The 1851 census recorded John as the head of his household in High Street, Ayr. With him were living his wife, their two sons, his wife's very elderly father, and two of his wife's nieces. John's age was recorded as 27 years old and he had been born in Ireland. He was a mason's labourer by occupation.
John married Helen QUIGLEY, daughter of Thomas QUIGLEY and Helen McQUILLAN. (Helen QUIGLEY was born about 1822 in Newton on Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland.)