Hugh Matheson’s of Stornoway

A comment from a friend regarding ‘the Fortum & Mason’s of Stornoway’ led me to explore the early years of Hugh Matheson & his family. For reasons that will become clear, I have started in 1901:
Hugh Matheson, 57, Baker & Grocer, 2 Francis St, b. Stornoway
Marion Matheson, 43, Wife, b. Dunvegan, Inverness-shire
(7 children, ages 3 to 16)
Hugh Matheson, 47, Baker, 41 Cromwell St, b. Stornoway
Marion Matheson, 32, Wife, b. Durinish, Inverness-shire
(3 children)
Hugh Matheson, 37, Baker, 25 North Beach St, b. Stornoway
Marian Matheson, 21, Wife, b. Durnish, Inverness-shire
(2 children ages 4 months and 5 years)
Hugh Matheson, 27, Baker, Son, 48 Keith St, b. Stornoway
(Malcolm Matheson, 56, Shoemaker, b. Stornoway)
(Mary Matheson, 50, Wife, b. Stornoway)
Hugh Matheson, 17, Baker Apprentice, 13 Cromwell St, b. Stornoway
(Ann Macdonald, 58, Shop Keeper (Baker’s), b. Stornoway
(Malcolm Macdonald, 33, Baker (Master employing 2 boys), b. Stornoway
Hughina Matheson, 7, Daughter, Keith St, b. Stornoway
(Malcolm Matheson, 36, Shoemaker, b. Stornoway)
(Mary Matheson, 31, Wife, b. Stornoway)
(3 more children ages 2 to 9)
1844 27th January Hugh Matheson b. Stornoway
(Malcolm Matheson, 26, Shoe M, b. Ross & Cromarty)
(Mary Matheson, 20, b. Ross & Cromarty)
I am reasonably confident that these records display Hugh’s location at the time of each census with the exception of that taken in 1851. There are no other Ross-shire born Hugh Matheson’s who appear to ‘fit’ yet the person in the census of 1851 is female but of precisely the same age.
Possibly, Hugh and Hughina were twins, but the Old Parish Register only records Hugh Matheson, born on the 27th of January 1844 in Stornoway, and there are no records of a Hughina Matheson born anywhere in Scotland between 1842 and 1846. A further complication occurs because the 7 year-old Hughina is listed at the head of the children despite having an older sibling. It is a bit of a mystery but, whilst interesting in itself, need not distract us from the ‘story’ of Shoemaker’s son Hugh Matheson who became the founder of, according to my source, Stornoway’s finest emporium!
A photograph of the shop in Francis Street may be seen here .
(With thanks to Angela for inadvertently inspiring this entry!)

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