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The Journal of John Long
About the Early Days
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1893 - 1965
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REPRESENTING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF 2X2 HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS ON THE INTERNET

Letterhead used by workers titled Christian Conventions

Perry, Oklahoma Conv, 1942

Archibald Grassam Irvine
Son of William Irvine
July 12, 2016

Life of Archibald Grassam Irvine
View Photo

It has been fairly common knowledge that William Irvine fathered an illegitimate son named Archibald (Archie) Irvine when he was in his early twenties. There has been much speculation through the years surrounding the identity of the mother. Until 2010, mother’s name was not public knowledge.  Then one day, the Author received a surprising email from a grandaughter of William Irvine’s sister Agnes who married John Freebairn. She kindly provided the son's birth record, as well as additional family details. Her patience and voluntary contributions of time, information and photographs are very much appreciated.

BIRTH: According to birth records, an illegitimate son was born on April 23, 1886 in Maryhill, Lanark, Scotland to Margaret Helen Grassam. He was given the name of William Grassam. The father’s name is not given, and there is a notation “illegitimate.” The birth record contains the following information:

Birth of William Grassam
1886 Register 622 District of Maryhill, County of Lanark, Entry 354
On April 23rd at 100 Hawthorn Street, Fossilpark
Father: Illegitimate
Mother: Margaret Helen Grassam, Domestic Servant
Informant: Margaret Helen Grassam, Mother
Click Here to view Birth Record Photo

William Grassam was also known as Archibald (Archie) Grassam Irvine and was possibly adopted by William Irvine's parents John & Elizabeth Irvine.

The mother, Margaret Helen Ritchie Grassam was born April 16, 1859, in Larbert, Stirling, Scotland. She and William Irvine were first cousins. Margaret's father Archibald Grassam and William's mother Elizabeth (Grassam) Irvine were siblings. So Margaret and William shared the same Grandfather. Margaret’s father was William’s Uncle; and William’s mother was Margaret’s Aunt. When their son was born on April 23, 1886, Margaret was 27 years old, working as a domestic servant and William was 23, working in a colliery. Family rumor has it that Wm. made himself scarce for awhile. Perhaps he took a job in another location, for he worked in several different mines over the years.

What was Margaret's background? Her parents were Archibald and Marion (Hoyden) Grassam. They were married on December 16, 1853 in Larbert, Stirling, Scotland. Margaret had at least 7 siblings: Christina, William, Francis, Elizabeth, Marion, Robina and Archibald. Margaret died on October 5, 1915, age 56 of stomach cancer. Margaret’s father Archibald Grassam died at age 43 in 1874; and her mother Marion Grassam died on 1891 in Falkirk.

About two years after Archie was born, on January 3, 1888, Margaret married a coal miner named John Hastings in Falkirk, Scotland. At the time, Margaret was 28 and John was 36 years old, with 3 sons from a prior marriage who lived with them. After they married, John and Margaret Hastings had two children. Sadly, Margaret Grassam Hastings would become a widow before she was 42 years old. Sometime between the 1891 and 1901 censuses, John Hastings passed away.

1891 was the first Scotland census taken after William Grassom was born to Margaret Grassam in 1886. Her son’s name, relationship and age should be listed somewhere in a household in Scotland unless he had died. However, his name wasn’t listed in the Hastings household where his mother lived with 2 other children to whom she had given birth since 1886.

The 1891 Census Record for the Hastings household in Falkirk, Scotland showed that the household of John Hastings (age 39) contained 3 sons from a prior marriage who lived with him and Margaret (age 31): Francis (age 15), Alexander (age 13), and John (age 11). In addition, John and Margaret had two children: James Hastings (age 2) and Margaret Hastings (age 4 months). Margaret’s mother Marion Grassam also lived with them. There is no mention of Margaret’s illegitimate son William Grassam, who was born in Maryhill, Lanark and would have been 4-5 years old in 1891.

