Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Donald Mcleod (Lower Bayble)

Donald Mcleod was the witness for Lower Bayble at the Napier Commission's session at Stornoway on 11 June 1883. Unfortunately, there are two men with that name and aged about 60 in the 1881 census return, both living at Lower Bayble. Without further information, I am not able to make a distinction between the two.

One is born in 1823 and married to Catherine, with three children.
The other is born in 1825 and married to Christine, with seven children, varying in ages from newborn to 25 years of age.

Further information welcome.

Napier witnesses: Donald Mccaskill

Donald Mccaskill was the witness for Sheshader at the Napier Commission's session in Stornoway on 11 June 1883. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in finding a corresponding entry in the census returns for enumeration district 88. There are several possible permutations of the spelling of his surname, none of which yielded any result.

Further information welcome.

Napier witnesses: Angus Mcleod (Portnaguran)

Angus Mcleod was a crofter and fishmerchant from Portnaguran in Point, who gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 11 June 1883. Unfortunately, as no age is given, it is practically impossible for me to extract the corresponding census records for him.

Further information welcome.

Napier witnesses: Duncan Mackenzie

Duncan Mackenzie gave evidence to the Napier Commission in Stornoway on 11 June 1883 on behalf of the people of Melbost. We find him in the censuses of 1871 and 1881 at Melbost, married to Henrietta (3 years his junior) and with 4 children, varying in ages between 12 and 26 (in 1871). Duncan is aged 63 in 1881.  I have been unable to trace him in censuses before '71 or after '81.

Napier witnesses: Murdo Macleod

Murdo Macleod, an agent for the British Linen Bank in Stornoway, gave evidence to the Napier Commission in the town on 11 June 1883. He appears in the 1891 census as a banker and chief magistrate in Stornoway, married to a Donaldina M Macleod, and with 4 children, aged between 3 and 8. There is also a Jessie Macfarlane at their address, "living on private means" and Murdo's niece Margaret L Macfarlane, aged 3, who was born in Minnesota, USA. I am unable to trace Murdo in any of the censuses before or after 1891.

Napier witnesses: Alexander Murray

Alexander Murray gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 11 June 1883. He is noted as a 46-year old merchant from the town. Unfortunately, it is difficult to extract the correct Alexander Murray from the census returns. In 1881, there are a few men of that name in enumeration district 88, the town of Stornoway who are not merchants. There is an Alexander Murray in the 1871 census who is aged 30, and a draper at 39 Keith Street, also appearing in the 1861 census. Whether he is the man that gave evidence in 1883 is unclear, due to the discrepancy in ages.

Lost at the Battle of Jutland

Lewismen lost at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916

HMS Invincible
Seaman ANGUS GRAHAM (50),
3020C Royal Naval Reserve,
4 Lower Garrabost,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman JOHN MACARTHUR (23),
3975A Royal Naval Reserve,
8 Cromore,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman ANGUS MACLEAN (32),
3965A Royal Naval Reserve,
17 Habost, Ness
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman JOHN MACLEOD (42),
2050C Royal Naval Reserve,
56 North Tolsta,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman NORMAN MACLEOD (34),
2338C Royal Naval Reserve,
28 Lower Barvas,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman FINLAY MACRITCHIE
2512/B Royal Naval Reserve,
46 Lower Barvas, Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman DONALD MORRISON
Royal Naval Reserve,
9 Calbost,

Leading Seaman MURDO MURRAY (46),
2864B Royal Naval Reserve,
27 North Tolsta,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman DONALD SMITH
2491B Royal Naval Reserve,
11 Cross
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Signaller ALLAN MACSWEEN
J/25788 Royal Navy,
2 Newton Street, Stornoway,
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 13
Seaman MALCOLM MURRAY (46),
3330C Royal Navy,
5 Lower Garrabost,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

HMS Defense
Seaman MURDO MACDONALD (31),
2964/B Royal Naval Reserve,
41 Leurbost,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman MURDO MACRITCHIE (36),
2645B Royal Naval Reserve,
48 Keith Street, Stornoway,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

Seaman ALEX MACARTHUR (26),
Clyde Z/3622 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve,
48 Lewis Street, Stornoway,
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 24

Able Seaman JOHN CARSON (30),
Clyde Z/3621 Royal Navy,
13 Keith Street, Stornoway,
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 24

HMS Queen Mary
Seaman RODERICK MACDONALD (30),
2458T Royal Naval Reserve,
9 Gravir,
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 23

HMS Broke
Seaman ANGUS MACIVER senior (34),
Royal Naval Reserve,
33 North Tolsta,
Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 18

HMS Black Prince
Chief Stoker DONALD MACLEOD (25),
K/27719 Royal Navy,
1 Arnol,
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 16

Remembering today - 31 May

Private JAMES MACRITCHIE, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 5 Swainbost, died today in 1915 at the age of 18

Lost in the Battle of Jutland
Able Seaman JOHN CARSON, Royal Navy, late of 13 Keith Street, Stornoway, died today in 1916 at the age of 30
Seaman ANGUS GRAHAM, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 4 Lower Garrabost, died today in 1916 at the age of 50
Seaman ALEX MACARTHUR, Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve, late of 48 Lewis Street, Stornoway, died today in 1916 at the age of 26
Seaman JOHN MACARTHUR, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 8 Cromore, died today in 1916 at the age of 23
Seaman DONALD MACDONALD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 12 North Tolsta, died today in 1916 at the age of 41
Seaman JOHN MACDONALD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 12 North Tolsta, died today in 1916 at the age of 41
Seaman MURDO MACDONALD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 41 Leurbost, died today in 1916 at the age of 31
Seaman RODERICK MACDONALD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 9 Gravir, died today in 1916 at the age of 30
Seaman ANGUS (Sen) MACIVER, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 33 North Tolsta, died today in 1916 at the age of 34
Seaman ANGUS MACLEAN, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 17 Habost, Ness, died today in 1916 at the age of 32
Chief Stoker DONALD MACLEOD, Royal Navy, late of 1 Arnol, died today in 1916 at the age of 25
Seaman JOHN MACLEOD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 56 North Tolsta, died today in 1916 at the age of 42
Seaman NORMAN MACLEOD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 28 Lower Barvas, died today in 1916 at the age of 34
Seaman FINLAY MACRITCHIE, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 46 Lower Barvas, died today in 1916
Seaman MURDO MACRITCHIE, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 48 Keith Street, Stornoway, died today in 1916 at the age of 36
Signaller ALLAN MACSWEEN, Royal Navy, late of 2 Newton Street, Stornoway, died today in 1916
Seaman DONALD MORRISON, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 9 Calbost, died today in 1916
Seaman MALCOLM MURRAY, Royal Navy, late of 5 Lower Garrabost, died today in 1916 at the age of 46
Leading Seaman MURDO MURRAY, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 27 North Tolsta, died today in 1916 at the age of 46
Seaman DONALD SMITH, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 11 Cross, died today in 1916
Leading Signaller JOHN STEWART, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 26 Upper Bayble, died today in 1917 at the age of 40

Private MURDO MACIVER, Cameron Highlanders, late of 22 Lower Shader, died today in 1918 at the age of 19

Monday, 30 May 2011

Napier witnesses: James Mccombie

James Mccombie was a fish curer who gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 11 June 1883. He hailed from Peterhead, and that is where we find him in the census returns.

In 1881, he is noted as employing 50 men and 10 boys in his occupation as herring merchant and curer. James lives at 5 Jamaica Street in Peterhead, and lives with his wife Sarah. They have 5 children, varying in ages from 1 to 11. By 1891, James has moved to 10 Fitzroy Place in Glasgow (Sandyford), continuing his businessas a fish merchant. His family has expanded to 8 children, aged between 3 and 20.

In 1871, James is at 80 Longate St, a fishcurer employing 13 coopers and 3 boys. He is married to Sarah, who is 9 years younger than him, and their first child has appeared on the scene by then. Ten years earlier, James is lodging with the Hepburns in Rathven, Banffshire, marked as a fishcurer. By 1851, he is found at home with his parents James and Jane on Pool Lane in Peterhead, a 10-year old scholar.

James Mccombie died in Glasgow on 19 October 1896, aged 55. He lived at 10 Berkeley Terrace in the Kelvin district of the city. I am unable to decipher the cause of death on the official record. He is noted as being married to Sarah nee Heslop; his eldest son Thomas reported the death. James's wife Sarah passed away in Glasgow in 1929 at the age of 79.

Napier witnesses: Donald Smith

Donald Smith gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 11 June 1883. He was a 49-year old fish-curer from the town. We find him in the 1881 census as a merchant at 28 Francis Street; the 1891 census lists him as a fish-curer and JP (justice of the peace) at 44 Francis Street. He was born at Callernish and married to Annie E. They had a son, John C; the 1881 census also lists two shopmen at the premises. A late addition to the family turns up on the 1891 census, with 3-year old Flora C E. By that time, John C is a student of practical chemistry. In 1901, the family have located to Matheson Road Springfield, a slightly leafier part of Stornoway. Donald and his son John C are both fish curers, and Flora a scholar.

Going back in time, the 1871 census shows Donald at 28 Francis Street, with his wife Annie (nee Maclean), and their young sons John Campbell and Peter Mclean Smith. Peter died in 1874 at the age of 5. There are also two domestic servants and two shopmen in the house. In 1861, the picture is slightly less clear; Donald (who was born at Callanish, which is parish of Uig) is living with his brother Kenneth and his family of 5 children at 4 Cromwell Street. In the census of 1851, Donald lives with his sister Mary, who is married to a Kenneth Maclean.

Donald Smith died on 10 May 1924 at the age of 90, having suffered from acute bronchitis. He was married to Ann Elizabeth nee Maclean, and lived at Springfield, Matheson Road. His parents are named as John and Christina (nee Maclean), and his son John Campbell reported the death. Ann Smith died in 1935 at the age of 79.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Rev James Greenfield

Rev James Greenfield, the Free Church minister for Stornoway, is heard by the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 11 June 1883.

In the 1881 census, he is marked as having been born in Canada; it is beyond the scope of my resources to trace the exact location in that territory. There is no mention of him in the 1851 or 1871 censuses for Canada.

James is married to Eliza Jane and has 11 children, varying in ages from 14 years to 12 days. His mother, Mary (82), is living with him. Rev Greenfield is attended by a domestic staff of four. He lives in Francis Street in Stornoway. The 1891 census shows another addition to the family.

