On 7th June 1918, Elizabeth Ferguson, widow of James Christal Ferguson, Ship’s Captain in Kirkcudbright, died in Dumfries. She was 83 years old and was childless.
Born Elizabeth Jane Brown Christal, she married Captain James Christal Ferguson in Kirkcudbright on the 10th of April 1860.
Elizabeth’s parents were Robert Christal, house painter, and his wife Isabella Brown. Their marriage is entered in the Kirkcudbright old parish registers on 13th February 1827, he from Kirkcudbright and she from the neighbouring parish of Borgue.
They had 6 children all born in Kirkcudbright:
Mary Brown Christal, born 4th January 1828.
John Christal, born 26th July 1929.
Samuel Brown Christal, born 4th March 1831.
John Christal, born 14th February 1833.
Elizabeth Jane Brown Christal, born 4th March 1835.
Margaret Rain Christal, born 27th May 1837.
Isabella Marion Christal, born 7th September 1841.
The 1841 census. Castle St, Kirkcudbright (EnumDist 6, page 1)
Robert Christal, 35 years, painter and glazier, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Isabella Christal, 35 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Samuel Christal, 10 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
John Christal, 8 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Elizabeth Christal, 6 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Margaret Christal, 4 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
And the 1851 census.
Robert Christal, head, 48 years, married, Candlemaker, painter & glazier, born Kirkcudbright.
Isabella Christal, wife, 51 years, born Borgue, Kirkcudbrightshire.
John Christal, son, 18 years, unmarried, apprentice painter & glazier, born Kirkcudbright.
Elizabeth Christal, daughter, 16 years, unmarried, dressmaker, born Kirkcudbright.
Margaret Christal, daughter, 13 years, scholar, born Kirkcudbright
Isabella Christal, daughter, 9 years, scholar, born Kirkcudbright.
Captain James Ferguson’s parents were Adam M Ferguson, also a mariner, and his wife Jane Christal. There is no trace of their marriage on the registers but both were native to Kirkcudbright. They had 7children, all born in Kirkcudbright:
John Ferguson, born 20th February 1826 (Adam listed as ‘mariner’)
James Christal Ferguson, 21st March 1829 (Adam listed as ‘mariner’)
Robert Cutler Ferguson, born 19th May 1833.
Marion Christal Ferguson, born 14th March 1837.
Isabella Christal Ferguson, born 4th November 1839 (Adam listed as ‘sailor’)
Jane Ferguson, born 3rd October 1843.
Adam Maitland Ferguson, born 15th July 1847.
In the 1841 census, Adam is away from home as is their eldest son, John (who was also to become a ship’s captain).
1841 census. Union St, Kirkcudbright (EnumDist 6, page 2)
Jane Ferguson, 30 years, Wife of Merchant Seaman, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
James Ferguson, 12 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Robert Ferguson, 8 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Marion Ferguson, 4 years, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
Isabella Ferguson, 1 year, born Kirkcudbrightshire.
1851 census. Union St, Kirkcudbright (EnumDist 6, #62)
Jane Ferguson, head, 46 years, married, wife of sailor, born Kirkcudbright.
Marion Ferguson, daughter, 14 years, scholar, born Kirkcudbright.
Isabella Ferguson, daughter, 11 years, scholar, born Kirkcudbright.
Jane Ferguson, daughter, 7 years, scholar, born Kirkcudbright.
Adam Ferguson, son, 3 years, born Kirkcudbright.
James Ferguson’s mother, Jane Christal was Elizabeth Christal’s father’s sister. James Ferguson and Jane Christal were therefore full cousins. The parents of Jane and Robert Christal were John Christal and Marion Erskine who married in Kirkcudbright in 1800 and who had the following family:
James Christal, born 11th June 1801.
Robert Christal, born 29th June 1802.
Jane Christal, born 8th January 1805.
William Christal, born 26th May 1809.
James Ferguson’s father, Adam Ferguson was the son of William Ferguson and Janet McMin. William Ferguson was a farmer in Ringford Parish (possibly Queenshill) and later owned the area of Kirkcudbright known as Soaperie Gardens. He died about 1815 and a copy of his last will & testament is available at Scotland’s People website. This document states that William was married to Janet McMin and that they had three children, Adam, Jean & Mary. It also states that a daughter named Agnes, from a first marriage, was spouse to James Bryce in Barstibbly Farm. Adam Maitland Ferguson’s birth is recorded at Tongland Parish on 27th June 1797 and Mary Fergusson was baptised 8th June 1800 at Kelton Parish Church.
Adam Maitland Ferguson died in Kirkcudbright 27th February 1870.
