HAMILTON POETRY FROM 1895.

Published on Friday the 7th June 1895.

This poem which I recently discovered was written by a lady named Lizzy Smith. Lizzy lived in Meikle Earnock village in 1895 and I get the feeling that she was quite the character. I also must admit that in this period, Lizzy’s poem is the first which I have stumbled across which was written by a woman, as most poems seem to have been written and sent to the local newspaper by men. So, she was probably quite a head strong woman.

For me, this poem is a real gem and I am so happy that I found it, because Lizzy not only tells us of what life was like in 1895 but she tells us in the language of the day, how the old Hamiltonian’s spoke and of the people who were alive in this period and we hear old family names being mentioned. So, here is Lizzie Smith’s poem, in her own words.
THE PLOOMANS BALL.

By Lizzy Smith 1895.

In Meikle Earnock’s ancient toon,
Leaves Wullie Smith a cairter loon,
And a bonny day in June,
He met a lass,
Wha, search the country side aroun,
Nae coo’d surpass.

Her beauty, elegance, and grace,
Her bonnie lauchin, winsome face,
Garr’d ither chiels join in the chase,
Her he’rt to win,
But Willie did them a’ ootrace,
And steppit in.

At least he thocht that first he’d been,
But he like plenty mair, I ween,
Was sae in love wi Bonnie Jean,
He couldna’ see,
What ithers a’ alang hsd seen,
She’d twa or three.

He geid her presents o’ the best,
And day nor night he couldna rest,
But thocht himsel uncommon blest,
That thus had got,
His bonnie dear to answer yes,
To share his lot.

And thus wore by the summer time,
And trees and floers were past their prime,
And autumn wi’ its days sae fine,
Had bid adiew,
And grass was wat wi hoary rime,
Instead o’ dew.

Twas then took place the ploomen ball,
Whan fully fifteen couples all,
Were gathered in the spacious hall,
At Chapel Farm,
Which as ye ken, baith young and auld,
Is just the barn.

Twa just to pas the time a wee,
Or else a wee but fun tae see,
Or something else that prompted me,
That night tae gang,
But this is hoo, without a lee,
They got alang.

Gibb Berry, wia lass ca’d Nell,
Thocht nane were as guid’s himsel,
But the truth I was to tell,
I’d say that he,
Doon in the dirt had aften fell,
At mony a spree.

Jock Watson, in his Sunday claes,
As fresh as daises on the braes,
And een as black as ony slaes,
Was there on’ a’,
And aye himsel he tried to rise,
An inch or twa.

For he was swalled wi conscious pride,
And that’s a fact he couldna hide,
And Maggie Rankin by his side,
Was unco mim,
And blushed as sweet as only bride,
And looked at him,

And next a chap, they ca’ him Will,
He’s servin’ up at Cornhill,
He danced and jumped aboot until,
His heid grew dizzy,
And teen joined in wi’ right guid Will,
That winsome hizzy.

But by my sang, he didna think,
As he wi’ Teen that nicht did link,
Pair chap, that he was on the brink,
O’ being jookit;
The stallion man gied her the wink,
And aff they hookit.

Frae Craigenhill there next cam Dan,
An honest and a manly man,
Wi a hizzy o’ the Fifer Clan,
Tho’ somewhat soor,
I think she had made up a plan,
To look aye dour.

Of course for me it widna dae,
To name them a’ in sie a way,
For the truth to tell, its hard to say,
They’d tak’t amiss,
My very life they’d swear to hae,
For writin this.

O’ this discourse I’ve lost the threed,
Bur then it is a lengthy screed,
And sie a Jumble’s in my heid,
O’ mirth and fun,
And then that glorious midnicht feed,
It took the bun.

The time gaed by wi’ mirth and glee,
A’ things were there to catch the e’e,
There was rowth o’ pastries, cakes and tea,
Pankakes and bannocks,
And some they ate sae greedily,
They fyled their stammacks.

A chap who happened to be there,
Got up on tae the barn flair,
And wi’ a voice baith sweet and rare,
Made echoes ring,
Wi’ Norah’s pride o’ sweet Kildare,
Feth he could sing.

But quately speaking, tween me and you,
Twas chappies in the royal blue,
Could shift a pickle mountain dew,
Doon ower their neck,
And everything that cam’ in view,
They took their wheck,

The man wi’ feet was there an ‘,
I’m shair they’re onything but sma,
Twelve inches lang and ither twa,
I’m shair they’d be,
Sis feet as them I never saw,
At ony spree.