EDIT: The Ancestry website has come up trumps. James Greenfield lies buried, with his wife Eliza (nee Maclean), in the Lakeview Cemetery at Thorold, Canada. This is about 6 miles west of Niagara Falls.

The gravestone reads:
Eliza J. McLean wife of Rev. James Greenfield 1842-1895
Rev. James Greenfield Free Church Stornoway Scotland 1832-1899

Napier witnesses: William Mackay

William Mackay was the chamberlain of the Lews, representating Lady Matheson in various parts of her estates. I list his main evidence below. He is also involved with exchanges with some witnesses, and gives an assurance that all witnesses can speak with impunity.

Miavaig
Barvas

Stornoway
Keose

William Mackay was aged 56 when he faces Lord Napier's Commission. We trace him on the 1881 census and find he is born in Nairn. His occupation is "factor and senior magistrate". William lodges with Margaret Gillanders at 18 Francis Street, Stornoway. In 1871, he is an accountant, lodging with Margaret Gillanders. The 1861 shows 29-year old William Mackay as an accountant at 83 John Street, Glasgow Central. By 1891, William has retired to his hometown of Nairn (aged 64) and lives there at 11 Railway Terrace with his spouse Johanna.

William Mackay died on 10 November 1901, aged 74. He is marked as the late Chamberlain of the Lews, married to Johanna Ross. His parents are named as John and Margaret (nee Macleod). William had suffered paralysis. His death was reported by his brother-in-law William Ross. Johanna Mckay died in Edinburgh a year later, at the age of 76.

Napier witnesses: Napier Campbell

Napier Campbell was a solicitor, who spoke extensively at the Napier Commission in Stornoway on 11 June 1883. He was born in Edinburgh, and was staying at 17 South Beach Street, Stornoway in the 1881 census, marked as a procurator and enrolled law agent. Mr Campbell was lodging with the Grant family.
In 1871, Napier Campbell was lodging at 40 Cromwell Street in Stornoway, with the Hunter family. His occupation is listed as Solicitor or procurator of faculty of Ross.
Ten years earlier, we find Napier Campbell in Glasgow, Blythswood, at 12 Scotia Street, as a general clerk in writon (?) office.  He is lodging with the Lawrie family.
In 1851, we see a young Napier Campbell, aged 19, a stockbroker's general clark. He is living with his mother Isabella at 60 North Castle Street in Edinburgh. His siblings are listed as Elizabeth (18), Letitia (14), Georgina (12) and Peter (20).
The 1841 census lists Napier Campbell, aged 8, in amongst all the people at Edinburgh St Cuthberts.

Napier Campbell died at Stornoway on 13 December 1885 aged 53; he was not married. His parents are named as Peter Campbell, a solicitor at the Supreme Courts of Scotland (deceased) and Isabella, as we saw above. He had suffered from a gastric ulcer for 5 years, and haematemesis [vomited blood] for 5 days. The occupier of Napier's digs, 17 South Beach Street, reported the death.

Remembering today - 29 May

Leading Seaman ANGUS CAMPBELL, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 54 North Tolsta, died today in 1918 at the age of 31

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Roderick Mcsween

Roderick Mcsween was the witness giving evidence on behalf of the crofters of Steinish at the Napier Inquiry at Stornoway, on 9 June 1883. We find him in the 1881 census at 6 Stenish Road, aged 69, married to Lilly who is of the same age. Their son Donald (25) is in their house, as is their granddaughter Jannet Murray (11).  Roderick is marked as born in Harris. The 1861 census shows the couple at 39 Steenish Road, now aged 46. Their 7 children, Catherine (22), Angus (19), John (17), Donald (13), Peter (11), Rosy (9) and Donald Murdo (5) are shown on the census entry as well. The same listing, minus those aged below 10, are displayed on the 1851 census.

Roderick passed away on 12 April 1897, aged 80, having suffered from influenza and bronchitis. His parents are named as Angus and Margaret (nee Campbell). His wife Lilly died three years before, in 1894 at the age of 77. 

Remembering today - 28 May

Driver KENNETH MACDONALD, Royal Garrison Artillery, late of 21 Newton Street, Stornoway, died today in 1915 at the age of 22

Seaman NORMAN MORRISON, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 31 North Shawbost, died today in 1918 at the age of 30

Friday, 27 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Alexander Morrison

Alexander Morrison was a witness to the Napier Commission during its session at Stornoway on 9 June 1883. He is listed as a commission merchant, which makes it likely that he would move about in the country. There is one Alexander Morrison of about the age of this witness in enumaration district 88 in 1881, (Alexander Morrison was aged 29 in 1883), but he is a builder in Bayhead. The evidence available at this stage is insufficient to make a reliable connection to any individual in the 1881 census.

Further information welcome.

Remembering today - 27 May

Private DONALD WILLIAM MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 6 Carloway, died today in 1918 at the age of 21

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Roderick Mcleod

Roderick Mcleod was a witness who spoke on behalf of the people of Upper Bayble at the Napier Commission's session at Stornoway on 9 June 1883.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to readily distinguish between the two men named Roderick Mcleod from Upper Bayble, who were both born in 1815, according to the 1881 census. One was married to Mary, the other to Anne. The witness to the Commission was aged 69, i.e. born around 1814.

Further information welcome.

Napier witnesses: John Stewart

John Stewart gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 9 June 1883, on behalf of the people of Bayble. It is not possible to readily distinguish between the two men, named John Stewart, living at Lower Bayble, and being of very nearly the same age, according to the 1881 census. One was a crofter and fish-splitter, the other a fisherman. The man who spoke at the Commission's hearing was a crofter and fisherman.


One John Stewart was married to Annie and born about 1831, the other was married to Mary and born about 1829.

Further information welcome. 

Remembering today - 26 May

Stoker 1st Class HUGH MACKENZIE, Royal Navy, late of 46 Laxdale, died today in 1915 at the age of 47

Leading Seaman JOHN MACKENZIE, Royal Navy, late of 24 Knock, Point, died today in 1917 at the age of 21

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Kenneth Macleod

Kenneth Macleod gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 8 June 1883 on behalf of the people of Garrabost, Point. We find him in the 1881 census, aged 50, married to Christy Mcleod. They have 5 children, Angus (26), William (20), Isabella (16), Catherin (10) and Angus (8). The 1871 census adds John and Mary as children (ages between Angus and William), as well as a Christina, between Isabella and Catherine.

Kenneth Macleod passed away on 17 January 1889, aged 59, having suffered from cardiac disease and cerebral effusion. He was married to Christina, and was the son of Alexander and Christina. His son William reported the death to the registrar at Stornoway.

Napier witnesses: Torquil Mcleod

Torquil Mcleod was a witness to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 8 June 1883, representing the village of Knock, Point. We find him in the 1881 census aged 40, married to Margaret (36). Their children were John (12), Mary (9), Isabella (5) and Donald (3). A decade earlier, the family were living with Torquil's parents  John (58) and Margaret (54) in Knock. Torquil's siblings were William (26), Mary (19) and Isabella (10).  Torqil's first child, John, is 6 months old at that time.

In 1891, Torquil's family has grown to 6 children, with the addition of James (9), Catherine (6) and Torquil (3).  By 1901, they appear to have moved to 22 Swordale. A grandchild, Isabella (1), has appeared on the scene by that time.

Torquil Mcleod died on 25 November 1901, only 7 or 8 months after the census was taken, aged 62. He is noted as a pauper, formerly a crofter, married to Margaret nee Mackenzie, and living at Swordale. The cause of death is epilepsy (6 years) and renal disease (1 year). His brother in law Donald (surname not legible on death record) reported the death to the registrar at Stornoway.

Remembering today - 25 May

Private ALEX GILLIES, Canadians, late of 14 Lionel, died today in 1915 at the age of 34
Seaman MALCOLM MACKAY, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 3 Achmore, died today in 1915 at the age of 46
Carpenter ALEX DONALD NICOLSON, Australians, late of 14 Plantation Road, Stornoway, died today in 1915 at the age of 30

Private IAN MACDONALD, Royal Scots, late of 12 Keith Street, Stornoway, died today in 1918 at the age of 19

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie gave evidence on behalf of the people of Branahine [Braighe na h-Aoidhe]. We find him on the 1881 census at the age of 61, married to Isabella Mackenzie (57). The location of the couple is confirmed in the corresponding record from 1817. In '81, their children Malcolm (26), Robert (16) and Helen (14) are in the house. The 1871 census also shows an elder daughter Catherine, three years older than Malcolm; the 1861 census adds Janet, three years older than Catherine. Janet is Jessie in the 1851 census. The same record puts Alexander down as a crofter of 4 acres.

Napier witnesses: Angus Mcleod

Angus Mcleod gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 8 June 1883. He was a crofter and fish merchant from Aird, Point. Unfortunately, the Report does not specify his age, and it is not possible to isolate the correct Angus Mcleod from the census returns for enumeration district 88, Parish of Stornoway.

Napier witnesses: Donald Martin (Back)

Donald Martin was a witness to the Napier Commission during its session at Stornoway on 8 June 1883. The census for 1881 shows him at 85 Back, married to Elizabeth. They had 6 daughters, Isabella (16), Christina (14), Margaret (12), Ann (7), Johanna (4) and Jessie (2). They also occur in 1871, minus the children aged less than 10 in 1881. In 1861, Donald is living with his parents Norman (52) and Marion (50) at 4 Weavers' Lane. Donald, aged 25, is the eldest of the five children shown, which include siblings Anne (22), Donald (15), Mary (7) and Allan (3). The 1851 census also shows Christy, then aged 7. We first encounter Donald in the 1841, at that time aged 5.

In 1891, Donald and Elizabeth continue to live at Back, and by that time they also have a son, Donald, aged 8. Donald senior died on 7 November 1900 at the age of 64, having suffered from cancer. His brother Allan reported the death to the registrar at Stornoway. Donald's wife Elizabeth (nee Morrison) died in 1927, aged 89.

Remembering today - 24 May

Private MALCOLM CAMPBELL, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 16 Habost, Ness, died today in 1915
Private ALEX MACDOUGALL HUNTER, Canadians, late of 54 Lower Barvas, died today in 1915 at the age of 25

Private ALEX JAMES MACLEOD, Yorkshire & Lancashires, late of 25 Crowlista, died today in 1918 at the age of 23

Private DONALD MACIVER, Canadians, late of 17 Knock, Point, died today in 1920 at the age of 28

Monday, 23 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Roderick Mackenzie (Coll)

Roderick Mackenzie from Nether Coll near Stornoway gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway on 8 June 1883. The 1881 census shows him on Coll Road, with his wife Mary (74) and daughters Catherine (40) and Margaret (29), son Allan (erroneously marked as son-in-law) and granddaughter Isabella. The same family appears in 1871; the returns for 1851 and 1861 also show a son Murdo (younger than Catherine)  and a child Malcolm (6), whose relationship to other members of the family is not specified.

