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Reverend James Ewing

Founded a Free Church after the Disruption in 1843, he serviced his congregation from school rooms and mills until he could build new premises. He was a philanthropist and actively concerned with the health of the people of Dundee.

Subscription value in 1865:

£10

Relative to inflation up to 2018:

£1000

Relative to income compared to 2018:

£8000

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Personal details and history

Full name

James Ewing

Date of birth

circa 1810[1]

Place of birth

Concraig, Muthill, Perthshire[1]

Gender

Male

Marital status

Married

Name of spouse

Marjory Ferguson[2]

Children

Robert b.1847, John Ferguson b.1849, Jane Roxburgh b.&d.1853, James Alfred b.1855, Catherine Edith Roxburgh b.1862 and Patrick Archibald b.1864.[3]

Home address

William Street, Forebank, Dundee, c.1841-1847.[4]
109 Nethergate, Dundee, c.1850-1854.[5]
5 Hawkhill Place, Dundee, c.1856-1857.[6]
7 Hawkhill Place, Dundee, c.1858-65.[7]
6 Laurelbank, Dundee, c.1867-1868.[8]
12 Laurelbank, Dundee, c.1869-1886.[9]

Age at death:

Place of death:

66 Wellgate, Dundee (usual residence 12 Laurelbank, Dundee).[10]

Date of death:

12-02-1886[10]

Buried:

Buried in the Western Cemetery Lair no. 157,a,b,c.[11] 

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Church of Scotland until 1843.[12] Free Church of Scotland 1843-death.[13]

Political affiliation

Unknown.

Clubs / societies

Ordinary director, Eye Institution, Dundee (est. 1836), c.1842-1886.[14] Senior director, Dundee Royal Infirmary (est. 1795), c.1842-1843.[15] Patron, Miss Janet Henderson's Mortification (for old indigent women, est. 1848), c.1856-1886.[16] Ordinary director, Dundee Association for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, c.1858-1886.[17] Committee member, Dundee Model Lodging House Association, c.1858-1881.[18] Secretary, Dundee Bible Society (Auxiliary to the National Bible Society of Scotland), 1869-1886.[19] Honorary vice-president, Dundee Boys and Girls Religious Association, 1876-1886.[20] Elected member, Dundee School Board, c.1878-1886.[21] Local trustee, Fund for the Relief of Indigent Gentlewomen of Scotland, c.1884-1885.[22] Governor (for Dundee School Board, University College Dundee, c.1885-1886.[23]

Public offices

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.4 – George Armitstead – both involved in the Dundee Association for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb.

Subscriber no.27 – Rev. Islay Burns – both Free Church of Scotland ministers in Dundee.

Subscriber no.41 – Dr. Cocks – both involved in the Eye Institution.

Subscriber no.62 – George Duncan – both senior directors of Dundee Royal Infirmary.

Subscriber no.85 – James Guthrie –  both involved in the Eye Institution.

Subscriber no.104 – Peter Hean – both senior directors of Dundee Royal Infirmary.

 

 

Career and worklife

Occupation

Minister

Employment

Employed

Place of work

St Andrew's Free Church

Work address

St Andrew's Parish Church, 2-6 King St, Dundee, 1837-1843.[12]
St. Andrew's Free Church, various addresses, 1843-1845.[13]
St Andrew's Free Church, Meadow Place, Bell Street, Dundee, 1845-1886.[24]

Career to date:

James Ewing was born a farmer's son in Muthill, Perthshire in 1810. There is some confusion over his parents names. In the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae his father is said to be Robert Ewing, farmer, Muthill and Catherine Comrie,[25] but on the Rev. James Ewing's death certificate his deceased parents are named as James Ewing, farmer, and Margaret Ewing, previously Cunningham, maiden surname Comrie.[26] He was educated at Muthill School and after graduating from the University of Glasgow entered the Divinity Hall in the city,[27] became a missionary in Perthshire in his youth,[28] was licensed by the presbytery of Dunkeld on 2 July 1833 and pursued his calling to the ministry on 1 December 1837 when he became the assistant and successor to Rev. Alexander McNeil of St. Andrew's Parish Church, King Street, Dundee.[29] This church was a chapel of ease built in 1772. At the time of the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843 James Ewing and most of his congregation "came out" and joined the newly-formed Free Church of Scotland. This meant using a number of temporary premises until the new church could be built. A warehouse in King Street was made available by Baxter Brothers for the use of his congregation.[30] St. Andrew's Free Church opened in February 1845 and in 1846 a schoolroom was acquired for use as a church hall. In 1848 the membership of his church numbered 900.[31] During this time he met and married his wife, Marjory Ferguson from Barony parish, Lanarkshire. The couple produced six children. The eldest, Robert Ewing, became an Anglican clergyman in England and a senior tutor at St. John's College, Oxford; another son, John Ferguson Ewing, followed his father and became the minister of Ogilvie Free Church, Dura Street, Dundee and the Free West Church in Glasgow before becoming a Presbyterian minister in Australia; but probably the most notable was James Archibald Ewing, first professor of engineering and drawing at University College Dundee, who went on to become principal of the University of Edinburgh and to receive a knighthood.[32]

