b. 1822 Curloss, Fife, Scotland. d. 07/12/1892 Culross, Fife, Scotland.
Stewart McPherson (1822-1892) was born in Culross, Fife, Scotland in 1822, the only son of Mungo McPherson and his wife Mary. He attended Geddes Public School, and when he left at the age of 15, he became an apprentice weaver in Dunfermline, but he was soon lured by the prospect of adventure and foreign travel. In December 1839, he walked to Stirling in order to enlist with the 78th Highlanders, which were later to become the Seaforth Highlanders.
He married a local Culross girl, Elizabeth Haig, in 1848 and the couple went on to have six children: Stewart, Sarah, Eliza, Robina, Ferguson and McGregor. Whilst with the 78th, he saw action in Persia, India and Ireland before returning to India for the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857. He found himself involved in the assault on the Residency of Lucknow later that year.
On the 26th September 1857, he went to the aid of a wounded Private of the 78th, who was lying in a most exposed situation, under a very heavy fire. McPherson was recommended for the VC and was duly gazetted on 12th April 1859. He was presented with his medal by Queen Victoria in December 1860 at Windsor Castle. Only three weeks later, he had discharged himself from the Army and returned to his native Culross. He was then appointed Superintendent of Glasgow Industrial Schools based in Bailieston.
Ten years later, the family returned to Culross, where they bought a property in Low Valleyfield. As a reminder of his time in India, he renamed the house, Lucknow Villa. He died at his home on 7th December 1892, aged 70. He was laid to rest in Culross Abbey Cemetery, but his grave gradually became heavily overgrown. In 2000, a local woman called Janis Ellis, showed a businessman Alan Johnson the last resting place of McPherson VC and he decided his valour should be recognised in the area. The Fife Council awarded a £1800 grant from the common good fund to pay for a new headstone for his grave and a plaque for the inside of Culross Parish Church. His medals are displayed at the Queen’s Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QUEENS OWN HIGHLANDERS, FORT GEORGE, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: CULROSS ABBEY CEMETERY, CULROSS, SCOTLAND.
Stewart McPherson's medals including VC at the Queens Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire, Scotland (Picture courtesy of Thomas Stewart).
Culross Town Hall
The updated medal display in 2015
Culross Parish Church