I couldn’t find McClymont’s birth record, but we know that Hugh and Sarah were living in Straiton Township about that time, and from the census records, we know he was born in 1780. By the time McClymont married Barbara McCool, on March 2, 1807(20), he worked on a farm in Kelton, just outside of the village of Barr. Barbara was the eldest of two children (of which I could find birth records) of John McCool, a shepherd, and Mary McClure, a domestic servant(21). Barbara was born an illegitimate child since John and Mary did not get married until four years after Barbara was born (1788) in Lismore, Argyll, Scotland. But the fact that Barbara was illegitimate stayed with her even up to her death, as it was noted on her death record. How sad. To further experience the mindset of the townspeople in the early 1700’s, and how much weight that an illegitimate birth carried, court records describe how an Agnes Dyert was found guilty of birthing two illegitimate children by John Morton, the town barber, and was thereby sentenced to stand at the Fish-cross (a market place where they sold fish) between the hours of 11 am and noon [most likely the busiest time of the day in town, thus creating the greatest audience]. With the hangman beside her, in an effort to cause humiliation, he shaved her head in the presence of the townspeople.” It doesn’t mention what happened to Mr. Morton.
Straiton Township in 2012. It doesn't look like it has changed much in the past 200 years.
A point worth noting about McClymont and Barbara, and others as you may have noticed, is that only one correct spelling of their names was not emphasized back then as it is today. In a time before literacy was universal, people would not necessarily have known how to spell their names, and the clerks who recorded events about the lives of these people often simply wrote down what they heard. So the surname Cool or McCool, like many names, morphed over the years. Beginning as Cowell, Cowlie or Coulie, the names Coul and Cool became shortened versions. In the parish records of her marriage to McClymont we find her name as Barbara Cool. And in a different entry, Wm. Robert’s baptism, we find her name as Barbara Coulie. Likewise, McClymont is also spelled Clymont, Clement and McLymont in his records.
By the time they started having children, McClymont and Barbara lived closer to the sea, in a small community of thatched roof houses called Dipple [parish of Kirkoswald, county of Ayrshire], as per the 1841(22) and 1851(23) census. Their children were Mary ( 1809-1880) , Jane (1811-?), Hugh (1813-?), William Robert (1815-1862)(24), Agnes (1816-?), Sarah (1818-1885), Margaret (1818-?), Janet (1819-?), Jean (1821-?), John (1823-1903), and James (1826-?).
McClymont worked mostly as a farm hand, but toward the end of his life he became a thatcher [roofer]. Back then, the roofs were made of cut reeds or heather. A thatcher would have to collect the reeds and heather first, lay it out to dry, then use it to mend roofs. In 1855, at the age of 75, McClymont died from “injuries received from a fall”(25) – most likely a fall from repairing a roof-top. There was no medical attendant, and McClymont was buried in the Church Yard at Kirkoswald.
If Barbara’s life wasn’t sad enough, she died from “frailty” in 1866(26), eleven years after McClymont succombed to his injuries. Her son, Hugh, was the informant on record, but was not present when she died. In contrast to her husband’s burial in the town churchyard, she was buried at the “Bridge’s End” in Belkenna [Parish of Kirkmichael, County of Ayrshire]. In all of my searching, I cannot find a cemetery that existed at the end of the bridge in Belkenna. Back then, when suitable materials were not available (or affordable) from which to construct a coffin, small slabs of stone were built round about a buried body as a protection. Burial sites such as these can be found in early Christian cemeteries, even here in the U.S. These graves lined with small slabs of stone are called cists. Cists were sometimes built together inside mounds of dirt, called cairns. According to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, an 1895 archaeology dig of a cairn in Balkenna at the end of the main bridge revealed several cists with human remains, which were removed to make way for the New Shore Road. It doesn’t say to where the remains were removed. So even in death, Barbara found no peace.