Dirrans Sawmills - Neil Small - James Small - Mary Ralston

For those researching family in the three towns area.
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sweet caroline
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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by sweet caroline » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:35 pm

quote]I'm not certain who looked after my Grandmother Jane as she grew up without a mother. If you take another look at that census return which shows her dad James' occupation as 'Traveller', you'll see that James' sister Elizabeth is living with James and his daughter Jane in Glasow.quote]
1871 Census .Looks like sister Elizabeth there all the time.
Name: James Small
Age: 36
Estimated birth year: abt 1835
Relationship: Head
Gender: Male
Where born: Ayrshire
Registration Number: 644/10
Registration district: Hutchesontown
Civil parish: Glasgow Gorbals
County: Lanarkshire
Address: 45 Adelphi Right Land
Occupation: Sea & Wine Mercht
ED: 98
Household schedule number: 14
Line: 21
Roll: CSSCT1871_142
Household Members: Name Age
James Small 36
Elizabeth Small 40
A C Bryer 33
“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.” Thomas Fuller

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by bobfish » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:06 pm

Here are some photographs I took of Larchfield on the 16th of November, 2006. I didn't realise it was so long ago since I visited Kilwinning!

According sme records I have - Wills etc. - Larchfield was formerly known as Pathfoot cottage. I'm not sure if a smaller building (cottag) stood on this site and if Larchfield was built later. A local historian or perhaps a local property agent would know.

When I visited the house in 2006 it felt nice to walk up the gravel path and ring that front doorbell. I felt like I was calling on my ancestors! There was no reply when I called, but I dodn't mind that. I had a moment to reflect on whose feet must have passed over that doorway - hah, if doorways could talk!

The chimneys are quite ornate, but what caught my attention was the wood work. I couldn't held wondering if the wood had originated from the sawmill and wondering who'd made it so ornate looking.

I have written to the present occupants since my visit but have never recieved a reply. I had hoped the current occupants might be happy enough to shahre further snaps of the building, both at the back and inside.

I'd also like to see if I could obtain copies of the buildings plans or any other documents related to the building at the time that the Small family owned and occupied it.

I know - not asking much am I? Still, I have to hope!

bobfish

Image

Image

Image
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sweet caroline
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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by sweet caroline » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:38 pm

Nice photos.Wouldn't be surprised if the woodwork was carved my themselves .Came from Joiners.

http://www.ayrshirearchives.org.uk/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.” Thomas Fuller

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by Penny Tray » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:25 pm

Am I right in thinking that the DIRRANS comprised only a few streets and yet in the 60s/70s had a good quality football pitch (possibly enclosed by a running track); boasted a very successful amateur football team that played there; and that DIRRANS SPORTS was a fairly prestigious event?
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by sweet caroline » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:33 pm

PT,
That's right .The football pitch with running tract ,was behind the houses,and next to the river.Had children's swings there at one time ,and i think a workshop for those impaired.
“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.” Thomas Fuller

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by bobfish » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:40 pm

Neil Small and Mary Ralston's grave inscription reads as follows:

In Loving Memory Of
Neil Small
Wood Merchant, Kilwinning
Who Died14th February 1872 Aged 47 Years
Mary Ralston
His Wife
Who Died 28th October 1901 Aged 79 Years
Also Their Sons
James
Who Died 10th April 1848 In His 2nd Year
Interred In Old Churchyard
John
Who Died 1st April 1878 Aged 29 Years
James
Wood Merchant
Who Died 15th December 1881 Aged 31 Years
Neil
Who Is Presumed To Have Died In South Africa
Gavin
Retired Wood Merchant
Who Died 10th July
And Their Daughters
Elizabeth
Who Died 30th August 1928 Aged 73 Years
Mary
Who Died 1st April 1931 Aged 70 Years
Maggie
Who Died 4th January 1951 Aged 93 Years

I don't know what happened to Neil and Mary's son Neil who is presumed to have died in South Africa.

Neil appears with his family in Kilwiining on the 1881 census but, when his elder brother James dies in 1881, James' estate is passed onto Neil's younger brother Gavin.

This leads me to think that Neil was no longer with the family in 1881 - if he was then he'd be next in line to recieve his older brother James' estate. So I'm assuming (only assuming) that the family have lost contact with Neil sometime between the 1881 census and the date of James' death on the 15th December, 1881.

I never tried to locate the grave of Neil and Mary's first child James Small. I know, confusing, Neil and Mary's first born was named James Small. James died in infancy and Neil and Mary named one of their later children James.

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Closer detail of Neil Small and Mary's grave

Image
A view of Neil Small and Mary Ralston's grave
I'm not a remarkable person by character, but my sentimental nature makes my life feel remarkable. I don't know where I would be without my sense of sentimentality!

