Three Tenants of Strond

In 1861, 12 of the 32 families in Strond (ED7) recorded their Head of Household as a ‘Tenant’.
There were no Tenants’ in the 26 households of ‘Oab’ (ED6), the 5 of ‘Borisdale’ (ED7) nor the 5 of Rodel (ED7) thus these 12 were the only Tenants along the Sound of Harris between Rodel and An-t-Ob.
The whole of Harris at that time had 64 ‘Tenant’ households, which can be compared to the total of 233 Crofter households of Harris none of whom were amongst the 68 households in this region.
I am particularly interested in three of these Tenant families:
Angus Kerr, 70, Tenant, b. Harris (my great,great,great granduncle)
Marion Kerr, 61, Wife, b. Harris
Malcolm Kerr, 30, Farmer’s Shepherd, Son, b. Harris (marries Isabella Maclean, daughter of one of the 18 Tenants in Strond of 1841)
Effy Kerr, 26, Daughter, b. Harris (spinster)
Roderick Kerr, 22, Post, Son, b. Harris (bachelor)
Mary Kerr, 20, Daughter, b. Harris (see below)
Angus & Marion’s other three children:
Marion b. 1821, fate not yet discovered;
Angus (Rodel Farm Grieve & Coachman) b. 1829 married, on the 5th of April 1870, Lexy Morrison daughter of Kyles Scalpay’s Schoolmaster;
William b. 1826, a Fisherman who drowned, unmarried, in1862
Mary Kerr would, on the 12th of February 1867, marry Angus Macsween the Tenant, who was a son of John Macsween the Weaver and his wife Anne Campbell:
Angus Macsween, 34, Tenant, b. Harris
Lexy Macsween, 36, Ag Lab, Sister, b. Harris
Malcolm Macsween, 26, Sailor (Merchant Service), Brother, b. Harris
Kenneth Macsween, 24, Sailor (Merchant Service), Brother, b. Harris
Jessie Campbell, 22, General Servant, Cousin, b. Harris
John Gillies, 9, Nephew, b. Harris
John Gillies aged 9 is the son of Kenneth Gillies the Tenant and his wife who was born Marion Macsween. It would appear that she was the sister of Angus Macsween, hence John Gillies being his nephew.
Kenneth Gillies, 50, Tenant, b. Harris
Marion Gillies, 43, Wife, b. Harris
Donald Gillies, 20, Son, b. Harris
Ann Gillies, 17, Daughter, b. Harris
William Gillies, 13, Son, b. Harris
Catherine Gillies, 6, Daughter, b. Harris
Allan Gillies, 48, Brother, b. Harris
Mary McDearmid, 20, Pauper, Friend, b. Harris
John Gillies would, on the 14th of April 1891, marry Flora Morrison, the daughter of William Morrison & Christian Kerr, she herself being a daughter of Angus Kerr the Tenant. William, a Fisherman, drowned off Thurso on the 25th of December 1890. John Gillies, a Sailor, was one of small and somewhat mysterious group calling themselves ‘Yacht’s Man’ in 1891.
William Morrison, 30, Fisherman, b. Harris
Christy Morrison, 29, Wife, b. Harris
Flora Morrison, 4, Daughter, b. Harris
Angus Morrison, 2, son, b. Harris
Christy Morrison, 2 months, Daughter, b. Harris
All four of these families lived along the Sound of Harris between Borrisdale, Strond and An-t-Ob ,but it was only when looking at Angus Kerr’s fellow Tenants in Strond in 1861 that I realised the ‘Tenant’ connection and its possible significance within this part of the island at this time.
There were no Crofters anywhere between Rodel and An-t-Ob, just these dozen Tenants in Strond who represent more than a third of the households in that place and nearly a fifth of those in the region.
The 5 households at Rodel were the Factor’s, those of three Farmer’s Shepherds and finally that of an Agricultural Labourer. The 5 in Borrisdale were those of a Tailor, a Retired Weaver, a Retired Tenant, a Retired Herd and finally that of a Pauper who had previously been a General Servant.
The pattern is clear: at Rodel Farm are those working directly for the Dunmore’s on what might be described as the ‘Home Farm’. Over the hill at the Eastern end of the Sound were retired employees with one economically active Tailor. It is only when we get to the Farm of Strond that we find other activity taking place in the form of our dozen Tenants and their neighbouring households:
One Mason, a Gardener, three Fishermen, the Ground Officer’s widow, two Shoemaker’s Widows (one with her shoemaking son) an Agricultural Labourer, the Public Shepherd, a ‘Seaman Packet’ and three Sailors, a County Constable, the Retired Factor’s Clerk, two Retired Tenants, a Weaveress, a very elderly Weaver and a Retired Weaveress who is now a Pauper.
In these 20 non-Tenant households we can see something of the ‘flavour’ of the area and, although it would take a complete analysis of each of the 179 individual’s occupation to be more precise, I am prepared to say that this mixture of Fishers, Sailors, Weavers and ‘Officials’ employed by the proprietor is reasonably representative. Thus Strond in 1861 was the site of a group of tenants tending the farmland who were accompanied by men who made their living from the sea and others who were providing support to the owners. It is not until we get to An-t-Ob that this dominance that stretches from Rodel through Borrisdale and Strond is broken.
These demographics, in combination with the family connections as outlined above, appear to me to give credence to my growing conviction that my (distant) uncle Angus’s family was one of those whose status/standing/class (I am struggling to find the appropriate term!) meant that they escaped the (ill)treatment that the Factor, John Robson Macdonald, was notoriously inflicting on so many less fortunate souls.
Angus was one of the 28 Tenants in An-t-Ob and Strond in 1841 but one of the only 12 remaining in that same area by 1861. His children worked in trusted positions in the households, or on the land, of the Factor and Farmers of Harris and married into similar families whose offspring were similarly employed – Isabella Maclean, for example, worked at Rodel in the home of a Fish Curer who later became a Farmer and then was employed by Kenneth Macdonald the Sheep Farmer at Big Borve before marrying Malcolm the Shepherd.

