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John Brown and Jeannie Porteous

John Brown

John Brown was born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1798. His father was James Brown and his mother was Janet MacLean.

Jeannie Porteous

Jeannie Porteous was born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland on Christmas Day 1807. Her father was Alexander Porteous, a skinner, from Kilmarnock and her mother was Janet Wright.

Marriage 1833 John Brown - Jean Porteous


The illustration opposite is an extract from the Old Parochial Register of Marriages. The transcription reads as follows:

“Kilmarnock 4 June 1833, John Brown in the Low Church parish and Jean Porteous in the High Church parish, after proclamation, were married”.


Map of Kilmarnock

The illustration opposite is a map of Kilmarnock dated 1880.

The Brown family lived in Park Street which is shown coloured red on the map.

John Brown’s occupation is recorded on the Scottish Census as a House Factor. He seems to also have used the phrase Accountant to describe his occupation.

In Scotland a house factor (or property manager) is a person or firm charged with superintending or managing properties and estates; sometimes where the owner or landlord is unable to or uninterested in attending to such details personally, or in tenements in which several owners of individual flats contribute to the factoring of communal areas.

Factors could be found in solicitors firms, employed by chartered surveyors, property companies and building firms. Property factoring has a wide range of responsibilities and roles. Typically, a person would encounter a factor when renting property or subcontracting for a building firm.

Kilmarnock 1880, Park Street marked in red
Kilmarnock 1880, Park Street marked in red
The Cross Kilmarnock 1900
The Cross Kilmarnock 1900


Kilmarnock Scottish Gaelic: Cill Mheàrnaig, “Marnock’s church” is a large town and former burgh in East Ayrshire, Scotland.

The first collection of work by Scottish poet Robert Burns, Poems, “Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect”, was published in Kilmarnock in 1786 by John Wilson, printer and bookseller and became known as the Kilmarnock Edition. 

The internationally distributed whisky brand Johnnie Walker originated in the town in the 19th century and until 2012 was still bottled and packaged in the town at the Johnnie Walker Hill Street plant.

Death of Jeannie Porteous

Jeannie Porteous died on 22 August 1871 at the age of 65. Sadly her cause of death was described as “Idiopathic Insanity” and the place of death is described as the Ayrshire District Asylum. 

There is no way to tell whether this was a case of what might be known today as early onset dementia or whether she suffered other mental health problems.

Death Certificate Jeannie Porteous
Death Certificate Jeannie Porteous
Ayrshire Lunatic Asylum
Ayrshire Lunatic Asylum

Ayrshire Lunatic Asylum

The Ayrshire District Asylum is on the site of what is now the Ailsa Hospital. It is an austere looking building as were most nineteenth century asylum buildings.

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