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The Invergordon Archive

Sgt Kenny Ross's funeral 1940 at Invergordon
The Invergordon Archive
Sgt Kenny Ross's funeral 1940 at Invergordon

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Picture added on 04 November 2007
This picture is taken at Kilmuir Easter church.
Added by Kathleen Mckie on 05 November 2007
Kathleen mentioned that this picture was taken at Kilmuir Easter Church. Can anyone tell me what are the cottage-like buildings in the background and does anyone know who they belonged to or were used by? Also, which Kilmuir Easter Church was this? The one which has the tower and the War Memorial or a different one? Wasn't there a Kilmuir Easter Church which was torn down? I am interested because my Great Great Grandparents, Alexander Ross and Jane McCulloch (and their family) lived at Balavack a croft/steading which was/is close to a church and church steading. Anything anyone could tell me would be great! Thanks, Jean
Added by Jean Ross on 08 November 2007
The buildings are cottages, housing for local people. I think there has only been one Kilmuir Easter church; it is on the road between Barbaraville and Milton. picture #1032 is taken viewing towards the west, with the photographers back towards the church. It shows the war memorial to the left of the trees, Polnicol Hall is behind the trees, and Tarbat farm house can be seen on the skyline to the right of the trees. The church torn down was at the junction of the road leading north from Delny Station where it joined the old "back road" between Alness and Kildary, now the A9. There was no grave yard at that church. I believe Balavack was on this same road and would have been close to the now demolished church.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 10 November 2007
Correction: the building to the right of the trees in picture #1032 is of course Polnicol farm house and not Tarbat as stated in previous posting.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 11 November 2007
This picture has somehow been "flipped" by 180 degrees and appears in mirror image to the actual location.
The house closest to the road was privately owned, while the cottages in the background were tied houses for the workers at Polnicol farm.
The two houses furthermost from the camera were demolished sometime just after the war and another single house was built on the site.

