Sunday, 10 April 2011

Napier witnesses: Donald Matheson

Donald Matheson gave evidence at Miavaig, Uig, Lewis. He was 65 years of age, and in the 1881 census we find him at Kneep with his wife Anabella (7 years younger). She is marked on the census as blind. He is marked as a crofter. His children Annie (26), Malcolm (21), Donald (19, fisherman) and Peter (15, scholar) are at home. In 1871, his address is given as Schoolhouse and as a fisherman.

In 1861, Donald is a crofter at Kneep. In addition to his growing young family, we find a Margaret Maclean (70), his mother-in-law, and a crofter's widow. Her son, Annabella's brother Malcolm (38, tailor) is also in the house. In 1851, Donald Matheson appears to be visiting an address on Kenneth Street in Stornoway. In 1841, Donald is a 21-year old living with his father John (53) and mother Christina (47). This is corroborated by information on Hebridean Connections. His siblings are Anne (14), Malcolm (12), Angus (9), Christiana (6) and Peter (3).

Donald died suddenly on 17 October 1883 aged 65, just over four months after giving evidence to Lord Napier. No doctor attended his death. His son Malcolm, who was not literate, reported the death to the registrar at Miavaig, a couple of miles or so from his home.

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