Rev. John Jack — The following is an account of this gentleman given by his daughter, Jessie M Wellstood :
John Jack was born in the parish of West Linton, Peebleshire in the year 1797. He was the son of Adam and Margret Wilson Jack and had one sister named Lilias. About the age of 17 he began to study for the ministry and was ordained early in the year l8l9. He studied first with the Rev J. Lawson of Selkirk, afterwards at St Andrews College and was Licenced to preach by the University of Edinburgh. He married Elizabeth Morrison, daughter of Murdock Morrison of Leith, and in June l8l9 they went to Russia as missionaries For a year they laboured at Astrachan, where their eldest son, Adam, was born. Afterwards they were transferred to a settlement called Karass in Russian Tartary, the nearest town being; Georgevlisk, distant about 10 miles. Here two daughters were born ~ Margaret and Jessie. After the death of the Emperor Alexander, the various missions were broken up by Nicholas, and the Missionaries, with few exceptions, had to return to Scotland. This took place in 1824.
After a toilsome journey through Russia with their three little ones, they found a quiet resting place for a short time in the Mission House at St. Petersburg, where the Rev. Richard Knill and his good wife kindly entertained them. They set sail for Leith. After being; out for some days a violent storm arose and their vessel was driven back and had to take refuge at Farshund in Norway. Here Mr & Mrs Jack (with another missionary and his wife) had to spend the winter, and here on 13th December, their son William was born. Many hardships they had to endure in this wild and ice-bound spot. In the spring of 1825 they again set sail, Mrs Jack full of pleasure at the thought of showing the four children to her father; but this was denied her, for he died before they reached Leith. After some time of wandering and preaching in various places, the Rev. John Jack received a call to Acre Lane Chapel, Clapham, Surrey. This he accepted and remained there till 1834, when he removed to Bristol. By this time the family had been increased by the birth of three daughters - Elizabeth, Lilias and Sophia. A little son only lived a short time after birth. The hardships and toils she had undergone in Russia and Norway had begun to impair the Mother’s health and she was a suffering invalid for about 17 years. She was truly good woman and highly respected and honoured by all who knew her. In 1855 her youngest son John Ebenezer, was born. In 1845 the first break in the family took place. The eldest daughter, Margaret, after an illness of about three years, was called home to the Father's House. Her parents testified that she had never given them an hour’s uneasiness during her life. Again in 1847 they were called to part with Elizabeth, an amiable and bright Christian also. In 1850 the Mother herself was removed, leaving; a bright testimony behind that "all was well". In 1855 Lilias was married to Matthew Weir and soon after the Father gave up his ministry in Castle Green Chapel. In 1848 William had been married, so the family considerably decreased. The Rev. John Jack became minister of a church at Kingsbridge, Devonshire, in 1857 and, after a ministry of usefulness, was obliged to give up preaching. He suffered from softening of the brain and paralysis until 1863,when he was suddenly removed. He had again entered the marriage state in 1857. In 1858 Sophia Jack died and in 1860 Lilias Weir.
My Father was an eloquent doctrinal preacher, a good logician and of intensely studious habits. Many sermons I can remember for their deep solemnity and earnest pleading. One in particular was greatly blessed to many who heard it. The text was: 'Behold the Judge standeth at the door’. These little jottings I have put on paper at the request of my niece Margaret Jack. I was married to Stephen Wellstood in May 1860.
Jessie M Wellstood nee Jack, 1891
"Jottings" by permission of Barbara Hindle (m.s. Jack)