D3: William Hunter (Banker)
WILLM & HELEN HUNTER
IN MEMORY OF
THEIR SON BORN 22ND NOV 1852
DIED 9TH MARCH 1854
THEIR DAUGHTER BORN 15TH MAY 1856
DIED 14TH JUNE 1860
DIED 5TH SEPT 1860 AGED 46 YEARS
HELEN LAIDLAW HUNTER
DAUGHTER OF JOHN HUNTER
BORN 1ST NOV 1878, DIED 24TH DEC 1878
WIFE OF JOHN HUNTER
DIED 29TH MAY 1887, AGED 42 YEARS
SON OF ABOVE JOHN HUNTER
DIED 7TH SEPTEMBER 1898, AGED 16 YEARS
HELEN LAIDLAW, WIFE OF THE ABOVE
WHO DIED 30TH APRIL 1911, AGED 88 YEARS
I. William Hunter (b.1814 d.1860) and Helen Laidlaw (b.1823 d.1911)
Children: John (b.1849), Thomas (b.1851), William (b.1852), Agnes (b.1856), William (b.1858)
William Hunter the eldest child of John Hunter and Elizabeth Houston was born at Little Garlcaugh farm. As a young man he worked as an agricultural labour at his uncle’s, John Houston, neighbouring farm of Garclaugh. William married Helen Laidlaw the daughter of Thomas Laidlaw of Kirkconnel and Helen Campbell, the sister of Ivie Campbell who had previously farmed Garclaugh.
William set himself up as a grain & cheese merchant at Pathhead and three years after the City of Glasgow Bank established a branch at New Cumnock in 1851 he was appointed as their bank agent.
Sadly after a protracted illness William passed away in 1860 leaving behind a young family. His obituary included the
‘Few men at so early a period of life had secured such a wide circle of friends and this he owed to his inherent strength of character, intelligence, and high moral strength. His starting point in life was humble, but he soon acquired a good position in society; and while industriously attending to his own immediate pursuits of grain and cheese merchant and banker, he took a leading part in political disquisitions, and in our own and other public journals and from time to time discussed with the ability of a master the questions of labour, wages, the currency, and kindred topics. Mr. Hunter’s admitted ability was graced with the modesty of true merit which rendered him doubly dear to his friends.’
Together William and Helen had five children with Agnes and William dying in infancy. Eldest son John continued the cheese & grain business while second son Thomas worked as a bank clerk before later settling in Cumnock where he would later serve as Provost of the town, while youngest son William had an iron-mongers business in Cumnock.
II. John Hunter (b.1849 d.1930) and 1. Marion Blane (b.1846 d. 1887) & 2. Margaret Hannah (b.1866 d.1937)
1.Marion / Children: William (b.1876), Margaret (b.1877), Helen Laidlaw (b.1878), Thomas Blane (b.1879) , John Laidlaw (b.1882). May (1885)
2. Maggie / Children: Jessie (b.1894), Hugh (b.1897)
John developed the family business in New Cumnock and established a shop in the Castle with a grocery, bakery and general provisions. He married Marion Blane, a dressmaker from Glasgow and daughter of Thomas Blane, Cotton Mill manager. Together they had six children – William, Margaret, Helen Laidlaw, Thomas Blane, John Laidlaw and Marion (known as May).
After Marion passed away (1887), John married Margaret Hannah and together they had two children Jessie and Hugh.
John Hunter was one of several public-spirited merchants in the town and was a great supporter of the annual Old Folks Party as well as a founder member of the New Cumnock Bowling Club. When he passed away at 82 years, he was fondly recognised as ‘the elder statesman of the Town’s merchants’.
III. Thomas Blane Hunter (b.1880 d.1943) and Catherine Campbell (b.1893 d.1971)
Children: Mary (1924) John (1925), Campbell (1927)
John’s sons Thomas Blane and Hugh had both been injured during World War I and he employed a private nurse Catherine Campbell to look after them. Thomas and Catherine later married and took over the family business and he played an active part in community affairs including chairing the annual Wardens and Police dinner. Together they had three children Mary, John and Campbell.
Mary married Robert Laurie of Knockburnie Farm, near Dalleagles. Eldest son John became a teacher and was later appointed Depute Rector at Cumnock Academy. Youngest son Campbell became the fourth generation of Hunters “Merchants of New Cumnock2.
Sir Tom Hunter
With the demise of the mining industry in the late 1980’s, Hunter’s shop eventually closed. However, the fifth generation, Thomas Blane Hunter, made his mark on the world. In 1995, his Sports Division empire comprised 250 stores and employed 7,000 people and ten years later he was knighted for his ‘services to Philanthropy and to Entrepreneurship in Scotland’
Hunter’s Shop: Pre-World War I
Hunter’s Shop / Post-World War I
- Left: John Hunter
- Right:Thomas Blane Hunter
- Left:John Hunter with his son John
- Right: John Hunter & wife Maggie with daughters Margaret, Jessie, May and son Thomas
Auld Kirkyard Map
Many thanks to Janice Yates (nee Hunter) and her Aunt Mary for the family photos and family information.
- Ayr Sheet XLII.6 (New Cumnock)
- Survey date: 1857 Publication date: 1860
- Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
- City of Glasgow Cheque The Robert Pool Glasgow Collection:
- Sir Tom Hunter & Schoolchildren: Permission of Herald and Times Group
- Hunter Family photographs: Permission of the Hunter Family