Alexander Erskine (1856)

Alexander Erskine was born in January 1856 in the village of Polmont, Stirlingshire, few miles west of Edinburgh in Scotland.

As described in the National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland of 1868:  “POLMONT, a parish in the county of Stirling, Scotland. It includes, besides the village of its own name, those of Redding and Bennetstone. It extends in length about 6 miles from N.E. to S.W., with an extreme breadth of 2½ miles. It is bounded by the Firth of Forth, the county of Linlithgow, and the parishes of Muiravonside, Slamannan, Falkirk, and Bothkennar. The surface is moderately even, the greatest altitude being only 553 feet, from which there is an extensive prospect. The land, which is chiefly carse, is fertile, and enclosed and planted. Within the limits of the parish are several mines and quarries, also brick and tile kilns, which together employ a large number of the inhabitants. The parish is traversed by the road from Edinburgh to Falkirk, by the Union canal, and by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, which last has a junction station here, where the Grangemouth branch turns off. The village of Polmont is about 3 miles E. of Falkirk. It is situated on the Firth of Forth, near the Linlithgow border, between the river Avon and Grange Burn. The parish is also crossed by the Antonine wall. In the vicinity are several mineral springs. This parish is in the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and in the patronage of the crown. The minister has a stipend of £270. The parish church was erected in 1741. There are a Free church, parochial school, and library, also several other schools. Polmont gives title of baron to the Duke of Hamilton.”.

Alexander’s father (Alexander 1830-1869) was not an exception and he was employed as coal miner in the area and, according to the Scottish census, even young Alexander followed his dad’s steps as early as 15.

Around 1880 he emigrated to the United States and settles in Kansas where he married Louise Poynton, daughter of yet another coal miner, towards the end of the decade. The new family  moved first to New Mexico and then to Colorado where Alexander was employed by the CF&I. His son Ernest is also briefly employed, although just 16.

 

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