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APTAIN INGLIS and his dragoons pursued and killed James Smith, at the burn of Anne, in Kyle, about two miles south of Newmilns, 1684.
[Dr Simpson gives an account of the murder of a man of the name of Smith, who appears to have been this James Smith. He lived in the farm of Threepod, or rather Threepwood, in Galston parish. He was a man of retired habits, and had cherished in secret the principles of the persecuted; but his natural timidity had kept him back from an open avowal of his thoughts. At length he resolved to take a decided step. He took his infant child for baptism to a conventicle, held in the night time at a spot fourteen miles distant. After baptism, he retraced his steps, and arrived at his own house before daybreak. To prevent suspicion, after laying down the child, he immediately betook himself to the barn, and commenced to thrash corn. In spite, however, of his caution, he had been discovered, and information given to his enemies. For safety, he sought a hiding-place in the fields, but here he was found out, and two soldiers sent to apprehend him. On their approach, he drew his sword in self-defence, and skilfully warded off the strokes of his assailants. But the soldiers, finding he was not to be so easily captured, tried stratagem. While the one fought with him face to face, the other stole behind him, and threw a cloak over his head, which at once blindfolded him, and entangled his sword arm, so that he was easily overpowered, when the two at once put an end to his life. He was buried where he fell.-ED.]
ETER INGLIS, his son, killed one John Smith in Cunningham, 1685.
The said Peter or Patrick Inglis also killed one James White, struck off his head with an axe, brought it to Newmilns, and played at football with it. He killed him at Little Blackwood, the foresaid year [May] 1685.
[Twelve men were met for prayer, a night in the beginning of May 1685, in the house of James Paton, a wright, and tenant of Little Blackwood, about two miles to the south-east of Fenwick, Ayrshire, when a noise was heard outside. They soon found they were surrounded. James White was the only one that had a firelock. As Patrick Inglis entered the house, after he had broken the door open, James White pulled the trigger, but the priming burned, without the
gun going off, and its light let the soldiers see where he was, when they fired, and he fell dead. Three of the rest escaped, but the others were soon overpowered, and were spared through the intercession of James Paton's wife, who, before her marriage, had known Patrick Inglis, when he was quartered in her father's house. The soldiers cut off the head of James White, and carried it to Newmilns, where next day they played with it as a football on the green. The eight prisoners were taken to Newmilns, and put in the prison there -now in ruins. The next day they were brought out to be shot, when doubts were raised by one of the soldiers as to the legality of their proceedings, when it was resolved to send to Edinburgh for authority from the Council. Meanwhile, during the interval, the friends of the prisoners broke open the prison, and all escaped. James White's remains lie in Fenwick Church. The inscription on the monument over them is in the Appendix.-ED.]
HE said Peter Inglis shot John Barrie, with his pass in his hand, in Evandale, April 1685.
[John Barrie had his pass, and showed it to Peter Inglis, but nothing would satisfy him. He would have it that he was one of the wanderers, and so he shot him. His remains lie in Strathaven churchyard. The inscription is in the Appendix.-ED.]
AJOR BALFOUR, together with Captain Maitland, and their party, apprehended at their work, Robert Thom, John Urie, and Thomas Cook, and instantly shot them at Polmadie, near Glasgow, May 1685.
[Wodrow gives an account of this murder, attested by a John Reid and Andrew Cochran. He sent it to Captain Maitland, who was alive when the history was being written, and he acknowledged that the whole of the countrymen's account was true. On May 11th, 1685, they were at Polmadie Mill, and they saw Major John Balfour, Captain James Maitland, and several others, arrive. Major Balfour. asked them to whom they belonged. They said they were servants to Sir James Hamilton's tenants, in Shawfield. They were ordered to stand still. They saw them apprehend Thomas Cook and John Urie, who were weavers, and were taken in their working clothes from off their looms. Thomas Cook was first taken, and because he did not come immediately when called, Major Balfour struck him on the face with a horsewhip, so that the blood gushed out, and he
could scarcely speak. He next pushed a cocked pistol into his face, crying, "Blood and wounds! he is a rebel." Shortly after, some twenty foot soldiers arrived, and they ran through the houses, and seized Robert Thom, a labourer. When all the three were taken, they were examined. They were asked, “Would they pray for King James VII.?" They answered, they would pray for all within the election of grace. "Do you," asked Balfour, "question the King's election ?" "Sometimes," they replied, "they questioned their own." Upon this he swore, and said they should die presently, because they would not pray for Christ's vicegerent; and so, without one word more, he commanded Thomas Cook to say his prayers, for he should die. The poor man besought Balfour to spare him. "For how long?" he asked. "For two days," was his moderate request. But the Major swore he should live no longer. Balfour then drew out three musketeers, and placed them behind Thomas Cook, while he knelt in prayer. Cravats were taken from the bystanders, and put over the faces of the three. He then ordered the soldiers to fire, and Thomas Cook fell dead. The other two he despatched in the same manner; and within an hour of their apprehension, all three were murdered, and the dogs were licking their blood. The remains of the three martyrs are in Cathcart churchyard. The inscription on their monument is in the Appendix.ED.]