This process eventually resulted in one of Angus’s granddaughters, Marion, becoming a Farmer’s Wife.
She married the eldest son of the Fish-Curer-turned-Farmer whom her Aunt Isabella once worked for. Marion Kerr, the daughter of Angus Kerr the Farm Grieve, set-up home on Rodel Farm as Mrs John Campbell, her husband and his father being the two Farmers resident in Rodel.
I have touched upon this before and elsewhere in this blog, too, but had not previously examined the way the pattern that Angus the Tenant’s descendants wove fitted into the larger picture of the area.
I think one could quite reasonably claim that they were ‘comfortably woven into the fabric of society’…

Spinning Wheel Makers of Stornoway

I mentioned in the previous piece on the ‘Turner’ men of Stornoway that there were two occurrences of ‘Spinning Wheelmakers’ in the censuses.
James McRae,who was born to the Turner & Wheelwright John McRae and his wife Ann in about 1845 became a Spinning-Wheel Maker by 1901.
His is not the earliest record however because in the census of 1891 we find 68 year-old Donald Macdonald, a ‘Spinning Wheelmaker’ living with his wife & family at 25 Bayhead St in Stornoway:
Donald Macdonald, 68, Spinning Wheel Maker, 25 Bayhead St, b. Stornoway
Margaret Macdonald, 64, Wife, b. Stornoway
Bell Macdonald, 36, General Servant, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Murdo Macdonald, 34, Cooper, Son, b. Greenock, Renfrew
Aulay Macdonald, 27, Baker, Son, b. Stornoway
Donald Macdonald, 44(?), Apprentice Clerk, Grandson, b. Glasgow
Obviously I wanted to discover more about Donald and his family and this single record already provides additional information beyond names and approximate years of birth::
At some time around 1857 (and perhaps for a protracted period between 1855 and 1864) the Macdonald’s, or at least Mrs Margaret Macdonald, were in Greenock where their son Murdo had been born.
One of the children had moved to Glasgow and produced Donald the Grandson but this Donald’s age appears likely to be incorrectly recorded?
Donald Macdonald, 57, Wheelwright, 19 Bayhead St, b. Stornoway
Margaret Macdonald, 55, Wife, b. Stornoway
Bella Macdonald, 25, General Servant (Domestic), Daughter, Stornoway
Murdo Macdonald, 24, Cooper, Son, b. Greenock, Renfrew
Colin Macdonald, 19, Wheelwright, Son, b. Stornoway
Aulay Macdonald, 17, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
So a decade earlier they were a few houses nearer to the centre of Stornoway with both Donald and a son who we hadn’t met before, Colin, working as Wheelwrights. Murdo was already Coopering.
Donald Mcdonald, 48, Ship Carpenter, 18 Bayhead St, b. Stornoway
Margaret Mcdonald, 43, Wife, b. Stornoway
Isabella Mcdonald, 18, General Servant, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Donald Mcdonald, 18, Apprentice Turner, Son, b Stornoway
Murdo Mcdonald, 14, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Catherine Mcdonald, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Colin John Macdonald, 9, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Aulay Mcdonald, 7, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
So from this we learn of an older son, Donald, who was an Apprentice Turner whilst his father was working as a Ship Carpenter.
Isabella hadn’t yet adopted the diminutive forms of her name, Bella & Bell, but we now know that she wasn’t for example, an ‘Annabella’ and Colin was originally Colin John. Two small details but of the kind that can prove useful clues sometimes!
Note also that in this record, Murdo is erroneously shown as having been born in Stornoway and hence if I had been looking for Murdo Macdonald’s born in Greenock around 1857 he would have slipped through the net.
Donald Mcdonald, 37, Carpenter, 11, Bayhead St, b. Stornoway
Margaret Mcdonald, 33, wife, b. Stornoway
William Macdonald, 14, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
John Mcdonald, 12, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Bella Mcdonald, 9, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Donald Mcdonald, 7, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Murdo Mcdonald, 4, Son, b. Greenock, Renfrewshire
Ann Mcdonald, 2, Daughter, b. Greenock, Renfrewshire
Colin John Mcdonald, 3 months, b. Stornoway
The family are even closer to town and, coincidentally, are in the house that my grandfather was born in some 14 years later. We see William and Ann for the first time and Greenock-born Ann lends credence to the whole family having spent at least a couple of years in Greenock around the year 1858.
Donald Mcdonald, 28, Joiner, Bayhead, b. Stornoway
Margaret Mcdonald, 24, Wife, b. Stornoway
William Mcdonald, 4, son, b. Stornoway
John Mcdonald, 2, Son, b. Stornoway
Here we see the family in its infancy but in the street that they would live in for at least another 40 years.
Isabella McDonald, 45, Mill St, b. Ross and Cromarty
Donald MacDonald, 19, Carpenter’s Apprentice, b. Ross & Cromarty
John MacDonald, 17, b. Ross & Cromarty
Colin MacDonald, 12, b. Ross & Cromarty
William Macdonald, 12, b. Ross & Cromarty
I cannot be sure that this is the correct family but, in addition to the young man Donald’s occupation we also have the names of his mother (presumably) and brothers, names that he would give to his own children and which are a hugely valuable indication that Donald Mcdonald, who became one of only two of Stornoway’s ‘Spinning Wheel Makers’ and spent his entire working life in Bayhead, began learning his craft when at the family home in Mill Street, that offshoot of Bayhead that I discussed in the piece on Stornoway’s Millers.
I am not attempting to track the whole family and, for example, there’s still the mystery of the Glaswegian grandson, but for the sake of completeness here’s what I have found for 1901:
It appears that Donald and Margaret had either passed-away or moved away from Stornoway.
Of the four children who had been with them in 1891, I have discovered the following:
Isabella/Bella/Bell Mcdonald isn’t to be found. There is one who at first sight appears to fit for she is living with her brother Murdo, but when we discover that their mother is a Christina Macdonald we can exclude them both. Bell may have married, moved or died young.
There is a Murdo Mcdonald who is a Cooper of the correct age living at 3 Laxdale, Stornoway with his wife Donaldina and their 1 year-old daughter Margaret. He is shown as a Stornowegian but there are none of his name who were Greenock-born to be found.
Aulay the Baker, now aged 37, we find visiting the Blacksmith’s House in Garrabost which is home to the Blacksmith William Mcdonald and his wife Sarah. I think it is reasonable to conjecture that Aulay has led us to his oldest brother who we last met as a Scholar back in 1861.
This is not by any means the whole story of this family but merely a beginning that I hope is of interest both for what it tells us about them whilst also demonstrating something of the higgledy-piggledy manner by which I meander along the genealogical way…