Roderick Mackenzie passed away on 1 March 1885 at the age of 71. He was the son of John and Christina (nee Macleod). Cause of death is splenitis for 6 months. Roderick's age appears to be a tad uncertain, when compared with the census records.

Napier witnesses: Donald Campbell

Donald Campbell gave evidence to Lord Napier's Commission during its session at Stornoway on 8 June 1883. He represented the township of South Tolsta. We find him in the 1881 census as living at 18 Tolsta, a crofter, 57 years of age, married to Catherine, the same age. Living in the same household are their children Anne (30), John (21) and Margaret (4) as well as granddaughter Christina (5).

In 1871, the family lived at 75 Tolsta. We also find a daughter Catherine (16) and son Angus (9). Margaret is marked as aged 1 on this census; I have not been able to reliably ascertain her correct year of birth.

In 1861, we find the Campbells at "1 Straight Street" in South Tolsta, with children Mary (10), Anne (9), Christina (7), Catherine and Jessie (both aged 4) and John (2).

The 1851 census lists Donald (29) and Catherine (26) at South Tolsta, with Jean (aged 12??), Mary (1) and Ann (2 months).

The 1841 census shows Donald as a 15-year old in South Tolsta, living with his parents John (40) and Mary (35) and his five younger siblings Isabella (12), Mary (9), Alexander (6), Christian (3) and Angus (1).

Fifty years later, Donald and Catherine are aged 67 and 65, living with their daughters Annie (38) and Jessie (33). The latter is married to John Murray, who is also present in the house.

Donald Campbell passed away on 21 October 1903, aged 80, having suffered from the infirmities of old age. His son John reported the death, but was unable to write his name. His wife Catherine, nee Maciver, died in 1910 at the age of 84.

Remembering today - 23 May

Sergeant JOHN MORRISON, Canadians, late of 18A North Dell, died today in 1917 at the age of 31

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Remembering today - 22 May

Leading Seaman ALEX MACKAY, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 52 Lower Garrabost, died today in 1917 at the age of 31

Private GEORGE EDWARD CALDER, Seaforth Highlanders, late of Kinlochroag, died today in 1918 at the age of 31

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Trip to St Kilda

The Glasgow Herald, 14 June 1873
Our Stornoway correspondent writes:
Her Majesty's steamer Jackal (Lieutenant Clanchy commander), at present cruising about the Hebrides, an in charge of the fisheries at Barra, &c, recently visited St Kilda. After taking on board a supply of coal, the Jackal left Stornoway on Tuesday 3rd [June 1873] at 9 o'clock PM and arrived at the island the following morning, about ten o'clock. After a stay of two hours, the steamer took her departure, and returned to Stornoway harbour shortly after midnight same day, accomplishing the passage - via the Sound of Harris, a distance of nearly 200 miles - in about 27½ hours. The weather was all that could be wished by day and by night, and the waters of the Atlantic were as smooth as Stornoway Loch. The Kildeans, who presented a respecteable appearance, met those on board of the steamer at the landing place and gave them a hearty welcome,  many of them speaking good English. The village is situated about a quarter of a mile from the bay on the southeast, the only accessible part of the island, and is in the form of a semi-circle. The houses are pretty well kept. The roofs are covered with zinc, this metal having been substituted by the proprietor some years ago, after the old roofs of the houses had been blown off by a gale of wind. At present, the general health of the people is good. During last year, there were five births, and what is very exceptional, all the children have lived. Of late years, few born in the island survived beyond infancy. The population is between 71 and 80, being an increase since the last census was taken. There is a minister placed over the people in connection with the Free Church, and a suitable church and manse have been built. Mr George Coats, Collector of Customs, Stornoway, and Receiver of Wreck for the Hebrides, went to visit the island on duty, in connection with the Board of Trade. It may be added that St Kilda is the most remote of the Hebridean group.
"Whose lonely race
Resigns the setting sun to Indian worlds "
The nearest land to it is Harris, and the Butt of Lews is 82 miles distant. It is about 3 miles long, from east to west; 2 broad, north to south; and 9½ miles in circumference. The proprietor is Macleod of Macleod.
[End of Article]

It is noteworthy that the censuses for 1871 and 1881 do not show Mr George Coats as collector of customs, or in any other capacity at Stornoway. Direcleit has summed up who the collectors were between 1841 and 1901.

The 1871 census shows that there were 71 people on St Kilda, spread out over 19 households. 

Remembering today - 21 May

Lance-Corporal ANGUS MURRAY, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 8 Swainbost, died today in 1915 at the age of 18

Friday, 20 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Angus Campbell (Bragar)

Angus Campbell gave evidence to Lord Napier during the session at Barvas on 6 June 1883. In the 1881 census, we find him at the age of 56, living with his daughters Anne (23) and Margaret (21). In 1871, the census marks him as a tenant constable, with his daughters Christy (15), Ann (13), Maggie (11) and son Kenneth (9) in the house at North Bragar. By 1861, Angus is at North Bragar with his wife Ann, 4 years his junior, and children Christy (5), Ann (11) and Meron (2). What appears to be Angus Campbell is in the 1851 census as a cottar in North Bragar, marked on his own.

In the 1891 census, Angus (now 65) remains at 28 North Bragar, with his children Kenneth and Margaret.  Kenneth's wife Margaret is also there, with their children Ann (4) and Norman (2). Angus passed away on  22 June 1899 at the age of 75. He died of influenza. He was the widower of Ann Finlayson and Christina Smith.  His neighbour reported his death to the registrar at Borve, which is 10 miles from Bragar.

Napier witnesses: Norman Campbell

Norman Campbell gave evidence to Lord Napier during the session at Barvas on 6 June 1883. He spoke on behalf of the people of Arnol. I have only been able to trace him on the 1871 census, as living at Arnol. He is aged 54 at that point, married to Ann with 9 children, varying in age from 1 to 22. They are Malcolm (22), Norman (18), Ann (15), Mary (13), Christy (10), Effy (6), Donald (3) and John (1). In 1861, we also find Catherine Maclean, marked as Norman's mother.

Forward in time, we find Norman and Ann at 14 Arnol in 1891, with their children Malcolm and Donald.  We also find their daughter Henrietta, living with her husband Malcolm and children Ann (3 months old), Christina and Donald (both aged 7). By 1901, the family have relocated to 33 Arnol. Present at that time are Norman (84) and Ann (75), with son Malcolm and his children Christina and Donald. It should be borne in mind that the Malcolm that is marked as Norman's son in the 1901 census is more likely to be his son-in-law, bearing in mind that Norman's son Malcolm will be about 50 by this time, and the son-in-law is about 10 years younger.

Norman Campbell passed away on 6 June 1909, aged 94, having suffered senility. He was the son of Malcolm and Catherine (nee Maclean). No doctor attended his death. Ann predeceased Norman, dying in 1898 aged 75.

Napier witnesses: Farquhar Murray

Farquhar Murray gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Ness on 7 June 1883. At the time, he was in his early 50s, and we duly trace him in the 1881 census as living at 24 North Dell. He is a joiner and crofter, and has six children: Elizabeth (16), Donald (14), Rachel (12), Peter R (9), Malcolm (6) and Alexr (4). A decade earlier, he is listed as a cartwright, married to Cathrine, who was 11 years younger than Farquhar. Their children Elizabeth, Donald and Janet are listed, as are Farquhar's mother Catherine (74) and his sister Margret (37).
The 1851 census, which gives the earliest reference to this witness, lists Farquhar Murray as a tenant at North Dell, living with his mother Catherine (50) and siblings Margaret (2), Anabella (12) and Dolina (10).

Forty years later, the 1891 census shows Farquhar (58) with his six children at North Dell. By 1901, his daughter Rachel has married Donald Mcritchie, who has joined Farquhar and Rachel's siblings Elizabeth, Donald and Malcolm at 10 North Dell.

Farquhar Murray died on 13 February 1912 at the age of 82, having suffered valvular disease and congestion of the lungs. His parents' names are listed as Donald and Catherine (nee Macleod), and his son Donald reported the death.

Napier witnesses: John Macleod

John Macleod is listed as a boat builder from Ness, aged 35, who gave evidence to Lord Napier on 7 June 1883. John lives at 9 Port with his wife Eliza, who is two years younger, and children Gordon (3) and John M (1). Also present is Eliza's sister Deanie Gordon. A decade earlier, John (23) lives with his parents Murdo (70) and Marion (58) in Port - he is a general merchant at that point. Also present are his siblings Donald (26) and Malcolm (18). In 1861, John is a 14-year old scholar. His siblings are listed as Norman (17), Cursty (12) and Malcolm (8). The 1851 census entry has mutilated the name of Caligvol (the old name of Port Ness) and Murdo Mcleod. John Mcleod is aged 4, and lives with his parents and siblings Norman (16), Mary (19), Cathrine (10), Donald (7) and Christian (1). 

By 1891, John (by then 43) has become the sub-postmaster for Port. The names of his children are Gordon (13), Jack (11), James (9), David (7), Walter (4), Mile (10 months) and Margaret (22).

Napier witnesses: John Munro

John Munro was a teacher at Lionel School, who gave evidence at the Napier Commission in Ness on 7 June 1883. He says he was born in Ross-shire, which is born out on the census return for 1881. He lives at 10 Lionel with his sister Netta, two years his junior. John Munro was 21.

Napier witnesses: John Macdonald (Knockaird)

John Macdonald was the witness from Knockaird in Ness, giving evidence to Lord Napier's Commission on 7 June 1883. He is 54 years of age at the time of the 1881 census, and is married to Catherine (52). The couple live at 3 Knockaird with thier children Donald (24), John (17), Malcolm (13) and Angus (21). A decade earlier, we find the family at the same location.

In 1861, John (then 31) is a cod & ling fisherman, living with his brother Murdoch (28), sisters Mary (22) and Isabella (19). Also present is his wife Catherine and the first three of their children Donald (5), Angus (2) and John (2 months). John's father Malcolm (69) is living with them as well.

The 1851 census shows John Macdonald (22) living at Knockaird with his father Malcolm (60) and siblings Ann (26), Murdo (16) and Isabella (10).

