« AnteriorContinuar »
Janet Baird's second husband was John Weir, residing at Dunbeth, in the county of Lanark, to whom she bore one son, William, now a member of the firm, and one daughter, Janet, who married, in 1857, David Wallace, who also became a partner of W. Baird & Co.
Jane Baird, the second daughter of Alexander Baird, was born at Kirkwood, 24th August, 1804. She married, on the 6th December, 1831, Thomas Jackson, ironmaster, Coats.
Such is a brief and rapid account of the family of Alexander Baird, who began life with little other prospect before him than that of eking out a narrow existence on the lands his father had tilled. "But see'st thou a man diligent in business, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men." After all those years, since he set agoing his single-horse gin pit, this is the princely position, the princely fortune, and the more than princely heritage of reputation and honour into which his family have now entered. The Bairds have refuted the Baconian maxim. They have shown that the way to great estate may be a clean, open path of probity and fair-dealing. But the old order changeth. The builders depart, but the building remains. Beneath the old sign we find often new men with new names filling the old places of honourable industry. The name of the old firm remains unchanged. The new partners have as much life and energy as the old. They preserve the old traditions which had made the company famous, they fully preserve the old honour and reputation which have made it respected, but one is touched when one reads the list of the names of the partners of to-day, and finds that, if something of his blood remains, still the surname of the intrepid farmer is already gone. The following gentlemen are to-day the partners of the world-renowned firm of William Baird & Co. :— (i) William Weir, of Kildonan.
(2) James Baird Thorneycroft.
(3) John Alexander.
(4) Robert Angus.
(5) Alexander Fleming.
(6) William Laird.
(7) Andrew Kirkwood M'Cosh.
The Parish Church—Banton Chapel—Rev. J. Lyon—Ordination —Secession— Pursued by an Echo—Succession of Missionaries —Manse Built—Revi James Whiteford—A Parish Quoad Sacra—William Cadell—Friendship with Dr. Roebuck— Carron Company Founded—William Archibald Cadell— —Scientific Pursuits—His Taciturnity—Sir Joseph Banks— "A Journey in Italy "—Encyclopaedia Contributions—Clever Escape—Forth and Clyde Canal—Smeaton—Hugh Baird— Canal Locks—Trial of Charlotte Dundas—Fish-tail Propeller.
The parish church of Kilsyth is a most elegant structure. The architecture of it is all that could be desired. Its only fault is the smallness of its size relative to the population of the parish. It is only seated for 850, and from the nature of the site which it occupies it cannot be extended to much advantage. This has given rise to various evils. At an early period it was the cause of a certain irregularity of attendance, and it has prevented the church from taking full advantage of times when the tide of popular life was running strongly in its favour. A considerable number have been forced into the ranks of non-conformity for no other reason than the difficulty of obtaining accommodation in the parish church. The smallness of the church was strongly felt by Dr. Burns. To take off the pressure as far as possible he did a very wise thing; he got a chapel to accommodate upwards of 400, erected in the centre of the Banton district. Sir Archibald Edmonstone, Bart., W. A. Cadell, Esq., Banton, Daniel Lusk, Esq., of the paper mill, Townhead, and William Campbell, Esq., Glasgow, subscribed fifty guineas each to the scheme. The school and schoolmaster's house were also erected about the same time. In 1837 a missionary was,first employed to work in the district, and from that date till now, Banton Church has been the only place of worship in that portion of the parish.
The Rev. J. Lyon was the first Banton missionary. Into the revival in the parish, during the ministry of Dr. Burns, he threw himself with marked zeal, and the people of Banton received their full share of that time of enrichment and refreshing. With a new church and a zealous missionary, the young congregation had a good start, and prospered. Mr. Lyon received ordination from the Presbytery of Glasgow, 13th Feb., 1840. His sermons were destitute of literary pretensions. They were plain and Scriptural, and very well adapted— delivered as they were with considerable fire—to impress the audiences that Sunday after Sunday gathered in the new place of worship. There were few of them that occupied less than an hour in delivery. In 1843, Mr. Lyon cast in his lot with the Secession, and settling in Broughty Ferry he succeeded in building up a prosperous church. He had preached for two Sundays in St. Peter's, Dundee, for his friend the Rev. Wm. Burns, and it was this circumstance which brought him under the favourable notice of the people of Broughty Ferry. Referring to the opening of his new church in Broughty Ferry, he made, many years after, the following amongst other observations:—
"The acoustics were not what I could wish. A disagreeable echo followed me throughout the sermon, and mocked my every utterance. This was an affliction that had followed me ever since I had entered the ministry. The church in which I preached at Banton was remarkable for the sounds that were awakened by the preacher's voice. These sounds were such that few preachers could be heard in it, and few at best could be understood when heard. It was as if the judgment spoken of by the prophet had fallen on the Banton congregation: 'Hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand.' For years I had to humour that echo and strive by various plans to keep it quiet. If I ventured at any time to go high, or to speak loud, I had to fire off every word with a pause like 'a minute gun at sea.' When I left Banton I hoped that I had left this trouble behind me. But what was my surprise when I entered the pulpit of my new church at Broughty Ferry to find that my adversary was there before me."
Inducted to Broughty Ferry Free Church in March, 1844, he ministered to that congregation for the not inconsiderable period of forty-five years.
After the secession and flight of Mr. Lyon, the fair prospects of Banton Church were blighted for a time. The church was closed till 185 r, when the first of a succession of missionaries was appointed. The Rev. Mr. Wilson was appointed in 1851, Rev. J. B. Biggar in 1853, the Rev. Mr. Melville in 1854, Rev. Mr. Leitch in 1856, the Rev. Charles Hendry in 1859, the Rev. J. M'Gavin in 1863. The Rev. Thomas Kyle settled as missionary in Banton in 1865; was ordained April 17th, 1873. Falling into ill-health, he resigned in 1875. He was succeeded by the Rev. Wm. Robertson in 1875, who, in his turn, was succeeded by the Rev. Malcolm M'Neil. Having come from Canada to Banton, he received a call to the Bridgegate parish, Glasgow. It was during the incumbency of