However, the 1891 Census Record for the household of John and Elizabeth Irvine (Wm. Irvine’s parents) in Kilsyth, Scotland lists the name of a 4-year old GRANDSON named Archibald Irvine, born in Maryhill, Lanark, which is the same location where Margaret's son named William Grassam was born in 1886. It is not known where Archie lived the first 4 years of his life or when he came to live with his Irvine Grandparents. Could have been when he was an infant, or when he was 4 years old, or any time in between.

This means there were two male children with the same birth date and birth place, born in the same family, with two different names. William Grassam and Archibald Grassam Irvine. This raises these questions: Who was Archibald Irvine? Are Archibald Irvine and William Grassam the same person? Was William Grassam's name changed to Archibald Grassam Irvine?

Archibald was listed on the 1891 Census as a GRANDSON with the surname of Irvine. Therefore, one of the three sons of John and Elizabeth Irvine could have been Archibald's father. Wm. Irvine’s two brothers were James and John. James married Catherine/Kate Halkett in 1888 and athough they had no children, it is possible for James to have fathered an ilegitimate son in 1886. John married Mary Stewart in 1879 and their daughter Elizabeth was born Sept. 13, 1886. So IF John fathered a son named Archibald born April, 1886 (5 months before his daughter Elizabeth was born), then his wife wasn’t the mother, and the child would have been illegitimate. On the other hand, it was fairly common knowledge in the Irvine family that William had fathered an illegitimate son.

GROWING UP: The address given for the Wm. Irvine's parents on the 1881 and 1891 Census for Cumbernauld, Dumbarton County was Nos.16 and 7-8 Auchinstarry Rows.This is where Archie was living in 1891, and he possibly lived there until he left Scotland for New Zealand. The Irvine family lived in a Auchinstarry Row home for everal years. The establishment of coal and ironstone mining and the associated mineral railway led to the formation of the Village of Auchinstarry. To accomodate the large workforce needed for these industries, five rows of quite basic houses were built, called the Auchinstarry Rows. The establishment of the miners' rows created a vibrant new community within its own identity. Click Here for Photograph.

A granddaughter of William's sister Agnes who married John Freebairn is an avid genealogy researcher for the Irvine family lines. She has the advantage of having lived in both Kilsyth, Scotland and New Zealand. She wrote:

"Here are some reasons I believe that William Grassam is one and the same person as Archibald Grassam Irvine:

a)The birth certificate of William Grassam is 23 April 1886 in Maryhill.

b) Official records give Archibald’s age as being 4 years and place of birth as being Maryhill. eg. the 1891 Census where he is living with his grandparents

c)His marriage certificate from 1916 gives his age as 30. (Note that he gives his grandparents names as his parents.) 

d) His age on his tombstone is consistent with him being born in 1886.

e) He is listed in the registry of “New Zealand Presbyterian Church Ministers, Deaconesses & Missionaries from 1840” with a birth date of 23 April, 1886 and as being from Glasgow. 

f) New Zealand World War I Military Records confirm his date of birth as 23 April 1886.

"Possibly when Margaret married John Hastings in 1888, he didn't want the child, so his grandfather John Irvine adopted him. It was widely known in the family that William Irvine had an illegitimate son called Archibald Grassam Irvine. My dad talked about it to me, and one of my cousins was named Archibald Grassam Freebairn after him. The story goes that William left the area for a while after it happened, but who knows! The 1891 Census shows William as a lodger in Bothwell working as a colliery manager, age 28.

"There are no family records to back up my theory. One of my dad's elder sisters (Lizzie, I think) is said to have torn the front page out of the family bible to hide the proof of family indiscretions!! So it's proof enough for me, but not conclusive. I think the date of birth is most significant, as well as the place of birth on the 1891 census tying in with the birth record."

RECAP:  The birth date of Archibald Grassam Irvine is verified by his military records, death certificate, tombstone, marriage records, university records and employer records (Presbyterian church). The Author agrees with Ms. Freebairn that there is sufficient information to reasonably conclude that William Grassam is one and the same person as Archibald Grassam Irvine.

