Death of a well known Hamilton weaver.

June Barbara Hewitt contacted Historic Hamilton and she wrote:

“I received so much wonderful help before I was hoping someone could help me with another puzzle. This is on behalf of a cousin who lives in Australia. We are both hoping for more information about a death.

The particulars are Hugh Logan Cotton Weaver died June 16th 1858 10 Postgate street Hamilton. Death caused by a wound to the throat. Died about 32 hours after infliction of injury. Attended by doctor Wm Stockwith? Hamilton. Last saw him about two hours before his death.

Buried Hamilton Parish Churchyard. Information from Thomas Dykes Esq? Procurator Fiscal. Registered July 5th 1858. We both thought it was a suicide but our question is “If Hugh had taken his life would he have been buried in sacred ground and is there any information in the papers of the time? Thank you for your patience.”

June, I did some further research on this Barbara and it was sadly suicide. Hugh was known to have been “In a temporary state of insanity” at the time he made an attempt to kill himself. I have a question, you stated that his name was Hugh Logan? However, when I looked at his death certificate, the given name was Hugh Kerr, does this make any sense to you? I also found a report, that was printed in the Hamilton Advertiser on the 19th of June 1858 (Page 2) and the given names was Hugh Carr, however, this could be down to the person giving incorrect information to the reporter who covered the story.

Here is a transcribe from the 1858 story on Hugh:

Hugh’s story in the Hamilton Advertiser, printed on the 19th of June 1858 (page 2)

“MELANCHOLY SUICIDE, Early on Tuesday morning, Hugh carr, a weaver to trade, in a state of temporary insanity put a termination to his life by cutting his throat with a razor. The unfortunate man did not go through the operation completely, although the wind-pipe was cut entirely through. He lingered in a very precarious state for about a day, and all efforts to save life failed. deceased was well-known in Hamilton amongst a large circle of acquaintances and has left a wife and family to lament his untimely end.”


Hugh Kerr Death 1858.jpg


Hugh was married to Magdalene and they had at lease 3 children between them, they were William, Magdelene &  Hugh. Magdalene doesn’t seem to have married again after her husband’s death and she later moved to 25 Campbell Street and gained employment as a housekeeper.(1851) She later moved to 45 Chuch street with her daughter Magdalene, Daughter Margaret and her Grandson Hugh (1871) I don’t see any trace of the family in Hamilton after the 1871 census.

Thomas Dykes who was mentioned as the procurator fiscal was one of three well-known brothers in Hamilton, His Brothers were  Dr William Dykes of Woodview House, Burnbank Road & Dr John Dykes of Woodside House, Woodside Walk, Dr John who was a Naval Doctor and was tragically killed when he was hit by a train at Whifflet station in Coatbridge in 1863.

Hamilton Church Yard WM.

It is noted that Hugh was laid to rest in the Old parish Churchyard! I have attached a Plan showing where the churchyard graves are located  and I can only see one lair opened  around this time and this is the same family one then he is buried at Lair 323, This lair was opened in 1832 by another Hugh Kerr,could this possibly be his father? I don’t have Hugh’s parents details, as the informant who registered the death did not supply the registrar with the names. If he was indeed buried inside the grounds of  Churchyard, then this would have been at the minister’s discretion.


I have also paid a visit to the old churchyard today and I have taken some pictures for you, these headstones are the ones shown on the map. As the headstones are 184 years old, they are really worn away, I didn’t have a crayon and paper, or I would have taken a rubbing for you.

I hope that this helps your friend in Australia.




Dr John Dykes.

Woodside House on the 1858 map of Hamilton.

Dr John Dykes was Born in Hamilton on the 27th of June 1786,  and he was the son of John Dykes, who was a captain in the Royal Navy and his mum was Isabella Miller. Dr Dykes was a well-known and much-respected Doctor & surgeon in Hamilton and information provided by the 1841 &  1851 census’s suggests that Dr Dykes could have possibly spent some time working in Edinburgh, or did his training here.

He owned and was living at Woodside House which was just off Woodside Walk in Hamilton and Woodside house was recorded as a ‘Fine dwelling house’ which had a large beautiful garden, the garden and house were surrounded by lots of lovely trees and as; at the time Woodside Walk was quite far away from the centre of Hamilton it would have given one the feeling that one was living out in the country. Woodside house also had a feature that I have not seen before and at the bottom of the garden there was a small pool of water that is recorded as a “Bath”.  The Bath also had a small building next to it and also a set of steps leading down to the water.

