Some Englishmen (and Women) ‘Abroad’ in Harris

Here are those born in England and caught by the snapshot in time of each census.

I have listed the Householder in brackets to give an indication of each person’s situation but have not included full listings for these households for reasons of brevity.

Each decade is followed by brief observations:

1851
Harriet Black, 30, Assistant’s Wife, Scalpay
(Charles Black, 27, Assistant Lighthouse Keeper, b. Edinburgh)

Mary Maclennan, 40, Chelsea Pensioner’s Wife, Flodabay
(Neil Maclennan, 49, Chelsea Pensioner, b. Harris)

John Henry Short, 34, Inland Revenue Officer, Kentulavick
Sarah Short, 29, Inland Revenue Officer’s Wife

Richard H Watson, 32, Fish Merchant, Rodel
Henry G Watson, 12, Errand Boy, Nephew

Only half-a-dozen English-born but illuminating all the same: the Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife in Scalpay and that of a Chelsea Pensioner (who’s Military Record may be explored) in Flodabay, the Tax Man and family on the Sound of Harris and the fish Merchant just a couple of miles down the coast…

1861
Joseph Allan, 36, Butler, Little Borve
Ann Allan, 36, Butler’s Wife
Elizabeth, 14, Daughter
Susan, 10, Daughter
Mary, 5, Daughter

Alexander Bain, 44, Ship Agent, East Tarbert
(John Morrison, 21, Hotel Keeper, b. Harris)

George B Williamson, 34, Master Mariner Merchant Service, Finsbay
Sophia Lauren Williamson, 24, Wife
William Hudson Williamson, 1, Son
William Lambert, 18, Apprentice Seaman
John William Jefferson, 16, Apprentice Seaman

Mary Maclennan, 34, Wife, Flodabay
Jane, 20, Daughter
Catherine, 17, Daughter
William, 16, Son
(Neil Maclennan, 56, Cottar Pension, b. Harris)

Borve Lodge doesn’t surprise us in employing a Butler, and clearly he brought his family sometime after 1856 but I wonder what his three daughters made of their new surroundings by the beatiful beaches of the West Coast? Mr Bain was passing through and hence is found amongst the throng at the Hotel in Tarbert but what of the maritime Williamson’s of Finsbay – did they stay long or was this a fleeting visit? Nice to see our Chelsea Pensioner Neil still surviving in Flodabay but where in England was he, with his wife, when his children were born?

1871
Anne Braden, 47, House Maid, Avensrudh Castle
Mary E Eliot, 16, Visitor, Niece, Avensrudh Castle

Mary Maclennan, 60
Catherine, 25, Domestic Servant, Daughter
William, 23, Fisherman, Son

Jane Maclennan, 27, Wool Weaveress

The castles I have touched-upon before but the transcriptions are confusing and somewhat unhelpful. Sadly, Neil appears to have passed away but his family remain, presumably in Flodabay?
.
1881
Elizabeth Covell, 32, General Servant, Castle North Harris

Lucy Macaulay, 32, (Unemployed) Gamekeeper’s Wife, North Harris
Robert G Macaulay, 4 months, Son
(Murdo Macaulay, 66, Gamekeeper, b Harris – Lucy’s Father-in-Law)

John Stewart, 5, Son, Kentulavick
(James Stewart, 22, Physician and Surgeon, b Fortingal, Perthshire

A contrast appears here between those serving the North Harris Estate and one providing an altogether different kind of service to the people. Little Robert G Macaulay was born when his Father was working in England, where he probably met his wife Lucy, but now the baby is at his grandparents home in Harris. I wonder whether he followed in his forebears footsteps and also became a Gamekeeper? Down South, little John Stewart’s father, whose age is probably 32?, is a Physician and Surgeon but where, I wonder, did he carry out his observations and operations?

1891
Christina Macaulay, 16, Schoolmaster’s Daughter, Obb
(Peter Macaulay, 55, Schoolmaster, b. Perthshire)

Margaret Mckellar, 23, Hotel Keeper’s Daughter, No 2 East Tarbert
(Daniel Mckellar, 53, Hotel Keeper, b. Inverary, Argyll

John Stewart, 15, Scholar, No 15 West Tarbert
(James Stewart, 40, Physician and Surgeon, b. Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Sir John Carstairs McNeill, 60, Major-General Equerry to the Queen, aboard the Dunara Castle

Mr Macaulay who taught in Obb clearly travelled during his pedagogic career and I wonder whereabouts in England he was teaching in 1875 when Christina was born? Which hostelry did Daniel Mckellar serve when Margaret appeared in 1868? And where were James Stewart’s patients when John was born in 1876?

I have received information (for which I am extremely grateful), from a gentleman who is researching the history of Borve Lodge, telling me that Daniel Mackellar ‘was the proprietor of the Harris Hotel immediately prior to Tommy Cameron.’ It would appear, anecdotally, that Mr Mackellar was perhaps a precursor of the ‘Basil Fawlty’ school of hotel management.

These snapshots raise so many such questions, which is why I enjoy exploring them so much!

1901
Milne Lothian, 12, Scholar, Nephew, Obbe
(Jessie Macleod, 48, Nurse and Midwife, b. Harris)

Christina Mackenzie, 25, Housekeeper, Daughter
(Peter Macaulay, 66, Retired Teacher, b. Killin, Perth)

We met Jessie Macleod when I investigated the Midwives of Harris but her Nephew’s name intrigues me.
I may pursue him later.

