools were built for the free education now provided for all children up to the age of fourteen.  It had been a remarkable era of expansion, which, alas was coming to an end with the advent of the First World War.



Extract from “History of a Macpherson Family” by Margaret Hambleton 1987

Edited by Chalmers Cursley May 2006





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