Three Turners of Stornoway

Pigot’s 1837 Directory lists three Turners in the town:
Donald McRae, Bayhead St
John McRae, Bayhead St
James Young, Keith St
I couldn’t find James Young again in Stornoway, but Donald & John McRae each appear in the 1871 census where they describe their occupation as ‘Turner’ and from those two entries I was able to compile the following information about them and their families:
Entries in bold indicate a man who appears at least once as a ‘Turner’ in the census records.
The figures in brackets are there as an aid to tracking individuals down to the third generation.
Donald McRae, 35, Joiner, Bayhead St, b. Ross & Cromarty (1)
Margaret McRae, 25
Jane McRae, 5
Mary McRae, 3
Catherine McRae, 6 months
John McRae, 25, Joiner (2)
Donald McRae, 50, Joiner, Bayhead St, b. Barvas (1)
Peggy McRae, 38, Wife, b. Stornoway
Jane McRae, 14, Scholar, Daughter, b. Bayhead, Stornoway
Mary McRae, 13. Scholar, Daughter, b. Bayhead, Stornoway
Catherine McRae, 10, Scholar, Daughter, b. Bayhead, Stornoway
John McRae, 8, Scholar, Son, b. Bayhead, Stornoway
Helen McRae, 6, Scholar Daughter, b. Bayhead, Stornoway
Margaret McRae, Daughter, b. Bayhead, Stornoway
Kenneth Cameron, 30, Joiner (Journeyman), Boarder, b. Fodderty, Ross
John McRae, 54, Wheelwright, Keith St, b. Stornoway (2)
Archibald McRae, 20, Wheelwright, Son, b. Stornoway (2a)
Mary McRae, 18, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Donald McRae, 16, Son, b. Stornoway
Roderick McRae , 14, Son, b. Stornoway
Jane McRae, 12, Daughter, b. Stornoway
John McRae, 10, Son, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 6, Son, b. Stornoway (2b)
Hector McRae, 2, Son, b. Stornoway (2c)
John McRae, 60, Wheelwright, 51 Keith St, b. Stornoway (2)
Ann McRae, 55, Wife, b. Stornoway
Donald McRae, 26, Baker, Son, b. Stornoway
Roderick McRae, 23, Joiner, Son, b. Stornoway
John McRae, 29, Baker, Son, b. Stornoway
Jane McRae, 21, Dressmaker, Daughter, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 16, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway (2b)
Hector McRae, 13, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway (2c)
Ann Morrison, 82, Crofter’s Widow, Mother-in-Law, b. Stornoway
Isabella Finlayson, 82, Seaman’s Widow, Lodger, b. Stornoway
Donald McRae, 70, Joiner, 38 Bayhead St, b. Barvas (1)
Margaret McRae, 57, Wife, b. Stornoway
Catherine McRae, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Margaret McRae, 22, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Isabella McRae, 14, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Donald McRae, 17, Joiner, Son
Isabella MacKinnon, 2, Grand-daughter
John McRae, 71, Turner, 51 Keith St, b. Stornoway (2)
Ann McRae, 67, Wife, b. Stornoway
John McRae, 28, Baker, Son, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 27, Joiner, Son, b. Stornoway (2b)
Hector McRae, 22, Turner, Son, b. Stornoway (2c)
Christina Smith, Domestic Servant, 23, b. Uig, Ross-shire
John McLean, 78, Visitor, b. Lochs, Ross-shire
Archibald McRae, 40, 51 Keith St, Turner & Blockmaker, b. Stornoway (2a)
Annabella McRae, 27, Wife, b. Stornoway
Mary Ann McRae, 4, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Mary McRae, 2, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Annabella McRae, 4 months, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Archibald McRae, 50, Joiner & Blockmaker, 51 Keith St, b. Stornoway (2a)
Annabella McRae, 37, General Servant, Wife, b. Stornoway
Mary McRae, 12, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Annabella McRae, 8, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Hector McRae, 6, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Ann McRae, 4, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Alexander McRae, 3, Son, b. Stornoway
Christina McRae, 10 months, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Christina Murray, 16, General Servant, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 36, Joiner, 51 ½ Keith St, b. Stornoway (2b)
Mary Jane McRae, 29, Dressmaker, Wife, b. Stornoway
John McRae, 6, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Jessie Ann McRae, 4, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Hector McRae, 3, Son, b. Stornoway
William McRae, 1, Son, b. Stornoway
Archibald McRae, 60, Joiner & Turner, 65 Keith St, b. Stornoway (2a)
Annabella McRae, 47, Wife, b. Stornoway
Annie McRae, 14, Monitor, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Alexander McRae, 13, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Linna McRae, 10, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Archibald McRae, 9, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Jeanie McRae, 7, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 43, Turner, Keith St, b. Stornoway (2b)
Mary McRae, 39, Wife, b. Stornoway
John McRae, 16, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Jessie A McRae, 14, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Hector McRae, 13, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
William McRae, 12, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Roderick McRae, 10, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Kenneth D McRae, 9, Scholar, Son, B. Stornoway
Ann J McRae, 4, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 3, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Archibald McRae, 70, Joiner & Turner, 65 Keith St, b. Stornoway (2a)
Annabella McRae, 57, Wife, b. Stornoway
Annie McRae, 24, daughter, b. Stornoway
Lina McRae, 20, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Archibald McRae, 18, Son, Apprentice Joiner & Turner, b. Stornoway (2a1)
Jeanie McRae, 17, Daughter, b. Stornoway
James McRae, 54, Spinning Wheel Maker, 62 Kenneth St, b. Stornoway (2b)
Mary I McRae, 48, Wife, b. Stornoway
Hector McRae, 23, House Carpenter, Son, b. Stornoway
William McRae, 21, Carter, Son, b. Stornoway
Kenneth McRae, 19, Butcher, Son, b. Stornoway
Annie I McRae, 14, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
It is not too surprising that a ‘Turner’ of 1837 would, at various times, describe themselves as a ‘Joiner’ or a ‘Wheelwright’ but James McRae’s move into specialising as a ‘Spinning Wheel Maker’ (he is one of only two such people that I have discovered) came as a pleasant surprise!

