JOHN HOUSTON – Weather Man & Prophet.

John was born in Kirkcudbright about the year 1849. His father was William Houston, a carpenter and his mother Mary Houston, maiden name Ferguson.

In 1868 John began work as a postman and in 1873 he married Jane Johnston from Girthon Parish, and they appear to have lived there for a short time.

Kirkcudbright Registrars:
Register: Marriages, 1873, #12.
Date/Place: 20th June 1873 at Loch-Fergus Cot-house, Kirkcudbright.
Groom: John Houston, 24, bachelor, Postman, residing Kirkcudbright.
Bride: Jane Johnston, 21, domestic servant, residing at Loch Fergus cot-house.
Parents: William Houston, carpenter & Mary Houston, m.s. Ferguson, both deceased.
John Johnston, shepherd, & Mary Johnston, m.s. Currie.
Witnesses: James Crichton & Ellen Johnston.

1881 census:
Dwelling: High Street, Kirkcudbright. (EnumDist 1 Page 1)
John HOUSTON, head, 31, married, Postman, born Kirkcudbright.
Janet HOUSTON, wife, 27, born Girthon, Kirkcudbright.
William HOUSTON, son, 7, scholar, born Girthon, Kirkcudbright.
Mary Corrie HOUSTON, daughter, 5, scholar, born Girthon, Kirkcudbright.
William JOHNSTON, lodger, 21, unmarried, Gamekeeper, born Girthon, Kirkcudbright.
John GARDINER, lodger, 38, shoemaker, born Kells, Kirkcudbright.

He remained working as a postman until his retirement on 31st December 1910, during which time he covered the rural postal run around the Borgue area where he became a very well known character. He had only one arm, his left one, which must have caused him considerable inconvenience in his work. The first photograph appears to have been taken to celebrate his retirement, and the second seems to be a little later.

To supplement his income John took on other work. There is a record of him as a rat-catcher, but his most famous activity was his acknowledged ability to predict the weather. The photographs show his notice board at ‘Kirkhouse’ near the graveyard on which he would regularly update his weather forecast. He also contributed to the Glasgow Herald, where his forecasts were treated very seriously.

John died after a short illness in his house in Castle Bank, Kirkcudbright on 9th February 1925.

Kirkcudbright Registrars:
Register: Deaths, 1925, #7.
Date/Place: 4.30.p.m. 9th February 1925, at Castle Bank, Kirkcudbright.
Deceased: John Houston, 75, retired postman, married to Jane Johnstone.
Parents: William Houston, ships carpenter, & Mary Houston, m.s. Ferguson, both deceased.
Cause of Death: Influenza (8 days) & Cerebral Hemorrhage (1 day).
Registered by: William Houston, son, 13 Harcourt Pl., Lockerbie.

The family history of John Houston has been researched, and a copy of his family tree is lodged at the Stewartry Museum. The museum also hold a number of photographs of this man.