Tag Archives: Strachan

A coal miner’s will in 1896

John Strachan, a coal miner who lived in Crosshouse near Kilmarnock, was the only Strachan in Ayrshire to have written a will prior to 1900. What he detailed gives a lovely picture of the possessions of a coal miner at the turn of century, as he died in 1896. How I wish I knew if that Family Bible survived!

John would have lived in a two roomed miner’s cottage – the room and the kitchen are mentioned in the will- which seems to have been furnished with quite a few tables and chairs. He had earned enough to buy gold jewellery and a clock. He left his estate to a Trust, which was authorised to ensure his wife, if she survived him, had enough to support her, and then after her death to leave his children the following:

“(First) to give my daughter Mary the chest of drawers and looking glass in room and low chair in kitchen and one plain ring and brooch, (Second) to give to my son Robert my gold chain and the large chair and five small chairs and the small table in the kitchen, (Third) to give to my son John the eight day clock and large kitchen table and gold scarf pin belonging to me, (Fourth) to give to my daughter Elizabeth the dresser and large standard table in kitchen and the mirror in bedrooms and two stoned rings, and (Fifth) to give my son Alexander six chairs, small standard table, bed and blankets and mat in room and gold chain belonging to my wife and the Family Bible.”

John’s wife did survive him, by 5 years.

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21 March

A Booth from Aberdeenshire who wasn’t a blood relation but was a sergeant in the Royal Artillery, a Haddow from Ayrshire who I haven’t had much luck tracing, a Strachan who seems to have died young, a Strachan who moved from Ayrshire to Greenock, and a Senior from Yorkshire who never stayed too far from home.

21 March 1782
Baptism of Thomas Booth at Durris, Kincardineshire, son of Joseph Booth and Elspet Christie. Thomas is not my “blood” relation, as his daughter Margaret was my step gg grandmother, the second wife of Alexander Fraser. Thomas was in the army, then married Catherine Strath at Old Machar in 1835 – she was 30 years younger than he was. They are in the 1841 census at Stuartfield, Old Deer, Thomas a 60 year old military pensioner and with 3 young children. His wife Catherine died between 1845 and 1851. In 1851 Thomas Booth is at Wauckmill, Stuartfield and is described as a 60 year old “Chelsea pensioner labourer sergeant Royal Artillery”. There are 3 of his children with him, including Margaret, the youngest at 5 years old. Thomas must have died before civil registration commenced in 1855.

21 March 1790
Birth of my ggg aunt Katherine Haddow in Stevenston, Ayrshire, daughter of Robert Haddow and Margaret Hunter. There is a marriage of Catherine Haddow and John Boyd in Stevenston in 1825, and in the 1836 minister’s census John Boyd and Catherine Haddow are at Loan, Stevenston, in a household of 8. I can’t find anything further so don’t know if this is the same Catherine Haddow.

21 March 1802
Baptism of my ggg aunt Mary Strachan at Campsie, Stirlingshire, daughter of John Strachan and Agnes Neilson. Northing further can be found for Mary so it looks as though she didn’t survive childhood.

21 March 1818
Birth of John Francis Strachan at Riccarton, Ayrshire, son of my ggg uncle Thomas Strachan and Elizabeth Nisbet. He married Jean Johnston Loudon in 1837 at Kilmarnock, and they are in Thirdpart, Kilmarnock in 1841 with 2 children, John a coal miner. They then moved to Kilmaurs where their next child was born and had moved to Darly by 1850. They are at Kirk Cross, Dalry in 1851, John an ironstone miner and with 4 children, the eldest 2 girls working as knitters and going to school in the evening. By 1854, when another child was born, the family had moved to Greenock, Renfrewshire, and in 1861 is at Hill Street, Greenock East: John is working as a machinist and there are 4 children still at home plus a boarder who is a ship’s carpenter. A tree on Ancestry has John’s death as March 1863.

21 March 1830
Baptism of my ggg uncle William Senior at Royston, Yorkshire, son of George Senior and Mary Roydhouse or Roadhouse. He was born in Carlton where his father was a joiner and carpenter, and lived with his parents until he was nearly 40, also working as a joiner and carpenter. In 1970 he married Ann Bradley in Barnsley, and in 1871 they are Old Mill Wharf, Barnsley, William a joiner and carpenter and Ann a shop keeper. In 1881 they are Clay Cliffe, Barugh, which is to the north-west of Barnsley, but are back in Barnsley in 1891 and William is a general labourer. They are at the same address in 1901 and 71 year old William is a corporation road labourer. They did not have any children, and William died in Barnsley in 1901 age 71.