The Inn at Tarbert

I have previously examined Inn at An-t-Ob and the Harris Hotel and now turn my attention to the Inn at Tarbert as marked on the 1857 Chart of East Loch Tarbert.
The chart shows the Inn clearly in the space that, by 1865, was occupied by the newly-built Harris Hotel.
The chart also appears to identify the school of 1851 as the squat single-storey building shown in the centre of this Streetview image. but I have not seen any reference supporting this assertion and would welcome any additional information. The long building on the left, between the ‘school’ and the Harris Hotel, is also shown on the chart but is not identified. Again, any further information would be most welcome!
To return to the Inn, we have two sets of census records listing its residents:
1851 Tarbert Inn
Malcolm MacAnby (Macaulay?), 42, Inn Keeper and Crofter (Employing 5 men), b. Harris
Margaret, 37, Wife, b. Fortingall, Perth
Peter, 10, Scholar at Home, Son, b. Harris
Marion A, 8, Scholar at Home, Daughter, b. Harris
Jessie M, 6, Scholar at Home, Daughter, b. Harris
Bessie M, 4, Scholar at Home, Daughter, b. Harris
Catherine, 2, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Frederick J MacAnby, 8, Scholar, Nephew, b. Lochs
John Macdougal, 35, Free Church Student, Brother-in-Law, b. Fortingall, Perth
Ann Macdougal, 22, House Keeper, Sister-in-Law, b. Harris
Emmeline E Maxwell, 22, Teacher, Cousin, b. Edinburgh
Murdoch Morrison, 18, Waiter, Servant, b. Harris
Catherine Macleod, 23, House Servant, b. Harris
Murdoch Macdonald, 29, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Norman Macleod, 24, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Angus Mackillop, 18, Herd, Servant, b. Harris
Donald Macdermid, 17, Road Labourer, Lodger, b. Harris
John Macphail, 48, Seaman, Lodger, b. North Shields, Northumberland
Catherine Macphail, 41, Seaman’s Wife, Lodger, b. Greenock, Renfrew
Elizabeth Fordeson, 6, Seaman’s Daughter, Lodger, b. Greenock, Renfrew
I am almost reaching the point where a familiar name appears in a different context and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, that’s so-and-so who’s the thingamabob from where-do-you-call-it and is such-and-such’s relative…’ and that is the case with some of the folk in Tarbert Inn.
The teacher Emmeline E Maxwell appears here but I am now wondering if she was teaching the children of the innkeeper rather than at the school down the road? Angus Mackillop the ‘Herd’ was one of those I did not itemise here because I was uncertain if he was dealing with cattle but he was certainly one of the three agricultural employees that the Inn required. Of the four folk lodging at the hostelry, we recognise Donald Macdermid as one of the roadworkers building the road to Stornoway that was completed three years later but I appear to have missed John Macphail off this earlier list Englishmen and women ‘abroad’ in Harris.
1861 East Tarbert
John Morrison, 21, Inn Keeper, b. Harris
Betsy, 24, Waiter, Sister, b. Harris
Alexander, 19, Assistant, Brother, b. Harris
Kennethina, 10, Scholar, Sister, b. Harris
Murdo Macdonald, 38, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
John Mclellan, 24, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Isabella Frazer, 29, Domestic Servant, b. Kintail
William Ferrier, 31, Pedlar, Traveller, b. Ireland
Alexander Bain, 44, Ship Agent, Traveller, b. England
James Shearer, 45, Ship builder, Traveller, b. Dunoon, Ayrshire
Effy Morrison, 20, Domestic Servant, Traveller, b. Uig, Rossshire
Donald Clark, 24, Domestic Servant, Traveller, b. Uig, Rossshire
I presume that the ‘Ag Lab’ Murdo Macdonald is the same man (Murdoch Macdonald) from ten years earlier but if so he is the only constant from that earlier time. The Morrison family are running the inn and amongst their five guests are Alexander Bain who did make the list Englishmen and women ‘abroad’ but, because he wasn’t from the island, the Ship Builder Shearer is not in my list of Harris Boat Builders .
I think these two households are quite revealing and I am always particularly interested to note those staying at an inn or a hotel as they provide insight into another element of the past; but in fact the thing that is most intriguing me is whether I have correctly identified the school building in Tarbert from1857, for that is where many of my relatives would have trudged the two-miles to each day from Direcleit and that, for me, is rather a nice thought…