And Jean, she sang a sang sae sweet,
To hear her was a perfect treat,
There’s na compeers,
She finished and then took her seat,
Mid deefenin cheers.

And thus, wi mony a dance and sang,
The lightsome hoors they sped aland,
The guid Scotch drink was dealt amang,
The ploomen chiels,
And aye their sturdy legs they flang,
At jigs and reels.

But everything maun hae en end,
And sae maun balls, as well ye ken,
Oor several ways we a’ did wend,
Just as daybreak,
For fear oor maisters we’d offend,
And get the seck.

Then here’s a health to guid John Mackie,
He did his best tae mak; us happy,
He was sae droll and aye sae crackie,
He cheered us on,
When I gang up I’ll tak’ a drappie,
And drink’t wi John.
Meikle Earnock Lizzie Smith.

This poem was probably written just after the party in the barn ended. The barn dance could have been a once a year event that took place in the summer, where the hard working ploughmen had a chance to go out and meet some nice girls and also in turn, the young girls some allowed to go and by the sound of the poem, some that went without their parents knowing.

The barn dance sounded like a community event where old and young enjoyed each other’s company and it could have been a bit like a gala day. So, a day and night out, that all looked forward to.

I wanted to find out more about Lizzy Smith, so I decided to do some research and luckily for me, there was only one person called Elizabeth Smith who lived in Meikle Earnock in 1895 and here is what I found.

Lizzie, or Elizabeth Smith was only nineteen when she wrote this poem. She was born in Glasgow on the 7th of August 1876 to parents Hugh Smith & Mary Sweeny. The family lived at Haggshouse Farm in Kinning Park, Glasgow where Lizzie’s father was working as a ploughman. Her father then moved the family to Blantyre, where he was now working as a greengrocer.

In Blantyre, Lizzie and her family lived at Aitkenhead Buildings and Lizzie worked along with her father as a green grocer’s assistant, but the their time at Blantyre was short lived as they then moved to Meikle Earnock, where Lizzie’s dad was now working back on a farm and working as a cow feeder.

When the family lived at Meikle Earnock, there was another family that went by the name of Cuthbertson and I will come to this soon and let you know why I have mentioned this.
Lizzie Smith was now working most likely at the same farm as her father. Her farther was the cow feeder on this farm and Lizzie, just like she did at the green grocers in Blantyre worked side by side with her father and she was working as a dairy maid. I get the feeling that Lizzie and Hugh had a close father daughter relationship.

On the 9th of December 1898 Lizzie married a Cambusnethan man who went by the name of James Gilchrist. James who was a coal miner worked in various places including Muirkirk in Ayrshire, Ormiston in East Lothian, Tranent, East Lothian and then back to Hamilton. This man’s father was a coal miner just like him and it is unknown why the family lived in mining communities scattered all over Scotland, perhaps his father was blacklisted by the colliery owners, but this is just a guess.

Lizzie Smith Divorce..PNG

The marriage with James produced seven children and sadly two died in infancy, but this was not a happy marriage. On the 11th of June 1913 James files for divorce from Lizzie, now there was probably more to this, but the reason given was that Lizzie was talking of another man while she slept and when confronted by James, she confessed to have been unfaithful.
By the time of the divorce, James was living in Hamilton at 9 Windsor Terrace on Bothwell Street and Lizzie was living at Whitecraighead in Cleland. I found a newspaper report printed in the Motherwell Times on Friday the 13th of June 1913 which stated:

“MOTHERWELL DIVORCE CASE. Betrayed by Talking- in Sleep.

The story of how a woman betrayed herself in her sleep was narrated in the Court of Session on Saturday last. James Gilchrist, miner, Orchard Cottage, Bellshill, sought divorce from wife, Elizabeth Horne Smith or Gilchrist, Whitecraighead, Cleland, by Motherwell, and Thomas Lindsay, mason, ’station Cottage, Muirkirk, was called as the co-defender.

Divorce in Paper..PNG

The pursuer said the marriage was solemnized in 1898, and there were five surviving children. The co-defender had been a lodger in the house. One Sunday in
April 1912, when they were then living at Strathaven, the pursuer heard his wife talking in her sleep.

She was carrying a conversation with someone to whom’ she was heard to say: “This would have to be their last meeting and that it would be better to separate.”

The preceding week had found a letter sent by Lindsay to his wife, in which he said that he was uneasy in his mind. When he taxed his wife, whom he awoke, she admitted having had relations with the co-defender. She subsequently signed an admission, of misconduct. After some further evidence, decree was granted to the pursuer on the ground of the defender’s infidelity”.

