22 September

Today is someone on the Fraser tree who had an undignified ending: she dropped dead in a water-closet (lavatory), a fate she shares with Elvis Presley. She also married at the very young age of 16, something she shares with Elvis’s wife. Also today: a Hamilton/Strachan miner who never moved far from Kilmaurs, and a Haddow ancestor from Stevenston who moved to Govan in Lanarkshire and sadly died in childbirth.

22 September 1851
Birth of Robert Hamilton at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, son of John Hamilton and Janet Strachan and grandson of my ggg uncle Thomas Strachan and Elizabeth Nisbet. Robert is with his parents and siblings at Knockentiber, Kilmaurs in 1861, his father and older brothers all coal miners. His father died in 1869 and in 1871 Robert is at Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock with his widowed mother, who is a spirit dealer, and 2 younger siblings, and is working as a coal miner. In 1876 he married Elizabeth Martin at Kilmaurs, in 1881 is at Knockentiber as an ironstone miner, with his wife and a young daughter. He remained at Knockentiber as he’s there in 1891, this time a coal miner again and with 5 children, and in 1901, still a coal miner, with 8 children. He died in 1921 age 69 at Kilmaurs.

22 September 1855
Birth of Margaret Pirie aka Fraser at Yonderton, Cruden, illegitimate daughter of my ggg aunt Janet Fraser aka Jessie and blacksmith John Pirie. In 1861 Margaret age 4 and her mother are at Mosside croft near Hatton with William Fraser and his wife Christian Hutcheon, Margaret’s grandparents: the croft was home that year to parents Williams and Christian, 2 daughters, 1 son, 5 illegitimate grandchildren all age 6 and under, and deaf and dumb boarder John Black. Quite a house full. In 1870 Margaret Pirie, domestic servant, got married at Hatton at the age of 16 to Alexander Smith, a blacksmith who was 22 years older than Margaret. in 1871 they are Burnthill Smithy Croft, near Hatton (Burnthill being where Margaret’s grandfather has been born illegitimate back in 1805) along with her 75 year old father in law, her unmarried mother, her stepdaughter also called Margaret, her brother James, now a blacksmith, and her half brother James Matthew, an apprentice blacksmith. It would seem that her early marriage provided both work and a home for her own family. They remained in Hatton, and by 1881 had 2 children, by 1891 had 4 children and by 1901 only had the youngest still with them. Alexander Smith died in 1903 and in 1909, by then living in Aberdeen, Margaret married another blacksmith, Peter Forrest, at Marine Terrace, Aberdeen. Margaret Forrest also Smith, also Pirie also Fraser died on 234 July 1920 age 63: her death certificate has cause of death syncope (which simply means sudden death) and the inquest report notes she was living at 65 Bon Accord Street, Aberdeen and was found dead in a water closet off the bleaching green on Bon Accord Street. A water closet is a toilet so it wasn’t the most dignified of endings.

22 September 1880 (born about 1841)
Birth of my gg aunt Flora Haddow at Stevenston, Ayrshire, daughter of John Haddow and Amelia Murphie and sister of my great grandmother Jeanie Haddow. Flora is at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning in 1851 with her parents and siblings. (Along with lost of other people on my family tree. Was there anyone living in Kenneth’s Row then that I’m not related to?) She’s still at Kenneth’s Row in 1861, age 18 and a muslin sewer. In 1870 she married at Govan, Lanarkshire, to James Gray, a contractor carter. The marriage certificate says Flora was a domestic servant living at Blantyre Works, and it has her mother’s name correctly but for what ever reason it says her father was Alexander Haddow coal pit overman: he was actually John Haddow. It also has her age as 23 when she was 29. In the 1871 census, James and Flora Gray are at Marlow Street, Govan and living in the same building is a John Davidson from Stevenston, who may be the connection that took Flora to Govan. Flora’s age is again 6 years out: was she making herself out to be the same age as her younger husband? She died in 1880 at Holm Street, Glasgow, of “childbed and suspected pulmonary apoplexy”: her death certificate has her parents as John Haddow coal pit overman deceased and Amelia Haddow ms Murchie, and has Flora’s age as 33 although she was actually 39. In 1881 John Gray, carter foreman, is in Glasgow with 2 children age 9 and 7, so it looks as if the child Flora died giving birth to also died.

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