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Alexander Prentice of Coylton, Ayrshire, Scotland

Alexander Prentice of Coylton, Ayrshire, Scotland
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 2000 and Revised 21 Oct 2012

With the help of Philippa Wells (North), we are helping John North of Dunedin, NZ in tracing the family tree of his great-great-grandfather. Here is what we have so far:

A. Unknown Prentice, b. c. 1800-1816 at an unknown location. The name of his wife is not yet known. They had 2 or more children:

  1. Alexander Prentice was b. c. 1836. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [1]

  2. John Prentice, b. c. 1844, Danse (Duns?), Berwickshire. In the 1861 Dalkeith, Midlothian, census he is shown living with his brother, Alexander. He may, or may not, be the John Prentice shown in the IGI as chr. 27 Aug 1843 in Mordington Mains, Berwickshire, Scotland, son of Robert Prentice and Mary Grieve. The IGI also shows that Robert and Mary had another son, Thomas Prentice b. 31 Mar 1845, Mordington Mains, Berwickshire. Our Yahoo map does not show either Danse or Mordington Mains, but it does show a Duns about 10 miles E. of Mordington Holdings.

1. Alexander Prentice was b. c. 1836 (per 1861 census) at an unknown location in England. However, that 1836 birth date might be an error since that would make him only 12 when he m. Marion Reed in 1848 when she was 25. He appears in the 1861 census in Dalkeith, Midlothian County, Scotland with his wife and family.

Family tradition relates that Alexander was a "horsey" man; he was engaged in training racehorses for the Duke of Buccleuch (sp?) and at different times was a coachman for various prominent people in various parts of Scotland, and at one stage in Liverpool. Alexander is thought to have emigrated to NZ about 1884.

He m. Marion Reid on 20 Nov 1848, St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Scotland (see Footnote 1). She was b. c. 1823 in Haddington, East Lothian (per 1861 Dalkeith census. Children:

  1. D. Prentice, dau., b. c. 1850, Liberston, Edinburghshire. At home in Dalkeith in 1861 census. Since Alexander's birth date is given as 1836, he would have been only about 14 when she was born; that suggests that she may have been Marion's daughter by a prior marriage.

  2. Fanny Prentice, b. c. 1851, Newton, Edinburghshire. Since Alexander's birth date is given as 1836, he would have been only about 15 when she was born; that suggests that she may have been Marion's daughter by a prior marriage.

  3. William Prentice, b. c. 1854, Newton, Edinburghshire. At home in Dalkeith in 1861 census.

  4. John Alexander Prentice, b. 2 May 1855 Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. At home in Dalkeith, Edinburghshire, in 1861 census. He emigrated to Canada.

  5. James Reid Prentice, b. in Coylton Ayrshire, in 1857. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [2]

  6. Sarah Prentice, b. 11 Oct 1859 Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. At home in Dalkeith in 1861 census.

  7. Elizabeth Guthrie Prentice, b. 15 Feb 1862 Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

  8. William Prentice.

2. James Reid Prentice, b. 24 Jun 1857 Coylton, Ayrshire, Scotland, and d. in East Taieri, New Zealand.. Coylton lies about 5-6 miles ESE of the coastal town of Ayr and is about 30-40 miles SW of Glasgow.

He m. Donaldina Sutherland on 31 Dec 1883, East Taieri, Otago, New Zealand. She was b. c. 1858, East Taieri, NZ, dau. of John Sutherland (b. c. 1816 in Caithness, Scotland and d. c. 1893, East Taieri, NZ). Children:

  1. Alexander Prentice m. Elsie Oulton. She was b. 17 Mr 1895 in Dublin, Ireland, and d. 1988 in Kaikoura, NZ, and was the dau. of Henry William Oulton (1850-1934) and Susannah C. Stephens (1853-1949). Children:
    1. Tony Prentice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [3]
    2. Audrey Prentice, b. 21 Jul 1922, Auckland, NZ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [4]

  2. Mabel Prentice. Mabel was interesting; she never married, was personality on Stewart Island (the southernmost and smallest of the 3 main NZ islands) and travelled widely for several decades, having many adventures, and sought out Prentice relatives in Scotland (no details). We received a copy of Beverley Osborn's email of 18 Oct 2012 which read as follows:

      Reply-To: "Beverley Osborn"

      I received an enquiry today about where Mab Prentice would have been buried. I know she died at Kaikoura Hospital and that must have been in the early 80-s The Stewart Island museum is collecting information about her, since she was such a great personality here. She was a close friend and neighbour of mine when I had a young family and I've got a vague memory that there must have been a memorial service for her here and that I taped it to send to Alison Dodds, with whom she shared ownership of "The Camp" at Ryan's Creek. She's definitely not in the cemetery records here.

      The enquiry I received this morning was relayed through a friend who thought I might know, but came originally from Joanna Massey who is doing museum research for the records here and of course it's possible that she might have found your website too and been in touch with you personally. Mabbo was very dear to our family. The children loved the special things they were allowed to do when they visited her -- making pretend tea in her Tibetan tea service, ringing all the little gongs and bells she had brought home form her travels, coming bumpity, bump on their bottoms down her steep staircase and creeping quietly up her back steps in case they disturbed the wurgy murkus who lived under the house!

    Beverley Osborn's email of 22 Oct 2012 adds more information as follows:

      Her parents had a superb garden in East Taeri -- she had a coloured photo on a wall in her sitting room. I think its name was Mansefield.