After the divorce, Lizzie moved back to Meikle Earnock in Hamilton. Her dad Hugh had died on the 16th of March 1910 at his house in Hollandbush Cottage. If I were to take a guess about one of the reasons as to why Lizzie was not happy in her marriage, then it could have been a lack of compassion from her husband, or perhaps she was so close to her dad that she may possibly of had a bit of depression after his death, however, this is only what could have happened and I do not have any evidence to back this up.

After Lizzie moved back to Meikle Earnock, she met a man named Robert Cuthbertson, who was a widower. It appears that Lizzie and Robert were old acquaintances and they knew each other in their younger years, and it appears that they were childhood sweethearts. Robert lived at Meikle Earnock at the same time as Lizzie when she was living in the village.
They married on the 21st of June 1913 in St. Rollox in Glasgow, the reason as to why they married here is unclear, however, they did continue to live at Meikle Earnock after the wedding. They lived at Croft Cottage right up to May 1921, where they decided to leave Meikle Earnock and indeed Scotland forever.

Passanger list WM..PNG
On the 21st of May 1921 the couple boarded a passenger ship and left for Sydney, Australia. Travelling with them are Robert’s sons James, Malcolm and his daughter’s Mary & Nancy and Lizzie’s son Hugh. They saw out the rest of their days in Australia and Robert lived to the ripe old age of 89 where he died in Nowra, New South Wales on the 18th of June 1962.

Lizzie died only seven months after her husband passed away. She died at the same place on the 12th of January 1963.

What started of a poem written in a local news paper turned into a story of a strong lady who had her ups and downs in life. Lizzie Smith from Meikle Earnock emigrated to Australia and she now has family connections on each side of the world. I wonder if what we write today will have someone reading about it in another 125 years. Also, I would love to go to a party in a big barn, I wonder if the local farmers around Hamilton still have parties like this? Below is a picture of Lizzie Smith.

Lizzie Smith.Lizzie Smith & James Gilchrist..PNG
Written by Garry McCallum
Historic Hamilton.

Ramsay’s Buildings – Saturday 24th June 1871.

FATAL ACCIDENT 1871.

Ramsay's Buildings.

An incident which resulted fatally, occurred on Thursday 22nd June 1871 at the cooperation gas works in Hamilton where a man named John Sparrow, residing in Ramsey’s buildings was injured, which then resulted in his death. It appeared that the execution of repairs to raise an empty gas holder some feet. John along with three other men were working at one of the three cranes in use for the purpose, when one of the fastenings of the gasholder attached to the chain used for the suspension of compensating weights gave way. The weight crashing to the ground drove the loosened end of the chain outwards, striking Mr Sparrow on the head and fractured his skull.

For the first three days, hopes were entertained of his recovery, but then inflammation set, and he sadly died on the Thursday morning. Mr Sparrow, who was known as an extremely sober and industrious man left behind a wife and a daughter.

I have spent quite a few years now reading over fatal enquiries and during the late nineteenth century Hamilton had more than its fair share of them. This poor man today is probably forgotten about and had no sons to carry his name, so I decided to see who John Sparrow was and what became of his family and here’s what I found.

The first document which I found was in the Hamilton Advertiser archives, where it was reported that John’s eldest daughter had died at her house at 11 Ramsay’s buildings. She died of Scarlet Fever when she was only 14 years old. Now, I must mention here a little bit about Ramsay’s buildings. These were a row of tenements that were built on John Street and they stretched between the junction of High Patrick Street and Haddow Street.
They were damp, had no running water and were rat infested. Ramsay’s buildings were stinking with sewage and it was usually people on really low paid jobs who were unlucky to call this place home. The people who lived on these old John Street tenements were always unwell because they lived here.

Site of Ramsay's Buildings..PNG

So sadly, little Jane Sparrow died at Ramsay’s buildings and the fact that they lived here could have been a contributor in her catching the disease.

John Sparrow and his wife continued to live at the same house after his daughter’s death. In 1867 John was recorded on his daughters death certificate as a Mill Worker and when I looked at the 1871 census I found out that John was now working at the Hamilton gas works, where sadly he would be dead as the result of his accident in only a few months from now. John would have left the mill and started work at the gas works probably to earn more money and to make a better life for his family.

John Sparrow was born in Hamilton c1928 and he married his wife who was called Janet Naismith. They married in Hamilton on the 6th of June 1852. When john died, he was only 43 years old. He was the son of Robert Sparrow, who was a Cotton Weaver and Janet McDonald. He died on the 22nd of June 1871 at his home, 11 Ramsay’s buildings.

