Guano Factory of Stornoway

In 1901 are to be found these two men in Stornoway:

Alexander Maclennan, 60, Guano Factory Labourer, 15 Coll, b. Stornoway
John Mackenzie, 56, Labourer in Guano Factory, 29b Lower Sandwick St, b. Stornoway

I am pretty sure that the word IS ‘Guano’ rather than being ‘Gas’ or ‘Gut’ which (along with ‘Oil) are the only other instances of the word ‘Factory’ that appear in this census for the town. There are less than a dozen Guano workers to  be found in the whole of Scotland between 1841-1901 so these two are pretty special.

I understand the term ‘Guano’ to refer not only to the excrement of sea birds, bats and seals but also to manure made from fish and whales. It seems entirely possible that the Guano was produced at the ‘Gut’ Factory but if anyone has any further information regarding the Guano Factory of Stornoway then please do contact me.

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Royal Naval Reserve at Drill – Stornoway 1901

The Royal Naval Reserve was formed in 1859 and an introduction may be read here.
The censuses reveal a scattering of Scottish individuals across place and time but by far the largest congregation is found in Stornoway in 1901 where we find these 37 men who were recorded as members of the ‘R N Reserve at Drill’:

All the men were Boarding apart from the three Mcdonalds at 22 Point St who were at their sister Ann Campbell’s Lodging House.

POINT ST
John Gillies, 28, Fisherman, 2 (North Side), b. Barvas
Alex Mackenzie, 25, Fisherman, 2, b. Stornoway
Don Mcleod, 21, Fisherman, 2, b. Barvas

Don Mackenzie, 18, Fisherman, 7, b. Stornoway
James Mackenzie, 21, Fisherman, 7(South Side), b. Stornoway

Farqhuar Mackinnon, 21, Fisherman, 15, b. Lochs
Roderick Mcleod, 48, Fisherman, 15, b. Lochs

Murdo Mcdonald, 30, Fisherman, 20, b. Stornoway
Roderick Mackenzie, 32, Fisherman, 20, b. Stornoway
John Mackenzie, 20, Fisherman, 20, b. Lochs
Alex Mackinnon, 22, Fisherman, 20, b. Lochs

John Mcdonald, 56, Fisherman, 22, b. Stornoway
John Mcdonald, 36, Fisherman, 22, b. Stornoway
Don Mcdonald, 29, Fisherman, 22, b. Stornoway
Norman Smith, 20, Fisherman, 22, b. Stornoway

Ken Macaulay, 20, Fisherman, 40a, b. Lochs

John Campbell, 20, Fisherman,40c, b. Stornoway
Alex Mackenzie, 20, Fisherman, 40c, b. Lochs
Alex Mciver, 20, Fisherman, 40c, b. Lochs
Murdo Mcleod, 23, Fisherman, 40c, b. Lochs
Malcolm Mcleod, 20, Fisherman, 40c, b. Lochs
Philip Smith, 20, Fisherman, 40c, b. Lochs

John Mclean, 35, Fisherman, 44, b. Lochs
Angus Mclean, 30, Fisherman, 44, b. Uig
Murdo Mcleod, Fisherman, 44, b. Uig
Robert Mcleod, 26, Fisherman, 44, b. Lochs
Kenneth Mcleod, 44, Fisherman, 44, b. Lochs
Mudo Mcleod, 21, Fisherman, 44, b. Stornoway
Neil Smith, 33, Fisherman, 44, b. Lochs

SOUTH BEACH ST
Murdo Mckay, 21, Fisherman, 30, b. Uig
Donald Mcelod, 20, Fisherman, 30, b. Uig
John Mcleod, 20, Fisherman, 30, b. Uig
Angus Smith, 26, Fisherman, 30, b. Barvas

Colin Mcleod, 36, Fisherman, 37, b. Lochs
Murdo Mcleod, 34, Fisherman, 37, b. Lochs
Murdo Mcleod, 34, Fisherman, 37, b. Lochs
Malcolm Macleod, 30, Fisherman, 37, b. Lochs

It is perhaps worth noting that 18, or virtually half, of these men were from Lochs, 11 from Stornoway, 5 from Uig and 3 from Barvas.

