Cattle Men and Cow Herds of Harris

I have extracted those working in these specific capacities on Harris and included Taransay, Pabbay and Berneray where records feature them.

Inevitably, all of these people are working on farms rather than as tenant farmers, so it comes as no surprise that many are young. What did surprise me is the reference to a young girl herding cattle in 1861, but this requires clarification and confirmation.

1841 None Listed


1851
Malcolm MacEwen, ?7, Cattle Herd, Ardhasaig, b. Harris
Donald Macaskill, 10, Cattle Herd, Nephew, Ardhasaig, b. Harris
Kenneth Mackinnon, 16, Cattle Herd, Nephew, Laz Kintyre, b. Harris

These three are in North Harris and on the farm of Laskintyre.

1861
John Martin, ?4, Cattle Herd, Son-in-Law, Obb, b. Harris
John Morrison, 14, Cow Herd, Grandson, Ardslave, b. ?
David(?) Macdonald, 12, Cattle Herd, Granddaughter, b. Harris
Alexander Macmillan, 49, Herd of Cattle, Berneray, b. Harris
Duncan Macrae, 62, Herd, Head, Pabbay Island, b. Lochalsh, Ross-shire
(Donald Mackay, 73, Cow Herd, Visitor, Geocrab, b. Harris)

We have four herders on Harris and one on Berneray. It is not clear precisely which farms are represented here. I have included the ‘Herd’ on Pabbay because, although it does not specify cattle, there was a Shepherd on the island but the enumerator appears to have differentiated between these two men’s roles?

1871
Roderick Macleod, 12, Cattle Herd, Nephew, b. Harris
Johnny Morrison, 16, Cattle Herd, Servant, Paible House, Taransay, b. Kentulavig, Harris

The first location is unknown but the second reminds us that Paible is home to the 22 remaining residents of Taransay all of whom are associated with the farm there.

1881
William Mackinnon, 14, Cow-Herd, Servant, Tarbert Hotel 37, b. Harris
Donald Macdonald, 18, Cattleherd, Servant, Nisibost, b. Harris
John Macrae, 16, Cowherd, Servant, Kyles House, South Harris, b. Harris

Tarbert Hotel employed several people tending to its agricultural needs, amongst them young William Mackinnon. Donald Macdonald of Nisibost is sandwiched between Borve and Luskentyre whilst John Macrae’s Kyles House was adjacent to An-t-Ob.

1891
John Macaulay, 29, Cow Herd, Boarder, 4 North Harris, b. Harris
Alexander Macrae, 24, Cattleman, Son, Hamlets Little Borve, b. Harris
Farqhuar Macdonald, 14, Cow’s Herd, Grandson, Quidinish, b. Harris
Donald Macaskill, 21, Cattleman, Son, Grieve’s House, South Harris, b. Harris
Norman Macmillan, 52, Cowherd, Head, Rodel, b. Harris

Here we have one in the North, one in Borve, one in the Bays and two around Rodel.

1901
Donald Macmillan, 19, Cattleman on Farm, Servant, Big Borve, b. Harris
Donald Kerr, 16, Herd Cattle on Farm, Servant, Farm House, South Harris, b. Harris
Angus Macleod, 15, Cattleman on Glebe, Servant, South Harris, b. Harris
Finlay Campbell, 59, Cattle Man on Farm, Head, Bernera, b. Pabbay
William Macmillan, 50, Cattleman on Farm, Head, Bernera, b. North Uist

This final list consolidates the presence at Borve, presents us with two serving the South and we end with a couple working the farm on Berneray. It should be borne in mind that Pabbay and Taransay had been cleared to establish their farms, as had significant parts of Berneray.


Note: There are also 14 ‘Herdboys’ in the records of 1851-1881 but, as it is unclear as to whether they were working cattle, sheep or both, I have not included them in this piece

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