33 Keith Street, Stornoway

I have been intending compiling this list of those residing at number 33, and its associated parts, for some time because these records from five consecutive censuses provide us with a typical portrait of the people of the town of Stornoway in the 19thC:
Murdo Montgomery, 65, Sawyer, 33 Keith St, b. Stornoway
Ann Montgomery, 55, Wife, b. Stornoway
Dugald Mcgillivray, 27, Carter, Boarder, b. Invernessshire
Murdo Macleod, 21, Apprentice Joiner, Boarder, b. Lochs
Norman Montgomery, 16, Apprentice Miller, b. Lochs
Margaret Thomson, 29, Domestic Servant, b. Barvas
Donald Macleod, 27, Tailor(poss Sailor?), Lodger, b. Barvas
Kenneth Macleod, 18, Cartwright, 33 Keith St, b. Inverness-shire
Malcolm Kerr, 36, Seaman, 33 Keith St, b. Invernessshire
Mary Kerr, 38, Wife, b. Lochs
Catherine Kerr, 11, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Ann Kerr, 8, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Alexander John Kerr, 5, Son, b. Stornoway
Malcolm Kerr, 3, son, b. Stornoway
Margaret Kerr, Daughter, 4 months, b. Stornoway
Multiple-occupancy is quite usual for the time as are households comprising people from a variety of families originating from across the isles and in a range of occupations.
The second family is obviously why I first came upon 33 Keith Street but other occupants over time have also appeared in the particular entries on occupations that I have provided links for.
George Mackenzie, 69, Grocer & Spirit Dealer, 33 Keith St, b. Stornoway
Isabella Mackenzie, 56, Grocer & Spirit Dealer, Wife, b. Stornoway
Alexander Mackenzie, 34, Joiner, Son, b. Stornoway
Isabella Lees, 28, Ship Carpenter’s Wife, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Mary Mackenzie, 22, Domestic Servant, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Elizabeth Mackenzie, 20, Domestic Servant, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Isabella B Cooper, 8, Scholar, Granddaughter, b. Portmahomack, Ross-shire
Mary Lees, 6 months, Granddaughter, b. Stornoway
Catherine Mackenzie, 71, Pauper, 33 ½ Keith St, b. Lochs
Maggie Mackenzie, 63, Pauper, 33 ½ Keith St, b. Uist, Invernessshire
Marion Mackenzie, 28, General Servant, Daughter
Barbara Mackenzie, 24, General Servant, Daughter
The first thing to note is the use of ’33 ½’ to identify a dwelling. The next Census suggests that this was probably the ‘Back Court’ of number 33 and the use of ‘½’, which we might liken to ’33a’, is found all over the town. The presence of two Pauper households here is a sad reminder that poverty existed within the town as well as in the rural areas of the islands.
The other feature is that the main house appears now to be one household and we learn that George and Isabella were both in trade and that their daughter Isabella has married a Mr Lees and gave birth to a daughter in Stornoway six months before the census. Unfortunately we do not know which daughter was responsible for granddaughter Isabella B Cooper.
George Mackenzie, 79, Builder, Head, 33 Keith St, b. Stornoway
Isabella Mackenzie, 67, Wife, b. Stornoway
Alexander Mackenzie, 43, House Carpenter, Son, b. Stornoway
Margaret Mackenzie, 34, House Keeper, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Mary Macdonald, 32, Seaman’s Wife, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Isabella Lees, 7, Scholar, Granddaughter, b. Govan, Lanarkshire
Mary Macdonald, 2, Granddaughter, b. Stornoway
Alexander Macdonald, 9 months, Grandson, b. Stornoway
Kenneth Macsween, 18, Carter, Servant, b. Lochs
Isabella Cooper, 18, Granddaughter, b. Tarbert, Ross-shire
William Maclean, 46, General Labourer, 33 Keith St Back Court, b. Lochs
Ann Maclean, 39, Wife, b. Lochs
Neil Morrison, 40, Carter, 33, Keith St Back Court, b. Lochs
Catherine Morrison, 35, Wife, b. Lochs
Murdo Smith, 18, Tailor (Apprentice), Boarder, b. Lochs