      When Mab moved here she had to choose between a garden and a view because a view would have meant wind that would have prohibited some of the special plants she wanted to have. She bought 5 sections of bush and carved out a sheltered site and established a superb garden. To make a living, she painted Stewart Island scenes, birds and flowers on wall plaques, wooden breadboards, brooches, condiment sets, dressing table sets, etc, etc and when her eyesight began to make the fine detail of such paintings too difficult, she moved to shell work. Tourists from all over the world came to visit her garden and she had a tiny shop built at one edge of the garden to display her work. She used the proceeds to accomplish the world travels she loved and she went to all sorts of far flung places. I heard that she was a Cook's nightmare because she'd want to disappear into places in which they had no facilities, but she always emerged safely and happily with dozens of new friends, even if language had been a problem.

      My favourite story of her travels was the journey to South America when she was 83. She included a trip on the Amazon in a dug-out canoe but the highlight was always to be her visit to Machu Picchu. When she arrived at the destination from which tourists went via donkeys up the final 1000 or so feet, they refused to take her -- said she was too big a health risk at her age in a reduced oxygen area. She was furious but they were adamant. They thought she might at least have come to see them set out round 8 the next morning but there was no sign of her until they arrived and found her happily wandering round. She'd set off about 6 and walked up!

      Her house was transported to its site, plank by plank, by boat from a Norwegian Whaling base which had been established up Paterson Inlet to service whaling boats, and when the base was disestablished Mab bought the manager's house. She added a second storey and a front porch. The planks were painted brown and she maintained that colour but knew that it should have been oiled rather than painted because that good Norwegian timber continued to release little sap bubbles for ever. She named the property Moemoea, which means I dreamed a dream.

      She was so well known and respected as a gardener that she was sent a seedling of a tree rediscovered in Tibet long after it had been thought to be extinct. It grew and flourished under her care and she was very proud of her fossil tree.

      She got herself a view too, eventually -- built a little bus shelter sort of place out of pungas and a wooden seat, down in her bush with a view out over Thule to the Inlet.

      I have little memory of her sister Beth -- I think I only met her a couple of times when she was visiting Mab and I was a child. She was a missionary but I can't remember where. Her brothers, Sandy and Jack and their wives I do remember well and we visited Sandy's son , Tony and his wife, Geraldine, at their farm near Claverly just south of Kaikoura when we were on a family holiday.

      Beth was the first to die but the other three all lived to great ages and they wrote to each other every week -- big, long newsy letters. I used to read Mab's mail for her when her eyesight got very poor. She was the morning organist at the Presbyterian Church here for decades and she was not into slow, dirge-like singing, so we belted along in fine style in the morning, with visiting Presbyterians sometimes struggling to keep up. The evening organist was a teenager who was just learning and was therefore much more tentative, so in the mornings the congregation raced to keep up and in the evenings they tended to outrun the organist.

  3. Elizabeth Prentice.

  4. John "Jack" Prentice. He m. Doris. Daughter:
    1. Marie Prentice. She m. Ron Finlay. Children:
      1. Adrienne Finlay.
      2. Claire Finlay.

3. Tony Prentice, b. c. 1920-25, probably Auckland, NZ..

He m. Geraldine Margaret Ames. She was b. 30 Aug 1931 and d. 30 Jan 1994 in Claverley. Children:

  1. Vicki Prentice. She m. Bob. Todhunter. Children (per Philippa Wells, email, 2 Dec 2007):
    1. Simon Todhunter.
    2. Rosie Todhunter.
    3. Perhaps another daughter.
  2. Richard Prentice.
  3. Andrew Prentice. He m. Miss Murray. At least 2 children.
  4. Lucinda "Cindy" Prentice. She m. Mr. Hampton.
  5. Jimmy Prentice. Drowned, young, at Claverley many years ago.

4. Audrey Prentice, b. 21 Jul 1922, Auckland, NZ, and d. there 31 Oct 1984.

She m. Henry North on 19 Dec 1944 in Christchurch, NZ. He was b. 5 Jun 1911 in Geraldine and d. 29 Jan 1995 in Richmond, NZ. He was the son of William Bernard North and Annetta Charlotte Dumville Holloway. An Ancestor Chart for him can be found at Ancestry.com . Children (per Philippa Wells, email, 2 Dec 2007):

  1. Alexandra North. She m. 1st Mr. Carson and had 3 children:
    1. Toni North.
    2. Joanna Mary Northl
    3. Derisly Andrew North.
    She m. 2nd Graeme Mead as of Jan 2003.

  2. Nicola Henri North. She m. Barry Birchall from Jan 2004

  3. Juliet Rosemary North. She m. 1st Mr. Edwards and had 2 children.
    1. Sara Edwards
    2. Keren Edwards.
    She m. 2nd Mr. Clarke.

  4. (dau.) North. She m. Mr. Wells and had 2 children:
    1. Nicola Rachel Wells.
    2. Simon Russell Wells.

  5. Christopher John Holloway North. He m. Ruth Johnston and had a daughter:
    1. Meghan North.

Who are Alexander Prentice's Parents?

Based on Alexander's marriage to Marion Reid on 20 Nov 1848 at St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Scotland, it seems likely that his roots lie within that general geographic area.

We note that an Alexander Prentice m. Agnes Gray on 2 Jun 1821 st St. Cuthberts but we have not yet located children for them. That 1821 date almost matches the 1820 date for a Marion Reid discussed in Fn. 1.

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be deleted as spam by our email filter.

Footnote 1   We have not yet identified Marion Reid's parents, but the the IGI shows a Marion Reid who was chr. 19 Mar 1820 at Coylton, Ayr,Scotland, dau. of Andrew Reid and Susan Hannah. Coylton is the birthplace of her son, James Reid Prentice in 1857. Perhaps she returned to her childhood home to have her son.
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Toni Carson
2014-04-18 06:04:59
Alexandra North's[sic] Mead's children are Toni Alexandra Carson, J M Carson and D A Carson. Henry North's Daughter 4 is the author, Phillipa.
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