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by bobfish » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:44 pm

The Dirrans Sawmill photograph I mentioned in a previous post was taken in 1927 and the photograph shows a large group "the workforce of that time" 21 men and three heavy horses.

I wrote to the publishers of the book to find out where they had sourced the image from - I was hoping to get a copy of the original. Unfortunately the publishers were unable to provide me with a source for the image. These pictures exist somewhere - I only wish I knew where!

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by Davie55 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:04 pm

Hi, was researching Dr Duguid of Kilwinning and came across this forum.

I was born and brought up in the original Larchfield, my father having bought it from the Smalls. The original house has now been split into 2, and a further house has been built at the rear. Sorry to hear you didn't get a reply from the current occcupiers of the front house, I'm sure they would have been happy to show you round, I can only assume they did not receive the letter. By a funny coincidence the owner of the front part of Larchfield used to work in the Dirrans Sawmill when he was younger.

As my mother is still living she could probably fill us in with more information about the Smalls she bought the house from in the early fifties, and where they moved on to.

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by sweet caroline » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:28 pm

Bobfish,
Wonder if this is any of yours Neil Small?

Name: Neil Small
Estimated Birth Year: 1810
Gender: Male
Age in 1870: 60y
Color (white, black, mulatto, chinese, Indian):
Birthplace: Scotland
Home in 1870: New York, United States
Collection: United States Census, 1870
“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.” Thomas Fuller

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by Colinswood » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:17 am

Hi David

My Great grandmother was Janet Small (1838-1883) the daughter of James Small and his second wife Elizabeth Jack. I was recently in Scotland (Oct2010) and have a copy of the book called Old Kilwinning which shows Dirrans Sawmill on page 38 but I would be interested in the other photo you referred to in your post of Wed 7th July 2010.

Do you know about the death of Neil Small in a saw milling accident on 14Feb1872? It seems his sons James and Gavin took over the business.

Kind regards
Colin in Sydney

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Francisco Haro

Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by Francisco Haro » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:17 pm

Dunno if this thread is still going, but I have a video taken in the closing stages of the sawmill.... in my time there, I never heard anything of the death of Neil Small in an accident. I served my time in the mill from 1966 and my Father, Rodrigo Haro worked there when demobbed from the Army in 1946 until his passing in 1971. The photo of the workers includes Gavin Boyd as a young man and who also worked in the mill at the Morgan crane while I was there. Gavin's middle name was also Small. Dunno if he was a relation ? I have a few photos taken in the mill and also of another group of worker which are not published. I also have a postcard of 1919 showing the mill in the background and a few old maps showing the mill and surrounds. Although the Sawmill was called Neil Small & Co. Ltd, I believe it was owned by James McGregor (The Big Man) and his son Alistair. (dunno if that;'s the correct spelling) I left the mill to go to Beithcraft Furniture in 1978. My e-mail address is [guest e-mail address removed. Reason : Spammers harvesting. Contact admin for poster's e-mail address] if you want to contact me. Kindest regards, Francisco Haro.

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Re: Dirrans Sawmills; Neil Small; James Small; Mary Ralston

Post by bobfish » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:17 am

A quick reply to Francisco and to Colin in Sydney (Colinswood)...

Many thanks to both of you for your posts...

This is fascinating - absolutely fascinating... I am now struggling desperately to contact you both to find out more!

So you are - let me see - a descendant of the Small/Stewart family?

I can provide the 'other photo' of the mill... Just contact me directly via email through my profile here on threetowners (which is - I hasten to add - a superb site).


@Francisco - Again, I hardly know what to say - I'm knocked for six! I have (I think) emailed you directly... Hoping to make contact soonest!

Suddenly something of the family ancestry - and the sawmill - springs to life... Thanks to all who have replied to this post and helped bring some life back to the Small family, Larchfield and the Sawmill - I'm overwhelmed by the responses. Fantastic.

And Fransisco - Yes - with help from people like yourselves, I'd like to think this thread will continue...

... Stuff like this kind of restores my faith in human nature! ;oD

I know so very little about the house or the Sawmill itself. The only information I have is based on records and family legend... I'd be fascinated to learn more from people like yourselves who can offer a more direct connection to a place I know very little about.

I missed your reply posts since I've been absent from the internet and setting up a new computer.

@Colin - I was aware that Neil died on the 14th of Feb 1872, but wasn't aware of the case of death... Curious!

I have the wills of James Small and of Gavin - and some of their forefathers too.
I'm not a remarkable person by character, but my sentimental nature makes my life feel remarkable. I don't know where I would be without my sense of sentimentality!

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