Moving forward in time, John is living at 17 Knockaird in 1891, marked as a 65-year old retired fisherman. Living with him are his sons John and Malcolm, as well as grandson Angus.

John Macdonald passed away on 17 February 1904, aged 79, having suffered a cerebral haemorrhage with hemiplegia for 2 days. His son John reported the death to the registrar at Borve; he could not write his name. John (senior)'s wife Catherine predeceased him. His parents' names were Malcolm and Isabella.

Remembering today - 20 May

Private DONALD MACDONALD, Royal Scots Fusiliers, late of 16 Eoropie, died today in 1919 at the age of 21

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Remembering today - 19 May

Private ALEX CAMPBELL, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 2 North Tolsta, died today in 1915 at the age of 19

Private MURDO MACKINNON, Canadians, late of 8 Ranish, died today in 1916 at the age of 25

Leading Seaman DONALD MACDONALD (Jnr), Royal Naval Reserve, late of 20 Knock, Point, died today in 1917 at the age of 23

Sergeant MALCOLM SMITH, Canadians, late of 11 Stenish, died today in 1918 at the age of 25

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

How things are in the Lews (II part 1)

Glasgow Herald, 3 August 1867

I have just received an alarming piece of intelligence. When last in the Lews, a gentleman pointed out to me a hill overlooking Stornoway where a man had been hanged, the only execution, he said, that had taken place in the island. I have received information that another execution is now contemplated - that the people of the Lews, being justly indignant with me for describing the state of things amongst them, intend to gibbet me on my next visit, unless I recant. The minister of the UP Church is to head the procession, because I said that his church, as yet, was small; the Established Church clergy are to join the grim procession, because I said they had little left to do; the inhabitants are to contribute a car, because I made reference to the mud cabins, the naked children, and the women carrying the men upon their backs; the bankers and merchants are to supply the noose; and the Free Church has kindly undertaken to provide the gibbet.

To be continued

Napier witnesses: John Macdonald

John Macdonald gave evidence to the Napier Commission during its session at Ness on 7 June 1883. He is  listed as a 57-year old crofter from South Dell. This tallies with the 1881 census record, which shows John and his wife Catherine (who is 13 years younger) and their children Donald (22), Christy (14), Peggy (10), Norman (7), Mary (4) and Ann (1). John Macdonald is listed as a mason at 23 South Dell. A decade later, we find John and Catherine at North Dell, with their daughter Margaret (Peggy is a form of Margaret) and granddaughter Jane (6). I have not been able to reliably locate John Macdonald in the censuses before 1881.

Napier witnesses: Donald Mciver

Donald Mciver gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Ness on 7 June 1883. We find him in the 1871 census as a blacksmith and crofter at Cross. He is married to Mary, of the same age (36), with their children Cathrine (9) and Donald (4). The 1881 census shows the family extended to Anne, Angus and Anabella. They live at no 14, the Manse, although a village is not specified. By 1891, Murdo has also joined the family as a child of 8. Effy Campbell occurs in the '81 and '91 censuses as Mary's mother.

In 1861, Donald and Mary live at South Dell, a mile or so from Cross. A decade earlier, Donald is the 16 year old son of Angus and Anabella, with siblings Margaret (30), Sebla (29), Isabella (22), Angus (14) and Anabella (11).

Donald Mciver passed away on 28 January 1894 at the age of 60. He had suffered from hemiplegia (apoplectic) for 10 months. His widow, Mary, reported the death. She passed away in 1905, aged 65.

Remembering today - 18 May

Gunner NORMAN MACLEAN, Royal Garrison Artillery, late of 5 Vatisker, died today in 1915 at the age of 22
Private RODERICK MACLEAY, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 14 Ballantrushal, died today in 1915 at the age of 20

Private KENNETH MACLEAN, Scots Guards, late of 18 Callanish, died today in 1917 at the age of 29

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Malcolm Mckenzie

Malcolm Mackenzie, 4 Skigersta, gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Ness on 7 June 1883.  He was a fisherman aged 69 (in 1881), married to Effie (69). Also in the house were their son Murdo (38) and his wife Catharine (26); daughter Marion (28) and granddaughter Johanna (3). Malcolm features in the 1851 census as being married to Henny, living at Skigersta. The (transcribed) entry on the census corrupts the name of the village. Their children are Norman (12), Murdo (7), Donald (5), Marion (2 months). Margaret Murray, who is Effie's mother, lives with them in 1851, aged 75.

Malcolm Mackenzie died on 11 January 1885, aged 74. His parents' names are Norman and Henrietta (nee Smith). His cause of death is "supposed to be consumption". His son Donald reported the death; he was unable to write his name. Henrietta died in 1887, aged 76.

Napier witnesses: Murdo Morrison

Murdo Morrison gave evidence to Lord Napier's Commission at its hearings in Ness on 7 June 1883. He was a wool weaver, aged 72½ according to the Report. He was living with his wife Margaret at 3 Lionel. Murdo and Margaret show up in the censuses for 1871, '81 and '91; she was a year younger than her husband. The 1891 census shows their son-in-law John Maclean (58) and daughter-in-law Christina Maclean (48) with their children Alexander (25), Donald (23), Mary (14) and Angus (9). The address in 1891 is 4 Lionel. This remains unchanged in 1901, except we no longer find Murdo's wife Margaret. His age is listed as 91 on the census.

Murdo Morrison passed away only a few days after the 1901 census was taken, on the night of 31 March / 1 April 1901; he died on 16 April 1901 aged 90, the widower of Margaret (nee Gillies) who had pre-deceased him in 1897, aged 85. His parents' names were Donald and Christina (nee Maclean). Murdo's cause of death is listed as "supposed to be cerebral, with hemiplegia, 4 days". His grandson Angus Maclean reported the death.

Died on North Rona

I came across the death records of two men from Ness, which were annotated as follows: "Supposed to have died in the month of February [1885], Island of Rona". The cause of death is marked as not known; the deaths were not reported until April 30th. The two men are named as

Malcolm Mcdonald, crofter, married to Mary Mcleod, usual residence Lionel, Barvas. He was aged 67, the son of Murdo and Christina Mcdonald (nee Morrison). His son John reported the death.

Murdo Mckay, crofter, married to Ann Morrison, usual residence Lionel, Barvas. He was aged 57, the son of Murdo and Catherine Mckay (nee Mciver). His daughter Christina reported the death; she was unable to write her name.

The Aberdeen Weekly Journal of 2 May 1885 relates what happened.

Information has been received at Stornoway to the effect that two elderly Ness men who had gone to Rona Island last July - namely Malcolm McDonald and Murdo Mackay - to look after the sheep on the island, were found last week by a crew of Ness fishermen who gone to Rona in a smack to see the men. It was stated that one of the deceased was found dead inside the hut occupied by them, while the other was found outside both with clothes on. From the appearance of the bodies and the large stock of provisions left, it is supposed men died in the winter months, and the man inside died first; and that the other not liking to bury the body or stay in the hut slept outside, his death partly through exposure. The crew when they found the bodies immediately returned to Ness to report the sad circumstances.

The Wikipedia article on North Rona states that the men had gone to the island in June 1884 following a dispute with the minister. A few  months later, boatmen called at Rona and offered to take Macdonald and Mackay back to Lewis, an offer which was declined. After their remains was discovered, it is thought that the two had fallen ill and died through the winter.

Napier witnesses: Murdo Mackay

Murdo Mackay gave evidence to Lord Napier's Commission at Ness on 7 June 1883.

The 1871 census shows Murdo as a wool weaver in Cross (Barvas), aged 45. He is living with his daughter Christina (27), her husband Norman (20) and their daughter Catherine (5 months old). I have been unable to trace Murdo in earlier or later censuses. It is possible that this Murdo Mckay supposedly died on North Rona in February 1885, aged 57. He was married to Ann Morrison.

Remembering today - 17 May

Private MURDO MORRISON, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 10 Borve, died today in 1915 at the age of 23

Monday, 16 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Finlay Mckenzie

Finlay Mackenzie gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Ness on 7 June 1883. He was aged 51 in the 1881 census, married to Cathrine (41), with 8 children. He is listed as a merchant (grocer) at 9 Habost. The Napier Report quotes Finlay's village of residence as Tabost; Habost is the lenited form of Tabost. The children are named as Cathrine (18), Ann (16), Margaret (14), Donald (12), John (10), Finlay (5), Margaret (3) and Angus (4 months).

A decade earlier, Finlay (noted as a sailor) was living at Cross with his parents, John (82) and Catherine (70) as well as his children Catherine (8), Ann (6), Margret (4), Donald (2) and John (1 month). In 1861, we see Finlay's wife Catherine (20) and their first child Ann (2), who died later, in 1863. Finlay's father is head of the household at that time.

In 1851, we see Finlay's siblings Angus (31), Donald (24) and Ann (17); Finlay is 21 years of age.

The last census entry from Finlay Mckenzie is in 1901, when he is 70 years of age. His wife Catherine is 60, and they live with their children Annie, Christy and Donald with wife Annie and baby son Murdo.

Finlay Mckenzie passed away on 12 March 1906 at the age of 76. At the time of death, he had had diarrhoea for 18 days, and dyspepsia and debility for 7 years. His son in law John Mclean reported the death. Finlay's wife Catherine had pre-deceased him in 1905, aged 69.

Napier witnesses: Malcolm Mclean

Malcolm Mclean appeared before Lord Napier during the session at Ness, Lewis, on 7 June 1883. At the time he is 64 years of age, and we duly find him in the 1881 census, living at 33 Swainbost. His wife is Christina (48), and they live with their children Cathrine (27), Angus (24), Christina (20), John (14), Malcolm (12), Donald (10) and Mary (7). No further reliable references to Malcolm can be located in the census records before or after 1881.

