The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

1776 in Lochee
16 Nov 1777 at Invergowrie
James Cock 1739-1816
Helen Smith 1750-1826
Helen 1771, Rachel 1781, Isobel 1784
3 Sep 1807 in Dundee
Helen Scott 1787-1824
James, David, William, Robert, Henry, Thomas, George, Edward
Jane 1806 (out of wedlock), Helen 1824
16 Jul 1848 in Lochee
Invergowrie Old Churchyard

In October 1816 James' father died and soon after, another blow struck - the entire works, including a whole season's stock of finished cloth, was destroyed by fire.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Fire at Lochiefield

Nothing particular happened in my Father's family for a year or two but I was sent to School and on that account more out of the way than before. The WarsThe Napoleonic Wars 1803-1814 on the Continent in which England was engaged proved very detrimental to trade. Besides that our beloved Grandfather died on 16th October 1816 which cast a gloom over the whole of us. Father was now the sole owner of the lease of the Works to which a sad catastrophe happened.

This year was very wet, so much so that during the Autumn the full bleached linens could not be moved from the ware rooms of the Works to the sale ware-rooms in Dundee. On a Saturday afternoon it showed signs of clearing up and to be fine. To assist, Father had got the promise of horses and carts from the farmers around to help him out of his difficulty by carting the linens into the warehouses in Dundee on the first fine day, which he readily accepted, sent word for the carts to come during the forenoon, and when the carters were up at the house getting dinner in the kitchen, my Father and Mother, myself and another were in the Parlour.

All of a sudden the Parlour door burst open and the servants, male and female, fell above one another on the floor, each trying who would be first to tell the Works were on fire. Poor Father and all ran down, leaving dear Mother and myself standing at the front door looking at the flames, but the people could do little good for although there was plenty of water, there were few vessels to lift it and there were no fire engines in those days, at least there were none at the Works.

In half an hour, not more, all was over. The linens were lapped and each piece put in the broad fold like a piece of calico in a drapers shop, then built up on high tiers with a narrow passage between. The Warehouse was a long open room, thatched, which took fire first. The burning straw, falling between the tiers, burned the cloth into lengths of from 1½ yards, up to 3 or 4 yards.

The cause of the fire was an old gentleman, Mr Kinloch, of Gourdie. Kinloch when living with his relative Mr Clayhills of Invergowrie, firing at a hare running over a knoll to the south of the Works, missed the hare and the calfin, or wadding, struck the thatch which did its work. Mr Kinloch, when he saw what was done, began to move off but an old woman who had liberty from father to wash her clothes there when the Works were standing, called to him that he need not go away for she knew who he was and would tell Mr Cock when he came down.

Mr Kinloch then remained, saw Father, and expressed his sorrow and regret and next forenoon Mr & Mrs Clayhills came over and expressed their condolences with Father and Mother and said that if Mr Kinloch had been a rich man, which he was not but the contrary very poor, he would have paid part of the loss. I was present at this meeting and although young I have a distinct recollection of what passed and their appearance. Mr Clayhills was dressed like an old English Squire, knee breeches, light coloured, and top boots.

By this burning, Father lost thousands of pounds, nearly all he was worth, and the lease with only three years to run. The Camperdown Family,The Duncans who were the proprietors, allowed Father to repair the Works temporarily to run at the three years, as they meant to pull the Works down, as well as all the old houses around and convert the ground into farm land.