Kenneth Morrison, 18, Shoemaker (Apprentice), Boarder, b. Uig, Ross-shire
Alexander Macdonald, 18, Cooper (Apprentice), Boarder, b. Lochs
Malcolm Maclean, 18, Tailor (Apprentice), Boarder, b. Lochs
The Mackenzie family are still the sole family occupying number 33 but a dramatic change of occupation has seen George become a builder possibly a reflection of his son Alexander being a Joiner/House Carpenter or had the Temperance movement played a part, too? Daughter Mary has married a Mr Macdonald and added two more Stornowegians to the population during the past couple of years and we can see that her sister Isabella Lees was in Govan giving birth to a daughter seven years ago.
The ‘Back Court’ is now home to two households with that of the Morrisons playing host to four young apprentices from Lochs and Uig.
Malcolm Maciver, 32, Tailor & Clothier, 33 Keith Street, b. Uig, Ross-shire
Annie Maciver, 24, Wife, b. Stornoway
Malcolm Maciver, 3, Son, b. Stornoway
Kate Maciver, 1, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Maggie Macleod, 20, Domestic Servant, b. Stornoway
Alexander Macleod, 26, Naval Reserve Man, Boarder, b. Stornoway
John Mackay, 25, Naval Reserve Man, Boarder, b. Stornoway
John Macaulay, 28, Naval Reserve Man, Boarder, b. Stornoway
Donald Macaulay, 25, Naval Reserve Man, Boarder, b. Stornoway
William Macleod, 30, Naval Reserve Man, Boarder, b. Stornoway
Malcolm Macleod, , 32, Fisherman, 33 Keith Street, b. Lochs
Catherine Macleod, 32, Wife, b. Lochs
Roderick Macleod, 5, son, b. Lochs
Maggie Macleod, 1, Daughter, b. Stornoway
John A Macleod, 6 months, Son, b. Stornoway
Murdo Macleod, 35, Sailor, Visitor, b. Lochs
Isabella Macleod, 28, Visitor, b. Lochs
We appear now to have two large households at number 33 and no reference to the ‘Back Court’.
I do not know if the sixteen residents and one visitor were indeed squeezed together under one roof, reflecting the fifteen people at the address in 1861, but the presence of five who gave their occupation as ‘Naval Reserve Man’ is interesting. Did they have other occupations at this time or were they unemployed, for being in the Naval Reserve is not in itself a job. Possibly they were engaged in Naval duties at this time in which case it would be interesting to know if being billeted on families was typical. Yet more puzzles to be solved!
Angus Maciver, 42, Spirit Dealer, 33 Keith St, b. Uig, Ross-shire
Mary Maciver, 42, Wife, b. Uig, Ross-shire
John Maciver, 14, Scholar, Son, b. Uig
Christina Maciver, 12, Scholar, Daughter, b. Uig
Catherine Ann Maciver, 3, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Margaret Mary Maciver, 1 month, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Finlay Smith, 32, Crofter, Brother, b. Barvas
Alexander Maclean, 42, Cooper, 33 Keith St, b. Stornoway
Mary Maclean, 42, Wife, b. Stornoway
Catherine Maclean, 9, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Maryann Maclean, 7, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Alexander Duncan Maclean, 4, Scholar, Son, b. Stornoway
Flora Maclean, 3 months, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Mary Graham, 66, Head, 33 Keith St, b. Stornoway
Donald Nicolson, 42, Fisherman, Brother, b. Barvas
Angus Morrison, 43, Fisherman, Brother, b. Barvas
Norman Macdonald, 21, Fisherman, Brother, b. Barvas
Donald Macdonald, 28, Fisherman, Brother, b. Barvas
Our final list shows a return to the Spirit Dealing of 30 years previously. The Maciver family appear to have moved to the town from Uig at least three years earlier. I don’t know if Finlay Smith was Mary Maclean’s brother but it is interesting that one of the Uig-born Macivers had a Barvas-born brother.
On the subject of brothers, I would suggest that the four fishermen, with three different surnames, living at Mary Graham’s were not in fact all brothers of hers, unless she had a particularly convoluted family history!