Remembering today - 16 May

Private DUNCAN CAMPBELL, Gordon Highlanders, late of 10 Upper Garrabost, died today in 1915 at the age of 21
Sergeant MALCOLM MACDONALD, Gordon Highlanders, late of 43 Lower Garrabost, died today in 1915 at the age of 21
Private DONALD MACLEOD, Gordon Highlanders, late of 14 Dun Carloway, died today in 1915 at the age of 23
Sergeant DONALD MACLEOD, Gordon Highlanders, late of 12 North Tolsta, died today in 1915 at the age of 25

Private WILLIAM MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 1 Matheson Road, Stornoway, died today in 1917 at the age of 34

Seaman ANGUS MACIVER, Merchant Navy, late of 4 Geshader, died today in 1918 at the age of 32

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Remembering today - 15 May

Gunner JOHN MACDONALD, Royal Garrison Artillery, late of 4 Plantation Road, Stornoway, died today in 1915 at the age of 39

Private MURDO MONTGOMERY, Canadians, late of 24 Benside, died today in 1916 at the age of 26

Lance-Corporal KENNETH MACLEAN, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 21 Callanish, died today in 1917 at the age of 22
Private MURDO MURRAY, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 7 Vatisker, died today in 1917

Friday, 13 May 2011

Remembering today - 13 May

Seaman KENNETH NICOLSON, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 24 Lemreway, died today in 1915 at the age of 19
Seaman DONALD SMITH, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 12 North Bragar, died today in 1915 at the age of 40
Seaman DONALD SMITH, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 43 South Bragar, died today in 1915 at the age of 37

Private ALEX MACDONALD, Royal Field Artillery, late of 3 Stenish, died today in 1917

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Angus Campbell (Bragar)

Angus Campbell gave evidence to Lord Napier during the session at Barvas on 6 June 1883. In the 1881 census, we find him at the age of 56, living with his daughters Anne (23) and Margaret (21). In 1871, the census marks him as a tenant constable, with his daughters Christy (15), Ann (13), Maggie (11) and son Kenneth (9) in the house at North Bragar. By 1861, Angus is at North Bragar with his wife Ann, 4 years his junior, and children Christy (5), Ann (11) and Meron (2). What appears to be Angus Campbell is in the 1851 census as a cottar in North Bragar, marked on his own.

In the 1891 census, Angus (now 65) remains at 28 North Bragar, with his children Kenneth and Margaret. Kenneth's wife Margaret is also there, with their children Ann (4) and Norman (2). Angus passed away on 22 June 1899 at the age of 75. He died of influenza. He was the widower of Ann Finlayson and Christina Smith. His neighbour reported his death to the registrar at Borve, which is 10 miles from Bragar.

Napier witnesses: Norman Campbell

Norman Campbell gave evidence to Lord Napier during the session at Barvas on 6 June 1883. He spoke on behalf of the people of Arnol. I have only been able to trace him on the 1871 census, as living at Arnol. He is aged 54 at that point, married to Ann with 9 children, varying in age from 1 to 22. They are Malcolm (22), Norman (18), Ann (15), Mary (13), Christy (10), Effy (6), Donald (3) and John (1). In 1861, we also find Catherine Maclean, marked as Norman's mother.

Forward in time, we find Norman and Ann at 14 Arnol in 1891, with their children Malcolm and Donald. We also find their daughter Henrietta, living with her husband Malcolm and children Ann (3 months old), Christina and Donald (both aged 7). By 1901, the family have relocated to 33 Arnol. Present at that time are Norman (84) and Ann (75), with son Malcolm and his children Christina and Donald. It should be borne in mind that the Malcolm that is marked as Norman's son in the 1901 census is more likely to be his son-in-law, bearing in mind that Norman's son Malcolm will be about 50 by this time, and the son-in-law is about 10 years younger.

Norman Campbell passed away on 6 June 1909, aged 94, having suffered senility. He was the son of Malcolm and Catherine (nee Maclean). No doctor attended his death. Ann predeceased Norman, dying in 1898 aged 75.

Remembering today - 12 May

First Lieutenant JOHN MACDONALD SMITH, Cameron Highlanders, late of 3 Keith Street, Stornoway, died today in 1916 at the age of 26
Private MALCOLM MACKENZIE, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 8 Aignish, died today in 1916 at the age of 19
Private DONALD MACLEOD, Gordon Highlanders, late of 4 Broker, died today in 1916 at the age of 20

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

How things are in the Lews (part 5)

FREE CHURCHISM IN THE LEWS
That this state of things should continue to exist in our own country, within two or three miles of Stornoway, and within 200 miles of Glasgow as the crow flies, seems almost incredible. Scarcely less astounding is the position and power of the clergy. It may be necessary here to state that out of Stornoway the entire mass of the population belong to the Free Church. Even in Stornoway, the Established Church is gradually emptying, and the new UP Church, though progressing, is small. But over the rest of the island the Free Church is practically the only Church; the Established churches are deserted; their ministers, some of them, like Mr Strachan of Barvas, men of high culture, have little or nothing to do; and I have heard of more than one whose Sabbath ministrations are confined to family worship at their own firesides. For want of Gaelic, I have not been able to ascertain whether the rural population, intensely Free Church as they are, have any real knowledge of the difference between Established and Free Church principles, or whether their ecclesiastical eradition transcends that of the man in one of the mission districts of Glasgow, who, being asked to point out the difference between the Frees and the UPs, explained that the UPs were in the habit of using a hymn book. My private impression is that the people, with true Highland loyalty, followed their ministers out of the Establishment without any very clear conception of the issues involved, or where they were going.
"Theirs not to reason why
Theirs not to make reply"
But whatever may be their knowledge or ignorance of ecclesiastical polity, they see one thing clearly, and that is that the Establishment ministers, though they don't do (because in fact they get no opportunity of doing) the ministerial work of the island, yet occupy the manses and glebes. This is a sore point with the people. I do not know that the Romanists in Ireland feel more keenly in regard to the Irish Establishment. On one occasion, going to visit one of the parish ministers, I observed his gate much injured. I said to him, "there has surely been a bull or some wild animal at your gate?"
"O no", said he, "yesterday was the Free Church communion at ____. The people generally demolish my gate on their way home."
And yet these people, aside from their ecclesiastical antipathies, are a fine race, brave, hardy and intrepid, and hospitable to a degree. If even an Establishment minister was hungry, they would feed him; if a stranger, they would take him in.
To their own ministers, they are generally much attached, and loyal to a fault. I doubt if many people in the South have any idea of the deference that is paid here to ecclesiastical authority, and the extent to which that authority is sometimes exercised. The people are exceedingly religious in their own way; and whenever a communion is held, thousands upon thousands of them flock to it, sometimes from the remotest parts of the island, and even from a greater distance. Under these circumstances one would expect the ministers to be careful, especially at the fishing season, to interfere as little as possible with the brief time during which the fishermen are earning the money that has to support them and their families for the rest of the year. And yet, if I am informed aright, there is a communion held almost every fortnight during the fishing season, sometimes at great distances, causing the fisherman to lose one, two or three days on each occasion from their work. Only last week, when a communion was being held in this quarter of the island, the native fishermen were prevented by their ministers from fishing on the Thursday night, which turned out to be one of the best fishing nights of the season. One gentleman here told me that he had seen the same sort of thing done in the harvest time. He has seen a communion fixed to take place at the very time when harvest work should be at its busiest, and the crofters called away to distant parts of the island and leaving their crops to rot in the fields. If this state of things cannot be rectified, it ought, at least, to be known.
Then fancy a case of church "discipline" like the following, which occurred only a few months ago. One Saturday a person travelling across the island to Stornoway called at a friend's house on the way and was hospitably entertained. Next day the woman of the house, finding that her scanty store of food had been exhausted in entertaining the stranger, went in on the Sabbath forenoon and borrowed a haddock from her neighbour. This reaching the minister's ears, a meeting of session was called, inquiries were made and it was found that the woman on that Sabbath day when she borrowed the haddock had meal and water enough in the house to have kept the family alive till the Monday. So flagrant a case of Sabbath desecration could not be allowed to pass. The minister made it the subject of lengthened comment in his next sermon; and at the close the woman was called upon by name to stand up and receive admonition. The woman did not stand up, not being there to stand. Announcement was then made that the woman's name would be called for three successive Sabbaths, and if she did not make her appearance within that time and stand up to be censured, she would be deprived of church privileges. The affair, however, got wind in Stornoway; influence was brought to bear on the minister, and the matter was allowed to drop. I have heard this case detailed by so many independent witnesses that I have no doubt of its substantial accuracy.
This old practice of calling people up to be rebuked in church would seem still to be common here. It is said that in some parts of the island, when persons are about to emigrate and apply for their certificate of church connection (without which they will not leave the island) they are compelled, if any misdemeanour is still in the books against them, to make public confession of it, even though the offence may have been committed many years before. One case was given me of a man who had become the father of an illegitimate child when a youth, and who, although he had subsequently married the woman, and become the father of a legitimate family, had to stand up with his wife in church and receive censure - some of his family being present.
This sort of discipline, however, is said to exercise in general a healthy influence, and is sometimes employed much more commendably than in the case of the haddock. One of the Lews farmers told me that one season the crofters began to appropriate his turnips, not in ones or twos, but in creelfuls. He went and complained to the minister, who took the matter up, preached a sermon against stealing in general and turnip-stealing in particular; called the people together in different houses to warn them, and finally succeeded in putting an end to turnip stealing, for that season at least. The appropriation of turnips, however, would seem, like the cattle-lifting of old days, and the embezzlement of books and casual umbrellas amongst ourselves, to be regarded by the poorer cotters as scarcely coming within the range of the Eighth Commandment. In other matters they are honest, sometimes to scrupulosity; and you find amongst the poorest of them much of that high principle of honour and that native dignity that belong to the true Highlander.

How things are in the Lews (part 4)

WOMEN IN THE LEWS
Some of the manners and customs of this class however, would astonish and scandalise our Social Science Reformers. The women, for instance, do all the heavy work. They dig, delve and hoe; they carry heavy loads of manure to the fields, and in the peat season you may see them all day carrying creelfuls of peat from the bog. You will often see a man trudging along the road beside a woman, but the creel is always on the woman's back. If they come to a river or ford, the woman crosses first, deposits her creel on the other side, and then returns to carry the man across. I only saw this once, but the farmers tell me it is a thing of everyday occurrence. When the creel is empty, the man sometimes slings it over his own shoulders, and then mounts upon the back of the woman, who carries them both across together. This I am told, is the only occasion on which by any chance, you see a creel on the back of a man.
The woman in the rural districts here is, in fact, a beast of burden, and men, in looking out for wives, look largely to muscular development. A story is current among the English-speaking farmers that illustrates this conception of woman's mission. In the middle of one peat season, when labour was much in demand, a man, who was supposed to be a confirmed bachelor, suddenly married. A friend met him some days later.
"What for di you take a woman like that?" said the friend.
"Did you'll no hear," replied the man, "that my horse was deed?"

