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James Archibald



James Archibald (born abt 1723 of Coalhill, Durie, Fife, Scotland) was quite the fellow! The book Scottish Coalmining Ancestors by Lindsay S. Reeks (pg. 28) reports "Scoonie KSM [Kirk Session Minutes] for 4 Sep 1748 indicates that Christian Waters in the Coal hill (Durie) was cited and appeared and said she was with child to James Archibald in the Coal hill, and that the guilt was committed the first week of April on a Saturday between the towns of Old and New Mount Flowrys [Mountfleurie]. James Archibald appeared and admitted above, and both were rebuked and exhorted to repentance. [that child would have been born about the beginning of 1749] James probably fled from Fife, because we then find he has crossed Firth to Midlothian. It is possible Christian King went with him, or that she was living with her married brother Robert King who had moved from Scoonie parish to Inveresk parish. It is possible they stayed with Robert King considering the following events. James married Christian King on 17th March 1749 in Inveresk parish, after it was proclaimed there on 25 February. Witnesses were John Lindsay for the man and Robet King, brother, for the woman. Robert King was married to John Lindsay's sister Katherine Lindsay. James' troubles were not over; his past caught up with him! Another entry in the Scoonie Kirk Session Minutes for 23rd April 1749 reports, "Margaret Hay in the Coal hill, a widow woman, was with child in fornication with James Archibald. She appeared and said that James Archibald, late residenter in Coal hill, then a single person, and now lately married to another woman, was the father of it, and that the guilt was committed 29 Oct 1748 [less than 6 weeks after the first rebuke!] in the house of said James Archibald. On 9 July 1749, Margaret Hay and James Archibald, both in Duries Coalhill, were called and James Archibald admitted being the father of the child [this would have been about the time the child was born]. On 3 Dec 1749 James Archibald was publicly rebuked for the third time." The first and second offenses occured before James' marriage to Christian King. The child from this liason with Margaret Hay was named William. He was christened 30th December 1749 in Scoonie parish, Fife, "aged about 5 months" with the note "begotten in fornication between James Archibald and Margt. Hay." It seems James Archibald and wife Christian returned to Scoonie parish about mid 1749. At this time Christian was pregnant with her first child and may have wanted to be near home. Their first child was named Agnes and she was christened 17 Dec 1749 in Scoonie parish. This means James fathered 3 children who were all born in 1749! James and Christian had seven children, all born in Scoonie parish, Fife. Agnes (1749) married 1) William Lindsay and 2) Peter Currie; Janet (1751) married Henry Wilson; Isabel (1753), Andrew (1755) married Janet Steel; Christian (1758) married Robert Archibald; George (1760) and John (1766) who married Elizabeth Archibald. This shows how interrelated the coalmining families were; most children of colliers married other children of colliers. They did not have a chance to meet other people in the wider community, as they were provided with collier's housing and their working hours were extremely long and arduous. Remember that the women worked in the mines too. Some time after 1766, James and Christian moved permanently to Inveresk parish, Midlothian, Scotland because James was a witness there to several baptisms of his grandchildren. He died sometime there between 1777 and 1783 (burial records in Inveresk parish are missing from 1763 to 1783. Christian King was buried in Inveresk parish on 28th December 1787; "Christian King, relict to deceased James Archibald, coalhewer in the Cowpits." Source: Scottish Coalmining Ancestors by Lindsay Reeks, and LDS Films of Old Parish Records)

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