JOLONEL BUCHAN, with the Laird of Lee, and their men, shot John Smith, in the parish of Lesmahagow, February 1685.
[John Smith lies buried in Muirkirk churchyard. The inscription on his monument is in the Appendix.-ED.]
IEUTENANT LAUDER shot to death William Shillilaw, at Woodhead, on the Water of Ayr, [July] anno 1685.
[In July 1685, Lieutenant Lewis Lauder, a subaltern. officer in the garrison of Sorn, met, at the Woodhead of Tarbolton, William Shillilaw, of Stairhead, a lad of eighteen or under. From his age, he could not have been at Bothwell. His only fault was, that his name had been given in by the curate for non-attendance at the parish church. Seeing him cross the road, he ordered one of his dragoons to apprehend him. When he was brought to him, after a few of the usual questions, Lauder ordered him to be shot, which
was done on the spot. His remains lie in Tarbolton churchyard. The inscription on his monument is in the Appendix.-ED.]
IEUTENANT NISBET and his party shot to death John Fergushill, George Woodburn, and Peter Gemmel, in the parish of Fenwick, in the said year.
[They were shot at the time when John Nisbet of Hardhill (see p. 448) was apprehended and taken to Edinburgh. George Woodburn's sword-an Andrea Ferrara, of 40 inches in length—is still in the possession of one of his descendants, in the farm of Mains, in the parish of Loudon. Peter Gemmel was an ancestor of Robert Pollok, author of the "Course of Time," a native of the adjoining parish of Eaglesham. Hence, doubtless, the title of one of Pollok's "Tales of the Covenanters "-" Ralph Gemmel." A monument to John Fergushill and George Woodburn is in Fenwick churchyard, and a separate one to Peter Gemmel. Their inscriptions are in the Appendix.-ED.]
IEUTENANT MURRAY with his party, shot one John
[Lieutenant Murray was going through the parish of Lesmahagow, and met him in the fields. He first promised him quarter, as he made no resistance; but in a few minutes, without process or sentence, he shot him near Blackwood, now a residence of W. E. Hope Vere, Esq., and said to be the original of the Milnwood of Sir Walter Scott's fiction. John Brown lies buried within a hundred yards to the east of the mansion-house. The inscription on his monument is in the Appendix.—ED.]
IEUTENANT CRICHTON did most barbarously, after
quarter, shoot David Steel, in the parish of Lesmahagow, December , 1686.
[David Steel was tenant of the farm of Nether Skellyhill, in the parish of Lesmahagow. He was at Bothwell Bridge, and henceforward he was a marked man. His name occurs on the fugitiveroll of 1684. So rigorous was the search made for him, that he dared not pass the night in his own house, but generally slept in a hut about four miles from Skellyhill, near the source of the Nethan. A writer in the "Edinburgh Christian Instructor" for 1830, says that the
traces of this hut are still preserved, and pointed out by the shepherds. In the close of 1686, he ventured to return to, and take up his stay at, Skellyhill. On December 20th, Lieutenant Crichton, with a detachment of horse and foot, came to the house. David Steel got the alarm shortly before they arrived, and slipped through a backwindow, and ran to the Logan water, about a quarter of a mile away, with the soldiers behind him in pursuit. He crossed, but in crossing he fell into the water, and wetted the powder of the musket he had taken with him. He still, however, continued his flight to the steep and bush-grown banks of the Nethan, about a mile away, where he would soon have stayed the progress of his pursuers. But ere he reached the Nethan, the dragoons were almost upon him, and his strength failed him; while Crichton called him to surrender, and he should have quarter, and be taken to Edinburgh, and have a fair trial. David Steel surrendered on these terms; but Crichton had no intention of fulfilling them. He took him back to Skellyhill, where his wife, Mary Weir, had been watching his flight. With her only child in her arms, she ran to meet him. Crichton took David to the field before his own door, and ordered the dragoons to shoot him; but they reminded him of his promise to spare the man's life; and on his peremptorily commanding them to fire, they declared they would neither shoot him nor see him shot, and mounted their horses, and rode off to Upper Skellyhill. Crichton now turned to his foot soldiers, who were Highlanders, and the ignorant savages had no scruples. They fired, and several balls pierced the martyr's head. The murderers immediately left, and when the neighbours arrived, they found the widow by the mangled corpse of her husband. Tradition relates that the first words which she was heard to utter were, "The archers have shot at thee, my husband, but they could not reach thy soul it has escaped like a dove, far away, and is at rest!" And then, clasping her hands, she prayed, "Lord, give strength to thy handmaid that will prove she has waited for Thee, even in the way of Thy judgments." Skellyhill is still tenanted by a descendant of Steel. Two thorn bushes near the house mark the place where he was murdered. A monument was erected in 1858 or 1859, within a few yards of the spot. The remains of Steel lie in Lesmahagow churchyard. The inscription on the monument over them is in the Appendix.-ED.]