This branch of the Gillespie family settled in New Cumnock in the 1870s through William Gillespie, a native of Keir parish, Dumfriesshire who found work as an agricultural labourer based at Dalleagles. Here he met his future wife Janet Foster, a native of Muirkirk, who worked as a domestic servant in Ardnith House, the home of Robert Brown, general manager of Lanemark Collieries Ltd.
Together William and Janet had seven children including their first born Alexander Gillespie in 1874 by which time William was working in one of the local pits at the pit-head. Alexander would also later work in the pits and during this time he married Annie Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig, a draper in Newton Mearns and Annie Craig. The couple settled in New Cumnock, living at Pathhead at first, where in 1898 daughter Annie McNaught Gillespie was born, before moving to Bank Glen. Together they had three other children – William, Jessie & Alexander – and later lived in the family owned house Ingleston, Bank Glen. Alexander followed in his father William’s footsteps both now working as colliery checkweighman.
Annie attended the local Bank School, where her aunt Agnes Gillespie was a teacher for a time. In 1912, Annie, now 14 years old, received her Arthur Trust Dux Medal for General Excellence. Annie married coal miner John Stevenson in 1925 at the Bank United Free Church. John was the son of John Stevenson, grocer and Mary Mitchell who lived at Craiglea, Leggate. He was in the last cage of survivors to be rescued following the Knockshinnoch pit disaster. John’s son Ian was also one of the trapped miners and was rescued after 3 days.
Thank you to Mrs Craigie Haddow (nee Stevenson), daughter of Annie Stevenson (nee Gillespie) for providing the photo of her mother’s Arthur Trust Medal.