His cause of death was written as a fractured skull. His wife’s brother, James Naismith was the person who registered his death.

I found information from the minutes of the Glasgow committee that in the first week of July, John’s wife was given £20 to pay for the funeral and other expenses. It was also recorded that this payment was a slight expression of sympathy for Janet and his daughter.

The 1871 Census also told me about his wife Janet, she too was born in Hamilton and his surviving daughter who was also called Janet was 16 years old and she had a job working as a silk weaver.

John’s wife Jane went on to marry again and I found that in the year 1877 (She married in the same year as her daughter) she was still living at 11 Ramsay’s Buildings. She was 50 years old and she found comfort in another widower who was called William Lang. William Lang was a joiner who was 56 years old and he lived in the Old Town. They married on the 16th of November 1877 and the wedding took place at 11 Ramsay’s buildings. So, in this house, two sad occurrences happened with the death of her oldest daughter and her first husband but now a happier time with the wedding.
John’s daughter Janet went on to marry a man named James Scott and they married in 1877 and continued to live in Hamilton. She died at the age of 74 at her house 60 Portland Place.

John Sparrow’s name is long forgotten, but I hope that this story keeps his memory alive and I do hope that his daughter went on to have a family of her own and if she did, perhaps some of her grandchildren or great grandchildren will read this and get in touch.

John Ellyson of Lanarkshire

 

Ancestry Question1WM..jpg

We were contacted by Debbie Lacy-Anderson who lives in America. Debbie wrote:

“Hi Garry-I was excited to find your page! I am researching my family connection to Hamilton-as my daughter and I prepare to visit in October.

My 11 X G,Grandfather, John Ellyson of Lanarkshire married Elin Hamilton, who from what I have been able to discover her father was Robert Hamilton. Would you be able to point me toward any other resources that would help me confirm this connection? I really appreciate any help you might be able to give! Best, Debbie”.

I had explained to Debbie, that I had never come across this connection to the Hamilton Family. However, as I know that there are many family researchers on Historic Hamilton, i thought that I would ask you guys.

So, during your research, have any of our group members come across a family connection to John Ellyson of Lanarkshire? Or indeed, a connection to this family in America. If you do, then please feel free to get in touch.

PHILIPS FACTORY DAY OUT.

Harry Paton Evans.

PHILIPS FACTORY DAY OUT.

Harry Paton Evans sent us this picture of some workers of Phillips factory. Harry told us:

“A Philips outing in the late 1940’s, very early 1950’s to Blackpool.

My Dad, Harry Evans was a Works Superintendent and ran one of the main production lines after his War, around late 1949 early 1950’s.”

Do you recognise any of the people in the picture? Let us know.

Hamilton folk.

Linda McFarlane

Linda McFarlane sent us one of her family pictures. Linda told us:

“Ma wee story behind this photo!

A few months ago my cousin was back over here on holiday from Australia so we went to visit our auntie and a few of our cousins so naturally the old photos came out and I was so thrilled when this one appeared as I myself am now in my sixties and this was the very FIRST photo I have ever seen of my dad as a child
Left to right My Auntie Ann Martin,
My Granny Mary Kerr Martin,
& My Dad Malcolm Kerr Martin from Fairhill.”

Thank you Linda, your picture is now in our Hamilton Folk album.

Do you have a family photo that you would like to share? Please feel free to send them to us at Historic Hamilton.

Garry,

CORNHILL FARM, QUARTER.

1888 Map of Cornhills Farm..PNG

The surrounding areas of Quarter today, are as they were a hundred years ago, with many little farms doted around the green fields of the southern end of Hamilton. Cornhill Farm is an old Hamilton farm which has been standing on the same spot since before 1855.

Connected to this farm, was an old right of way path which would have been used by people wishing to walk from Quarter through to the western side of Hamilton at Meikle Earnock, Torheads and further afield. The old right of way would have been used by miners walking to and from their place of work and travellers wanting to walk back from this side of the parish in Eddlewood, Annsfield & Quarter.

This old right of way was eventually closed off to the public and on Friday the fifteenth of December 1899, an unnamed angry rambler wrote to the Editor of the Hamilton Herald Newspaper (now the Hamilton Advertiser) to voice his concerns of his favourite walkway being closed.

An old Right of way - Hamilton Herald.

