A History of the Appin Police, 1840 -1913

The first record of a Police Constable, that may have covered the Appin area, was a Hugh Livingston from Ballachuilish, in the 1840’s. He was born in 1811 and he lived with 4 other families (all quarriers) in Ballachuilish, with his wife and two children.

In 1851, Colin Campbell, originally from Easdale, was the nearest constable to Appin. He lodged at Duror School House with the School Master, John Menzies.

An Argyllshire man, John Macgregor, from Kilbrandon, was the first known police officer to reside in Appin. John moved to Port Appin around 1855 from his previous posting at Taynuilt. He was married to Mary Douer from Glasgow and by 1861, had four of a family, in Port Appin. They lived at today’s ‘Tigh Na Drochet’ (cottage opposite Airds Hotel), the first record of a police house the area.

Roderick MacKay, b.1838, a former ‘Game Keeper’ from Ardnamruchan, moved to Port Appin about 1870 with his wife and four children. The following year, he contracted Consumption (TB) and died on 15th February, at the age of just 33.

By 3rd April 1871, he was replaced by a twenty-one year old constable called John McPherson. He lodged with Christina MacKay, Roderick’s widow and family. John married Ann McNicol, daughter of Angus McNicol (Blacksmith, Port Appin). They started their family in Appin but moved to Glasgow also gaining the rank of Police Sergeant. John later ascertained the position of Police Inspector but died in 1880, (like his predecessor Roderick MacKay) from TB at the age of 30. He left his wife Ann and two daughters Sophia and Margaret.

In 1877 Angus Cameron, originally from Ardnamurchan, became the next Police officer to live in Port Appin. He was married to Mary (also from Ardnamurchan) and had 6 of a family, four girls and two boys. His previous posting was in Inveraray for about 5 years. Angus continued his Policing in Dunoon after Appin.

The next constable to take over at Port Appin was John MacFarlane from the Isle of Jura. In 1891, for some reason, he was residing at Airds Hotel, with his wife Mary from Ullapool and his two children but living at the police house.

In 1901, the new constable in Port Appin was Duncan and his wife Flory MacAlpine, both from South Knapdale. Duncan had moved from Bunessan in Mull. By 1915 (the year of his wife’s death) Duncan had retired but continued to live in Port Appin, at Tigh na Drochet. It would appear that Duncan MacAlpine was the last policeman to live Port Appin.Donald Cameron

policemanWith the construction of the railway line passing through Appin, at the turn of the century, there were three further police officers in the Appin district; Neil Millar, 29 year old from Ardchattan, George Simpson, 22 year old from Melrose, Berwickshire and Donald Cameron from Inverness-shire. They all lodged with Donald and Christina Drummond at the Achosrigan Railway Hut.

During the period of 1899 and 1913, Donald Cameron also covered the area of Duror and Lochalaine. In 1913 he moved to Colintraive until 1923.

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