SIBLINGS: After his mother married John Hastings in 1888, Archie acquired 3 stepbrothers: Francis (age 12), Alexander (age 10), and John (age 8). In addition, John and Margaret had two children together named James Hastings and Margaret Hastings, who would be Archibald's half brother and sister. Rumor has it that Archie's father Wm. Irvine fathered some other children, but no records have been found documenting this.

WIDOWED: The 1901 Census shows Maggie Hastings as a widow, with Francis, James and Margaret living in her household, as well as her brother, Francis Grassam. Apparently, John Hastings died some time between 1888 (date of marriage) and 1901. There is no mention of a 14-15 year old son named William Grassam or Archibald Irvine living in the household. Nor is he listed in the 1901 Census Record for the household of John and Elizabeth Irvine. This jibes with information that Archie left for New Zealand when he was 14, which would have been around 1900. (See NZ Presbyterian Church Archive)

It is quite possible that William Grassam was adopted by Wm. Irvine’s parents and they changed his name to Archibald Grassam Irvine. Archibald Grassam was the name of the child’s mother’s father (his grandfather.) Unfortunately, an adoption cannot be proven because there are no national records to substantiate adoptions prior to 1930. The National Archives Scotland website states: “Before 1930, adoptions were arranged on a private basis, either by individuals or by one of a number of charitable adoption agencies. NAS currently holds no records for adoptions before 1930.”

ARCHIBALD'S SUPPORT: Who supported Archie? He would have been 9 yrs old when William went to work with Faith Mission in 1895; and 11 yrs old when his father founded the 2x2 ministry and church in 1897. How was he supported while his father was being an itinerant minister during the 5-year period from 1895-1900 before Archie left his home in Scotland and emigrated to New Zealand? One can only speculate, since so much time has passed. There's any number of avenues from which his support may have come. It's highly possible that William’s parents may have adopted Archie or agreed to be his sole means support, since his name was totally changed and he used their surname of Irvine. Since Wm. Irvine resigned from a position as a collier manager, he may have saved money and used it to support Archie for that 5-year period after Wm. became a Pilgrim with Faith Mission. Some leap to assume that Wm. used funds earmarked for the Faith Mission or for the 2x2 ministry to support Archie. Since Wm. did not leave the Faith Mission until 1899 or 1901, it is possible. The question is: Did he? In the absence of proof, we cannot logically draw the conclusion that he did, for that would be an argument from Silence, an informal fallacy in logic. There simply is no way to know this was the situation for certain.

When he was 11 years old, Archie's Grandmother Elizabeth passed away in November, 1897. His Grandfather John lived until 1913. His father William was preaching with Faith Mission at this time. Provided Archie was being raised by his grandparents, he was left without a mother figure in his life. However, the 1891 Census shows that after their mariage in 1888, William's brother James and wife Catherine/Kate also lived next door at #6 Auchinstarry Row and had no children. Possibly, they looked after Archie.

EMIGRATING TO NEW ZEALAND: Archie was 14 years old in 1900 when he left Scotland for New Zealand with his Grandfather John Irvine, his Uncle James and wife Catherine and a cousin, William McCallum.  For six weeks prior to their departure, Irvine held no missions for Faith Mission (Bright Words). Perhaps he was taking a vacation and visiting with his son and family before they left the country . 

The Manifest of the Steamship Whakatane records that William Irvine's brother, James Irvine with his wife and James' cousin Mr. McCallum all sailed Saloon Class aboard the ship. Further, the Manifest recorded that a Mr. A. Irvine and a Mr. J. Irvine were also aboard the same ship in Third Class. The five relatives departed from London on July 19, 1900 and were expected to arrive in Auckland NZ on September 10, 1900.  After two years in New Zealand, only one of the five (John Irvine) returned to London on July 13, 1902 on SS Rimutaka.  McCallum married a NZ bride in 1905.  

