[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]



Scotia gave you birth,
But you were ours, being apt to take the print
Of island forms, the mood, the tone, the tint,
Nor missed the ripples of the larger mirth.
A lovely soul has sought the silent firth ;
Yet haply on our shores you still may hint
A delicate presence, though no visible dint
Betrays where you have touched the conscious earth.
You walk with our loved " Chalse " ; you help him speak
A gracious tongue, to us not wholly clear,
And sing the " Hymns " — fond dream that wont to dwell
In his confusion. Friend of all things weak,
Go down to that sweet soil you held so dear!
Go up to God, and joys unspeakable !

John McMeiken was a grocer (& spirit merchant) with a shop in Arbory Street Castletown, he was also agent for Douglas and Isle of Man Bank, to the Gas Light Co., and to the Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society. He would appear to hve been involved in many other charitable enterprises — eg. a J McMeiken is secretary to Castletown Poor Man's Friend Society. He was also obviously interested in the history of the Island for J G Cumming thanks him for the various facsimile signatures that he provided; his coin collection is also mentioned, as also is his collection of pre-historic artefacts, though interestingly he does not appear to have been a subscriber to the Manx Society's publications.

However a major claim to fame is as the driving force behind the erection of a lighthouse on Langness.

In 1881 census a 70 year unmarried John McMeiken, bank manager born in Scotland, is found lodging with 57 year old Helen McMeiken, annuitant spinster born in Douglas, at the The Crofts, Castletown (interestingly no familial relationship was given other than 'lodger').

It is also probable that he was briefly a Wesleyan Local Preacher for a J McMeiken is found on the Plan from 1836 but is not included in Rosser's 1848 list.

Possibly came over with Father ? as a Thos. McMeiken (McMeikin) is found as Grocer, Spirit merchant etc as well as an agent for a Glasgow based Steam packet Co. in Douglas from 1823 (not however found in 1811/1814 directory)

The McMeiken family history is currently not fully determined:

The first entry is for a marriage of a John McMeiken to Jane Brown at Kk Braddan, 9 May 1811; a daughter Elizabeth was baptised at St Matthew's Douglas 12 Jan 1812 with another un-named daughter (infant death ?)1 May 1814 . No entry can however be found corresponding to Helen McMeiken.

A Thomas McMeiken marries Elizabeth Aiken at Kk Braddan on 4 April 1826 - a son Thomas is found in register for Athol Street Congregational Chapel for 15 May 1829.

The 1841 census shows 3 possibly unrelated groups:

(a) John already established in Castletown

(b) Thomas son of Thomas (? ages match however) - also at Castletown

(c) a Douglas based group - Michael (50), Mary (30) Edward (12), Patrick (9), Mary Ann (7) and Maria (3). Most likely this was an un-connected family as baptisms are found in the Roman Catholic register for St Mary's Douglas - Maria daughter of Michael McMichan and Mary McMullan (both Irish names) bapt 15 May 1829, Patrick 5 May 1833, Maria 21 May 1838.

By 1851 John McMeiken describes himself as a grocer employing 2 men at 5 Arbory Street Castletown; a Ellen (Helen ?) McMiken age 27 is found as an unmarried cook at Castle Mona Hotel (but is not present in 1861 census). The Douglas family now consists of Mary (38), Patrick (18) and Elizabeth (9). Patrick McMechan is married at Kk Braddan 18 Nov 1859.


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