The anonymous reader wrote:
“Sir, – Through the columns of your valuable paper allow me to call public attention to the closing of an old right of way, which has been used as a public road for upwards of 70 years. This old road branches off at what is known as the Strathaven railway bridge, through part of Mackie’s farm and on to Cornhill farm, making a nice “short cut” to Hamilton water works. Now, it’s a great pity that we should lose a nice country walk, to be shut out and compelled to walk on a dusty toll road toll-road on a nice summer’s day. Does any of our parish councillors know of this? If so, why is it allowed? I hope that our councillors will see to this and have it re-opened unless there is a reason for having it closed. I fail to see whatsoever. I am yours etc. – RIGHT OF WAY, 1899.”

Cornhill farm in its early years was owned by the Duke of Hamilton. In 1855 James Hepburn was the farmer who was leasing the steading and he was paying an annual sum of £110, which in 1855 was a large amount, in fact today in today’s money he would have been paying an annual rent of £11,748.23 or £979 per month.

Also attached to this farm was a little house, or building called ‘Neuk’, this little building was situated away from the farm and was built on the bottom of the farmers field and sat high up above the crags of the Cadzow Burn. Perhaps, this was a farm laborer’s house, or cattle shed for winter, it is unknown.

I have recently been on the site of this old Neuk and there are still old sandstone blocks lying scattered on the ground. When this was demolished, the stone was clearly not taken for the stone to be reused. Next to this site is a stone structure built into the Craggs of the Cadzow burn, so there may have been at one point an old bridge crossing the burn. The Cadzow Burn during heavy rainfall flows fast and this part of the burn can be really dangerous, perhaps in old days, this may have been an old Toll bridge? Was the house a Toll house that once connected to the old right of way?

Neuk.

This old right of way may have been at one time a recognised as a byroad, or path used by travellers not wanting to venture into Hamilton, or by travellers not wanting to be seen by anyone in the busy town. If you look closely at the old 1888 map of Hamilton, you will see that next to the Neuk, there is a path crossing the Cadzow Burn. This path is further upstream than the stone structure that his built in to the Craggs.

On Tuesday the 10th of September 1907, three miners were charged at Hamilton Sheriff Court with poaching on the farmland. Alexander Hamilton, John Hughes & Joseph Salisbury were caught on the 28th of August 1906 shooting on the farm. They were found guilty and each had the choice of paying 17s each or the alternative of ten days imprisonment.

Not much has been written about this farm over the years, not even with thefts, or poachers there doesn’t seem to be much that went on. This is certainly a good thing for the farmers who have occupied or owned this steading, but one thing that I am happy with is that the farm has been a working farm from when it was built and still to this day.

Former right of way. WM.PNG

Today Sunday the 18th of August 19, I took a drive over to the old right of way and then visited Cornhill farm. I knocked on the door and I spoke to the owner Jim Waddell, whose family have been living in the farm for close to 100 years. Jim told me that as a boy he can remember the old well and remembers another one further up. He also told me that there was a bridge crossing the Cadzow Burn but it was before his time. I chatted with Jim and his wife at the farm for around 30 minutes and he told me that that the farmers at Whitecraigs used to come across the burn to the well to fetch their water. This was where they all got their water as it was the only source back in the old days. Jim then told me that the farm helpers and ploughmen used to get oats and a can of water from the well and they used to cook this for their lunch.

Top of Hill WM..PNG

Old Right of way road on Farm Hill. WM18-08-19.PNG

So, I could have spoken to Mr Waddell all day and I was curious about the previous owners of the farm, so I decided to go over old records to see what I could find. I looked back as close as I could to try to trace this farming family. In 1940 I found that a James. A. Waddell was the owner of the farm, however, his address as Drumfin, 6 Whinfield Avenue in Prestwick and the Tenant was Thomas A. T. Waddell. I went back a little further and then found that Thomas was leasing the farm from James from between 1930 to 1940. In 1925 James was the owner and occupier of the farm. From 1925 to 1940 the also had its own plantation attached to it and there was a rent being paid for it.

When I looked back to the 1925 valuation roll, I found that James and Thomas were listed as joint owners of the farm and interestingly, they also had the rights to the site of a club house belonging to the curling pond. It seems that there were a few curling ponds on the south side of Hamilton, where in this area about two miles further west, Sir John Watson also had a curling pond at the Tallyho on Torheads lake. Curling at the wintertime seems to have been a popular pastime for many an old Hamiltonian.

The farm was purchased from the Duke of Hamilton between 1920 and 1925, during this period the Duke was packing up the palace and leaving Hamilton to move out to Strathaven and this is when he started to sell off most of his lands.