The Whakatane's Passenger List for July 19, 1900 indicates that Mr. and Mrs. James Irvine, along with two other Irvines were aboard the ship, as well as a cousin named William McCallum (born 1878). There were 91 passengers on the voyage. The Passenger List gives the correct birth years for James and his wife.

Also, a column in the Evening Post (Wellington NZ) for August 30, 1900 confirmed this, and announced the ships that departed from London in the last part of July, 1900. It lists the passengers on the Whakatane and the Irvine name appears four times, along with McCallum. The ship was "expected to put in an appearance in Auckland on 10th September."

Earlier, in 1863, Archie's Great Uncle James Irvine (born in 1927, brother of John Irvine, Wm's father) and wife Jane emigrated to Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Irvine's final destination was Dunedin, New Zealand,which is "about as fer as you can go" from London. Fact is, Dunedin is the most remote city in the world from London at 19,100 km (11,870 miles). Situated on the Otago Harbour, Dunedin is easily accessed by ship.The Whakatane Ship was delivered on January 23, 1900, made its maiden voyage on March 1, 1900, was sold in 1924 and scrapped in 1929. http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/newzealand.html. The ship weighed 5,610 gross tons, had a length of 420 ft x beam 54 ft, one funnel, two masts, single screw, speed 15 knots, and accommodation for 26 First Class and 250 Emigrants in the 'tween decks. It was built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co, Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the New Zealand Shipping Co, London. Click Here to view photo of Whakatane.

EARLY RELIGIOUS TRAINING: Nothing is known for certain in this area. Archibald's Grandparents raised their children in a Presbyterian denomination. In the event that Archibald grew up in their household, it is reasonable to assume that he became a member of the Presbyterian Church. His father, Wm. Irvine stated he was "brought up Presbyterian until I was 30." He also wrote: "Every step I have taken has been in opposition to those I loved most dearly...If I had gone into the Presbyterian church missionary or other recognized work, they would have been delighted, but to take the lowly, lonely path with so much opposition of all kinds, I hurt them badly." One of Irvine’s sisters (Agnes) was married according to the Church of Scotland. Three other sisters, Jane (Jeanie), Helen (Nellie) and Janet were all married according to the Free Church of Scotland. Both churches are considered “Presbyterian” denominations, and it is not known which one John and Elizabeth attended.

In 1943, the Free Church of Scotland was established during the period of Presbyterian history known as The Disruption. It was formed when some 400 clergymen and about one-third of the lay people of the Church of Scotland left the established church in protest against patronage and state control of church affairs. Both remain distinct Presbyterian denominations to this day.(Click Here for more Wm. Irvine's Presbyterian background).

It should not come as a surprise that the Irvine families who emigrated to New Zealand continued with their church affiliation of Presbyterian. It was actually the Free Church of Scotland who organized and founded the Otago Settlement in 1848. So far, all the Irvine family records that have been researched (weddings, baptisms etc.) take place within the Presbyterian Church in Dunedin. It would seem that the Irvines were a staunch Presbyterian family in Scotland, as well as New Zealand. With this background, it's not difficult to understandn why Archibald became a minister of the Presbyterian Church rather than another denomination.

Even into the 21st century, Otago and Southland remain the heartland of the Scottish legacy in New Zealand. So James, Archie, et al probably felt comfortable living in Dunedin. They were living in a “Little Scotland,” a Scottish community founded by their very own church.

