John Blackburn

1756 - 1840

Claimant or beneficiary


Son of Peter Blackburn [Anthony Cooke gives Hugh] merchant of Glasgow and Helen née Crosse. In turn, John Blackburn's son was also called Peter and was the MP for Stirling in 1855.

  1. John Blackburn, son of Peter Blackburn and Helen Crosse, baptised in Glasgow, 14/04/1756. Married Rebecca Leslie Gillies, daughter of Rev. Colin Gillies, 11/03/1811 in Glasgow. She was born 17/04/1788 in Paisley. John's father Peter was the son of John Blackburn of Househill and Marion Cathcart and was born 24/11/1728 in Glasgow. Helen Cross was the daughter of John Cross and Agnes Crawford and was born 07/04/1728 in Glasgow.

  2. Made his fortune in Jamaica, returned by 1810; subsequently a Glasgow merchant. Rebuilt Killearn 1811. Left £107,109.

  3. Gave evidence to House of Commons Committee on the Commercial State of the West Indies 22/04/1807. His evidence suggests he went to Jamaica 1772 and left in 1805.

  4. Times in 1876 noted that Sir Colin Blackburn was created Baron Blackburn of Killearn, in the county of Stirling, Scotland, the second son of the late Mr John Blackburn of Killearn, who died in 1840. The ODNB entry for Sir Colin Blackburn identifies John Blackburn as 'a Jamaican proprietor'; the ODNB also has an entry for another son, Hugh Blackburn as 'mathematician and college administrator' which describes his father as a 'Glasgow sugar merchant' who 'made a fortune in Jamaica and returned to Glasgow in 1810', and characterises the Wedderburns (Hugh Blackburn later married the painter and illustrator Jemima Wedderburn) as 'one of Scotland's most distinguished families, and distantly related' to the Blackburns.




  1. General Register Office for Scotland OPR 644/1 121 183. Email from Ian Miles, 07/06/2014. See private member tree by imiles149 at [accessed 10/06/2014] which traces the family back further generations.

  2. William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume Two 1840-1859 MS reference 1840/39.

  3. Email communication with sources from Mary Mill to Nick Draper 28/04/2010.

  4. Times 10/10/1876 p.7; Gareth H. Jones, ‘Blackburn, Colin, Baron Blackburn of Killearn (1813–1896)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004) [, accessed 12/08/2012]; A. J. Crilly, ‘Blackburn, Hugh (1823–1909)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 25 Nov 2016]

We are grateful to Ian Miles for his assistance with compiling this entry.  


Further Information

Rebecca Leslie Gillies
Helen, Peter Blackburn MP (1812-70), Sir Colin Blackburn (1813-96), John (1815-), Isabella (1817-), Andrew (1819-), Robert Bogle (1821-1875), Hugh (1823-1909)

John Blackburn's inventory is in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court papers (SC 70/1/59/635, 24 August 1840). His estate of £107,109 included debts owed by Scottish aristocrats of £30,171 (the late Robert Dundas of Blair £410 , the Duke of Hamilton £2,558, Hon Dudley Stewart Erskine McDonald £10,752, Archibald McDonald £6,451 and Lord McDonald £10,000), £2,546 owed by the Kilmarnock Road trustees, Glasgow and Gairnkirk Railway Co £3,070, Glasgow Water Co £1,206, Glasgow Gas Co £2,160, Paisley Gas Co £7,776, book debts due by Bank of Scotland £46,595, stock in Bank of Scotland £3,943, Glasgow Ship Bank £232, British Linen Co at Balfron £244, debts by New Shotts Iron Co £138, shares in Edinburgh Academy £50, shares in Glasgow Tontine £1,000, household furniture in Edinburgh £1,492, farm stock at Killearn £117. [email to LBS from Anthony Cooke, author of The Rise and Fall of the Scottish Cotton Industry 1778-1914 (MUP, 2010),  31/1/2011]

Wealth at death
Church of Scotland

Associated Claims (3)

£148 16s 4d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£1,286 10s 6d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£10,530 19s 8.5d

Associated Estates (6)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1815 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner
1815 [EA] - 1819 [LA] → Owner
1809 [EA] - → Not known
1810 [EA] - 1830 [LA] → Owner
1809 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1799 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Country house
Killearn [Built] 
description →
Mansion house built c. 1814 by John Blackburn on the Killearn estate, and in the Blackburn family's ownership until...

Relationships (1)

Father → Son

Addresses (2)

Killearn, Stirlingshire, Central Scotland, Scotland
8 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian (Edinburgh), Central Scotland, Scotland