Church Ministers: Rev. John Begg (1915-1922)March 24, 2017
The Eighth Minister of our Church (1915-1922) the Rev. John Begg. John Begg, the son of William Begg, a Grocer and Spirit Merchant, was born on 17th October 1878, at 3 Rayhill Lanes, St Peters Dundee – the family home. The 1871 Census shows William aged 23, a Ship’s Carpenter born in Wigtownshire and living with his widowed Mother in Glasgow.
On the 1st October 1877, William married Helen Ewing aged 30, the widow of James Smith, Spirit Merchant and Grocer in Dundee. The couple continued to run the Grocery business in Dundee. The 1881 Census shows the family, with John aged 2, and David Ross aged 9 – Helen’s son. The 1891 Census shows the family still together with David now a Law Student and using his step-father’s name. David and John were attending Harris Academy, Dundee. The Family attended St Peter’s Church Dundee where the minister, the Rev. Alex White, supported John in his calling to the ministry. The 1901 census shows David has left home and John is a Divinity Student.
John studied at Standees where he graduated M.A. in 1900 and B.D. in 1904. He also studied at New College Edinburgh. He assisted at the Stewart Mitchell Mission Glenlivet, 1901/02. He was licensed by Dundee Presbytery in 1904. John assisted Preceton and Dreghorn 1904/05, (where he met his future wife), and Edinburgh Barclay 1906/07. John Begg was inducted to his first charge at St Monance in 1908 where he stayed for 8 Years. In 1909 John, aged 30, married Maggie Jane Hutchison, aged 24, in Dreghorn Ayrshire.
On 25th February 1915, John was inducted to Maxwelltown Church Dumfries where he was to stay for 7 years. John’s years in Dumfries came at a particularly busy time for the congregation of Maxwelltown. The Church was closed two months for repairs. There was continuing pressure from the Government for the Church minister and Organist to help with the war effort. In 1916 the Jubilee of the Church Building was marked with special services and the Session agreed to support a proposal that women be eligible for election as Deacons. In January the Minister was appointed to work with the Y.M.C.A. for 4 months and was given a wallet of notes to buy comforts for the troops. On 23rd March 1920 a bronze memorial plaque with 44 names was unveiled in the vestibule of the Church.
In July 1922, Rev John Begg accepted a call to Queen Street U.F. Church Edinburgh where he was inducted on 15th October 1922. In December 1933 he moved to Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay and finally,in March 1938, he moved to Monifieth Panmure. John Begg retired in 1948, aged 70, after 44 years in the ministry. He died in Edinburgh on the 21st February 1964 aged 85. Margaret Jane Begg died in Haymarket Edinburgh in 1971. I have not been able to find any record of the Beggs having any family. BW