Robert managed eventually to draw his son away from Elspeth. The son subsequently joined the navy where he served his country until he fell with Nelson at the battle or Trafalgar.
Friend Mother was becoming increasingly impatient to see the return of Mr Hunter and the others who had gone to Irvine to settle their affairs; she sent many letters via the hand of Andrew Innes imploring them to return soon. Andrew eventually returned with not only the missing members of the sect but a number of new ones who had been too uncertain or afraid to leave with the main group. Among this group was a young and beautiful girl called Jean Gardner who it is alleged had an affair with Robert Burns.
Andrew tells the story; “When I was sent back from Thornhill for Mr Hunter, Jean Gardner came with me from Irvine to Closeburn, and when we came in the neighbourhood of Tarbolton she seemed to be in fear and rather in a discomposed condition. When I inquired the cause she said it was lest Burns the poet should see her, for if he did, he would be sure to interrupt her; for they had long been on terms of intimacy. But we proceeded on our journey without meeting with any obstruction”
She did not know that by this time Burns had left Tarbolton and gone to Mossgiel near Mauchlin which they would pass quite closely two miles further on with a more certain chance of meeting Burns.
From this statement Joseph Train comes to the conclusion that Jean Gardner and not Jean Armour was the heroine of Burns affection in the beautiful “Epistle to Davie” Train does not offer any other evidence other than he had “every reason to believe it” and adds that “Burns frequently visited her in the society both at New Cample and Auchen gibbert”
In Cameron’s book The Buchanite Delusion there is a compelling argument that indeed the Jean referred to as “my darling Jean” is in fact Jean Gardner and not Jean Armour.
At last the Buchanites were reunited under one roof but harvest was approaching and Mr Davidson was in need of his barn. Over the time they had been at New Cample they had proved to be good customers of his produce and had worked for him without wages. Being a thrifty sort of chap he was quite happy to keep them on the farm and offered them a plot of land to build a house on. The offer was gladly accepted and there being plenty of skilled labour among them they set about building a house.
The house was one story high and roofed with heather; it was thirty-six feet long and sixteen feet wide. There was a long garret running from end to end which was used for sleeping. The beds were arranged in the same manner as in the barn with little space between them and of course there was no privacy. This huge promiscuous dormitory or rather swarmery was reached by a trap ladder in the middle of the house. The ground floor was used for cooking, worship, eating and general purposes. There were two small closet rooms at one end, which Mother Buchan and The Rev White used for meeting people by day and sleeping by night. The locals christened the place “Buchan Ha’” Over sixty men, women and children lived here for almost three years.