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Robert McKenzie Cross: Botanical Explorer, Kew Gardens

While Robert entered Kew Gardens, London 1850s his siblings flew the nest too!

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

In the mid 1850s, Robert Cross left Scotland. He was in his early 20s, and moved to London.

He had secured a post at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as a gardener. It appears that he entered Kew in 1857.

Among Robert's siblings several of them also left Kilmarononck in the 1850s seeking fame and fortune elsewhere. The eldest son, James Cross ( 1825-1872 ) remained on Loch Lomondside, he married a local lass named Jane Cameron ( 1825-1903 ) and they farmed at Wards, Kilmaronock. Jane later farmed at Stuckenduff Farm, Shandon.

Robert's next brother, Henry Bell Cross ( 1828-1888 ) emigrated to Wisconsin, USA, in 1852 - with his wife Isabel Keir - but they returned home again in 1855. Henry later went on to be harbourmaster on the Forth and Clyde Canal at Port Dundas, Glasgow. John Cross ( 1830-1905 ), another brother, left Kilmaronock for Carmunnock in Lanarkshire, to be the rural policeman there - he married Margaret Bowes and they moved to Partick and central Glasgow, John became a policeman sergeant, Inspector of Industrial Schools and Town Officer at Glasgow City Chambers in George Square. Alexander Cross ( named after his father ) ( 1832-1868 ) was killed in an accident - at Bonhill - when his cart fell on top of him. He was a widower - his wife Margaret Campbell had died earlier in 1868. Their family was broken up - 5 young children - who went to live with other family members.

Robert's other siblings were Elizabeth Cross ( 1836-1916 ) who married Thomas McLelland, sometime scholteacher, later Inspector of Poor and Registrar - they moved away to Glasgow, Blantyre and eventually to Cadder, Bishopbriggs. Elizabeth's son James McLelland ( who married his cousin Grace McKean Buchanan ) played a part in the later life of Robert Cross - after he had retired close to Cadder at Torrence of Campsie. Grace also contributed to tributes paid to Robert Cross by writers concerned with the history of the Rubber Industry - in the 1930s and 1940s.

Another sibling of Robert was William Paterson Cross ( 1837-1911 ) who left Kilmaronock for Birmingham and later settled in Greenock . He was a choirmaster, music teacher and conductor - he married Mary Sofia Weaver McLardy - who was known on the stage as Edith Ross - a fine Scottish singer and lead player in a Scottish Musical Touring Company that visited USA and Canada.

There were two other surviving sisters of Robert, Jane ( 1839-1901 ) who married William Morrison, a ploughman, from Killearn in Stirlingshire and Agnes ( 1841- 1907 ) married a local farmer Archibald Buchanan of Portnellan Farm, Kilmaronock. These Buchanans farmed sometime on the site of Barlinnie prison at Glasgow, at Cumbernauld and at Largs, in Ayrshire. They family later moved south to England, to Watnall in Nottinghamshire.

This was a remarkable family - who left a remarkable legacy behind. In terms of appearing on the world stage - and changing the fate of mankind - Robert McKenzie Cross could claim he did both.........

Robert McKenzie Cross of Kew Gardens