Glasgow Herald, 5 July 1867, page 4

How things are in the Lews (part 3)

CROFTS AND CROFTERS
But it is only on leaving Stornoway and penetrating into the other parts of the island that one comes on the more curious features of society here. What would you think now of naked little boys playing along the side of the public road -in puris naturalibus as we used to say in the classics? Yet I saw this only the other day within a few miles of Stornoway. The thing is rare of course, but it exists. A clergyman told me that on the way last week to the Butt of Lewis, or on his way back (I forget which), he had seen men and women in the same state of innocence. The cotter's houses too are strange habitations for the 19th century to find here. Low and moundlike, built usually of turf and covered with thatch, they give a village much the appearance of a Kaffir Kraal. Each hut has but one door or aperture by which the human beings and cattle go in and the peatsmoke tries to get out. The family sleep under one end of the roof and are sometimes separated from the lower animals (at least from the larger species of them) by a csreen of board or tattered blanket. These people speak nothing but Gaelic, and in the remoter parts of the island are in a state of almost Egyptian darkness as to the outer world. It is said that when Lady Matheson, some years ago, paid a visit to Uig, she found that the natives had never heard of Prince Albert; so she caused a small Gaelic tract to be prepared for distribution, conveying this and other useful items of information. These cotters, however, are for the most part happy and contented. Their wants are few, they have plenty to eat and drink, and notwithstanding all the circumstances described, their morality will bear very favourable comparison to with that of the people of the South, who would no doubt call them barbarians. Illegitimacy is almost unknown amongst them, they would almost seem, as one said, to have been born before the Fall. Crime is rare, and at present, I am told, the prison at Stornoway is empty.

Glasgow Herald, 5 July 1867, page 4

How things are in the Lews (part 2)

SHOPS AND SHOPPING
Even in Stornoway, however, there are one or two features that attract the attention of the stranger. The larger shops, though called drapers, druggists, and so on, as in the South, are more like American stores on a small scale. You will find a draper selling cutlery, and filling one of his windows with gingerbread. The grocer sells shoes, the druggist prints bills to order, and will supply you not only with drugs but with screw nails, ropes, and agricultural implements. The style of doing business to, is peculiar. A man from the country comes in to buy (let us say) a bonnet. He goes first to the draper's, and after lounging about in the shop, looking about him, and perhaps offering an occasional remark on the weather and other general subjects, as if he had no intention of making a purchase, for the people here consider the space outside of the counter to be public property, he at last approaches the business that brought him. He tries on a variety of bonnets, asks the prices, and takes particular note of the bonnets that suit him. He then leaves the shop and proceeds to another draper's, where he goes through the same process; and having gone round the town in this way, returns to the place where he thinks he will make the best bargain, and after a great deal of haggling to bring down the price, perhaps makes the purchase; but if not satisfied he will go away, to return some other day, and see if he cannot get the article for a penny or half-penny less. This style of doing business is not confined to the Lews. A gentleman connected with the Perth and Inverness Railway told me that when that line was first opened some of the natives accustomed to the foregoing style of doing business would often make their appearance at the little stations in the North, when some such dialogue as the following would ensue:
Native: "What is the price to ---?"
Ticket Clerk: "Two and eightpence".
"What!"
"Two and eightpence"
"Two and eightpence! Heeh, never! I'll give you two shillin's"
"There is no reduction. The fare is two and eight"
"Make it two and tuppence, and it's a bargain"
"I tell you the fare is two and eightpence"
"It is only thirty miles"
"It doesn't matter what it is. That's the fare"
"I'll give you two and threepence"
"It won't do"
"Two and fourpence, then"
"No, nor two and fourpence"
At two and sixpence the man, perhaps would make a dead stand, and finding the clerk inexorable would actually go away and wait till the next train, to return then with his offer of the two and sixpence, in hope of finding the clerk more accommodating.
But to return to Stornoway. Another curious practice is this. When a man comes in from the country or from one of the adjacent villages to bank any money, he will often approach the bank by some circuitous route, that people may not see where he is going. On approaching the bank, he looks up and down the street before entering, to see that the factor is not in sight, or any one else from whom he wishes to conceal the fact of his having money. It sometimes happens, however, that several persons, all equally anxious to make their deposits secretly, find themselves in the bank together. In this case, they hang back from the counter, each one waiting to let the others go forward and be away before his own turn comes. On one occasion I happened to be in the bank when a countryman came in. He hung back for a considerable time, evidently waiting till I should be gone; but as he saw that I had no intention of leaving, and being perhaps pressed for time, thought pressure for time seems to be a very rare thing here, he turned his back to the teller and myself, and drawing a purse or something out of his pocket counted his money carefully in the corner before bringing it to the counter. The reason of this caution I understand is chiefly this, that the people are afraid lest the fact of their having money in the bank should reach the factor's ears, and he should raise their rent or come upon them for arrears.

The Glasgow Herald, 5 July 1867, page 4

How things are in the Lews (part 1)

On 5 July 1867, the Glasgow Herald published an article with the above title. It touches on several aspects on life in the island. I am splitting it up into segments, for the sake of legibility.

You would scarcely believe what a primitive state of things is to be found lingering in this most northerly of the Hebrides. Of course, I don't refer to Stornoway, which is a great centre of civilisation here, and is believe by the natives to stand precisely in the centre of the universe. In point of fact, it is a thriving little place, very much like any other Scotch town of its size. The houses are much the same as in the South, though building is very expensive here, the stone, wood, lime, everything almost, having to be brought by sea. The people are enterprising, intelligent and hospitable; the merchants trade and over-trade in a style that leaves nothing to be desired but money; and captivating young ladies exhibit the latest fashions in the streets and in the beautiful grounds that surround the Castle where dwell Sir James and Lady Matheson, the Emperor and Empress of the Lews, who generously leave the grounds open to all.

Napier witnesses: Duncan Macleod

Duncan Macleod gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Barvas on 6 June 1883. He is found with his wife Janet, both aged 61, in the 1881 census. Also found at their home is their son Angus (29, fisherman)  and Mary (21). Mary's son Malcolm Finlayson (2) and her brother Norman (19, a pupil teacher) are there as well.

In the 1871 census, Duncan and Janet are clearly marked as being from South Bragar, which corroborates the entry in the Napier Report. Their children are listed as John (27), Angus (19), Sue (17), Malcolm (13), Mary (11) and Norman (9).

I have been unable to trace Duncan before 1871 or after 1881; neither have I managed to find his death record.

Remembering today - 11 May

Private DONALD MACDONALD, Cameron Highlanders, late of 12 Habost, Ness, died today in 1915 at the age of 22

Corporal DUNCAN MACKAY, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 11 Kershader, died today in 1916 at the age of 19

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Napier witnesses: Rev James Strachan

James Strachan, the minister for Barvas, was heard by Lord Napier on 6 June 1883. He originated from Aberdeen. He is aged 53, and shown with his wife Christina A (aged 47) and their children Christina, Roderick, Cath, Peter, Joan and William. In 1871, their children are quoted as Mina Maggie, Annie Mary, Christina Jessie, Helen Nora, Roderick and Catherine Alice.  We see them again in 1861, with their eldest three children Jamima M, Annie and Christina J. The other ten occupants are domestic and other servants.

In 1891, James Strachan remains as parish minister, living at the Manse in Barvas with his children Annie M, Catherine A (a teacher in the public school) and Agnes J..

Rev Strachan passed away, after a service of more than 30 years at Barvas, on 22 September 1892 aged 65, suffering from a multitude of health problems. His wife Christina (nee Reid) survived him by 28 years, passing away in 1920 at the age of 87.

Napier witnesses: John Matheson (Barvas)

John Matheson was 68 when he gave evidence to Lord Napier during his session at Barvas on 6 June 1883. In the census of 1881, we see him with his wife Margret (aged 64, like John himself at the time), with their children Donald (26) and Catherine (24). Also present is his granddaughter Mary; it is not made clear whose child she was. A decade before, John and Peggy [= Margaret], with their children William (20), Flora (18), Catherine (14) and John (12) at Upper Barvas. In 1861, another two of their children turn up on the census form, namely Ann (16) and Mary (14). These are also evidence on the 1851 census. John is aged 34, Margaret 32 at that time.

Moving forward in time, John and Margaret (both aged 74) feature on the 1891 census as living at 16 Upper Barvas with their son Donald (34), daughter Mary (40) and her husband Donald (42), as well as their children Murdoch (8), John (6), Mary A (4) and Chirstina (2).

John Matheson passed away on 9 December 1898 at the age of 85, son of John and Ann, due to supposed senile decay. No doctor attended his death, which was reported by his son-in-law Donald Morrison. His wife Margaret had died in 1891, after the census had been taken in early April. She was 74.

Remembering today - 10 May

Private THOMAS MURRAY, Canadians, late of 49 North Tolsta, died today in 1915 at the age of 22

Private EVANDER MACKENZIE, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 13 Branahuie, died today in 1917 at the age of 38
Private MURDO MACKENZIE, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 3 Knockaird, died today in 1917 at the age of 22

Monday, 9 May 2011

Prince Alfred visits Stornoway

Prince Alfred was the third Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and lived from 6 August 1844 until 30 July 1900. During his long stint in the British Royal Navy, he served on HMS Raccoon as it visited Stornoway on 16 July 1863. The Wellington Indepent of 8 October 1863 carried a relayed account of the event.

Her Majesty's Ship Racoon, having Prince Alfred on board, arrived at Stornoway, on a most beautiful evening, on the 16th July, soon after 8 o'clock, and the entrance of the majestic frigate to the bay was the signal for a most enthusiastic display of loyalty. The volunteers manned the battery, and fired a royal salute, the shipping dressed in the gayest of bunting, while throughout the town, and at Lews Castle, the seat of Sir James and Lady Matheson, and the picturesque eminences in the neighbourhood surrounding it, flags floated in the breeze in honor of the royal visitor. At night, the castle was brilliantly illuminated, and to the west of it, on a conspicuous hill overlooking the harbour, a bonfire blazed till the break of day. On the Racoon coming to an anchor, Mr Pithie, the Collector of Customs, and the Postmaster, went on board with the mails; and afterwards, Sir James went to pay his respects to the Prince,, who was graciously pleased to accept an invitation to pass the following day at the castle. With royal punctuality, he went on shore at the South Beach, on Friday morning at half-past 9 o'clock, accompanied by Major Cowell, and was received by Sir James Matheson, Sheriff Macdonald and other respectable inhabitants, amid loud cheers and drove off to the castle to breakfast. The Stornoway volunteers, commanded by Captain Munro, formed a guard of honor. The forenoon was spent in driving over the pelasure grounds around the castle, and a fishing excursion to the neighbourhood. In the afternoon, his Royal Highness visited the town, and as he walked the streets was repeated cheered. In the evening there was a general illumination, and a dance was given at the castle, to which the commander (Captain Count Gleichen), the officers of the Racoon, and a numerous party from Stornoway were invited. Shortly after midnight his Royal Highness announced his intention of retiring. The band then played the National Anthem, and, taking leaving of the host and hostess, his Royal Highness left the castle amid great cheering. While the Racoon was in the harbor, she was inspected by a number of the inhabitants who were treated by all on board with the greatest courtesy and consideration. Having taken in a supply of coals, she got up steam and bore away for Skye on Saturday morning about 7 o'clock.
[end of article]

Fellow researcher Direcleit has written about the various collectors of taxes at Stornoway during the 19th century. I shall highlight the collector referred to in the article above.