When the Duke still owned Cornhill farm, he had tenant farmers who worked his land. In 1915 I find that the tenant farmer was called Robert Frame and this man was the farmer on Cornhill from at around 1864 to 1890. Robert Frame was born in Hamilton c1814 and he married Lillias Rae Reid in 1841. Robert died at Cornhill farm on the 15th of June 1890 and his son Robert took over the running of the farm. So, like the Waddell family, the Frame’s were long time farmers of Cornhill.

Old PenWM

The next record that I found was in 1854, where the sitting tenant of the time was a man named James Hepburn. This man farmed on Cornhill form at least 1854 to around 1861. The very first farmer that I could trace was a man named James Pollock and in 1841 he was working on the farm.

Today, i wanted to learn a bit more about the old right of way path which was closed to the public many years ago and when looking in to this, I now want to know more about Cornhill Farm and its tenants.

More to follow on the history of Cornhill Farm.

PETER GIBSON FAMILY TREE.

PETER GIBSON FAMILY TREE.

Gibson Family Tree.

Peter Gibson, or better known to us as Freddie Kruger (Facebook Name) Asked if I could look into his family history. Peter here’s what I found.

To start, if you are getting confused as to who I am referring to, then please have a look at your family tree above to use as a guideline. Your ancestors were scattered from around mostly Lanarkshire and you only have one family line which has been in Hamilton for a good few generations, however, I will come back to this as the story unfolds.

I firstly started with your direct bloodline and researched the Gibson side of your family. Your father Edward was born in Hamilton on the 13th of November 1942 to parents James & Mary Ann Gallagher.

Your Grandfather James was born at 8:00 pm at 78 Windsor Street in Burnbank, a street that no longer exists and he married your Grandmother Mary Ann on the 6th of June 1941. They married at the Burnbank parish Church. At their wedding the best man was Walter McGowan (Possibly a relation to the Boxer) of 28 Sempie Street and Mary H Anderson of 12 Bryan Street. James worked as a Colliery Labourer and later a general labourer and he seemed to be a labourer most of his working days. When he married, he was living at 26 Milton Street. Your grandparents later moved to 48 Shawburn Street. Your grandfather had two brothers and two sisters; Isabella, Peter, Jeanie & John. Your grandfather died in Hamilton in 1975, he was 58 years old. I will come back to your Grandmother once I tell you about your Gibson side of the family.

Andrew Gibson Birth WM.PNG

Your Great grandparents were called Andrew Gibson and Isabella Matthews. Andrew was born on the seventh of September 1887. He was also born at Windsor Street (Number 8). He continued to live at Windsor Street until at least 1911. He married your great grandmother Isabella on the 29th of November 1907. They also married at 20 Windsor Street; this is where Isabella lived. When they married. James & Helen Gibson were the witnesses. Your Great Grandfather worked all his days as a coal hewer. Andrew died at 8:15 pm, on the 21st of July 1966 at Stonehouse Hospital. The cause of death was generalised arteric sclerosis. His son Cunningham Gibson was the person who registered the death.

Andrew Gibson death 1966.jpg

In your Gibson family line, your great grandfather was the first person to be born in Hamilton. When I looked at your 2-x great grandparents I found that they were a family of coal miners from Ayrshire. Your 2 x great grandparents were called Peter Gibson & Janet (Also Known as Jean) Hutchison. Peter was born c1838 at Kilwinning in Ayrshire. Jean, or Jane as she was known was born in Galston c1855.

They married on the 28th of July 1871 in Jane’s hometown of Galston. They were both like many in this period of time illiterate and they signed their names with an X mark. Peter was thirteen years older than Jean when they married. They moved to Hamilton at some point between 1871 & 1887 and would have come here to work in one of the many coal mines which were being sunk around this time.

Your 2-x great Grandfather Peter died on the 4th of October 1895 at 10:20am. He sadly died at the Hamilton Poorhouse. His cause of death was Typhoid Fever. Your great uncle William Gibson was the person who registered his death. When your 2 x great grandfather died, the family lived at 82 Windsor Street. If you are asking why he died at the Poor House, then it doesn’t mean that it was because he was homeless or an inmate there. These were days before the NHS and if a family couldn’t afford to pay expensive doctors’ fees, then they would have been admitted at the poorhouse hospital and usually this was a last resort for a family to admit one of their own.

Going back another generation, your 3-X Great grandparents were also from the Kilwinning area and their names were William Gibson & Helen Barbour. Peter when I research families, I usually just go as far as Hamilton, and as we are straying quite far out, this is where I stopped my research on your Gibson line. I have however managed to trace 205 years of your Gibson family line and I hope that this gives you some answers on your family line rather than more questions.

