Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sepia Saturday~ Innkeeper At Cuminestown

James Imlah Sr.
James Imlah was the son of James Imlay and Jean Milne, James was born at Meikle Ardo Methlick in 1791 and baptised on Thursday the 8th of September. The Entry in the Methlick register reads:
Sept 8th
James Imlay in Meikle Ardo had a child
baptized and named James before there
Witnesses Alexander Imlay and Alexander
Marr both in Meikle Ardo.

James grew up to become the innkeeper at Cuminestown, Monquhitter and on a Monday in 1837 he married Catherine George, the entry in the Monquhitter register reads:

Upon the third day of July eighteen hundred and
thirty seven years James Imlah and Catherine George
both in Cuminestown in this Parish were Married.

James and Catherine had 6 children ( James had three other children before his marriage to Catherine, the three children were born to different women, and James did not marry any of them. The Children were raised by their mothers.)
  1. Catherine George
    Sarah, born Sunday 17th of December 1837
  2. James, born Sunday 17th March 1839
  3. Catherine, born Friday 24th July 1840
  4. Peter Grant, born Saturday 2nd July 1842
  5. Helen, born Friday 26th July 1844
  6. Janet Milne, born Tuesday 24th August 1847
The 1841 Census shows the family at the inn,Cuminestown. James is described as a "Publican" (publican is a keeper of a tavern, public house, or similar facility) The household consists of his wife, Catherine and their children: Sarah, James, Catherine and two Servants, Eliza Hepburn and Isobel Young, Also present in the home is Catherine's mother Sarah. In 1871 the Census for Village St. No. 1 still shows James as the innkeeper, the building has 5 rooms with a window, His wife Catherine and their children James, who is described as a "Horse Hirer etc" and Catherine and Janet Milne, both work at home, also James Garvock aged 16, a servant.
James Imlah died at Cuminestown on Wednesday 25 th of December 1878 at the age of 87, the cause of death is listed as Senile decay. The was death was registered by his son James, who described him as an innkeeper and Feuar. The 1881 Census refers to the inn as hotel now, and Catherine George is described as an innkeeper, James Jr. is the innkeepers Assistant, daughters Catherine and Helen both are Waiters, they have a visitor at this time, Barbara George ( perhaps a relative of Catherine) who is a widow and described as a housekeeper, she was a native of Turriff. Catherine George died on Monday 4th of July 1881 at the age of 71. After Catherine's death, her son James Jr. continued to run the inn until his death in 1886, His Sisters Catherine and Helen almost certainly continued to live at the inn and help run the business and keep house for their brother.

The contributor of this photos is Greg Stringham
 The Imlah Family Grave at Cuminestown is marked by a stone with the following Inscription:
Catherine Imlah
In Memory of Her Husband
James Imlah Cuminestown
Died 25th Dec 1878 Aged 87 Years.
Also her mother
Sarah George
Died 26 Dec 1851 Aged 93 Years
The above named
Catherine Imlah
Died 4th July 1884, aged 80 Years.
Also their son James died 11th
October 1886, Aged 47 years.
  Also their Daughter Catherine
Died 21st April 1890 aged 49 Years
Also Their Daughter Helen
Waterside Gight Methlick
Died 29th August 1934 Aged 90 Years.

** James Imlah 2nd Cousin 5X removed

I'd like to Thank Alan for all the time and energy he puts into running "Sepia Saturday ". If you have not had a chance to Visit his site, you are truly missing out and I encourage you to stop by and have a look around.


  1. James was what we would call ‘a bit of a lad’ then! At least he didn’t decay too early; 87 is a good age.

  2. It's interesting to think of so many family members in one church yard. With the way people move from one side of a country to another with ease we will probably never again see situations like this.

  3. James did have quite an "active" life! Senile decay?

  4. James looks like a kind-hearted soul. Catherine does, too, though perhaps a little more serious. I wonder if the inn (or the building in which it was) is still there. It would be interesting to have a look around and imagine the times. Is it easier to find information about them and the inn because they would have been such public figures?

  5. James has a wicked smile, Catherine I'm not so sure of. Family graves seem to be a thing of the past. How can you commemorate family members who have been cremated?

  6. And I would like to thank you for being such an important part of Sepia Saturday. The two images and the way you explore them sum up what Sepia Saturday is all about. There is a quality in the images and a quality in the commentary that stands out.

  7. Oh, that James! He does look like he's up to something, and it seems he was able to charm the ladies. I am so thrilled to have learned a new word: Publican.

  8. The tabloids would have a great time with James. 3 children with 3 different women that he didn't marry and he seems to have been an upstanding part of the community. I'm glad he found Catherine.
    Such an interesting post!
    Barbara (Banar Designs)

  9. I really enjoy seeing old portraits like these which are backed up by stories of their lives, and you have added a modern photograph of the cemetery as a bonus. Another captivating contribution to Sepia Saturday's centennial celebration, thank you.