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John Bilsland (1881-1961), Mary Bilsland (1882-1962)

At the time of their marriage at Critreoch, Buchanan in 1911 John was a machinist living at 145 High St, Dumbarton and Mary was a housemaid to the Duchess of Montrose at Buchanan Castle. In 1917 when their son, James Donald Bilsland, was born, they were living at Catter Cottage and John was a ploughman. In the 1911 census he was at Galashiels travelling a stallion, owned by the Duke of Montrose, to mares to be served. In those days before tractors, Clydesdale horses did all the heavy work on farms.

John took over the farm at Spittal after his brother James Peter died at the age of 30 (KMR154). Their sister Elizabeth Orr Bilsland lived at Spittal with both her brothers and was known as Aunt Lizzie to the family.

Margaret Bilsland (1924-1947)

John and Mary Bilsland erected this stone to commemorate the life of their daughter Margaret who was born 7th December 1924 and died 4th December 1947 aged 23. 

In modern times this death could have been prevented.  She had a very bright, bubbly character and was renowned for her singing.  A poem was written about her by Rev J T Monteith of Drymen recognising the tragedy.

John Bilsland

Ploughing at Spittal – 1912

KMR154  Elizabeth Orr Brock (1831- 1908) 

Granny Brock (grandmother to James, John and Elizabeth) was living at Spittal when the Forth and Clyde Junction Railway from Stirling to Balloch was built (1850) and Spittal Farm had to be relocated to make way for it. It was rebuilt and furnished for the Brock family at its present location.


James Donald Bilsland (1917-1985) 

Annie Bilsland (1921-1998)

Son of John and Mary Bilsland above and husband of Annie McIntyre McCall who died 14 March 1998. James was a bomber pilot in WW2.


On his return after the war he started a contracting business with his threshing machine around the local farms. When more people turned to doing this, he started James D Bilsland Oil Supplies to fuel the machines. His son James took over the business on his father’s death and made it into what it is today

James Donald Bilsland

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