Six Generations of Watsons from Cander Mains as related to us by Donald Cochrane, Dunedin, NZ
150 years ago Thomas Watson of Dalserf Parish met and married Helen Dougall at Muirhead in Dalserf and on the 15th Apr 1847 they had a son John Watson who probably attended school in Draffan before starting full time work with his father at ‘Muirhead’ where he learnt his farming skills.
In those days there were Ploughing competitions between farms and it is recorded that around 1868 a medal was awarded “First Prize Won By John Watson” [with an engraving of a single furrow plough] and “Given by His Grace the Duke of Hamilton”.
Then next year at the Dalserf Agricultural Society Ploughing Match in Jan 1869 he won a ploughing match in the Senior Class, winning a large silver medal, in a presentation box, being engraved as follows :
“Gained by John Watson” [with an engraving of a single furrow plough] and on the reverse, “Presented by Robt. Wotherspoon Esqr. of OverDalserf Colliery to The Dalserf Agricultural Society Senior Class Jany. 1869”.
Then John won the Hamilton, Blantyre & Cambuslang Agricultural Society Ploughing Match, in Feb 1869 with a silver medal engraved, “First Prize, Won By John Watson, Muirhead, Dalserf 1869” [with an engraving of a single furrow plough], and on the reverse, “Given By His Grace The Duke of Hamilton to The Hamilton, Blantyre and Cambuslang Agl. Socy.” It was duly reported in the “Glasgow Herald” of Saturday the 6th February 1869 :
The 48th annual ploughing match of the Hamilton, Blantyre, and Cambuslang Agricultural Society took place yesterday in a large field within the walls of his Grace the Duke of Hamilton’s upper policies. This field, which has been taken on a short cropping lease by Mr A. Walker, of Larkhall, is in the main admirably adapted for the display of good workmanship. The soil is strong and deep but friable clay, the only drawback being, perhaps, that the part allotted to the juniors was too soft and yielding, causing their work to appear at a great disadvantage by the side of that of the senior competitors. The weather was all that could be desired, and the turnout of spectators large. There were on the field 30 senior and 11 junior ploughmen, including the competitors from Shotts, Dalserf, Bothwell, Falkirk, Cumbernauld, cambuslang, Cambusnethan, Old and New Monkland, East Kilpatrick, Stonehouse, Calder, Lesmahagow, and most of the intervening Parishes. As almost everyone of the competitors was a medallist in his own parish, the task of deciding amid so much merit was almost invidious, although on the whole the decisions of the judges seemed to coincide with the general opinion of the public. The judges were – Messers Archibald Craig, Bellsfield, Blantyre; R. Murdoch, Hallside; and R. Frame, Cornhills, Hamilton.
The awards were as follows :- Senior class – 1st John Watson, Muirhead, Dalserf 1 [6 placements overall in the Senior Class plus two highly recommended, and 4 places in the Junior class].
The match was over about 5pm., and thereafter upwards of 40 gentlemen connected with the society sat down to dinner in the Royal Hotel, Larkhall (Mr Walkers) and spent the evening, aided by a plentiful and well-served repast, with the usual accompaniments of speech and song.”
Then later in the year at the Highland Agricultural Society Ploughing Match, John won a smaller medal including the words “Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland in relief” and engraved “To John Watson Muirhead 1869”, with a two-horse plough in a field being shown in relief on the reverse.
Then later c.1869-1870 he won another medal, smaller and in gold but not hallmarked. It is simply engraved “Dalserf Ploughing Match Medal” on the reverse and on the face is finely engraved with a leaf pattern and comes with its own small leatherette box.
Continued...The Move to Cander Mains :