In conclusion, I hope that this rather long list of those associated with 33 Keith Street during a forty-year period has served, as suggested at the start, as an illustration several aspects of Stornoway and its people.
Oh, and if anyone can tell me what became of number 33 and 33 ½/Back Court I would love to know because as far as I can tell they have disappeared!

Stornoway’s Only Other Millwright

Having looked at John Mclennan who was the Miller & Millwright at Stornoway Mill Stornoway Mill from 1851 until the mill burned down in 1890, I am now turning my attention to the second Millwright of Stornoway.

John Munro, 29, Millwright, Nursery, Bayhead St, b. Pittenweem, Rossshire
Ann Munro, 30, Wife, b. Faw(?), Sutherland
Betty Munro, 3, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Jane Munro, 2, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Jane Mcpherson, 16, House Servant, b. Harris

John Munro, 40, Millwright, South Beach Street, b. Parish of ?, Rossshire
Ann Munro, 44, Wife, b. Ray(?) County, Sutherland
Betsy Munro, 13, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Jane Munro, 11, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Jemima Munro, 9, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Alexanderina Munro, 7, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Johanna Munro, 2, Daughter, b. Stornoway

John Munro, 40, Millwright, Goathill Cottage and Farm House, b. Kitton, Ross-shire
Ann Munro, 50, Keeper at Dairy, Wife, b. Tongue, Sutherland
Jane Munro, 20, Assistant Dairy, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Alexanderia Munro, 16, Assists at Dairy, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Johanna Munro, 11, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway

John Munro, 59, Mill Wright, 18 South Beach St, b. Kiltearn, Ross-shire
Ann Munro, 60, Wife, b. Lairg, Sutherlandshire
Alexina Munro, 26, General Servant, b. Stornoway
Thomas Hardee, 31, Bank Accountant, Lodger, b. Glencoe, Argyllshire

The first question that arises has to be which Mill was John Munro associated with during this time? Stornoway only had the one grain mill and we know that John Mclennan was the Miller and Millwright there. However, the New Statistical Account informs us that the town also had a Carding Mill and a Saw Mill so perhaps it was at one, or even both, of these that Munro worked?

