NEFA - The North East Folklore Archive


James F. Taplin, MD, CM. Glas. (1838 - 1904)
Biographical Notes.

In addition to giving the reader an insight into the background of the author, the following notes might help explain how a diary written on a Scottish whale ship in 1860 eventually came to light in the basement of a house in Paris 150 years later.

James Francis Taplin was born in 1838 at Honiton, Devon, the son of Rev. James Taplin (1799-1882). He was the youngest of the Minister's four sons. His oldest brother, Lindsey, (1819-1887) followed in his father's footsteps and became a minister while another brother, Russell, (1831-1886) trained to be a church organist. Julian, the brother five years his senior, is recorded as having died in Singapore in 1867. Their mother, Jane (1805-1895) was a native of Hempton, Norfolk. There were two sisters, Anna Letitia Barbara (1826-1910, married a Samuel Broomhead c1845) and Sarah Jane (1845-1912).

James chose the medical profession and was studying medicine at Glasgow University when, like many medical students of his day, he took time out from his studies to earn some money and gain some professional experience by taking a berth on a ship as surgeon.

Taplin went on to make numerous voyages as a ship's doctor and spent some time in India before marrying and settling in Aston, Warwickshire. His wife, Elizabeth, a native of Gosport on the south coast, gave birth to their only child, Julian, in 1873. Like his father, Julian became a General Practitioner and, in 1906, he married Alix Pomeroy, the young widow of American physician Herbert Morris Pomeroy, a native of Ohio who practiced medicine in Los Angeles, California. After serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War I, Julian took up residence near Nice on the French Riviera. He died there, at his home in Saint Raphael, in 1922.

The diary of Dr James Taplin's voyage on the Windward was discovered in 2009 in the basement of a house in Paris, the residence of the late Vivian Alix King (née Pomeroy), Julian Taplin's step daughter.


Taplin's Obituary from The British Medical Journal, April 30th, 1904.

Taplin's obituary






























back to top


aberdeenshire council logo

aberdeenshire council logo