Alexander Wallace
Ann Munroe of Ball Ross
(-Bef 1706)
<John> Ross
(Abt 1673-)
<Janet or Jane> < >
(Abt 1675-)
Lachlin Wallace
Elizabeth Ross
(Abt 1702-)
John Wallace [I] [of Bonar Bridge, Tain]


Family Links

1. Janet Grant

John Wallace [I] [of Bonar Bridge, Tain] 1 2 3 4 5

  • Born: Oct 1739, Ross-shire (Ross and Cromarty), Scotland
  • Marriage (1): Janet Grant in 1758
  • Died: 1 Oct 1810 at age 71

  Research Notes:

Residence: Bonar Bridge, Tain

From Lack Family Genealogy (


My father, John Wallace, had the farms of Culrain and Gushack for 13 years from 1779-1792 at a rent of 140 bolls part barley part meal and duties of money, peats and hens. At that time he had no coup carts nor pick and spade. For driving the manure to the land he had a kind of cart and a basket of wicker work. The wheels of the cart were constructed of three sticks 6" in diameter which were crossed and fixed in the centre by an axle that turned with the wheels on tum'lers as they were called. Stones as well as manure were carried in these carts and they would carry a heavy load. The wicker basket cost a shilling and would last for two years. For carrying home peats and leading corn he made a very simple cart of two long shafts with cross sticks in the bottom and standing rungs with top rails. As soon as the crop was put in the carts were taken off the tum'lers and put in some shed until the peats were ready for carrying home. All the carriage of corn, meal and potatoes was done in bags on horseback. Going to the mill seven or eight horses would be tied in a row, the one to the other with halters made of horse hair. A boy had the first horse while two men were employed to keep the bags from falling. My father had three ploughs and six oxen to each plough. The ploughs were made by himself almost entirely of wood, all the iron used being a strong culter, a sock and a large hook fired at the point of the beam with a staple and a few nails which were required to fix the mouldboard of deals.. Then the oxen were strong, the ploughs would work as well as any made for years after. The harrows were made of birch, with five rungs across through the bills. He had no graips only two large forks, and in place of a mattock he had a croman or half mattock. For a spade he had a large wooden shovel mounted with iron at the point and up both sides. The thing was allowed to lie in the byres for a week and then it was carted to the midden on the wheelbarrow, or sometimes on a two handed barrow such as was used by the masons. Women took part in all the farm, except ploughing, threshing and carrying bags. Neither clover or turnips were grown, but there would be about sixteen bolls potatoes. The work in summer after sowing the barley about the 20th May was to cut the peats, and then to make middens for next year's barley. These middens were made of soil from outlying land mixed with the manure of horses and cattle. Horses and cattle got very little corn, but when any of the cattle were weak in spring they got sheaves of oats in the morning. At that time there were very few large farms. On the farm of Millcraig, (Mr. Wallace occupied Millcraig and Nonikiln till 1851) about 1760 there were eight tenants and ten ploughs with 60 animals, three ploughs are now sufficient. In my young days the large farm of Newmore was occupied by Alexander Rossor MacFinlay and his two sons, the rent being 80 and 80 bolls of grain. He and his sons were altogether of the old school. He had eight horses to carry home his peats using the rung carts with the tumblers. There was not so much as a pin of iron about the harness of the eight horses. For shoulder chains and hames birch wands were used instead of iron. I remember well seeing a pair of horses passing Nonikiln from Strathcarron to Inverness with furniture and there was not a single link or pin of iron about the horses or cart. The traces were made of deer skin and were tough and strong. The collars were made of ropes of straw twined threefold. These would last about a year but when made of loch rushes 4 ft. in length would last two years. The farmers made the harness themselves; in short they made everything. There was no need for saddlers, but weavers were numerous, and they got plenty of work to do. There was only one merchant in the parish of Rosskeen and it was from him my father bought his first spade. I wondered much at it, as it was the first spade I had ever seen.


Married men for twelve months got 4, six bolls of meal, two days to cut peats, straw for a stirk, land for potatoes for their own manure land for sowing two pints of linseed. Shearers got (corn?) eighteen pecks of oatmeal by measure.


At breakfast "brochan" and pease meal bread; at dinner in Summer whey and bread; at supper sowens or "brochan". There was cabbage for dinner once a week and next day porridge made of what remained of the cabbage was taken with butter at breakfast. My father always fed a cow to be killed in winter, and as long as it lasted the servants got broth and sometimes beef. During winter and spring there was always plenty of home made ale and the servants occasionally got ale, butter and curds, but porridge was seldom seen. The servants got three feasts in the year, one on Old New Years Day, another when the barley was sown and another when the shearing was finished.


