Alexander and Isabella were born in the lowlands of Scotland, Alexander in 1839, in Cumbernauld Dunbartonshire, and Isabella in 1840, in Banton Loch, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire. Their parents were weavers and miners.
1862 saw the two married, in Carluke, Larnarkshire. Their marriage certificate shows that all of their parents were dead. Alexander was working as a miner, and Isabella in a cotton factory.
In 1863 their first child, Janet Provan NICOL arrived. Mary Horn, Alexander, Isabella, James and Henry followed. Rumour has it that there were 17 children in all, but the family bible and other sources only show 14. One, a boy named Ben, apparently was born and died on board the ship during their passage to New Zealand.
The Canterbury arrived in 1874, in the port of Lyttelton. Alexander left his wife and family in Templeton (close to Christchurch) while he went into the mines to earn enough money to build a house. Obviously he came home for visits as two further children were born here. (Agnes and Jane.) The family moved to Glentunnel (South Canterbury) where Elizabeth, Rachel, John, Andrew and Arthur were born.
Alexander died in June, 1917, thankfully before his youngest son, Arthur, was killed in France on 12 October 1917, in the First World War. Alexander was buried in the Coalgate Cemetery, and Arthur's name is recorded on a war memorial in the same cemetery.
Isabella died ten years later, in 1927. She is buried with her husband, but her name is not mentioned on the headstone.
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