By the time of the 1891 census, the head of the household at Comely Bank was John Watson. He had been made a widower earlier that same year when his wife Magdalene (nee Simpson) had died aged 40 of tuberculosis. John was living in the house with his nine children, ranging between the ages of 2 and 17. However, the family did not stay much longer and by 1895 Miss Ann Jeffrey Smythe was tenant at Comely Bank. The Watsons moved to Edinburgh.
By this time, Miss Croall had already had twenty five years experience of running the Stirling Children's Home. Her work with neglected or orphaned children began when she had found a baby on a back street, left by its mother who had gone into town for a drink and had been arrested while there. The children that stayed at Comely Bank attended Kirkton School in Upper Largo - some of them are shown listed in the admissions book excerpt below. Miss Croall's homes were dependent upon voluntary subscriptions for support. Covering costs was an ongoing challenge. When Miss Croall wrote her memoirs, these were entitled "Fifty Years on a Scottish Battlefield", referencing the struggle to get her home going, keep it going and secure adequate funding.
Meanwhile, the main children's home in Stirling continued. In 1917 Annie wrote to the Stirling Observer newspaper (17 July) that, of the individuals that had come to her as babies over the decades, sixteen were "now young men fighting for their King and country; over 100 are married in good comfortable homes with babies of their own; over 100 are in good service, some of them in splendid positions". Annie died on 1 June 1927 at Whinwell House, aged 72 - she was described as 'Superintendent - Children's Home' at the time of her death. The Stirling Children's Home continued to be run by a board of trustees until 1980 when responsibilities were transferred to the Aberlour Childcare Trust.