The clothing was very simple and plain. The men wore black knee breeches and bright blue coats made by their wives. The young men generally wore similar attire but some had kilts. Even the larger farmers wore broad blue bonnets and no hats were to be seen. About 1792 some favourite sons began to get trousers, and by 1850 breeches had almost disappeared. In my father's time no farmers' wives had prints or cotton gowns. Their gowns were of their own making, chiefly wincey. The wives wore a small tartan shoulder plaid, and it was considered decent for a farmer's wife to have a clean white towel on her head above the mutch or cap. No young ladies covered their head until married. Their hair was their pride. It was all combed down their shoulders and when at work was tied at their back with tape. At the marriage ceremony, the bride was always covered with a scarlet plaid, and if she had not one of her own got the loan of one. The gatherings at marriages were usually very large, and there was music and. dancing on four nights, on Thursday night at the feet washing; on Friday night after the marriage; on Saturday evening and part of the day and again on Tuesday at what was called the home wedding.


Under this heading Mr. Wallace refers to the remarkably wet year of 1782 which was called the Black Year. There was scarcely a dry day during the whole Spring, while summer and autumn were also very wet. The crop was late and miserably poor, in fact the greater portion of it never ripened at all. Mr. Calder, the minister in Roskeen, was paid in grain and all he got in that year was 16 bolls of barley from my father and these 16 bolls scarcely made 8 bolls of meal. Many cattle died in the spring but none of the inhabitants succumbed to the hardships of the famine. I was told, however, that many deaths would have occurred had it not been that cargoes of white pease which had been intended for the troops engaged in the American War, but which on the announce-ment of peace, were sent North and came to Ross-shire and the pease distributed among the more needful. My father was present at the distribution. The following year was as singularly dry as 1782 was exceptionally wet. The crop was very early, some of it being stored by the end of August, but owing to the inferior quality of much of the seed of the crop of 1782, the general yield was very poor. Many farmers fell in arrears and some of them never got over it. The year 1792 was quite as remarkable in Ross-shire. A few years before this sheep farming was begun in the County of Ross and the natives believing that this innovation would compromise their comforts and privileges begun about this year to display formidable opposition to the movement. The native farmers, tradesmen and labourers resolved to gather the whole stock of sheep in Sutherland and Ross and drive them over the southern borders into Inverness-shire. Accordingly arrangements for the outrage against sheep farmers was made by proclamation at the Church doors. A mob of people met and having collected above 10,000 sheep, they were proceeding with their flock along the heights of the parish of Alness, when they learned that Colonel Sir Hector Munro of Novar was on his way from Fort George with a company of the 42nd Highlanders to suppress their depredations. The sheep gatherers dispersed immediately, but a good many were apprehended and tried in the Circuit Court at Inverness. Two were transported but the others got off with imprisonment, The commencement of this affair was as follows:

Captain Allan Cameron and his brother Alexander Cameron took the farms of Fyrish and Culcraggie along with the grazings of Gildermorrie on the heights of Alness. The Ardross tenants had previously grazed their cattle all summer on Gildermorrie, and having wandered back to their old pastures, the Camerons pounded them and enclosed them in a large fank which they had built for the purpose. That day the Ardross tenants were hearty at a wedding in Strathrushdale, but on hearing what had happened to their cattle, they proceeded in a body to Gildermorrie where an ugly fight took place between them and the Camerons. The year 1800 was a very dry year scarcely a drop of rain fell during the Summer. The crop was not half average in bulk. I got 50 shillings for barley, 48 shillings for oatmeal and 40 shillings for potatoes. The year 1811 was very wet and the greater portion of the crop dreadfully damaged. I got 54 shillings for barley that year. The crops of 1816 and 1817 were also bad while in 1836 the whole crop would scarcely pay my rent.

  Noted events in his life were:

Held: the farms of Culrain and Gushack, 1776-1792. at a rent of 140 bolls part barley part meal and duties of money, peats and hens.

Residence: Bonar Bridge, Tain, (Ross and Cromarty), Highland, Scotland.

John married Janet Grant, daughter of John Grant and <Janet> < >, in 1758. (Janet Grant was born on 28 Feb 1738 in Avoch, Ross-shire (Ross and Cromarty), Scotland and died on 10 Oct 1814.)


1 Johnson, DeWayne B. and Lorna Wallace Johnson, Johnson/Wallace Family Tree.

2 Personal Documents, Letter from Donald Wallace to Ed Wallace.

3 Personal Documents, Family records of Lorna Doone Wallace (Johnson).

4, (Alastair Lack).

5 Lack, J. A, Lack Family Genealogy (,

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