In 1819 Nicol’s elder sister Christina married Alexander Patrick, a linen weaver of Scoonie Parish. They had a son – John Patrick. John eventually became a cabinet maker in Leven and married Agnes Murdoch Patrick c1840. They had at least eight children. On 9 November 1866, John Patrick (who was Nicol Malcolm's nephew) died in a cholera outbreak (see Dundee Advertiser of 10 Nov 1866 below) but before that he had diversified into golf club making. John’s business (and the family home) was at 3-4 Branch Street at Leven’s Shorehead. It was the low building shown on the left in the sepia image below. The building still exists today as a take-away pizza outlet.
So, while Nicol Malcolm appears to have had no family of his own, he had many great nieces and nephews – three of whom were golf club makers. He also seems to have been connected to another John Patrick - the pioneering local photographer - who had a studio in Leven, before he moved to Kirkcaldy and then Edinburgh. Nicol Malcolm married later in life, aged 43. He married widow Ann Christian Gray (nee Wetherspoon) on 2 August 1844. Ann was recorded at Nicol’s Dubbieside residence in the 1841 census – three years before their marriage. Her first husband – John Gray the Cupar ironmonger – had died aged 39 in 1837.
Nicol was a farmer at Dubbieside and had a dairy there. At the time of the 1851 census Nicol’s widowed sister Christina had joined Nicol and Ann (acting as house keeper). In 1861 the three – Nicol (still a farmer), Ann and Christina were still residing together at an address described as ‘Innerleven Cottage’. And in 1871, the household comprised: Nicol ('farmer employing 1 man and 1 boy'), Ann, Ann’s son from her first marriage (William Gray ironmonger) and a servant (Anne Dryburgh). By 1881, Nicol has passed away but Ann continued to reside at ‘Dubbyside Street’ – now with a niece and nephew (Anne and Edward Gray) and servant Mary Brown. Ann was described as an ‘annuitant’.
The valuation rolls also provide an insight into Nicol’s interests. In the 1855 valuation roll he is named against 4 subjects: he is proprietor occupier of a house and garden in Dubbieside and proprietor of another house and garden. In addition he is tenant occupier of both a land holding and the ‘Links of Methil’ – the land owner being James Hay Erskine Wemyss. By 1865, the situation was much the same with Nicol owning two houses with gardens plus a stable and byre – as well as being tenant of ‘Innerleven Acres and Links of Methil’. Golf had been played on these links for a long time. As tenant of the links, and an enthusiast of the game, it is not surprising that one of the nine holes of the golf course at Dubbieside was named ‘Nicol Malcolm’. He was also a member of Leven Curling Club and he hosted other sporting events on Methil links such as 'gymnastic games' in 1874.
In the 1875 census, Nicol Malcolm was still proprietor of the two houses but no longer the tenant of the acres and links – these were now rented to John Lawrie, farmer from Kirkland. Now aged 74, it seems that Nicol had retired. The newspaper archives are full of references to Nicol Malcolm – mainly in the context of golf. He was a member of at least three local clubs – all founded during his adult lifetime: Innerleven (Dubbieside) (1820), Leven Golfing Club (1846) and Wemyss Castle (1857) plus he had a hand in the setting up of Lundin Golf Club in 1868. As well as mentions in connection with agriculture and cattle markets, Nicol was noted in the press for his gardening skills (clearly taking after his father).
Nicol died on 1st March 1881 aged 79 years, having had a full and active life. His wife Ann passed in 1886 in Edinburgh aged 76. However, the legend of Nicol Malcolm lived on after his death - for example in the clip from the 16 Sep 1899 St Andrews Citizen below - which recalls the time that he challenged a man to a round of golf playing with a bottle rather than a club! If you know more about Nicol, please comment. There is also reportedly at least one photograph of him in existence - if you know of its whereabouts, please do get in touch.