My grandmother told me a story that her gg grandfather had run away to sea when he was 12. I always thought that the grandfather was Wiiiiam Reids father Robert but I am beginning to think he was a Williamson. Which would have meant that if their mother had died the kids would be alone till he got back. I also think that the John Williamson might have been the grandfather. Which fits that the oldest son that we know of was named John. It would also explain how a girl from Kent could make it to Wanlockhead.
It is all suppositions at this point with no facts.
In the 1880 US Federal Census Caroline Williamson Reid was record as stating her mother was born in England but Harriet stated Scotland, who was right. It all goes back to the 1841 Scottish census; were they all siblings. I have no doubt that Caroline and Harriet were.
Or this could be an example of the clearences at work. with the parents driven off the croft and making for the mines for work and having the kids there but not really being from there? More guessing.