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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Midwives of Harris



I wasn’t expecting to find too many Midwives in the censuses but I was very surprised when only six individual women appeared in them.

Of course, it is possible that several others are missing due to non-reporting, but that would raise the question as to why these particular ladies chose to be recorded?

1841 (none discovered)

1851
Catherine Mackay, 70, Kendulavick, Mid Wife & Weaveress, husband and daughter
Christian Morrison, 62, Kyles Stockinish, husband and unmarried daughter.

1861 (none discovered)

1871
Rachel Martin, 53, Tarbert Hotel, husband Angus (a tailor), 2 daughters and a visiting weaveress

1881
Christina Kerr, 56, Little Borve, Son-in-law (retired grocer), 1 month-old grandchild, & others
Flora Martin, 74, Scalpay, Mid Wife, husband’s daughter-in-law with her two children
Rachel Martin, 62, West Tarbert, husband Angus and 14 year-old ‘stepson’, more likely grandchild

1891
Effie Campbell, 70, Scaristavore, Son-in-law (Road Foreman), 10 grandchildren
Rachel Martin, 70, West Tarbert with husband Angus

1901
Rachel Martin, 80, North Harris, Mid Wife and her granddaughter

Two of these midwives are already ‘known’ to me:

Christina Kerr (M.S. Maclennan) and her husband, Roderick Kerr, a Joiner, were the parents of John Kerr, the Minister at Scarista perhaps better known as ‘Ayatollah Kerr’ in ‘Crowdie & Cream’.
The family appear to have been resident in Little Borve from at least 1861.

Rachel Martin’s husband, Angus Martin from Direcleit, was my ‘3rd great granduncle’.
In 1861 the family were in East Tarbert. The 5 children included 3 from Rachel’s first marriage.