Looking at his addresses we see that in 1851 it was the Nursery, Bayhead, then South Beach Street in 1861, Goathill Cottage & Farm House in 1871 and finally 18 South Beach Street in 1881. Unfortunately this flitting around the town does nothing to aid us in identifying where these other two mills were located but perhaps they supply some clues although what follows is extremely tentative:

The ‘Nursery, Bayhead’ might refer to what later became ‘Nursery Cottage’, home to the Gardener & Forester in 1871? If so, I think it may place John Munro within the Castle grounds in 1851.
The move to South Beach Street could well reflect the need both for a larger house (the Munro’s had 4 daughters by then) and to remain within easy reach of the Castle grounds?
‘Goathill Cottage’ is clearly shown on the 1st Edition OS 1″ map of 1858 (as is the Mill on the Bayhead River which the later 6″ map helpfully identifies as a Corn mill) and the family’s move out of town and diversification into Dairy Farming is perhaps indicative that Millwrighting alone was insufficient to maintain them?
Finally, the return to South Beach Street by 1881 following, presumably, three of the daughters being married or working elsewhere, suggests that the Dairy Farm was probably insufficiently profitable to continue.

All things considered I think John Munro was probably more likely to have been associated with the Grain Mill at Gress Farm, or the later one at North Dell in Barvas, although in 1881 there was a Miller whose address ‘Miller’s House, Barvas Road, Stornoway’ which is yet another mystery to be solved!

In 1841 there were some 195 people living in Mill Street, Stornoway including one of the town’s seven Sawyers and six of the Parish’s Hand Loom Weavers, including almost all of those who were resident in the town itself. Is it possible that the single waterwheel was used to power all three of the mills, or was it the case that in-between the writing of the New Statistical Account in the 1833 and either the 1841 Census, or certainly by the time that the 1858 map was being surveyed, the other two mills had ceased to function?

If all three were powered by the one wheel then the catastrophe of 28th February 1890 would explain why, with the exception of John Mclennan who in 1891 stayed-on at Mill House, we see no further records of any Millwrights in the town?

Stornoway Mill & Millers

The earliest reference I have is in Pigot’s 1837 Directory where we are informed that ‘If we except two rope-works, a distillery and a corn-mill, Stornoway derives no prosperity from manufactures…‘ and that the Millwright was William Latta of Stornoway mill.

William Latta, 60, Miller, Mill St, b. Scotland
(Magaret Latta, 40, and a few servants are listed)

John Mclennan, 30, Miller & Millwright, Stornoway Mill, Mid Glen, b. Contin, Ross
Mary Maclennan, 40, Wife, b. Lochwinnoch, Renfrew
Margaret Latta, 50, Aunt, b. Lochwinnoch, Renfrew
Roderick Morrison, 58, Mill Servant, b. Stornoway
Margaret Morrison, 30, House Servant, b. Barvas

1861 I can find neither John Mclennan, nor anyone else, at Stornoway Mill!

John Mclennan, 49, Miller & Small Farmer, Mill House, b. Contin, Ross-shire
Mary Mclennan, 59, Wife, b. Lochwinnich, Renfrewshire
Mary Houston, 30, Housekeeper, Niece, b. Lochwinnoch
Ann Mcdonald, 12, Scholar, Niece, b. Contin, Ross-shire
Roderick Mckenzie, 31, Assistant Miller, b. Gairloch, Ross-shire
Donald Ross, 17, Farm Servant, b. Stornoway
William Mcdonald, 14, Cowherd, b. Stornoway
Barbara Kenzie, 26, General Servant, b. Stornoway

John Mclennan, 59, Meal Miller & Farmer (15 acres arable land), Mill House, b. Contin, Ross-shire
Mary Mclennan, Wife, b. Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire
Annie Macdonald, 23, Niece, b. Contin
Peggy Finlayson, 20, General Servant (Domestic), b. Stornoway
John Macdonald, 19, Ploughman, b. Stornoway
Murdo MacPhail, 14, Herdboy, b. Lochs

1890 – The Mill is destroyed by fire on the 28th February

John Maclennan, 70, Mill Wright & Farmer, Mill house, b. Contin
Mary Campbell, 78, Wife, b. Lochwinnoch
Mary Maclennan, 78, Wife, b. Lochwinnoch
Angus Maclean, 17, Farm Servant, b. Uig, Ross
Jessie Mackenzie, 30, Domestic Servant, b. Gairloch, Ross

(John Matheson, 39, Farmer, Mill House, b. Dingwall, Rossshire, his Wife and 4 children plus)
(John Maclennan, 80, Retired Miller, Uncle, b. Dingwall)

I think we can be confident that for at least the period 1851-1891 the Miller was John Mclennan from Contin, a Nephew of Margaret Latta, the Wife of our first Miller, William Latta. In retirement, John was still resident at the Mill House, the Head of the Household being his own Nephew, John Matheson from Dingwall.

More information on Stornoway Mill, including a project to restore the Waterwheel, can be seen here: