Calcutta to Glasgow 1834

Leishman & family — Glasgow, 1834

By Eunice Shanahan

I managed to contact the Glasgow Business Archives on the internet, and Johanna King and her colleague Virginia Russell provided the background information for the letter.

Virginia, however gave me all this family information which would be of interest to genealogists connected with the Leishman family.

I have been doing some background reading on Matthew Leishman of Govan. I am attaching a few pages of notes, which I hope will answer the questions arising from the letter, about the identities of Matthew, Jane, Tom and R. Leishman.

There is not a lot of material about Jane Elisabeth Boog (Mrs Matthew Leishman) in the book but, as you mentioned in your last message, she had a total of 13 babies, seven of whom died in childhood — I've included their dates of birth and dates of death in the list.

I've also included a little information about Oakshaw House, but I am trying to find out whether or not the mansion house still stands — there is a possibility that it may still be in use as a residential care home.

It was purchased by Thomas Leishman in 1814, so the reference in the letter to spending New Year's Day at Oakshaw suggests that New Year was the occasion of a customary family gathering. In post-Reformation Scotland it was traditional for New Year to be celebrated rather than Christmas.

Regarding the following reference in the letter:"What is the reason that I never now hear anything of the book — I assure you I have been expecting to receive a copy of it by every ship which has left the Clyde for this sory whole. I can only suppose that Matthew is getting lazy — is that the case " I haven't managed to find any specific information which corresponds with the date of the letter. However, the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae records publications by Matthew Leishman, as follows:

Edited Binning's Works, with an Introductory Essay,Commentary, and Notes, Glasgow 1842

Edited Wodrow's Analecta, 4 vols., for the Maitland Club, Glasgow

A Brief Appeal to Convocationists, 1843

Account of the Parish (of Govan?), New Statistical Account of Scotland, no. vi

These are the notes she supplied :-

Matthew Leishman of Govan



James Fleming Leishman: Matthew Leishman of Govan and the Middle Party of 1843 — a page from Scottish Church life and history in the nineteenth century, Paisley, Alexander Gardner, 1921


Hew Scott, DD: Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae — The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd,

vol. 2 (Synod of Glasgow & Ayr), 1917; vol. 3 (Synod of Merse & Teviotdale and Synod of Dumfries & Galloway), 1920


Possible additional source: Anna Ritchie (ed.): Govan and Its Early Medieval Sculpture, Sutton, 1994


Probable identities of "Matthew", "Tom", "Jane", and "R. Leishman", and information about "Oakshaw":


"Matthew" = Matthew Leishman of Govan

  • born at Paisley 27 April 1794
  • second son of Thomas Leishman, corn merchant, and Janet Robertson
  • early education at Paisley Grammar School,
  • entered the University of Glasgow aged 13 (1807)
  • graduated from Glasgow with distinction
  • entered Edinburgh Divinity Hall aged 18 (1812)
  • licensed as a minister by the Presbytery of Edinburgh in 1816
  • assistant minister at Renfrew, 1919
  • elected minister of Govan on September 24 1820
  • ordained to the Parish of Govan, 1 March 1821
  • married Jane Elizabeth Boog at Burntisland on 13 July 1824
  • DD from University of Glasgow, 1840
  • leader of the Middle Party at the Disruption of 1843
  • Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1858-59
  • died 8 August 1874



"Jane" = Jane Elisabeth Boog (Mrs Matthew Leishman)

  • born at Place Green (now Sidcup Place) in Kent on 15 May 1803
  • daughter of Robert Boog, a Jamaica merchant, and Robina Elisabeth Anderson
  • moved with her parents to Burntisland, Fife, in 1808
  • died August 1874 (three weeks after Matthew)




Thomas, DD — born 7 May 1825 (married Christina Balmanno (1832-1868), 1857) — ordained to Parish of Collace, 1852; presented to the Parish of Linton in Teviotdale, 1855; Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1898

Elizabeth Anderson* — born 11 October 1826, died 20 April 1912

Janet* — born 14 April 1828, died 24 October 1835

Robert* — born 8 June 1830, died 19 June 1830

Robert Boog* — born 13 December 1831, died 28 July 1832

Matthew David — born 7 January 1833, died 25 November 1834

William, MD — born 8 June 1834 (married Augusta S. Drevar) — Professor of Midwifery in University of Glasgow, died 18 February 1894

John Robert* — born 18 February 1836, died 23 May 1836

Jane — born 24 May 1837(married William Moorhead)

Marianne Sophia* — born 21 August 1838, died 24 October 1842

Charles* — born 30 December 1839, died 11 January 1840

James Matthew — born 30 July 1844 (married Sarah R. Boog) — merchant in Rangoon

Isabella Agatha — born 12 October 1847 (married Rev. David Runciman, minister of Leslie, Fife) — died 13 August 1917

* 7 children died in childhood



"R. Leishman" = possibly Robert Leishman of Sunnyside, Lanark


  • brother of Matthew Leishman
  • Matthew Leishman inherited Sunnyside, Lanark on the death of his brother Robert in 1871
  • Matthew Leishman retired to Sunnyside, Lanark in 1872


"Tom" = probably not Thomas Leishman, son of Matthew (too young in 1834)

"Tom" = almost certainly not Thomas Leishman, father of Matthew, especially so if "R. Leishman" was Robert Leishman, son of Thomas and brother of Matthew


"Tom" = possibly Thomas Dykes, brother-in-law of Matthew Leishman

  • Thomas Dykes married Marion, sister of Matthew Leishman
  • in the family tree, Thomas Dykes is listed as Thomas Dykes (Calcutta)
  • possibly acquainted with Robert Leishman through business in Calcutta



  • Oakshaw House, Paisley
  • purchased by Thomas Leishman on 12 December 1814, for the sum of £1980, as a private residence
  • built on lands of Oakshawhead, an oak wood belonging to the mediaeval Abbots of Paisley
  • at the time of the Roman occupation of Clydesdale, Oakshawhead was the site of a Roman Fort
  • in 1911 Oakshaw House became the property of the Church of Scotland

Then a further e-mail was received with this information about Oakshaws — the house mentioned in the letter.

I've just received an e-mail from a friend who lives in the Paisley area, and who is also a member of Oakshaw Trinity Parish Church. Part of her message is as follows: Oakshaw House is still standing at No. 26 Oakshaw Street. I believe it is now either Jericho House (for alcoholics) or at any rate a Catholic retreat centre. I don't think there is any connection now with Oakshaw Trinity although it is directly across the road from it. Hope this is of help to you.


Which all goes to show what a great communication tool the internet and the mailing lists can be.

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