Cart Drivers of Lewis and Harris

These young men, aged from 15 to 20, are those recorded as being Cart Drivers in the 1841-1901 censuses:

1841 – None found

1851
Murdo Morison, 19, Keith Street, Stornoway, b. Lochs
Malcolm Maclean, 16, Bayhead Street, Stornoway, b. Guershader

1861
Donald Mckay, 17, 4 Garynahine, Carloway, Uig, b. Uig
Mal Mcarthur, 16, 23 Calanish, Carloway, Uig, b. Uig
Murdo Mckenzie, 16, 28 Calanish, Carloway, Uig, b. Uig

1871
Donald Mciver, 15, 33 Cromwell Street, Stornoway, b. Stornoway

1881
Malcolm Mciver, 20, Gress Farm, Stornoway, b. Stornoway
Angus Graham, 16, 96 Tolsta, Stornoway, b. Stornoway

1891
John Smith, 16, Stornoway, b. Stornoway
John McDonald Macaskill, 18, Grieve’s House, South Harris, b. Harris

1901 – None found

Quite why there was a blossoming of carts in Uig in the 1860s (and a corresponding lack of them in Stornoway at that time!) is a mystery, as is the non-appearance of Barvas where the records tell us there were several Cartwrights. I suspect that cart driving was undertaken rather more widely by members of the farming community and that these records reflect more upon adolescent male attitudes to having a set of ‘wheels’ rather than being a true indicator of cart usage at the time. In fairness, being allowed to be in charge of such an expensive piece of machinery would also have been an honour and one that the young men would have probably been keen to see recorded.

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