John Cameron – Weaver
The river Cart (also called the Black Cart) runs beside the village of Kilbarchan, a centre for the weaving of ‘Paisley’ silk, a true cottage industry. The Cart eventually flows into the Clyde. Kilbarchan is located a few miles south-east of Paisley, near the town of Johnstone
These were the palmy days of weaving – a weaver would be a good ‘catch’. The Cameron family of John and Janet, who married in 1821, lived in Kilbarchan after Burns’ day. John, who was not born in Kilbarchan but far away in Perthshire, must have met young Janet Mitchell in Kilbarchan, and married her when she was 23 and he around 29. What brought him to Kilbarchan is not known, but it is likely that he was an ambitious lad, keen to get on and learn the skill of silk hand-loom weaving, a pursuit that would pay well in those days.
After marriage, the need for help in the preparing of the silk threads, and of setting up the loom ( a prodigious task), encouraged the production of a large family. In 1841 there were four children between 12 and 15 years old recorded in the Census of that year as silk hand-loom weaver apprentices. There were also three younger children. All the children seem to have survived infancy.
The third child, John, was born in 1828/29 in Kilbarchan. At the age of 23 he married Elizabeth Murphy, who was a similar age, and born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Over the next 25 years they had twelve children, three of whom did not survive infancy and five did not reach adulthood. It is probable that the three oldest surviving children were also apprenticed as weavers.
The seventh child (fourth surviving) was Duncan, my grandfather.