The McIntaylor Family of Bute
The McIntaylor family, as did all the inhabitants of Bute, lived in the shadow of the ruins of Rothesay Castle. The Castle, which dates from the 12th Century, was besieged in 1230 and captured by the Vikings despite defenders pouring molten metal from the battlements. Thirty-three years later, King Haakon of Norway occupied it before the Battle of Largs. Four drum towers were added in 1300. The Castle was partially restored in the 19th century by the 3rd Marquis of Bute.
Robert, the only son of John McIntaylor and Ann McKirdy, was born on 17 April 1768 in Kingarth, Bute. He married Flora McFie, nearly ten years his senior, on 2 March 1790 in Rothesay. The McFies were a sept (or branch) associated with Clan Cameron as were the McIntaylors. Flora, born on 22 October, 1758 was a daughter of Alexander McFie and Margaret NcThomas. They had three sons - John (1790), Alexander (1793) and Robert (1795).
Robert (b1768) was a seaman and could possibly have owned or crewed one of the hundred or so herring boats fishing around Bute. Most young men aspired to own a "buss" or boat and were not interested in farming, even though good wages were offered in order to attract labourers. Or, perhaps Robert was one of the many volunteers from Bute who joined the Navy for the Revolutionary War against France for a promised share of prize money. Agents for the British Navy had recruited widely amongst the brave seamen of the island. This money, however, never eventuated and caused much anger in the community. Because there seems to have been no further children after1795 there is a high probability that Robert died at sea, either during his service in the British Navy or fishing in the dangerous waters off Bute. None of the three sons seem to have followed their fathers' occupation as a seaman. The family may have decided the sea was too dangerous or the family's boat was lost.
The eldest son, John (b 1790) probably sought employment as a weaver at the Cotton Spinning Mill which opened in 1765 in Rothesay and employed about three hundred people, old and young, in spinning and mending of fishing nets. This is the occupation he gives in the Census of Dalry in 1851. The proximity of Ayrshire coastline to Bute and a regular ferry service operating between the two counties would have made the seeking of a job on the mainland easy for John. Mining towns were prospering and he would have easily picked up work as a weaver. He met and married Margaret Wylie in Ardrossan in 1814 when he was twenty-four and she was twenty years old. The couple seems to have settled in nearby Dalry as early as 1825 though retained strong connections with Bute. They had seven children.
The middle son, Alexander Taylor (b 1793), married Grizel McConnechy (aka Grace Duncan) in 1816 at Rothesay, Bute where their first two children were born. He didn't follow his brother John to Dalry, Ayrshire until about 1820 bringing his widowed mother, Flora Taylor (nee McFie) with him. Their third child, Flora, was born in Dalry in 1823 shortly before the family left for Canada in about 1824. The fourth child of the marriage, Alexander, was born in 1825 at English River, now known as Riverfield just south west of Montreal in Quebec.
(by S. Larkey)