To confuse matters another Adam Maitland Ferguson was baptised in Kirkcudbright 2nd May 1802 – parents William Ferguson & Stewart McWhan. This coincidence had led to misunderstanding in the past.
Elizabeth Christal’s mother, Isabella Brown was a native of Borgue Parish, but I haven’t been able to confirm her date of birth or parents.
The Fergusons and the Christals have family graves in St Cuthbert’s graveyard at Kirkcudbright which give details of some extended family members also. The memorial to James Christal Ferguson, who died during a sea voyage and was buried at sea is on the Ferguson headstone and his wife’s is on the Christal stone.
The first two gravestones are adjacent and mark the Ferguson lair:
In affectionate remembrance of Adam M Ferguson, Mariner, who died at Kirkcudbright 27th February 1870, aged 73 years. Jane Christal, his wife, who died 11th December 1869, aged 65 years. Their son Robert Cutler Ferguson, who was drowned at sea in Lat. 2° 12′ S., Long. 26° W., August 16th 1848, aged 15 years. Their son Adam M Ferguson, who died at Liverpool on the 3rd February 1871 aged 24 years, and was interred here on the 6th February 1871. Their daughter Isabella, wife of Richard Chaffers, who died in Liverpool, 18th February 1872, aged 32 years and was interred in Smithdown Cemetery. Their daughter Marion, wife of John McClure, who died in Liverpool 6th May 1876, aged 39 years, and was interred in Smithdownlane Cemetery. And of Captain James C Ferguson who died on board his ship, Avenger, and was buried at sea 21st June 1890, aged 61 years.
In affectionate remembrance of Margaret Moffat, the beloved wife of John C Ferguson, who died at Kirkcudbright 1st November 1882, aged 60 years. “Fell asleep in Jesus”. Also Thomas Moffat Ferguson, their son, who died at Dalbeattie 11th June 1853, aged 1 year and 4 months, and was interred in Kirkgunzeon Churchyard. Also the above Captain John Christal Ferguson, who died at 10 St Cuthbert’s Street, Kirkcudbright, on Sunday 11th May 1890, aged 64 years. ‘Thy will be done’. John Christal Ferguson, eldest son of the above Captain John Christal Ferguson, who died at Melbourne, 21st May 1895, aged 48 years. Robert James Ferguson, youngest son of the above Capt. John C Ferguson, who died at Worthing, Sussex, 10th January 1932, aged 70 years. and was interred there. Jane Christal Ferguson, who died 3rd July 1937, aged 94 years, sister of the above Capt. John C Ferguson.
The next stone is contained in 3 sections and marks the Christal lair.
In memory of Mary Brown Christal, died 2nd May 1829, aged 16 months. John Christal, died 3rd April 1830, aged 8 months. Samuel Brown Christal, died 14th December 1855, aged 24 years. Isabella Brown, spouse of Robert Christal, painter in Kirkcudbright, and mother of the above, died 3rd April 1869, aged 68 years. John Christal, died 14th May 1880, aged 47 years. Also the said Robert Christal who died at Kirkcudbright 12th December 1884, aged 82 years. Isabella Marion Christal, died 5th June 1899, aged 59 years. Elizabeth Jane Brown Christal (widow of Captain James C Ferguson), died 7th June 1918, aged 83 years.
Robert Christal Taylor, son of John Taylor and Margaret R Christal, and grandson of Robert Christal and Isabella Brown, who died at Kirkcudbright on the 24th October 1870, aged 10 years. Margaret Auld Taylor, their daughter, who died at Portpatrick 13th March 1879, aged 16 years. John Samuel Taylor, their son, who died at Portpatrick 18th October 1883, aged 19 years. (Note: John Taylor senior was a schoolmaster in Portpatrick. He was born in Wick)
Margaret Hastings, wife of Robert Christal, who died 8th April 1927, aged 87 years. Robina Christal, daughter of Robert Christal and Margaret Hastings, born 15th August 1873, died 31st May 1959.
There are also 4 small stones in front of lair marked:
1. L,M,C. the 3rd April 1830.
2. G.B. aged 68 years R.C.T.
3. S.B., C.J.C., M.B.C. the 2nd May 1829.
4. R.C. M.H.
I have in my possession an application to the Sheriff Court in Kirkcudbright, dated 28th December 1918, on behalf of Miss Robina Christal, 99 High St., Kirkcudbright, and her brother Thomas Louis Christal, farmer, Ernmenzies, Parish of Crossmichael, Elizabeth Christal or Ferguson’s surviving next of kin. Their application is to allow them to dispose of her estate after her death, and to tidy up her affairs.