Religious beliefs would have been an integral part of their lives. There is a story about a time when James Irvine loaded up his horses and wagon and headed up to the gold fields with supplies for the miners. He arrived "late Saturday night to find provisions in the settlement were running low. The miners flocked to his tent to buy their requirements on Sunday, but Irvine a devout churchman, refused to sell on the Sabbath. When he opened for business on Monday morning, he found most of his goods had been stolen during the night." (A Centennial History 1864-1964 by Geoffrey W. Stevenson)

MARRIAGE: On October 24, 1916 Mary Jamieson (Murray) Irvine became the wife of Archibald Grassam Irvine in the Presbyterian Church at Milton. She was 27 and he was 30 years old. Their Marriage Record gives the names of Archibald's parents as John and Elizabeth Irvine M.S. Grassam; and Mary's parents as Murdoch and Margaret Murray M.S. Fletcher. It shows Archie's birthplace as Glasgow, Scotland and Mary's as Milton, New Zealand. The Officiating Minister was S. Robertson Orr, Denomination: Presbyterian. According to her obituary, Mary survived her parents and all her siblings (Donald, Murdoch, John, Catherine and Minnie). However, there were surviving nieces and nephews (plural).

CHILDREN: There is no mention of any children being born to Archibald and Mary in any of the known records. Mary Irvine's niece was given as next of kin at her death.

EDUCATION: According to one source, Archibald apparently continued his education after arriving in New Zealand. "Came to New Zealand from Glasgow in 1900 when aged 14; after education entered a promising business career with the Union Steam Ship Company in Dunedin."

 

Graduated with a degree of Master of Arts (M.A) at University of Otago in 1916.

The University of Otago Calendar for the Year 1914 lists Archibald G. Irvine on Page 249. Alphabetical Role of the Graduates of the University of New Zealand That have Kept Terms of the University of Otago or whose Names are now on the Books of the University of Otago– Philosophy – Class Examinations.

In 1913, Archibald Irvine won a Senior Scholarship in 'Mental Science" at the New Zealand University.
The Evening Post (Wellington NZ) April 8, 1914 Volume LXXXVII Issue 83

SPECIAL INTERESTS: "Keenly interested in the work of the Y.M.C.A. and the Sailors' Rest."

OCCUPATION: "Came to New Zealand from Glasgow in 1900 when aged 14; after education entered a promising business career with the Union Steam Ship Company in Dunedin." Photo of offices of Union Steam Ship Company

MINISTRY: Various sources state that after he graduated with his Master of Arts degree in 1916, that Archibald Irvine was ordained a Presbyterian minister at Waiareka on November 14, 1916. During World War I, he was a Chaplain with the New Zealand Expeditionay Force, serving from March 28, 1917 to May 25,1919 in the United Kingdon and France. He became ministre of the Presbyterian Church at Ashburton on September 4, 1924; and minister of the Presbyterian Church at Hawera on March 7, 1933. He retired to Christchurch in May 31, 1950, and died in 1952.

The New Zealand Presbyterian Church Ministers, Deaconesses & Missionaries from 1840.
A resume of Archie’s work with the Presbyterian church is given on this website. It states:

"IRVINE, Rev Archibald (Archie) Grassam   M.A.
b 23.4.1886 at Kilsyth by Glasgow.
w Mary b 25.4.1889 m 24.10.1916  d 19.12.1982

Came to NZ from Glasgow in 1900 when aged 14;
After education entered a promising business career with the Union Steam Ship Company in Dunedin;
Keenly interested in the work of the Y.M.C.A. and the Sailor's Rest.
Heard the Call to Ministry and then studied for the degree of Master of Arts at Otago University also distinguishing himself in Philosophy.

Entered the Theological Hall where he proved himself to be an able and diligent student.
Theological Hall, Dunedin 1914-16
Ordained Waiareka NOP 14.11.1916
Chaplain NZ Expeditionary Force,  war service from 28.3.1917 to 25.5.1919, served in United Kingdon and France.
Ashburton AsP 4.9.1924
Hawera TkP 7.3.1933 - retired 31.5.1950

Retired to Christchurch where he maintained his interest in Church affairs, becoming a member of St Paul's Session and gave valuable assistance in filling vacant pulpits including St Stephen's Bryndwr. Mr Irvine was very popular with young people and specialised in Bible class work.

