Harris Policemen

Here are all the policemen from the 1851-1901 censuses in the Parish of Harris:

1851
Murdoch Matheson, 42, Tarbert, Rural Police Constable, b.Kilmuir, Inverness
Wife and 5 children (9 year-old b.Portree, 5 year-old b.Harris so here after 1842 but by1846)

1861
Alexander Maclellan, 28, East Tarbert, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Avoch, Rossshire
(Landlord, Malcolm Morrison, 56, Blacksmith, b. Harris)

1871
Alexander Bain Maclennan, 38, House at Tarbert, Officer of Police, b.Strath of Auchtoghten(!), Rossshire
Wife and 5 children

Ewan Kennedy, 45, Hotel Tarbert, Police Man, Visitor, b.Invernessshire
(Hotel Keeper, William Grant from Stirling)

1881
Donald Fraser, 25, 26 East Tarbert, Police Constable, b.Glasgow

Donald Mackenzie, 28, South Harris, Police Constable, Boarder, b.Lochs, Rossshire
(Landlord, Roderick Matheson, Teacher Public School, b. Lochalsh)

1891
Thomas J Fraser, 28, 5 East Tarbert, Police Constable, Boarder, b.Howmore, Invernessshire
(Landlord Angus Macdonald, Postmaster, b. Benbeen(?), Inverness-shire)

Peter Fraser, 24, Obbe, Police Constable, b.Grantown, Invernesssire
(Wife and 1 year-old son)

Donald Mackenzie, 40, Borve(Bernera), Police Constable, Lodger, b.Lochs, Rossshire
Sinclair Tait, 28, Borve (Bernera), Police Constable, Lodger, b.Reay, Sutherlandshire
(Landlord of both Bernera constables, John Paterson, Cottar)

1901
William Mackenzie, 42, No.27 North Harris, Police Constable, b. Avoch, Rossshire
(Wife and 5 children, 10 year-old b.Duirnsih, 7 year-old b.Harris so here after 1891 but by 1894)

Thomas John Fraser, 38, Obbe, Police Constable, b.S Virt, Invernessshire

(Kenneth Macaskill, 32, Police Constable (Glasgow Police), Son, Berneray, b. Berneray)

Perhaps the main point of interest here is that none of the Policemen listed were Hearachs, but two of the later ones were islanders: one came from Lochs, Lewis and another from Howmore, South Uist.

Whether this reflects the linguistic challenges of the occupation (all that paperwork!) or the preferences of those with the power to make the appointments remains to be seen.

The other thing to notice is that, counter to most of the occupations that I have examined, the policing of Harris starts in Tarbert and a presence in the South only appears much later. This possibly reflects the relatively late-introduction of policing as a role in society but nevertheless is surprising. The ‘Rural Police Constable’ was serving the County of Inverness-shire, unlike those in Lewis who were in Ross-shire, so I wouldn’t have thought that proximity to Stornoway by ‘road’ would have been relevant. Perhaps the Factor was an influence in the locating of the these policemen?

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Policemen of Lewis

Here are the Policemen from 1861-1901 arranged by the Parish in which they were residing:

1861
STORNOWAY
William Grant, 46, Police Constable, Head, 3 Kenneth Street, b. Abernethy, Inverness

1869
UIG
Alexander Macleod, PC. 11Callanish

1871
STORNOWAY
Roderick Maclean, 27, Superintendent of Police, 19 Kenneth St-Police Office, Head, b Hilar City, Inverness-shire
Murdo Mackay, 30, Police Constable, Lodger,. Foddery, Ross
John Ross, 24, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Creich, Sutherlandshire

BARVAS
William Grant, 56, Police Constable, Head, South Galston, b. Abernethy

LOCHS
Kenneth Mackenzie, 39, Police Constable, Head, Balallan, b. Fodderty, Ross

John Mackay, 26, Police Man, Visitor, Eishken Lodge, b. Parr, S Shire

1881
STORNOWAY
Donald Cameron, 45, Superintendent of Police, 19 (Police Office), Head, b. Fodderty, Ross
John Maciver, 33, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Uig, Ross
John Maciver, 29, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Stornoway
Donald Cameron, 24, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Latheron, Caithness

