Alexander Simmers (Abt. 1742 to 1830) & Margaret Skene (1748 – ?) – The Gardeners

Alexander Simmers (intermittently recorded as Symers) was born in Scotland between about 1742. He was the son of Alexander Simmers and Elspeth Ross. The Simmers family name has a long historic association with Aberdeenshire.  Margaret was born 9 Feb 1748 in Kincardine O’Neil an ancient village of Aberdeenshire with Banchory Devenick a near neighbour. Banchory Devenick appears repeatedly in our family history as many members would be baptised or married there and were members of the Free Church. Alexander was employed through his working life as a Gardener. This being further ratified when this occupation was included in his will. Newspapers from the day mentioning his name and work have permitted me to come to this solid conclusion. Alexander married Margaret Skene (another name long associated with Aberdeenshire) in the small village of Alford outside of Aberdeen. Alexander and Margaret were married in Alford on the 9th of May 1773.

They would have a family of four known children. Isobel Simmers b. @?1771, George Simmers b. 1775, Elspit Simmers b. 1775 (twins?) and Andrew Simmers b. 1776.

Alexander died around 1830 with a will that he wrote dated 8th Jan 1830.  In his will he specifically names his two living daughters Isobel and Elspit and two of their children (his Grandchildren) as beneficiaries. One of Isobel’s daughters (Isabel Mann) and one of Elspit’s son’s (Alexander Burnett, (recorded in the will as Helmwright rather than Helmrich) were the inheritors. No provision or mention of his two sons appear in the will. No provision of mention of his wife Margaret Skene appears either, this could indicate that she had pre-deceased him.

The children of Alexander Simmers and Margaret Skene

Est. 1771 – 1851. Isobel (Simmers) married John Mann who pre-deceased her by around twenty years. I have been able to locate her (I am almost 100% sure) in the St Nicholas Poorhouse as an old woman. There were two such establishments in the area. At the time that Isobel lived there they were in the process of amalgamating into newly built establishments. The Old Machar of West Poorhouse completed building and began taking in residents from 1849. My understanding is that during the time that Isobel was a ‘patient’ (their words) she moved across two sites. Two sets of census records indicate she did indeed change address in this period. The care of those in want in Scotland during this time was the responsibility of the parish. This included the aged who were not able to live with/did not have family to look after them. Estimate is that Isobel died in 1851.

Est. 1775 – 1862. George Simmers died in/near Aberdeenshire 1862. His daughter Mary pre-deceased him as it would appear his other children/spouse may have also as the arrangements for his executorship was published in the Aberdeen Journal 24th December 1862.

1775 – 1865. Elspit Simmers (my ancestor, has her own page)

Est. 1776. Andrew Simmers -?