"Mr Irvine became very much endeared to his people, not only to those under his special spiritual care, but also to others in all walks of life. His spiritual influence was widely felt. Mr Irvine took his full share in all Church activities not less in his Presbytery than in his parish. He will be remembered for his deeply evangelical preaching, which was both scholarly and forceful..." (From Obit.)

Died 14.6.1952 suddenly at Christchurch, aged 66 years.
Interred at Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, Block 12, Plot 133"

Some articles were furnished by the Hawera library from their local history collection in two different histories of the local Presbyterian Churches.

Title: St John’s Diamond Jubilee 1874-1934 – Hawera, New Zealand
Source: Diamond Jubilee Messenger, May 1934

Title: Rev. and Mrs. A. G. Irvine
Source: Undetermined history of the Presbyterian Churches

Title: Rev. A. G. Irvine
Source: Undetermined history of the Presbyterian Churches

The History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand 1840-1940 by John Rawson Elder (Publisher: Presbyterian Bookroom, Christchurch 1940, p. 435) lists the following details about Archie Irvine:

 Master of Arts (M. A.) degree, University of Otago
 Knox Theological Hall, Dunedin, NZ 1914-16
 Ordained Waiareka, 1916
 Chaplain, NZ Expeditionary Force (WWI)
 Minister of Codford, NZ 1919
 Minister of Ashburton, NZ 1924
 Minister of Hawera, NZ 1933

MILITARY: Archibald Irvine was a Chaplain with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He served in World War I from March 28, 1917 to May 25,1919, in the United Kingdon and France.

1952 DEATH OF ARCHIBALD IRVINE: Archibald G. Irvine and his wife, Mary Jamieson (Murray) Irvine, are buried in Bromley Cemetery, Keighleys Rd, Christchurch, NZ. Their shared tombstone reads:

Loving Memory of
Rev. Archibald Grassam Irvine
Dearly Loved Husband of
Mary J. Irvine
Died 14th June 1952 Aged 66 Years.
Also Mary Jamieson Irvine
Loved Wife of Above
Died 19th Dec. 1982 Aged 93 years.
With the Lord.
Photo of Tombstone

Archie’s Death Certificate No. 023495 gives his date of death as June 14, 1952; his date of birth as “not Recorded,” and gives his age as 66 at death, the same as is engraved on his tombstone.

The New Zealand Presbyterian Church Ministers, Deaconesses & Missionaries from 1840 states that he was born on April 23, 1886 and died on June 14, 1952, at Christchurch and was interred at Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, Block 12 Plot 133. Mary was a widow for 30 years after Archie died.

The obituary of Rev. Archibald Grassam printed in The Press (Christchurch, NZ) on June 16, 1952, stated:

"The death occurred in Christchurch, on Saturday morning of the Rev. A. G. Irvine, for nine years a Presbyterian minister at Ashburton.  He was aged 66. Mr. Irvine came to New Zealand from Glasgow in 1900, when he was aged 14, and received a business training with the Union Steam Ship Company.  He was at this period keenly interested in the work of the Y.M.C.A. and the Sailor's Rest.  He later studied at the University of Otago, where he took the degree of Master of Arts and began his training for the Presbyterian ministry.  In the First World War he served with the New Zealand Army as a chaplain.  After the war he was a minister in North Otago for eight years, in Ashburton for nine years, and in Hawera for 18 years.  Two years ago he retired to Christchurch, where he maintained his interest in church affairs, assisting at St. Stephen's Church at Bryndwr.  Mr. Irvine was very popular with young people and specialised in Bible class work.  He is survived by his wife."

Both Archie's Death Certificate and the funeral director listed John and Elizabeth Irvine as the names of Archie's parents, and not William Irvine and his mother. These are actually the names of William Irvine's parents, who probably raised him.  John and Elizabeth did not have a son named Archibald; but they did have a Grandson named Archibald Irvine. Archibald gave his paternal Grandparents' names on legal documents as his parents. Possibly John and Elizabeth Irvine adopted and raised him until he left home at age 14.  Archie's Death Certificate states he was 30 years old when he married his wife Mary Jamieson Murray in Milton, New Zealand; and that when he died, he had been ill for six months and died of angina pectoris (coronary arterial occlusion).

