James McAdam of Waterhead

James McAdam

Born ca. 1723
Died 1770


James McAdam of Waterhead


Son of James McAdam (1662?-1744?) and Margaret Reid. Married (1745) to Susanna (or Susannah) Cochrane. In 1760 he moved with his family to the newly-built Lagwine Castle, which was on the ancestral family estate of Waterhead, but more accessible than the old castle. Lagwine burned down in December, 1762, just a few months after Boswell's visit mentioned below. The McAdam family moved to Blairquhan, a castle leased by Sir John Whiteford. Lagwine Castle was never rebuilt and is today in ruins. Sometime before his death, James McAdam had to sell the Whitehead estate, because of a poor economy.

Boswell was related to the family, James McAdam's wife Susanna being a Cochrane, and thus sharing a common ancestor with James Boswell. Sir John Cochrane (d. 1707) was Boswell's maternal great-great-grandfather, and Susanna Cochrane's grandfather.

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell arrived at Lagwine Castle on September 14, 1762 on the first leg of his harvest jaunt of that year. McAdam himself wasn't present (he "was at the moor selling lambs, not to return till next day"), but at least two of his daugthers were there (who cannot be properly identified, as McAdam had eight daughters), and Boswell very much enjoyed the company, performing scenes from The Beggar's Opera together with one of the McAdam daughters. He stayed the next day as well, and in the evening McAdam arrived back home, together with the Laird of Daltoune. Boswell described McAdam as "a sensible well-bred gentleman".