John Fairweather (1826-1885)

Chapelfield Farm today

John Fairweather




John Fairweather – was born on 9th May 1826 at Alyth. He was a farmer at Chapelfield, St Cyrus. He married Elizabeth Brown Fife of East Mathers Farm, St Cyrus on 9th Nov 1848. The farm had to be given up in 1862/63 as a result of “grass sickness” among the horses and the resultant capital loss. John wanted to emigrate to Natal as many others in the area had done. The government was offering 160 acres for each child. But his father-in-law would not hear of it saying that “he could go himself but the wife and bairns stay here. Glasgow was far enough away”. John moved to Glasgow with his family and worked first as a commission agent and then a mercantile clerk in the wool trade. He was in demand as a fiddler at weddings. His son John spoke of him as being very fond of children.  Latterly he worked as a clerk in a sawmill. John died on 7th July 1885 at 4 Scotia St as a result of chronic bronchitis and was buried in Sighthill Cemetery, Glasgow.

The following newspaper stories give us a small insight to his life and character.

The Stonehaven Journal, Thursday March 5, 1857
“Mr Fairweather, Chapelfield, some weeks ago presented the Porteous School, Lauriston, with a cart load of coals – a very seasonable gift.

The Stonehaven Journal, Thursday December 31, 1857

Perhaps the field used for the ploughing competition

Perhaps the field used for the ploughing competition. Farmhouse on left.

Ploughing Match – On Thursday last, the 24th instant, the Garvock Ploughing Association held their annual ploughing match in an extensive field belonging to Mr Fairweather, Chapelfield. By eight o’clock 32 ploughs started in first-rate style; the weather was all that could be wished, the competition keen and animated. A great number of spectators were drawn to the scene, this being the first affair of its kind in the district. By 2 o’clock pm. the match was over, and the work performed in the style characteristic of “the men of the Mearns.” The Judges – Messrs McGregor, Criggie; Stephen, Jackson; and Masson, Tullo, Benholm – after a minute and repeated examination, awarded prizes as follows:-

1. John Milne, servant to Mr Valentine, Longleys

2. Alex. Harrison, do. to David Scott. Esq., Brotherton or East Ballagety

3. William Malcom, do. to Mr Middletom, South Park, Bradieston

4. William Smart, do. to Mr Scott, Tallo, Garvock

5. James Glen, do. to Mr Kinnear, Craig, Garvock

6. James Hutchion, do. to Mr Henry, Ravenshaw

7. George Burlie, do. to David Scott, Esq., Brotherton, East Ballagety
For Grooming and Harness

1. William Cowie, servant to Mr Peter, West Bradieston

2. Charles Silver, do. to Mr Murray, Eulardo

3. David Duncan, do to Mr Hogg, South Bradieston

4. William Davie,  do. to Mr Lawson, Bradieston

5. David Rodger, do. to Mr Grewer, Barnhill

6. Alex. Skeen, do. to Mr Gavin, Haddo

7. James Poustie, do. to Mr Burness, Redford

At the conclusion of the match the ploughmen were substantially regaled by Mr Fairweather. After the labours of the field had been satisfactorily terminated the members of the Association were handsomely treated to a sumptuous dinner by Mr Fairweather. On the removal of the cloth the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were given in succession from the chair, which was ably filled by Mr Fairweather. The evening was spent in the harmonious interchange of kindly sentiments – social joy and social crack. The importance of such associations and such competitions cannot be too highly appreciated – they give stimulus to all that is praiseworthy, fostering an improved taste, neatness, and precision in all that is connected with the labours of the farm.