Students of Divinity and Theology from Harris

These four sons of Harris who appear in the censuses are listed according to the time that they were studying:

1861
Kenneth Kerr, 29, Student of Divinity, Visitor, Daill House, Craignish, Argyll, b. Harris
Kenneth’s father, Peter Kerr, was a Dry Mason from Harris who took his family to Argyll sometime between 1851 and 1861. He was visiting his sister, Mary who was a Nurse at Daill House, the home of the MacDougall of Lunga family. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craignish

A E Murray McConnochie, 23, Student of Divinity, Visitor, 25 Forth St, Edinburgh, b. Harris
Alexander’s father, Donald, was a Minister who I think was living in Knockandoo in 1841 but presumably had been living in Harris in the mid-1830s.

1891
John Kerr, 32, Student in Theology, Boarder, 479 St Vincent St, Glasgow, b. Harris
John’s father, Roderick, was a Carpenter and I have already written extensively about them:
Adele and the ‘Ayatollah’ & Borve & A 1923 Wedding on Harris

1901
John Macaskill, 32, Student of Divinity U F Church, Visitor, Manse, North Uist, b. Harris
John’s father, Roderick, was a Fisherman (IF John is the 1891 Teacher of that name) and, if so,  John may well have been born on Taransay.

Obviously these are just those students whose period of study happened to coincide with the census snapshots and the Harris-born Ministers that I have found in the censuses comprise:

John Bethune b. 1793
Duncan Clarke b. 1833 – son of Robert Clark, Doctor, living in Scarista in 1841
A E Murray McConnochie b. 1839 – possibly son of Robert, a Farmer in Banff by 1841
Ewan Mcleod b. 1848 – Son of a Farmer of Manish, poss Angus McLeod
Patrick William Mackenzie b. 1842 on St Kilda – Son of Neil Mackenzie, Minister
John Macleod b. 1848
Archibald Macdonald b. 1854/8
Don J M Jones b. 1869
John Kerr b. 1865 – Son of Roderick, a Carpenter, please see above.

None of these nine men were Ministers in Harris during the period 1841-1901 and the only one who I know to have returned to work on the island was John Kerr.

Johan Morison, Agent for Harris Tweed

In the 1891 census we find the Morison family of No 10 East Tarbert headed by the 80 year-old Spinner (Wool) Mary Morison. Her daughter Mary (47) is a Sewing Mistress and her second daughter, Christina (38), a Domestic Servant.
However, it is her youngest daughter, 36 year-old Johan, who grabs our attention for she, uniquely in the census returns of 1841-1901, is an Agent for Harris Tweed.

Interestingly, by 1901 the three maiden Morrison sisters, Mary (60) , Margaret (57) and Johanna (46) ,are each listed as a ‘Homespun Woollen Manufacturer’ of No 30 North Harris.
Incidentally, Johanna appears to have been particularly adept at constructing identifiable occupational titles for in the censuses there is but one other instance of someone combining those same three words!

(The other three occupants of No 10 in 1891 were Malcolm Morison (31), a Boarder and Baker, Mary K Mckinnon (16), a Grand-Daughter & Domestic Servant and finally Mary Buchanan (50) who was a Niece and Weaveress (Formerly)).

Note: I have used ‘Johan’ in the title of this piece because ScotlandsPeople returns her 1891 record as such – I think that the Johanna Morrison who died in Harris in 1910 at the age of 56 is the same lady.

Alexander MacRa (‘Fear Huisinis’) of Harris

Looking at the census records to find the Farmer of ‘Huisinish House’ (Caola Stiadair/Kyles Lodge) we see the following:

1841 – Island of Ensay
Alexander MacRa, 50, Farmer
Alexander MacRa, 20, Ag Lab
William Macaskill, 25, Ag Lab
Margaret MacRa, 25, Housekeeper
Mary MacRa, 15, Female Servent
Christian MacRa, 20, Female Servant
Isabella Fraser, 20,
Mary Mackenzie, 15,
Tilla Maarteld(?), 15, Ag Lab
Martin Maarteld, 12, Ag Lab
Alexander MacRa, 55, Sailor(?Tailor?)