(Thank you for your thoughts on this photo, Ron. I've provided a 'flipped' version which can be viewed as the 'Large Version' to see if it is how it should be. Your comments please - Site Admin.)
Added by Ron Fraser on 12 November 2007
Thank you Mr. Stewart for your help with information on this photo. I have spent some 10+ years working on my family genealogy via the internet and the Invergordon Image site has been especially interesting and helpful. I live in Milwaukee, Wis. USA but my sister and I came to visit the area between Invergordon and Tain in 1996 though at that time we had not "tracked" our Rosshire relatives to the extent that I have now. I have seen (on E-Bay) an old postcard photo of a Kilmuir Easter (Free Church) torn down around 1900 or shortly after. It really helps me to know that there was no graveyard at that church as so far I have not found my Great Great Grandparents graves listed in any of the Fearn Peninsula Graveyard listings, though I have found some listings for other relatives. There was a MacKenzie inlaw of my Rosses who lived and died at Polnicol Cottages before 1900 so having an idea where those are is great too. Thank you so much! Jean
Added by Jean Ross on 12 November 2007
Yes.. That's the proper view on the large version. I know this area very well since we used to live in the house that was built on the site of the two demolished cottages. We moved into the house in 1959 and lived there until the late sixties. Happy memories of living in such a friendly and picturesque community.
Added by Ron Fraser on 13 November 2007
The church I referred to in my posting of 10th November was demolished in the latter half of the 20th century. If your demolition date of "around 1900" is correct, then we could be speaking about different locations.
Thanks for the "flipped" photo Ron, it is much clearer now. I knew there was something wrong with the original!
Added by Ronald Stewart on 13 November 2007
Hi, some info on this photo - this was one of a set of 5 pictures which were given to me by Annie Moir's neice Catherine Mckay (teacher at Park School). I scanned them from the origanals and I do know that this is Kilmuir Easter Church Yard - the one with the tower. Kenneth is buried here and his grave has a headstone. I'm so thankful for all this imformation - it's fasinating.
Added by Kathleen Mckie on 13 November 2007
I think that the church you are referring to is the old Free Church that used to stand (maybe still stands..don't know) just back from the road from Barbaraville towards Delny - just past Delny Station around behind what is now a Big 3 Lincoln premises. There was a farm, just adjacent to the church, which was run by Johnny MacKenzie or Balavak as he was called. There were two local people with the Balavak nickname. That said Johnny Mackenzie and also Tommy Ross who lived in the village. I remember them both very well.
Added by Ron Fraser on 13 November 2007
I have done a little more research - the confusion comes from the similarity in names of the two churches.
The title of the church referred to in the caption of this photograph is Kilmuir Easter Church of Scotland, the title of the church demolished around 1980 and referred to as being near Delny station was Kilmuir Easter Free Church of Scotland.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 14 November 2007
Thanks to Ron Fraser and everyone for the additional information about the old Free Church and the various Balavack connections. This is so wonderful! I am very interested in any additional information particularly about Tommy (Balavack) Ross who would have been my Grandfather Ross's cousin making him a first cousin twice removed of mine. Mr. Fraser, I will contact you directly with some questions I have. Thank you very much, Jean Ross
Added by Jean Ross on 14 November 2007
Hi Ron, I remember Johnny Balavack, his widow and daughter Ray moved to Alness when he died. Did Tommy (Balavack) Ross who you referred to live in Barbaraville or at Balintrad Pier and work in Gilbert Ross's shop in Invergordon?
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 23 February 2010
Hello Liz, Tommy lived in the house which was opposite to where the Jackdaw Hotel was built in Barbaraville. The house was called "Don bank". It was taken back from Tommy by Balnagown estates and used as staff quarters for the hotel for a time in the early seventies. Tommy went to live at Arthurville home in Tain and died there some years later. I have no knowledge about whether or not he had worked in Gilbert Ross's shop.
Added by Ron Fraser on 23 February 2010
Thanks Ron, I remember the house across from the Jackdaw but never knew who lived in it before the staff. Can I ask where you lived in Barbaraville?
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 23 February 2010
Tommy Ross was the manager of Gilbert Ross, Ironmonger, for many years. The shop was opposite the Royal Hotel. He was there from at least 1944 until at least 1956 to my knowledge. He was a stout jolly man, very obliging and always ready to have a conversation. He lived at Barbaraville, beside the pier. Gilbert Ross also had a shop in Inverness. Frank Graham, mentioned elsewhere on this site, also worked in the shop for many years. Frank was a gentle and eccentric soul and something of a poet. He lived in, I think, Bisset's Hotel.
Added by Gordon Legge on 24 February 2010
It's exciting to have all the new comments and information about Tommy (Balavack) Ross. He sounds like a lovely man and I wish I could have met him. I have just a little bit to add from additional research I have done using Scotland's People and other resources. Tommy married Jane "Jenny" Sanderson in the spring of 1948 in Eton, Buckinghamshire England. Though he was a resident of Arthurville in his later years, he died in June of 1979 at the hospital in Inverness.
Added by Jean Ross on 24 February 2010
Hi Liz, we lived in the cross house after it was refurbished and split into two.Sounds like two different Tommy Ross's being discussed here..... The one that I knew was tall and thin and certainly not stout and jolly.
Hope this helps.
Added by Ron Fraser on 24 February 2010
Jenny was a very good friend of my mother. As kids my brother and I would on occasion stay overnight/week-ends with Jenny ... and Tom when he was at home. We have very nice memories of her kindness and sense of fun.
They refurbished a room just off the kitchen and took in lodgers to help with finances. One of the lodgers I remember was an Irishman whose name was Jimmy Brogan. He stayed there for some time and had some kind of ailment which caused him to loose the function of his limbs and eventually he died in the house. My father (Bill Fraser) and Roddy Ross (Big Rod) transported the remains to Invergordon hospital on a tractor and trailer from Polnicol farm. He was laid out there and attended by Jean Ross (Jean Coon) who was a nurse (and old school friend of my mothers from Fortrose) at the hospital... Many people in Invergordon will remember Jean. Davey her husband, is still going strong I believe .. It has been a good few years now since I have seen Davey.
After Jimmy's demise, “Donald the cattleman” became a lodger there. I never knew his surname, but knew him well since he worked at Polnicol farm where my father became grieve after Roddy Ross retired. Donald was a young man who always had a good car and was a good family friend. All in all, very happy and positive memories of Tom and Jenny and the time we spent with them as kids.
Added by Ron Fraser on 25 February 2010
Hi Ron, yes there are two different Tommy Ross's - I remember the one in Gilbert Ross's shop. I thought you might be the Cross House, I was in school with your brother Ian and my dad Hamish worked with him too. This brings back a lot of memories of Barbaraville with Big Ken and Nettie and Nan and wee Robert, as well as dances in Polnicol Hall and the Jackdaw.
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 25 February 2010
Re Tommy Ross, I mistakenly gave his address as Barbaraville, when it should have been Balintraid. He lived in one of the cottages beside the pier. He appears to be a different person from the one initially referred to.
Added by Gordon Legge on 01 March 2010
Yes, Tom Ross who managed Gilbert Ross's shop in Invergordon was not the person first mentioned here. Tom 'The Pier' was a cousin of Gilbert, and also of my father. The description given fits him perfectly. He was one of a family of twelve, but he and his wife, Jessie, had no children.
Added by Anne Cassells on 28 September 2010
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