Monday, 28 March 2011

Napier witnesses: Duncan Morrison

Duncan Morrison made a brief appearance in front of the Napier Commission. He was a 73-year old tailor from Finsbay, South Harris. In 1881 he is shown as living with his wife Christina, a few years his junior, and children Margaret (37), Christina (33), John (27, a Royal Naval Reservist), and Isabella (25). We also find three grand children, Marion Mclennan (11), John Mcdonald (7), Alexr Mckenzie (5) and Ann Mckenzie (3).

Going back through the decades, we also find Catherin and Margret as an additional children to Duncan and Christina. By 1851, Duncan can be found at Quidinish, as a farmer of 7 acres employing no labourers. His account to Lord Napier mentions being cleared out of that township to go to Finsbay, which must have happened between 1851 and 1861. Although Duncan has three daughters, he only says to be supported by his son (whom we know to be John) who is in the RNR in Stornoway, borne out by the 1881 census data.

In 1891, we meet Duncan for the last time, now at Strumore in South Harris. This is now shown on the map only as a sheepwash (grid ref NG 093869), along an inlet marked as Sruth Mor, just east of Quidinish.

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