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Robert McKenzie Cross: Botanical Explorer, Kew Gardens

Early Life in Kilmaronock Loch Lomondside 1830s and 1840s

Home | Forgotten Legend : Tribute to Robert Cross- Sample | Further Reading : Some Books, Journals and Web Sites | Early Life in Kilmaronock Loch Lomondside 1830s and 1840s | While Robert entered Kew Gardens, London 1850s his siblings flew the nest too! | Chronology : The Years Robert Cross spent at Home and Abroad | Chinchona Missions : First Trip to South America 1859 | Robert Cross's Report on his travel to South America in 1860 | Spruce's Journal First Chinchona Mission | Chinchona : Later Trips to South America | Rubber Trees : Mission to South America 1876 | Para Rubber Images | Clements Markham, Richard Spruce and Henry Wickham | Achievements of Robert Cross | Publications of Robert M Cross | Last Years at West Cottage Torrance of Campsie | Last Will and Testament of Robert McKenzie Cross

Robert Cross was the 5th son of Alexander Cross and Elizabeth Glen of Kilmaronock.

Robert Cross was born on 24 January 1834. The Old Parish Register for Kilmaronock records

" Alex Crofs Quarrier at Blairmyle and Elizabeth Glen his spouse had a lawful son born named ROBERT McKENZIE "

The middle name "McKENZIE" seems to be from a landowning
family in the area, a Robert McKenzie of Caldervan has a memorial plaque inside Kilmaronock Church.

Robert is included with his parents and siblings in the 1841 Census for Blairoaks Cottage, Caldervan his father is listed as a Freestone Quarrier.

He attended the local village school at Kilmaronock.
The Heritors Records for Kilmaronock ( in the National Archives of Scotland ( HR 578 )) record the details of schoolmasters from 1845.

26 February 1846 : A meeting was caused by the death of Mr James McGregor, Mr Joseph Dobbie, Roslin was elected.

6 April 1848 : Mr Dobbie appointed to another situation...

The schoolmaster from 1848-1853 was Thomas McLelland, who married Robert's sister Elizabeth Cross ( 1836-1916). Robert left school at 14 and went into service. In the 1851 Census for Kilmaronock he is shown as a "farm servant" in the employ of Miss Anne McGoune of Mains, Kilmaronock.

Last Resting Place
of Robert Cross

Grave of Robert Cross
at Cadder Cemetery, Bishopbriggs,

Pictured here is Bill Buchanan of East Leake, a great
nephew of Robert McKenzie Cross. Bill's grandmother was Agnes Cross ( 1842-1907) of Cumbernauld and Largs, a sister of

Also buried at Cadder Cemetery are a number of other connected families of Cross, McLelland, Ure and Forrest.

Family Stories/ Family legends

" is said that someone in the family brought quinine
from over the Andres and this helped to save many British lives in India ..."

Robert Cross was thanked personally by Queen Victoria for the work he did on behalf of Kew Gardens.

In as much as this was passed on - it does have a certain basis - Cross was given the thanks of the British and Indian governments - and Queen Victoria was the head of both these - the evidence shows that Cross was personally thanked ( and in a letter - copy held ) by the Secretary of State for India for the work he carried out over a period of 30 years in chinchona and rubber development.

Some time in his late teens Robert Cross applied to work for the Colquhoun estate at Luss, 12 miles from his native parish. He served an apprenticeship as a gardener for Sir James Colqhoun. From there he went to Austin and McAuslan's nurseries in Glasgow. His talents were noted and recognised.

On the Luss estate regular visitors were the Hookers Wiliam Hooker and his son Joseph - who both became Directors of Kew Gardens during the period that Robert Cross was linked to the chinchona and rubber plant transfers .



Robert McKenzie Cross of Kew Gardens