20 March

Today’s all remained childless: there’s an Adams of Yorkshire who died unmarried, a Strachan of Ayrshire who died age 17 of tb, and a Cowie of Aberdeenshire who married a gamekeeper but did not have children.

20 March 1779
Baptism of my ggggg aunt Ann Adams at Brodsworth, Yorkshire, daughter of Mark Adams and Elizabeth Dixon. The only thing I can find for her is an entry in the 1851 census for Ann Adams living in Brodsworth, an unmarried retired servant age 72. Can’t locate her in the 1841 census. there is a death for an Ann Adams registered at Doncaster in 1851 which is likely to be her.

20 March 1856
Birth of Robert Strachan at Kilmaurs, son of Samuel Strachan and Janet Mitchell and grandson of my gggg uncle Samuel Strachan and Ann Miller. He is with his family in Stevenston in 1861 and 1871, their address being Chemical Row in the latter. Robert died at Chemical Row in 1873, age 17, of consumption (tuberculosis).

20 March 1874
Birth of Elizabeth Cowie at Ellon, Aberdeenshire, daughter of William Cowie and Elizabeth Cheyne and granddaughter of my half gggg aunt Barbara McWilliam and William Cowie. Her father was a farm servant but in the 1880s he took over a small farm at Balleraig, Keithhall, and Elizabeth is there in 1881, working as a domestic servant. She married George Turnbull in 1898: he was a gamekeeper born in England. In 1901 they are at Ury Cottage, Keithhall and in 1911 at Ythan Lodge, Foveran. They don’t appear to have had children. Elizabeth Turnbull nee Cowie died at Udny in 1936 age 62.

19 March

A coal miner Strachan descendant who moved to England then migrated to Canada, a Strachan who started out a coal miner but switched to fruit farming and then migrated to Canada, and a Senior descendant from Yorkshire who died in infancy.

19 March 1836
Birth of John Muir at Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, son of Elizabeth Strachan and Andrew Muir and grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. He is with his family in Kilburnie in 1851 and, at age 13, is working as a pony driver at a coal mine. His mother died in 1856. John, by then a coal miner, married at Hurlford in 1860 to Mary Holland, who was a wool spinner, and they initially lived in Hurlford where they can be found in 1861 with a baby daughter. They have more children born in Scotland, but by 1871 had moved to Seaton Deveral in Northumberland. Given the birthplaces of their children they moved back to Scotland, then in around 1885 moved to Cumberland. In 1881 they are at Arlecdon, Cumberland where John is am iron miner. The family then migrated to Canada in 1886

19 March 1927 (born about 1881)
James Strachan was born at Kilmaurs, son of James Strachan and Mary Lindsay, grandson of Andrew Strachan and Elizabeth Howat, and great grandson of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. James started out as a coal miner, married Jeanie and had a first child born in Kilmarnock. They then moved to Fifeshire and settled in Cowdenbeath, where James went into the fruit farming industry. In 1927 the family migrated to Canada, and their arrival papers say James and his eldest son were going to work as fruit farmers and nurserymen for Messrs. E D Smith and Sons of Winona, Ontario.

19 March 1906
Birth of Esther Fletcher at Featherstone, Yorkshire, daughter of my gg aunt Annie Senior and miner John Fletcher. Esther died in infancy.

14 and 15 March

Happy Birthday on the 15th to blog follower Morag! Also on these two days: a Yorkshire gggg grandfather, an Aberdeenshire Watt who worked at the Cluny Hill Hydro, a Strachan great aunt who died age just one and a McCrae great uncle who died age 21.

14 March 1762
My gggg grandfather William Roydhouse or Roadhouse was probably the one baptised on 14 March 1762 at Darfield, Yorkshire, son of Samuel Roadhouse. He married at Darfield in July 1795 to Mary Adams, who was from Brodsworth, and they had 6 children baptised at Darfield. William appears to have died before 1837. His widow Mary is in the 1841 census living with her daughter Mary who had married carpenter George Senior and was living in Carlton. In 1851 William’s widow, age 79, was in Wombwell with her youngest daughter.

14 March 1863
Birth of Agnes Bruce Watt at Ellon, daughter of George Watt and Mary Mutch, and granddaughter of my gggg aunt Elizabeth Hutcheon and John Mutch. Agnes is with her family i 1871 at Ellon, her father an ag lab, can’t be located in 1881, but in 1891 is a nurse at the Cluny Hill Hydro Establishment at Forres, in Moray. This was quite a large enterprise in its day, where people went to recuperate from illness and “take the waters,” and on census night in 1891 had around 59 guests, a manager and 23 live-in servants. In 1893, however, Agnes married draper and widower William Cameron in Aberdeen, and in 1901 they are at Devonshire Road, Aberdeen, with 4 of William’s children, their own young child and a female servant. Agnes Bruce Cameron nee Watt died in Aberdeen in 1955 at the age of 91.