1851Nishishee
Alexander MacRa, 63, Farmer Employing 21 Men, b. Glenshiel, Ross-shire
Margaret MacRa, 37, Wife, b. Lochalsh, Ross-shire
Jessie MacRa, 7, Daughter, b. Harris
Isabella MacRa, 5, Daughter, b. Harris
Archibald MacRa, 3, Son, b. Harris
John MacRa, 1, Son, b. Harris
Cathi Maclennon, 27, Dairy Maid, b. Lochalsh, Ross-shire
Jean Mackenzie, 25, Nurse, b. Kilmorack, Ross-shire
Effie Morrison, 20, House Servant, b. Harris
Stanley MacRa, 18, Scholar, b. Portree
Ewan Maclennon, 31, Farm Servant, b. Glenshiel, Ross-shire
Margaret Maclennon, 11, House Servant, b. Harris
Mary Macdonald, 55, Spinning Wife, Visitor, b. Harris
Finlay Macdonald, 38, Visitor, b. Kintail, Ross-shire

1861 Not found


1871 – ED 4 Kintulavig
Alexander MacRa, 83, Farmer, b. Glenshiel, Ross-shire
Margaret MacRa, 47, Wife, b. Lochalsh, Ross-shire
Archibald MacRa, 23, Son, b. Harris
Jessie MacRa, 25, Daughter, b. Harris
Lachlin Macdonald, 22, Farm Servant, b. Harris
Christina Campbell, 33, Seamstress, b. Harris
Anne Morrison, 28, Dairymaid, Visitor, b. Harris
Catherine McRae, 70, Calety(?) Cook, b. Lochalsh, Ross-shire
Anne Macdonald, 18, Cook, b. Harris
Bella Macrae, 14, Table Maid, b. Harris
William Sutherland, 27, Cately Teacher, Visitor, b. Kildonan, Sutherlandshire

MacRa farmed extensively in the Western Isles but made Kyles Lodge his home from 1820 until his death in 1874. What I hadn’t appreciated was that his wife was apparently some 26-36 years his junior!

Sheriff William Ivory, Sheriff Principal of Inverness-shire, & Harris

There is a collection of the Sheriff’s correspondence from September 1886 held by the NAS (GD1/36/1/42).
One item is described as:
‘dispute with crofters concerning a march wall erected by Lord Dunmore at Luskintyre, Harris’.
This was a busy time for the Sheriff, who’s effigy had been burnt (pdf)  in Portree, Skye by crofters during the previous year, and the bulk of the correspondence apparently is with regard to an expedition of police and marines to serve writs on crofters in Portree.

I have not yet read the correspondence, but the fact that there was a dispute at this time (three months following the passing of the 1st Crofters’ Act (pdf) and seven since the death of the Countess of Dunmore) between the 7th Earl and the crofters sufficient to attract the attention of the Sheriff Principal of Inverness-shire is of interest.

Update: Am Baile has made available online several papers of the Sheriff’s, including this one.

Steamboat Agents of Stornoway

Here are those in the 1841-1901 censuses working as Steamboat Agents in the town:

1851
James Gair, 46, Steam Boat Agent, Point Street, b. Tain, Ross
John Cameron, 18, Clerk to Steam Boat Agent, Point Street, b. Greenock

1861
Daniel Macalister, 37, Steam Packet Agent, 10 Francis Street, b. Dunvegan, Inverness-shire

1871
Daniel Mcalister, 46, Steamer Agent, 18 Francis Street, b. Duirinish, Inverness-shire

1881
John Harrold, 35, Steamboat Agent, 6 Point Street, b. Wick
Archibald Munro, 32, Steamboat Agent, 30 Keith Street Main Door, b. Stornoway

1891
John Harrold, 45, Steamboat Agent & C, 55 Cromwell Street, b. Wick

1901
John Harrold, 55, Steamer Agent, Clydesdale, 10 mls S of Stornoway, b. Wick

Two observations spring to mind:
Firstly, Archibald Munro’s address in 1881 reminds us that many houses were in multiple occupancy in the town, a situation the continued well into the 20thC and
Secondly,  finding Steamer Agent John Harrold aboard the steam ship ‘Clydesdale’ in 1901 is an unexpected delight, especially as the seaman John Macleod had served on this very vessel immediately prior to joining my relatives ketch the Crest on the 20th of October 1896. Another minor coincidence!

Update: I believe this record of 13th January 1905 to be that of the loss of the Clydesdale when she was carrying mail from Oban to Barra. The record has her as a 20thC steamship but I think it more likely that she was the 1862-built vessel that John Harrold had been aboard some 4 years earlier.