More information

Rev. Ewing was a philanthropist and deeply concerned with the welfare of the people of Dundee. He took an interest in education and before the Disruption it was largely due to his efforts that the St. Andrew’s Sessional School was erected. He was also the first minister in Dundee to commence a Sunday School on a large scale. After the Disruption he was instrumental in the creation of the St. Andrew’s Free Church School. His experience in the field of education was recognised by his election to Dundee School Board.[33] He served for a while as the Free Church Presbytery clerk and the formation of the Wellgate Free Church and the Ogilvie Free Church, both offshoots of St. Andrew’s Free Church, was largely owing to his efforts.[34]

Such was the Rev. Ewing’s popularity that when a bazaar was held in 1883 to clear some debts on the church property it was supported by “persons of all religious denominations” and the result was “a success unparalleled in Dundee.” He was a man of “genial temper” and “esteemed by all classes.” He died quite suddenly while on a visit to a widow, one of his congregation. Pastoral care was particularly important to him and it was said of him that “no congregation ever saw more of their minister in their own houses.” At his death he was the oldest member of the Dundee Free Presbytery.[35]

 

Sources

  1. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd and Ewing, William. Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900 Vol. II. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.  A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  2. Old Parish Records. Barony Parish, Glasgow. Marriage. 5 January 1847. 622/190 165. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  4. 1841 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED89 p.1. ScotlandsPeople website and Dundee Directories, 1842-1845. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  5. Dundee Directories, 1850-1854. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  6. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  7. Dundee Directories, 1858-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  8. Dundee Directory, 1867-68. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  9. Dundee Directories, 1869-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  10. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Death. 12 February 1886. 282/3 89. ScotlandsPeople website.
  11. Index to Dundee Cemeteries. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
  12. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  13. Ewing, William. Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900 Vol. II. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1842-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Dundee Directory, 1842-43. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  16. Dundee Directories, 1856-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  17. Dundee Directories, 1858-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  18. Dundee Directories, 1858-1881. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  19. Dundee Directories, 1869-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Dundee Directories, 1876-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  21. Dundee Directories, 1878-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  22. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directory, 1885-86. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Ewing, William. Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900 Vol. II. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. A.K. Bell Library, Perth and Dundee Directories, 1844-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  26. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Death. 12 February 1886. 282/3 89. ScotlandsPeople website.
  27. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  28. Leng, John, & Co. (1887) Dundee Year Book. Obituary of Rev. James Ewing. Dundee: John Leng & Co. pp.69-70. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Perthshire Courier, 13 December 1838. British Newspaper Archive.
  29. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  30. Leng, John, & Co. (1887) Dundee Year Book. Obituary of Rev. James Ewing. Dundee: John Leng & Co. pp.69-70. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  31. Ewing, William. Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900 Vol. II. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  32. Scott, Hew. (1925) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Vol. V - Synods of Fife and of Angus and Mearns. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. A.K. Bell Library, Perth; Leng, John, & Co. (1887) Dundee Year Book. Obituary of Rev. James Ewing. Dundee: John Leng & Co. pp.69-70 and Dundee Directories, 1874-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  33. Leng, John, & Co. (1887) Dundee Year Book. Obituary of Rev. James Ewing. Dundee: John Leng & Co. pp.69-70. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Dundee Courier, 13 February 1886. British Newspaper Archive.
  34. Dundee Courier, 13 February 1886. British Newspaper Archive.
  35. Leng, John, & Co. (1887) Dundee Year Book. Obituary of Rev. James Ewing. Dundee: John Leng & Co. pp.69-70. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.

The information above about James Ewing has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.