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
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.........