1982 DEATH OF MARY JAMIESON (MURRAY) IRVINE: Wife of Rev. Archibald Grassam Irvine died on December 19, 1982.  She is buried in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand, and shares a tombstone with her husband. Her obituary in The Press, December 20, 1981 stated:

"IRVINE, Mary Jamieson (nee Murray)  - On December 19, 1982, at Windermere Hospital, loved wife of the late Rev. Archibald Irvine, loved sister of the late Donald, Murdoch, John, Catherine and Minnie, and loved aunt of her nieces and nephews; in her 94th year.  Messages to 115A Highsted Road, Christchurch 5.  Funeral service tomorrow (Tuesday). Details later.  J. Lamb and Son, Ltd. F.D.A.N.Z. (Inc.)"

The funeral director for both burials was J. Lamb, Trotter & Son of 297 Ferry Road, Christchurch, New Zealand.  They stated in a letter dated February 21, 1996, that their records indicated Mary J. Irvine was born in Milton, New Zealand.  Her father was Murdoch Murray (Occupation: Farmer), and her mother was Margaret Murray, whose maiden name was Fletcher. Mary J.Murray married Archibald Grassam Irvine age 28 years at Milton.  For next of kin, niece from Christchurch, New Zealand was listed..

1947 DEATH OF WILLIAM IRVINE (Archibald's Father): According to Doug Parker, Archibald was informed of his father's death by a New Zealand evangelist named Mr. Beattie (possibly Ralph Beatty, married brother worker in NZ.  Read Ralph & Rene Beatty's story) and also by Mrs. Slater from Kilsyth. Mrs. Slater was probably Margaret Clelland Slater, wife of Robert Slater; and she was the daughter of David and Helen (Nellie) Irvine Clelland. Helen (Nellie) was one of the two surviving sisters of William. (Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, p. 67). It would seem that William did not leave his son anything in his will from the following statements.

As to the disposition of Irvine’s possessions, Mr. Coussin wrote: “William left a properly drawn up will in which, after making a few personal bequests, willed some LP 2,000 to named hospitals and charities and the residue, which will be in the region of approximately LP 1,000 to the poor. His personal effects and chattels, etc., he also left to the poor, and as we had to give up his room, these articles have been distributed as required, via the Department of Social Welfare. He left no writings, but it is curious that you should mention his bibles, magnifying glasses and a filigree cigarette holder.”  See: Letters from Thomas Coussin)

Doug Parker personally interviewed some of Wm. Irvine's relatives in 1954. His youngest sister, Janet (aka Jennie) who married Peter Clelland was still living at the time, as was a brother-in- law named Peter Comrie who had been married to his sister Jane (aka Jeanie) who died in 1937. Doug wrote: He died a very wealthy man, as he left £500 to one of his nieces, and a Miss Freebrian received £500; he sent £500 to the Old Kilsyth Cottage Hospital, and £200 to his sisters." (SecretSect by Doug Parker, pp. 65-66; Statement from Wm. Irvine's brother in law, Peter Comrie)

1915 DEATH OF MARGARET HELEN RITCHIE (GRASSAM) HASTINGS (Archibald's mother): Died on October 5, 1915 at 227 Carron Road, Falkirk, Scotland, aged 56, Widow of John Hastings, Iron moulder. Cause: Cancer of the Stomach (Source: Scotland Deaths: 1915 Register 479 Falkirk, Stirling Entry 528)


With much appreciation to Ms. Elizabeth Freebairn, Grandaughter of Agnes (Irvine) Freebairn for her many valuable contributions and assistance with this acccount.

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The Church without a Name
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William Irvine
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Founder of the
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