BARVAS
William Grant, 56, Police Constable, Head, Policeman’s Cottage 26, b. Grantown, Inverness

Roderick Macleod, 22, Police Constable, Boarder, 49 Habost, b. Nis, Inverness

LOCHS
Hugh Fraser, 45, Police Constable, Head, Laxay, b. Urquhart, Ross

Norman Montgomery, 34, Police Constable, Head, Borowston, Carloway, b. Lochs, Ross

1891
STORNOWAY
Hector Smith, 45, Superintendent of Police, Head, Police Station, b. Lochs, Ross

Murdo Urquhart, 32, Police Constable, Head, Police Station, b. Gairloch, Ross

John Maciver, 43, Sergeant of Police, Head, 89, Cromwell Street, b. Uig, Ross
Donald Ross, 26, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Ross
David Graham, 22, Police Constable, Lodger, b. Rosskeen, Ross

Robert M Alexander, 28, Police Constable, Boarder, 7 Castle Street, b. Stonar, Sutherland

William Hutcheson, 28, Police Constable, Head, Private House, b. Conon Bridge, Ross

BARVAS
Norman Smith, 40, Sergeant of Police, Head, Township Road Crofter’s House, b. Lochs, Ross

Peter Smith, 26, Police Constable, Head, Policeman’s House, b. Lochs, Ross

Neil Mackenzie, 26, Police Constable, Lodger, Borve, b. Strathpeffer, Ross

UIG
John A Mackay, 26, Police Constable, Boarder, Valtos, b. Alness, Ross

William Munro, 27, Police Constable, Lodger, 6 Lochganvich, b. Alness, Ross

LOCHS
Hugh Fraser, 56, Police Constable, Head, No 40 Laxay, b. Urquhart, Ross

John Macleod, 29, Police Constable, Visitor, Private, Orinsay, b. Carloway

1901
STORNOWAY
Robert M Alexander, 36, Sergeant of Police, Head, 48 Cromwell Street, b. Creich, Sutherland

John Macdonald, 24, Police Constable, Boarder, 62 Keith Street, b. Dingwall, Ross
Donald Munro, 24, Police Constable, Boarder, b. Alness, Ross

John Macleod, 40, Police Constable, Boarder, 44 Point Street, b. Uig, Ross
Andrew Ross, 44, Police Constable, Boarder, b. Tain, Ross

John Macarthur, 37, Police Constable, Head, Garrabost Police Station, b. Breasclete, Ross

John Macdonald, 31, Police constable, Visitor, No 47 Upper Payble, b. Portroller, Ross

William Munro, 35, Police Constable, Head, Police Station Coll, b. Rosskeen, Ross

(Walter E Blythe, Retired ? ? ? Police ? ?, Boarder, 27 Cromwell Street, b. England)

BARVAS
John Maciver, 49, Police Sergeant, Head, Police Station Lower Barvas, b. Uig, Ross

Archibald Macarthur, 26, Police Constable, Head, Police Station, b. Uig, Ross

UIG
Kenneth Maciver, 28, Police Constable, Boarder, 30c Valtos, b. Uig, Ross

LOCHS
John Kennedy, 34, Police Constable, Nephew, School house, b. Lochs, Ross

(Hugh Fraser, 67, Ex Police Constable, Head, Police Constable’s House)

We see the gradual extension of policing across the island from Stornoway via Barvas and Lochs and latterly into Uig*. Nevertheless, the emphasis throughout is in the populated urban capital of Lewis which is not surprising but these records at least provide us with an indication of the scale of island policing at the time.

*The 1869 reference to the Uig Police Constable can be found in the comment below: