Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

31/7/2004

The Story of Captain Blackwood

Just to give a indication of the wealth of information in Church records and newspaper obituries.

Captain Blackwood joined Junction Road Church on October 1842 and at that date there is the following entry in the Role of Members in Mr Muir’s handwriting-

“Alexander Blackwood 13 Baltic Street, Shipmaster, and Mrs Blackwood from Ayr certified by the Rev Mr Renwick Ayr. To which is added a marginal note “Master of the steamer Martello”

Members of the Congregation in the 19th century tell what a firm friend Captain Blackwood was to the congregation from his first connection with it. He even lived next door to Mr Muir and they became firm friends and not only this he worked on schemes to get rid of the debt on the Church.

His main interest was in Home and Foreign Mission and he was a ready helper and supporter of the work done by the Church on the Sheriff Brae.

During his long connection with the Church he never took office. His occupation and shy nature prevented this However his advice was always sought before a new scheme was started.

When the new halls were erected it was thought that an appropriate memorial should be erected to Captain Blackwood.

The following comes from the “Leith Burgh Pilot” of the 26th April 1884.

“On Wednesday Captain Alexander Blackwood a well known Leith Shipowner died in his residence in North Fort Street. He commanded the steamer “Ayr” one of the early steamers placed on the Clyde, the first being the “Comet” which is associated with Henry Bell, the founder of steam navigation in this country. Captain Blackwood left his command of the “Ayr” on his appointment as harbourmaster of the port of Ayr. Thereafter as chief officer of the “Britannia” he crossed the Atlantic on her first trip, the pioneer of the Cunard Line, trading between Liverpool and America and left it to take command of one of Messrs G&J Burns steamers in the coasting trade from Glasgow. He joined Leith, Hull and Hamburg Company forty years ago, and was in command until the death of Captain Cook one of the founders of the company when he remained on shore to give his valuable services in the active supervision of the companies fleet and his connection with the company as marine superintendent and partner continued until his death”

The “Leith Herald” of the same date says-

“Ever since he came to Leith Mr Blackwood” was a member of Junction Road United Presbyterian Church. In the various schemes connected with the Church he took great interest and was a very liberal supporter of the Missions carried out in connection with the Church at Sheriff Brae. He is survived by two sons and one daughter. His wife predeceased him several years ago. In the work of Junction Road Church she also took a warm interest and was very kind and considerate to the poor and needy. The late Rev Francis Muir was in the habit of referring to her as the “Dorcus” of the Church.”

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