Different Worlds: The Leslie Smith Family

Robert Leslie (1733-c.1820) & Agnes Henderson

In his will, dated 1815, Robert Leslie describes himself as a tenant in Myreside, in Fife. He was married to Agnes Henderson, and he refers to two sons and four daughters:

Read about Robert Leslie's will (includes a full transcript of the will).

From the 1931 family tree which resurfaced in 2001, and from subsequent research using genealogical databases available online on the Family Search and ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk websites, we now know much more about this family.

Ann Malcolm's gravestone in Cameron parish churchyard, Fife. Robert Leslie was christened on 10 June 1733 in Cameron parish in Fife. He married Agnes Henderson on 19 September 1773 in Forgan or Cameron parish in Fife (Agnes presumably lived in Forgan parish, so it was probably there that they married). It is possible that Agnes Henderson was Robert's second wife. The family tree refers to him having an earlier wife, Ann Malcolm, who was born about 1733 and died on 2 December 1765 (without children). There was certainly a Robert Leslie in Cameron who married an Ann Malcolm on 13 November 1761. There is a stone in the graveyard of Cameron Parish Church in memory of Ann Malcolm, wife of Robert Lessly. Correcting the misspellings (see Note 1 below), the stone reads:

Here lies the corpse of Ann
Malcolm, spouse to Robert
Leslie, who departed this life
December the ?? 1765
aged 32 years.
Piety, humility and peace
did shine in her, evidencing she had grace.
We on the wings of time do fly,
fast hastening into long eternity.
The corpses of Leslies dead and gone
lie buried round about this stone.
Memento Mori

Though we haven't yet confirmed that this is the same Robert Leslie as the one who married Agnes Henderson, it may be significant that this stone is in a group of three in the churchyard, the other two stones being in memory of Robert's children Robert Leslie, Ann Leslie and Agnes Leslie and Agnes' husband James Smith (see Note 2 below). We haven't found a grave for Robert Leslie or Agnes Henderson, though.

The three gravestones in Cameron parish churchyard

Robert Leslie and Agnes Henderson had nine children, all born in Cameron parish:


One source of information used by the original researcher who worked on the old family tree was a series of samplers produced by various female children in the family. Some were found in the possession of a descendant living in Greenock, others in the possession of a lady in Melrose. We have no idea if these samplers still exist.

The earliest sampler was created by Agnes Leslie in 1790 and the latest by a member of the Anderson family in Crail (into which one of Agnes Leslie's daughters married) in 1849. As recorded on the family tree, these samplers included initials for members of the girl's family, with those who were dead being embroidered using black thread. It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, trying to work out who each pair of initials referred to, and the original researcher didn't always get it right. But they are a useful indicator as to who was alive or dead at the time the sampler was created.

Next: Agnes Leslie and James Smith * Skip over notes


  1. The exact transcription of the inscription on Ann Malcolm's gravestone is as follows:

    We on the wings of tim do fly
    fast:hastning:into long Eternity

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  2. The other two stones near Ann Malcolm's gravestone are:

    1. One in memory of Robert Leslie's son and daughter Robert Leslie and Ann Leslie:

      The stone in memory of Robert Leslie and Ann Leslie in Cameron parish churchyard. Erected
      Merchant Dunoon Argyleshire
      in memory of his uncle
      Feuar New Inn of Radernie
      who died on the 9th of May 1855
      in the 81st year of his age
      and of his aunt
      who died on the 24th Decr 1850
      in the 76th year of her age.

      Note: Earlier researchers, recording monumental inscriptions in Fife, have recorded this Robert and Ann Leslie as husband and wife. Our family tree shows them as being brother and sister, and that appears to be born out by the older Robert Leslie's will, which refers to his son Robert and daughter Ann. I haven't been able to find birth records for either of these two people so far. However I recently obtained a copy of the younger Robert Leslie's will via the ScottishDocuments.com website. The will is dated 1837, and in it, Robert makes no reference to a wife, but does refer to his sister, Ann, as living with him. I am certain that the Robert and Ann Leslie referred to on this memorial stone were brother and sister.

    2. And one in memory of Agnes Leslie, her husband James Smith, and their daughter Agnes Leslie Smith (see the page on Agnes Leslie and James Smith for details).

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