McIvor of New Zealand

Richard Sowdon (my grandfather) married Isabella Ruby McIvor in 1936 in New Zealand. They spent their honeymoon on board ship from New Zealand to England in 1936. My grandmother, Isabella Ruby, kept two diaries of events from 1936 to 1948. They detail the thoughts and events of a farming family during that period and contain, in particular the birth of my mother, Helen Ann, and my aunts, Virginia (Ginny) and Sara. My grandparents eventually settled at Plough Hill farm, Radwinter, Essex where they farmed for many years until Richard Sowdon's retirement. They then lived in Garner's Ley, a new bungalow built where an apple orchard existed. The old horse chestnut tree still stands in the garden; many a time I could be seen climbing this tall, strong tree with my brother, Tim and sister, Suzanne. Sadly the farm no longer belongs to the Sowdon family, having been sold when Richard and Isabella moved into Garner's Ley during the 1970's. Isabella was born in New Zealand in 1911 to William and Nellie McIvor (née Caird). She came from large family consisting of 4 brothers (Samuel (Noel), Les, Donald (Bim), and Ira) and 1 sister (Rita). I met Great Aunt Rita one summer back in 1975 at Victoria coach station, London. It was a blistering hot summer's day and Rita was wearing a fur coat having just come off the coach from a tour of Scotland with my grandmother.

James McIver (McIvor). Born 5 Mar 1780 Parish of Oldrick, nr. Thurso, Caithness, Scotland. Died in 11 Feb 1862

William, his son, was born in 1834 and he would have been 26 when emigrating to New Zealand with his parents.

There are persistent family references to James and military matters e.g. pallbearer for Sir John Moore 1761-1809 (buried Corunna) & serving with Gen Sir Charles Gordon 1833-85 (killed at Khartoum) and 42nd Royal Highland Regiment 1809 which became the Black Watch. See also Glencoe by John Prebble.

James served in Caithness Highlanders 1799 - 26 July 1802

42nd Royal Highlanders 27 July - 5 February 1816

Total of 16 years and 95 days.

James was entitled to two years additional service as a Waterloo man not included in the above.

James received the Military General Service Medal and bars for the Peninsula War serving at Corunna, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes and Toulouse. (See Wellington's Peninsula Victories - Nivelle 10 November 1813)

James also served with Wellington at Waterloo, receiving the Waterloo medal. Served in Capt. Thomas Wade's Company.

Discharge Wounds received in left ankle at Quatre Bras in 16 June 1815.

Doquet: Age given as 38.

Soldiers Documents, 1765-1854 WO97/579.

The Black Watch Medal Roll, 1801-1911 p.29 gives the information that his medals were in the collection of Capt John Stewart. Stewart's collection of medals was sold in 1925 and scattered to the four winds.

The valuation given by the dealer for C/Sgt McIver's MGSM and Waterloo medals was 16.00. They would be worth considerably more today!


McIvor - Family particulars