James Benn was a seaman, who sailed from Maryport, Cumbria, in his boat, the 'Nanny Benn'. James, together with George his son-in-law, brought coal to Wigtownshire. James shipped it from Maryport to Carty Port, Dumfries and Galloway, where they transferred it to George's carts and had it taken all round Wigtownshire.
Photo opposite this vessel, the "Ellen and Mary" was built at Garlieston, Wigtownshire, in 1868; the "Nanny Benn" must have been similar to it.
The "Ellen and Mary" was based at Port William and, like the "Nanny Benn", she made regular trips between Whitehaven, Maryport, Belfast and the Scottish coast with cargoes of coal, manure and animal feed. The "Ellen and Mary" was finally broken up in 1936.
Before there were proper roads, and before the railway came to Galloway in the 19th Century, bulky goods such as coal and fertilisers, gravel and grain, timber and stone, were transported by sea.
The Cree has a winding, silty estuary, not good for navigation, but there was a harbour at the Carty Port, Penninghame, a couple of miles south of Newton Stewart,and others further down the estuary at Wigtown and Creetown from which coastal cargoes were traded. Regular services linked the Solway ports with Liverpool.
Although both of these ports are now almost derelict, there are still active fishing ports further south around the Machars peninsula at Garlieston, the Isle of Whithorn and Port William.
Jame’s daughter, Agnes was born in Maryport; he owned property in Newton Stewart, for example, 40-42 Queen Street from 1851 to 1865 , and 17-21 Queen Street, though by 1855 the name of the owner was Widow of James Benn, described as a dealer in old clothes; by 1866, her son-in-law, George Hodkinson, owned both.
Grave 215 - Penningham Old Kirk Yard. Dashwood Square, Newton Stewart.
Erected by Agnes Benn or Hodkinson in memory of her father James Benn
who died on the 3rd May 1855 aged 73 years.
Also her mother Agnes Heywood who died on the 9th January 1863 aged 70 years.
Also her son ** Robert Hodkinson who died on the 22nd August 1870 aged 4 years.
Also her youngest daughter ** Alice who died October 1877 aged 9 years and 9 months.
Also of her son ** John Hodkinson who died 2nd August 1879 aged 24 years.
Also her son George** Hodkinson who died 2nd May 1928 aged 71 years.
“The hour of my departure comes”
** Sons and Daughters of Agnes Benn and George Hodkinson