14 March 1868
Birth of my great aunt Margaret Strachan at Dykehead, Riccarton, Ayrshire, daughter of Joseph Strachan and Jeannie Haddow. Margaret died at just over 1 year old at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, of a bowel complaint and consumption.

15 March 1873
Birth of my great uncle John McCrae at Kilmarnock, son of coal miner John McCrae and Mary Ann McAnairney. In 1881 he’s at Mill Lane, Kilmarnock with his parents and siblings but is not with his parents in 1891 and I cannot find him elsewhere: he may have been with his parents and missed off the form. He died in May 1897 at Kilmarnock Infirmary at the age of 24, from otitis media 3 months and meningitis 3 days, which indicates he had an ear infection which spread to the spinal chord.

8 March

Spring is here at last, and we’ve had some gorgeous weather. I’ve been making the most of it and getting outside, which has meant no time for my blog, hence there’s a bit of catching up to do. Thankfully there’s only one for 8 March – a Strachan whose husband became a colliery manager.

8 March 1866
Birth of Ann Strachan at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, daughter of my gg uncle coal miner John Strachan and Jane Muir and granddaughter of Robert Strachan and Margaret Haggerty. She is with her parents and siblings in Burn Row, Kilwinning in 1871 and at Southoak Row, Dreghorn in 1881: by age 15 she is working as a domestic servant. In 1887 she married Robert Whiteside at Dreghorn, and in 1891 they are in Auchinleck with 2 young children, and Robert is a colliery oversman. By 1901 he’d become a colliery manager in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. Annie and her husband had just the two children, and Annie died in 1947 at Old Cumnock, Ayrshire age 81.

7 March

A Murphie from Stevenston who I haven’t been able to trace fully, a Hepworth from Yorkshire who moved to Lancashire and died in his 30s, a Strachan from Ayrshire who died in the Ays District Asylum, and a McCrae from Kilmarnock.

7 March 1798
Birth of my ggg uncle John Murphie at Stevenston. There is a marriage in October 1822 at Stevenston for John Murphie and Charlotte Fitzcharles, and this couple are in the 1822 minister’s census for Stevenston living at Cow Roading: RC is written next to Charlotte, so it seems she was Catholic. There are not in the 1836 Stevenston census, and no baptism for children can be found. There is also a marriage of John Murphie and Elizabeth Cook in Ardrossan in 1826. He seems to have died before 1855 as no death certificate can be found.

7 March 1847
Baptism of Joseph Hepworth at Royston, Yorkshire, who was born in Walton and was the son of my gggg aunt Jane Haigh and farmer Anthony Hepworth. Joseph is with his parents at Haw Park, Walton in 1851 and 1861. He married widow Sarah Hill in 1870 at Ormskirk, Lancashire. In 1871 Joseph, employed as an iron moulder, is a lodger at Oldham, Lancashire but I can’t find his wife: however, her daughter from her first marriage is with Joseph’s older brother and her son from her first marriage is with Joseph’s father. The family are together in 1881 at Preston, Lancashire: Joe Hepworth is a commission agent, wife Sarah is a dressmaker, there are 7 stepchildren and 2 children. Joe Hepworth died at Preston in 1883 age 36.

7 March 1860
Birth of my great uncle Robert Strachan at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, son on Joseph Strachan and Jeannie Haddow. He is with his parents and siblings at Bensley Square, Kilwinning in 1861, then at Crookedholm in 1871 and 1881. In 1882 he married Elizabeth Cairns and they had a son Joseph born in 1886. Robert, however, was admitted to Ayr District Asylum in about 1887, and he died there in 1890. The cause of death given was general paralysis after insane 3 years: this most probably means syphilis, a disease that was very common back then, before the discovery of penicillin. Robert’s widow remarried, to a widower with children, and lived in Galston. His on became a coal miner and lived in Galston and Newmilns all his life.

7 March 1917
Birth of Mary Ann McCrae at Kilmarnock, daughter of my great uncle James McCrae and Mary Langan, and granddaughter of John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney. I suspect she’s the Mary Ann McCrae who married Matthew Grant at Kilmarnock in 1937 and died in Kilmarnock in 1965.