Andrew Gibson and Isabella MarriageWM

So, moving back to your great grandmother she was called Isabella Matthews. Isabella was born in Edinburgh c1888 and she was the daughter of Johnathan Matthews & Isabella Agnews? (I have put a question mark against this maiden name as I am unsure if this is correct and it could be Agnew.)

The family did not live in Edinburgh for long and this was due to the job that your 2-X great grandfather did. He was a Blacksmith Journeyman and would have travelled to where the work was and having no fixed smithy, he wasn’t tied down to one place. So, your grandmother Isabella was born in Edinburgh in 1888 and I next find a record of her living with her parents in Glasgow, where in 1891 the family are living in 63 Commercial Road, this was in the Hutchesontown district of Glasgow, or better known as the Gorbals. The family next appear in the 1901 census where they are living at 122 Naeburn Street, still in the Gorbals area. Your 2-X great grandparents were English, Johnathan born c1863 & Isabella c1862. The trail does go cold here for your 2 x great grandparents and I could not trace them any further on the English Censuses and I am unable to tell you what became of them.

James Gibson and Mary AnnWM.PNG

So, I’m now going to backtrack a bit and go back to your grandmothers’ side of the family. Your grandmother was called Mary Ann Gallagher and she was born around 1905. When she married your grandfather, she was living at Burnbank. Her parents and your great grandparents were called Edward Gallagher & Sarah Ann O’Brien McGuigan. Now, with these surnames, I bet that you can guess where this family originated from? I will get to that in a second.

Edward Gallagher, or Ned as he was known was a laborer who lived in Hamilton. Now, he is a bit of a mystery as I can’t find anything on him before he was married. Perhaps, the family moved from Ireland after 1911? (1911 is when I could really trace him on a census).

Edward married Sarah Ann on the 1st of April 1921, and they married at St. Joseph’s Chapel in Blantyre. The witnesses were called Bernard Bonnar & Mary Flannagan. Now, I must let you know here, that we have a family connection through this marriage! Sarah Anne O’Brein McGuigan was the sister in law of my 2nd Great Grand Aunt. My Second Great Aunt was called Margaret McNamee, who married John McGuigan. Also, Bernard Bonnar & Mary Flannagan, who were the witnesses of your grandparents wedding are both in my family tree.

It was here that I got sidetracked with my own family tree, as I had not researched this section in my family since 2013. So, I uncovered more information on my own family tree and had spent some time working on this. Peter, I have always said that everyone in Hamilton, who’s parents were brought up in Hamilton are connected to each other in one way or another. I will be adding your family tree on to mine in due course and when I work it out, I will tell you exactly what our family connection is.

So, Back to Edward & Sarah Ann. When they married Edward lived in 43 Church Street in Hamilton and Sarah Ann lived at 4 Ross Row in Blantyre (Cross Row was part of the Tenements at the Blantyre Works – demolished in 1930). Both sides of this family were all coal miners and even Sarah Ann worked at the local colliery as a Pithead Worker.

Edwards parents who were your 2x great grandparents were called Robert Gallagher & Margaret Hamilton and Robert was born on the 25th of November 1868 at 23 Muir Street. Roberts father was an educated man, as he actually signed for his son’s birth, rather than marking the paper with an X mark. The surname on various documents which I found started off as Gallagher and then as I researched further back it becomes Gallacher, but for the purpose of this story, I will keep it spelled as Gallagher.

In 1871 your 2 x great grandparents were living at 8 Castle Wynd in and then in 1891 I found that they had moved to the better area of Barrack Street. Your 3 x Great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Susan Ginn. William was born c1845 at Bellshill & Susan was a Hamilton girl and was born in c1845.

William Gallagher Death 1878

Your 3-x great grandfather William died at the age of 46 at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, your 2 X Great Grandfather Edward was the person who registered his death. When he died his residence was 34 Leechlee Street. William and Susan had at least seven children.

I managed to go back another two generations on this side of your family and your 4x great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Maria Kelly, both born in Ireland at the turn of the century. William died in Hamilton 25th of November 1885. Your 5 x Great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Susan McCue and I never found any evidence of them coming to Hamilton, so I would assume that they had never moved from Ireland.

Your 3x Great Grandmother’s was called Susan Ginn and she was born in Hamilton c1836 and side of the family were also all from Hamilton. Susan Married William Gallagher on the 7th of August 1853, also in Hamilton. In 1841 the family were living at New Wynd. Susan’s dad was working as a Laborer. She was one of 4 children in the family. If you look at your tree, you will find that William Ginn married Catherine Nugent and from this branch of your family, it also originates from Ireland, so again your 4 x great grandparents were Irish.

Mary Ann Flanagan WM.PNGMoving on to the next section of your family, your great grandmother as I mentioned above was called Sarah Ann O’Brein McGuigan and she was born on the 15th of January 1900 at Duncan’s Buildings in Burnbank.

Sara Ann was the daughter of Charles McGuigan & Mary Ann Flanagan and here I am happy to say that I have a picture of your 2nd Great Grandmother. (Please see Below) Doesn’t she look like a happy wee soul? Do you see a family resemblance in this picture? Let me know.

As I mentioned, Mary Ann Flanagan is also where my family connection lies. Mary Ann was born on the 27th of March 1865 to parents Owen Flanagan & Ann Milligan. Your 3rd great grandfather Owen was also a Blacksmith, and again lived in Ireland.

She married your 2-x great grandfather Charles McGuigan on the 16th of May 1887 at Baillieston.
After I found their marriage cert, I couldn’t trace them again until 1901, where I found them living at Greenside Place in Blantyre.

Margaret Gibson Burial record.

Mary Ann eventually died at Hartwood Hospital in Shotts on the 23rd of January 1935. The cause of death was Influenza and the person who registered her death was one of the Clerks. It is really sad for people with mental disabilities back then. There was no real medication and when their families eventually could not cope, then they were admitted to the Asylum. In most cases once this happened, they also lost contact with their family.

On your Mum’s side of the family we have your grandparents who as you will know were called Thomas McFarlane & Marion Martin Boyle and they married on the 31st of December 1938 at St. Cuthbert’s chapel in Burnbank. I also must say Peter that you have real strong roots in Burnbank, where most of your direct ancestors were born, lived and worked here.

Edward Gibson death 1988

When your grandparents married Thomas was living at 69 Mayfield Road and Marion at 54 Udston Place. Your grandfather was working as a General Labourer and your grandmother was like many young girls of the time working as a Domestic Servant. The best man & woman was John McNulty of 25 May Street & your great aunty Jeanie Doyle of 54 Udston Place.

Your great grandfather on the McFarlane side was called Patrick McFarlane and he was a coal miner and then in his latter years a night watchman. Patrick was born on the 3rd of February 1877 at Springburn and your great grandmother was called Margaret McGeeghan and she was born c 1885 at Cambusnethan.

Mary Ann Gallagher Death.

Your 2 x great grandparents were called John McFarlane & Sarah McCluskey, John born in Ireland & Sarah born in Paisley. They married in 1874 at Paisley.

On your Great grandmothers’ side (Margaret McGeeghan) her parents were called Thomas McGeeghan & Abbie Owens. Thomas was from Airdrie & Annie from Old Monklands (Now Coatbridge). Your second great grandmother Annie died at Burnbank in 1914.

On the Doyle side of your family and your 2 x great grandparents, they were called John Doyle & Agnes Durham. They married at Cambusnethan in 1872 and also a family of coal miners.

In your last family line which I researched, if found that your great grandmother was called Margaret Higgins. She was the daughter of Martin Higgins & Helen Moran. She married your Great grandfather Thomas on the 6th of June 1902 at St. Joseph’s in Blantyre. The witnesses were called James Gourley & Agnes Doyle.

1911 Cenus Burnbank..jpg

She died on the 10th of April 1959 at her house in 37 Douglas Crescent in Eddlewood. Your 2 x great grandparents were called Martin Higgins & Helen Moran. They were originally from Holytown and were also a coal mining family.
Peter, your family like most families in Hamilton and who have at least one or two generations which have been living in the town all mostly had the same occupation and then can be traced back to the same country.

During the mid-eighteen hundred’s, through to the early nineteen hundreds, people from Ireland flocked to Hamilton to gain employment in one of the many coal mines which were being sunk all over the place. As so many people were looking for work sadly, they were exploited and were paid a pittance for their had days toil.

The coal miners of Hamilton had very harsh lives and some were not even so lucky as to have been paid any money at all, as they were trapped in a vicious circle of getting credit form the local colliery owned shop which in turn they had to get their food on credit and then on pay day, pay their wage back the shop.

Peter, when you start to research a family tree, it can be very addictive and when your start you get the passion for it and as in my case, I have been researching for over ten years, it becomes a really great hobby.

You have so much more to uncover in your family history and even though what I have written is nine pages long, I must tell you that I have only just started to lay out the groundwork for you. Like I tell all the people who I do research for, I would ask that you, take a bit of time and take up the hobby of family research. It can be quite addictive.

Garry,