Mr Michael B Pithie lived at 6 Kenneth Street in the town. At the time of the 1861 census, he was aged 49. He was married to Cecilia (46) and had three children, Stien [Christina?] (12), Jemima (10) and Janet C (5). The couple originated from Kirkcaldy in Fife. In 1851, the family is residing in Francis Street, Stornoway, and have five children. In 1881, we find Michael B Pitties [sic] and his wife Cecilia returned to 5 High Street, Kirkcaldy, still a collector of customs.

Napier witnesses: Donald Mcleod

Donald Mcleod was a crofter and the estate constable from North Shawbost. Aged 62 at the time he gave evidence to Lord Napier at Barvas, we find him on the 1881 census living at Carnan Road (North Shawbost) with his children Peggy (22), Christina (18) and Malcolm (20). In 1871, we also see an older daughter Mary (24), with Margaret (of which Peggy is an abbreviated form), Cristy and Malcolm. Donald's wife Mary (50) also features.

Donald is reported to have died in 1897 at the age of 78.

Remembering today - 9 May

Private ANGUS CAMPBELL, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 16 Habost, Ness, died today in 1915 at the age of 20
Private DONALD GRAHAM, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 18 South Dell, died today in 1915 at the age of 20
Private JOHN GUNN, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 5 Knockaird, died today in 1915 at the age of 21
Private NORMAN MACARTHUR, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 26 Knock, Carloway, died today in 1915 at the age of 22
Private ANGUS MACDONALD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 6 Coll, died today in 1915 at the age of 19
Private DONALD MACDONALD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 8 Aird Tong, died today in 1915 at the age of 19
Sergeant DONALD MACDONALD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 4 Portvoller, died today in 1915 at the age of 27
Private JOHN MACDONALD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 16 North Dell, died today in 1915 at the age of 22
Private ALEX MACGREGOR, Cameron Highlanders, late of 21 Newton Street, Stornoway, died today in 1915 at the age of 19
Private DONALD MACIVER, Cameron Highlanders, late of 2 Carloway, died today in 1915 at the age of 19
Private MALCOLM MACIVER, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 14B Callanish, died today in 1915 at the age of 34
Private MURDO MACKAY, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 17 Skigersta, died today in 1915 at the age of 19
Corporal ALEX MACKENZIE, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, late of 3 Castle Street, Stornoway, died today in 1915
Private DONALD MACKENZIE, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 50 Back, died today in 1915
Private GEORGE MACKENZIE, Cameron Highlanders, late of 30 Callanish, died today in 1915 at the age of 22
Lance-Corporal ANGUS MACLEAN, Cameron Highlanders, late of 35 Callanish, died today in 1915 at the age of 24
Private DONALD (jnr) MACLEAN, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 6 Back, died today in 1915 at the age of 21
Private NEIL MACLEAN, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 8B Breasclete, died today in 1915 at the age of 23
Lance-Corporal ANGUS MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 12 Tong, died today in 1915 at the age of 20
Private DONALD MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 37 Lower Bayble, died today in 1915 at the age of 20
Corporal JOHN MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 15 Lower Bayble, died today in 1915 at the age of 27
Sergeant MALCOLM MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 4 Tolsta Chaolais, died today in 1915 at the age of 38
Private MALCOLM MACLEOD, Black Watch, late of 8 Tong, died today in 1915
Private MURDO MACLEOD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 12 Garenin, died today in 1915
Lance Sergeant WILLIAM MACNEILL, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 1 Carishader, died today in 1915
Private DONALD MORRISON, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 4 South Dell, died today in 1915 at the age of 20
Private MURDO MURRAY, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 5 South Dell, died today in 1915 at the age of 31
Corporal JOHN SHAW, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 10 Newvalley, died today in 1915 at the age of 27
Private ALEX SMITH, Cameron Highlanders, late of 22 Fivepenny, died today in 1915 at the age of 22
Private DONALD SMITH, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 14 Habost, Ness, died today in 1915 at the age of 20

Sergeant GEORGE MACDONALD, Canadians, late of 7 Guershader, died today in 1917 at the age of 26
Gunner HUGH MURRAY MAIR, Australians, late of 2 Shell Street, Stornoway, died today in 1917 at the age of 25

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Napier witnesses: John Nicolson

John Nicolson was 69 years of age when he spoke at the Commission's session in Barvas on 6 June 1883. He gave evidence on behalf of the people of New Shawbost. He is easily traced on the 1881 census as a 68-year old drover from New Shawbost (or Park Road), married to Catherine (56) and with daughter Ann (17). In 1871, they appear on the census form with daughters Catherin (16) and Ann (8). John cannot be located on earlier censuses, using the information available.

John Nicolson passed away on 28 March 1886 at the age of 70, having suffered ill health of unknown description for 14 days. His parents' names are given as Nicol and Anne (nee Maciver). His wife Catherine (nee Macaulay) survived him by 9 years, passing away in 1895 aged 73.

William Mackenzie of Seaforth turns 21

CALEDONIAN MERCURY 1 AUGUST 1812 (issue 14137)

STORNOWAY - JULY 22.
Yesterday exhibited a very unusual display of gaiety and festivity in this place, in honour of the anniversary of the birth-day of the Honourable William Mackenzie of Seaforth, when he completed the 21st year of his age. In the forenoon of the day, all the ships in the roads and harbour hoisted their colours to very great effect; andc the principal tenants from all parts of this extensive country (the sole property of the noble family of Seaforth,) together with the ministers of the parishes of Stornoway and [Barvas], having joined the feuars and most respectable part of the inhabitants of the town, a plentiful dinner, which had been previously ordered, was served up at Morison's inn, to which upwards of 70 gentlemen sat down. After the usual loyal toasts had been given and drank, the toasts expressive of the cause and nature of the meeting were given in succession, which were drank by every possible demonstration of joy, and answered by a discharged of seven great guns, planted near Seaforth Lodge, to each toast, and handfuls of silver were thrown over the windows to the populace.

The utmost harmony and good humour prevailed among the convivial party, iuntil it was announced that the ball-room door was opened. The scene then shifted ot the Freemasons' Hall, where a very numerous and beautiful assemblage of ladies presented themselves to view. Before the dancing commenced, a great gun was fired, the agreed signal for a general illumination of the houses in town, and for lighting three bonfires on the highest eminences around Seaforth Lodge and opposite to the town. The towering heights, and brilliancy of the bonfires, with the adjoining beautiful appearance of Seaforth Lodge, which was completely illuminated, opposed by the mass of light exhibited by the town, made a delightfully grand appearance, and to which the mildness and serenity of the night was highly conducive. At the same time, a large bonfifre was lighted on the quay, opposite to the ballroom, where the porter was in profusion distributed to the people; and several other bonfires, on the rising grounds, near the residences of the gentlemen and principal farmers throughout the country, were conspicuously seen and admired. The dancing was kept up with great vivacity until one o'clock this morning, when the doors of the apartments adjoining to the ballroom were thrown open, into which the company retired, and partook of a very elegant cold collation. After a short relaxation, dancing recommenced, and was continued with much spirit and gaiety till three o'clock, when the company began to retire, but not even then without a seeming reluctance to separate. So universal was the sentiment of respect and attachment felt by the whole for the young and promising nobleman, and for his ancient and distinguished family, that the smile of complacency and mirth was strongly depicted on every countenance throughout, which was no doubt considerably heightened by the pleasant idea of his being a native of the island.

Mr Mackenzie, of Newhall, who happened to be on a visit to this country, warmly joined the company, and contributed much to the general satisfaction and happiness expressed by all present.

It is but justice to add, that at settling the expences so cheerfully incurred today, a very handsome surplus remained, which was, by unanimous consent, devoted to the relief of several poor persons, in this and other parishes of the island. 
[end of article]

The William Mackenzie of Seaforth, celebrated in such lavish style, died in 1814. He was, at that time, the MP for Ross-shire. William was one of four sons of Francis Humberston Mackenzie, First Baron of Seaforth. William, with his three brothers, pre-deceased his father, as apparently prophesised by the Brahan Seer. Francis Mackenzie was deaf and almost wholly deprived of speech following a bout of scarlet fever at the age of 12. After the death of his sons, he never spoke again.

The title of Earl of Seaforth was held from 1623 until 1716, after it became was attainted during the First Jacobite uprising of 1715. Attainted [sic] means that succession of a line of nobility is stopped, after a serious offence; it would appear that the treason in 1715 led to the attainder. The sons therefore did not inherit the title of Earl of Seaforth. The title was briefly revived between 1771 and 1781. In 1797 Francis Mackenzie (outlined above) was raised to the title of Baron Seaforth. The line died out in 1814 upon the death of Francis.

Napier Commission: Ripples and waves

The evidence heard by Lord Napier's Commission in the Hebrides was relayed by the press, and gave rise to further agitation and representation elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands. The below article, printed four weeks after Lord Napier's first session at Braes (see previous post) showed two examples: one from Easter Ross, the other from Orkney. The Commission sat at Sanday in July 1883, and at Dingwall in October 1883.