We end with the Retired Schoolmaster Peter Macaulay, remaining in Harris with his married daughter keeping house for him, the final image from these little windows on the world of the English-born in Harris…

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Harris Merchants 1851 – 1901

A list of those appearing on the census returns followed by a few observation:

1851
Malcolm Macdonald, 66, Obe, Merchant and Innkeeper
Murdo Ferguson, 30, Obe, Farmer’s Son – Merchant
William Macrae, 60, Kentulavig, Rag Merchant
Richard Watson, 32, Rodel, Fish Merchant

Duncan Macrae, 27, Scarp, Merchant

Angus Macdonald, 50, Obe, Farmer and Formerly Merchant
Mary Macleod, 30, Leaclee, Retired Merchant

1861
Norman Macleod, 57, East Tarbert, Merchant (Grocer)
John Kerr, 54, East Tarbert, Merchant (Grocer)

Finlay Macelod, 28, Borve, Merchant
Donald Macelod, 54, Leackin, Egg Merchant
Malcolm Mackinnon,53, Leaclee, Merchant
John Macdonald, 60, Grosebay, Merchant
William Macrae, 16, Nisheshevee, Merchant

Alexander Macrae, 54, Kentulavig, General Merchant
Roderick Macdonald, 35, Obe, Merchant
William Ferrier, 29, Obe, Rag Merchant

Duncan Boyd, 25, Bernera, Merchant
Malclom Campbell, 27, Bernera, Merchant

1871
Angus Macleod, 40, Tarbert, Merchant
Donald Macleod, 26, Tarbert, Merchant
Malcolm Macleod, 62, House at Tarbert, Merchant
Roderick Mackay, 44, House at Tarbert, Merchant
James Macpherson, 47, House at Tarbert, Merchant
John Ferguson, 34, Tenants House, Merchant

Kenneth Maclennan, 35, Main Road at Harris, Merchant
Donald Macleod, 56, Ardasaigh, Merchant
Kenneth Campbell, 29, Scalpay, Merchant

Alexander Macdonald, 30, Kentulavig, Merchant
Roderick Macdonald, 43, Obe Shop, General Merchant
John Kerr, 40, Strond, Merchant
Malcolm Macsween, 37, Strond, Merchant

Kenneth Campbell, 29, Scarp, Merchant

1881
Norman Macleod, 44, Merchant-Grocer, East Tarbert 24, b. Harris
Roderick Ferguson, 22, Obbe, Merchant
Donald Kerr, 60, Strond, Merchant
John Kerr, 50, Strond, Merchant
Finlay Morrison, 24, Strond, Merchant
Alexander Paterson, 38, Strond, Merchant

1891
Murdo Mackinnon, 50, East Tarbert, Merchant
John Mackay, 48, East Tarbert, General Merchant
Malcolm Mackay, 25, East Tarbert, Merchant
Angus Macleod, 60, East Tarbert, General Merchant
Norman Macleod, 54, East Tarbert, Merchant (General)
Angus Macleod, 36, East Tarbert, General Merchant
Donald Macrae, 38, East Tarbert, Merchant
Robert Morrison, 35, East Tarbert, General Merchant and Joiner

Roderick Macleod, 40, 6 Direcleit, General Merchant
Norman Macinnes, 53, 2 High St, General Merchant
Donald Macaskill, 32, Ardasaigh, Merchant
John Macleod, 25, Ardasaigh, Merchant
Malcolm Campbell, 47, Caragrich, General Merchant
John Macleod, 30, Caragrich, General Merchant
Marion Fraser, 35, Colum, Merchant
Donald Macaskill, 39, Rushgarry, Merchant
Angus MacCuish, 21, Stromore, Merchant
Kenneth Maclennan, 52, Little Borve, Merchant
Ann Macleod, 55, Little Borve, Merchant
Angus Paterson, 45, Bernera, Merchant

Norman Macleod, 92, East Tarbert, Retired Merchant
Roderick Mackay, 60, East Tarbert, Retired Merchant

1901
Peter Macdonald, 29, N Harris, Merchant (gen)
John Macinnes, 35, N Harris, General Merchant
Murdo Mackinnon, 60, N Harris, Merchant (grocer)
Angus Macleod, 69, N Harris, Gen Merchant
Finlay Macleod, 32, N Harris, General Merchant
Angus Macleod, 25, N Harris, General Merchant
John McVicar, 36, N Harris, General Merchant
Christina Morrison, 49, N Harris, General Merchant
Kenneth Morrison, 31, N Harris, General Merchant

John Macaskill, 42, Ardasaigh, General Merchant
Angus Maccuish, 31, Cuidinish, Provision Merchant
John Macleod, 42, Caragrich, General Merchant
Kenneth Macdonal, 47, Drinishader, Merchant ‘General’
Ewan Macaskill, 33, Kyles Scalpay, General Merchant
Donald Macdonald, 36, Kyles Scalpay, General Merchant
Roderick,MacCuish 47, Leaclee, Crofter, Grocer and General Merchant
Norman Macleod, 64, Leackin, General Merchant
Neil Murray, 36, Leackin, General Merchant

John Mackay, 44, Obbe, Merchant

Kenneth Campbell, 60, Scalpay, Merchant Fishcurer
Angus Paterson, 56, Bernera, General Merchant
Christina Macaskill, 32, Bernera, General Merchant

John Macleod, 78, Carigrich, Retired Merchant
Malcolm Campbell, 57, Carragrich, Retired Merchant

Apart from the obvious explosion of merchants that occurs during these 50 years, we also can see the growth of  importance of Tarbert at the expense of the South coast’s earlier dominance.

This is accompanied by the rise of merchants dotted across the island’s settlements, perhaps reflecting the increasing importance of cash in the economy as well as demographic changes?

It is unfortunate that we have no clues as to any specialisations that may be hidden within the term ‘General Merchant’, particularly in the case of Tarbert/N Harris.