The Bath at the bottom of the garden at Woodside House. (1858)

I am unsure as to what exactly this ‘Bath’ was actually used for, it could have been an old well, and looking at the 1858 map of Hamilton it seem to be quite close to the Butter Burn, so I am guessing that it was connected to the burn in some way. I am unsure if it was actually used as a bath, but the stone steps and the small building next to the bath may indicate that it was used for some kind of sanitary purpose. I consulted my friend Paul Veverka, and he thinks that it could be some sort of plunge pool only used in the summer and he also thinks that these were uncommon in Scotland.

I took a drive over to the former site of Woodside House on Saturday the 13th of August 2016 to see if the bath was still there and yes, it is! The bath has been fenced off and also still has a stone dyke wall surrounding it. The water seems to be stagnant and didn’t appear to be running so this could indicate that it is no longer connected to the Butter burn. The bath that was situated at the bottom of the garden at Woodside House is now the car park for the Mercedes-Benz garage on Johnstone Road and Woodside House stood where Woodside Avenue is today. The house may have been demolished after Dr Dyke’s death in 1863, I am led to believe this, as I can’t find any reference to it after this year.

The Bath on the former site of Woodside House. 13/08/2016.
The Bath fenced off for safety. 13/08/2016.

Back to Dr  Dykes…..

Dr Dykes was a naval doctor, and brother to Thomas Dykes Esq, procurator fiscal; and Dr William Dykes of Woodview House in Burnbank Road. He was noted for being a kind and obliging disposition, especially in his gratuitous services to the working classes. He was living at Woodside House from a young age and the House belonged to his parents before a John had inherited it. His mother Isabella died here in January 1822 and his dad had died some time before this. Looking at the 1841 census and john first appears living at Woodside House, he is living here with a Robert Cuthbert who was Born in England, Betsy Cotton who was his House Servant, Ann Cotton who was listed as a Support Worker and a man Called Andrew Pollock age 20.

In 1851 John is still at Woodside with his servant Betsy Cotton and he still has his “Border” Robert Cuthbert living here and this man’s Occupation was a listed as a “Gentleman”. I can’t find any other info on the Robert Cuthbert who lived with John for 10 years.

In 1861 John is now living on his own with a servant called Mary Thomson, it is documented that John wasn’t married, however on his death cert it does seem to indicate that he was indeed married to a Janet Fraser?  This is the last time that john will appear on a Census record.

Fatal Railway Accident Thursday the 19th December 1863.

Melancholy and  Fatal accident on the Monklands Railway, the Glasgow Herald says that on Thursday morning, shortly after nine o’clock, an accident’occurred on the Monklands Railway, near Calder Iron Works, by which Dr J. Dykes, of Woodside, Hamilton, a gentleman about 80 years of age, lost his life.

It would appear that Dr Dykes had been visiting at New Carnbroe, and had left there for the purpose of catching the train at Whifflat Station on the Caledonian Railway, and was passing along the Calder branch of the Monklands Railway for that purpose.

An engine, with a long train of waggons laden with coal and ironstone from Palace Craig to Gartsherrie, was proceeding in the same direction; and the engine driver, on observing a gentleman on the line at once sounded the whistle. Deceased, seeing his danger, stepped onto a side line of rails to be out of the way of the approaching train; but, unfortunately, three coal waggons had to be shunted from the latter end of the train into the same siding.

This was done by the engine driver in the usual way, the fireman shifting the switches,but the impetus which the three waggons received sent them well up into the siding where Dr Dykes was standing and he was instantly knocked down and killed on the spot, the waggon wheels having jammed his neck and head to the ground. (It was reported in another newspaper that “he expired in the course of ten minutes after”)

The deceased was one of the oldest and most respected inhabitants of Hamilton. He was unmarried, and was a hale and hearty old gentleman, but has not, we believe, practised for many years. The deceased by whom his loss will be much felt. (Ref: Caledonia Mercury 21/11/1863)

Woodside House satelite overlay.
Satellite overlay of the 1858 map of Hamilton.