ABERDEEN WEEKLY 2 JUNE 1883
THE ROSS-SHIRE CROFTERS
A meeting of the crofters in the Strathpeffer district was held at Fodderty on Tuesday. Mr Gray, Heights of Auchternend, presided. Mr John Gillanders, crofter, Duran, proposed the first resolution, which called upon the Government to take measures for the abolition of deer forests and the breaking up of large farms into smaller holdings. The motion was seconded by Mr John Campbell, crofter, Strathpeffer, and agree to.
Mr M'Lennan, Bottacks, moved that compensation be granted for all unexhausted improvements effected by crofters. The motion was also seconded and unanimously agreed to. Mr Rose, Heights of Keppoch, moved, and Mr Cameron, Heights of Keppoch, seconded that it was necessary that perpetuity of tenure and revalution of the land be secured to the crofters. Mr Murdo Mcliver moved that this meeting express sympathy with the crofters and working farmers of Caithness, and and resolve and agree with their views generally. Mr D. Cameron, Knockfarrel, seconded, and the motion was unanimously agreed to. Mr K. Cameron, Knockaffer, moved that a copy of the foregoing resolution be communicated to the Royal Commission, with the request that the Commissioners give the crofters in the district an opportunity of stating their grievances to them. Mr Nicol and Mr John Macrae, Dingwall, also spoke in favour of the objet of the meeting, and urged on the crofters to speak out fearlessly, and state their grievances, should the Commission visit the district.

THE ORKNEY CROFTERS
The Orkney crofters, who hitherto have made no agitation, nor had any public meetings, are now taking a more active interest in the subject, seeing the evidence led in the Western Isles. The first meeting has been held in Sanday, of the Northern Isles group, where several delegates were appointed to represent the crofters and cottars.

The Highland Crofter's Commission

GLASGOW HERALD 9 MAY 1883

THE HIGHLAND CROFTERS' COMMISSION
MEETING AT THE BRAES
(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT)
Portree, Tuesday

The Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the condition of the crofters and cottars of the Highlands and islands began its sittings today at the Braes. The Commissioners drove from Portree, and reached the school-house, in which the meeting was held, shortly before eleven o'clock. A large number of crofters from the neighbourhood assembled on the road and witnessed with evident interest the arrival of the Commissioners. Before the public were admitted to the school-house, the Commissioners held a consultation in private, and arranged a few preliminary points as to the order of procedure to be adopted. As the doors were opened, at a quarter past eleven, the room, which holds about 200 persons, was immediately filled. Lord Napier of Ettrick, the Chairman of the Commission, presided, and there were present all the other Commissioners - viz,, Sir Kenneth M'Kenzie, Bart.; Mr Donald Cameron of Lochiel, MP; Mr Fraser Mackintosh, MP; Sheriff Nicholson and Professor Mackinnon. Mr Malcolm M'Neil, of the Board of Supervision, secretary to the Commission was also present. Mr Alexander Macdonald, factor to Lord Macdonald, occupied a prominent place among the crofters in the body of the room.

Mr M'Neil (the secretary) having read Her Majesty's commission under which the inquiry is held,
Lord Napier said Her Majesty's commission has now been read, and I declare that this first session of the inquiry is open. I invite the first delegate chosen by the people of the Braes to come forward and make his statement.

The formal minutes of the meeting at Braes are available for reading here

Remembering today - 8 May

Sergeant MALCOLM MACDONALD, Cameron Highlanders, late of 9 Habost, Lochs, died today in 1915 at the age of 28
Private JOHN MACRITCHIE, Canadians, late of 67 Kipper Road, Stornoway, died today in 1915 at the age of 40

Private ALLAN MACKENZIE, Cameron Highlanders, late of 14 Brue, died today in 1916 at the age of 18

Seaman RODERICK MACIVER, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 25 North Tolsta, died today in 1917 at the age of 23

Lance-Corporal JAMES MACLEOD, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, late of Cross Roads Callanish, died today in 1918 at the age of 21

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Remembering today - 7 May

Private ALEX MACASKILL, Gordon Highlanders, late of Lighthill Back, died today in 1915 at the age of 19

Deckhand ANGUS MURRAY, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 30 South Bragar, died today in 1916 at the age of 26

Friday, 6 May 2011

Remembering today - 6 May

Private ALEX BEATON, Canadians, late of 15 Vatisker, died today in 1917 at the age of 29

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Last Post has sounded

Today, it was announced that the last surviving veteran of the First World War, Claude Choules, has died in Australia, aged 110. The last veterans from Great Britain, France and Germany have all passed away in the last few years. The Great War has now passed into history, in that no one is left alive who went through it, but its repercussions continue to date.

Napier witnesses: Malcolm Mcphail

Malcolm Mcphail gave evidence to Lord Napier during the Commission's session at Barvas on 6 June 1883. He represented the people of South Shawbost.

In the 1881 census, there are two men named Malcolm Mcphail in the Carloway district, but the corresponding records in the 1871 census confirm that it was Malcolm Mcphail of South Shawbost, married to Anne, who had spoken to Lord Napier. He was a crofter, aged 65 in 1881, with a wife aged 70.
A decade earlier, we find the couple with their children Mary (29) and Murdo (a sub teacher, aged 20). In 1861, we also find sons John (15) and Robert (13). The family is found complete in the 1851 census, although their ages do not correspond to a passage of 10 years. Malcolm and Anne first appear in the census of 1841, aged 25 and 30, with their eldest child, Mary, aged 1.

In 1891, we find Malcolm and Ann at Uig Manse, as a retired crofter. They are living with their son John (47) and daughter Mary (49). Also present is John's niece Catherin Smith (49) and a number of farm and domestic servants.

Malcolm passed away on 18 January 1898 aged 80, marked as the widower of Ann (nee Macleod), who died in 1894 aged 66. His parents were Duncan and Margaret. He had suffered rheumatic fever for a year. His son John reported the death. Malcolm died at Balnakille in the district of Uig. His occupation is noted as missionary.

Remembering today - 5 May

Private DONALD MACDONALD, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 16B Knockaird, died today in 1915 at the age of 23
Sergeant NEIL MACIVER, Seaforth Highlanders, late of 40 Breasclete, died today in 1915 at the age of 22
Private MALCOLM MACKAY, Cameron Highlanders, late of 16 Valtos, died today in 1915 at the age of 31

Seaman JOHN MACDONALD, Royal Naval Reserve, late of 57 South Bragar, died today in 1917 at the age of 18

Private FINLAY MACLEAN, Scottish Rifles, late of 4 North Street, Sandwick, died today in 1918 at the age of 27

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pipes and drums, 46th Canadians


James Smith of Canada kindly provided me with the above image (and information), showing the pipes and drums of the 46th battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (more fully: 46th Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment)). The image was taken between 4th and 24th July 1917 at Hersin-Coupigny, France. The pipeband played there for the King on 11 July 1917. They are wearing the Royal Stewart tartan. Two pipers are from Lewis: John Smith of 15 Melbost and William Finlayson of 24 Aird Tong.

The 46th was known as the Suicide Battalion, as it lost 1,433 killed and 3,484 wounded - a casualty rate of 91.5 percent

I list the names and details of the men, shown in the picture.

BACK ROW (left to right)
1. Private piper William McGeachin
Reg. no: 426555
Born: Bridge of Allan, 1894
Trade / occupation: Teamster
Enlisted: 9 April 1915 at Regina
Left regiment, wounded: August 1918

2. Private piper James Logan 
Reg. no: 427723
Born: Shotts, Lanarkshire, 1888
Trade / occupation: Milkman
Enlisted: 2 October 1915, at Camp Hughes

3. Private drummer John Nelson
Reg. no: 427497
Born: Airdrie, Lanarkshire, 1881
Trade / occupation: Teamster
Enlisted: 18 August 1915 at Sewell, Manitoba

4. Corporal drummer Joseph Mcqueen
Reg. no: 427724
Born: Falkirk, 1887
Trade / occupation: Police constable
Enlisted: 2 October 1915, at Camp Hughes

5. Private drummer G Wilson
Attestation not entirely certain
Reg. no: 426129
Born: Edinburgh, 1881
Trade / occupation: Leather worker
Enlisted: 21 December 1914, at Moose Jaw

6. Private drummer Archibald Savage
Reg. no: 427136
Born: Lanark, 1886
Trade / occupation: Labourer
Enlisted: 13 May 1915, at Regina

7. Private drummer Daniel Campbell Carnegie
Reg. no: 426569
Born: Glasgow, 1886
Trade / occupation: Commission Agent
Enlisted: 13 April 1915, at Regina

SECOND ROW
8. Sergeant piper George Mcintosh
Reg. no: 426214
Born: Montrose, 1891
Trade / occupation: Labourer
Enlisted: 17 February 1915, at Moose Jaw
Awarded Military Medal in 1917, awarded bar in 1918, wounded in October 1917

9. Piper Charles Mclaughlin
Reg. no:  426401
Born: Glasgow
Trade / occupation: Teamster
Enlisted: 9 August 1915, at Shorncliffe
Left regiment in September 1918, wounded

10. Private piper John Smith

Reg. no: 427715
Born: 15 Melbost, Lewis, 1887
Trade / occupation: Farmer
Enlisted: 30 September 1915, at Camp Hughes
Left regiment in August 1918, wounded

11. Corporal piper James Hogg
Reg. no: 427503
Born: Hawick, 1871
Trade / occupation: Hosiery maker
Enlisted: 4 September 1915, at Sewell, Manitoba
Left regiment in June 1918, as over-aged.

12. Piper William Finlayson
Reg. no: 420589
Born: 24 Aird Tong, Lewis, 1884
Trade / occupation: Labourer
Enlisted: 31 December 1914, at Winnipeg
Left regiment in September 1918, as over-aged.

13. Sergeant piper James Grant Fraser
Reg. no: 427713
Born: Glasgow
Attestation not available
Left regiment in August 1917 due to wounds

14. Private piper George Allan
Reg. no: 426676
Born: Edinburgh, 1880
Enlisted: 19 March 1915, at Regina
Died of wounds 21 August 1917
Interred: Villers Station Cemetery, grave VIII. F. 16.

FRONT ROW
Major J. S. Rankin, 2nd in command
Lt Col H. J. Dawson, Commanding Officer
Major J. A. Hope, Adjutant

NOT IN PICTURE
15. Private piper David Robb
Reg. no: 435039
Born: Alyth, Perthshire, 1883
Trade / occupation: Teamster
Enlisted: 26 March 1915, at Calgary
Died of illness 3 March 1917
Interred: Barlin Communal Cemetery ext, grave I. F. 86.

16. Private piper Peter William Baggett
Reg. no: 1009590
Born: Leith, Edinburgh, 1877
Trade / occupation: Farmer
Enlisted: 3 March 1916
Left regiment in August 1918 as 'wounded'

17. Private piper William Patterson
Reg. no: 1039416
Born: Aberdeenshire, 1876
Trade / occupation: Tinsmith and plumber
Enlisted: 14 August 1916, at Arcola