James McArgo

 Jack Thomson remembers


At the end of Walton Road , Kirkpatrick-Durham, the last two dwellings were known as the Brick Houses. The second of these was occupied by James McArgo during the 1920’s and 30’s. A kenspeckle figure in his “Bowler” hat, he was the local reporter for the K.A. – “The Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser” to give its proper name at that time; it is now “The Galloway News”.

 He was the author of many controversial articles arousing heated debates on local issues and local people.

 He was a shorthand writer and was regularly to be seen using his skills at such during the sermons in the Kirk.

 A very well read person he was a notable collector of local memorabilia and had acquired a wonderful collection. When the house was cleared after his death there were many, many items of great interest, some of which did go to the local Museum in Kirkcudbright. Sadly I saw many others which were destroyed or discarded. There were lots of rifles and other types of arms some of which had undoubtedly belonged to the Old Galloway Militia or Volunteers.

 James was a watch and clockmaker and repairer and his “Rounds” took him as far afield as the Ayrshire border near Dalmellington looking after and repairing his client’s clocks and watches. He would stay overnight at the homes of farmers, shepherds, farm workers and whoever else. Therefore he had many tales to tell of his various encounters with all these people he had come to know over the years. He always carried a “Gladstone Bag” in which he kept the tools of his trade.

 In his early days he had been a member of the Malta Militia for whatever reasons I know not but recall receiving a commendation for an essay on his life. My Grandfather and he were very great friends and he was a frequent visitor to our house particularly to play cards. As far as I know he was unmarried.