What follows are extracts from notes made by my cousin, Mary Macaulay (MS Morrison), on information she was given ‘by the peat fire’ in 43A Newmarket, Lewis in 1979:
An Taillear Ruadh (the red-haired tailor) was Donald Montgomery from Leurbost.
Explains the colour of my beard (when I had one and before it got ‘bleached’!).
He was paid 1s 6d (8p) for a suit. Apparently is was 1s for the jacket and 6d for the trousers.
He married Annie Murray of Atholl Cottage, Laxdale (later called Roanoke) and settled in 43 Newmarket Laxdale. Donald lived from 1824-1902 and Annie from 1830-1914.
She had a wee shop and was wet-nurse to the children of the Provost of Stornoway.
I have been unable to identify who was ‘Provost’ at this time?
Their family was Allan, Alec (these two built the Carloway Bridges), Norman (my great grandfather)...who had a son John went abroad, inventor had an avenue called after him.
This was John Murdo Montgomery, born 1877, but where he went and what he invented is unknown to me.
I have already written of the two Masons: Carloway Bridges
A great grandson of Donald Montgomery, James Phair, had his own half a million pound factory in Florida for the manufacture of outdoor electric lighting. He was consultant for the lighting of Niagra Falls.
Another of his great grandson’s was my Dad, a fact I mention purely because I am prone to get lost in the tangled web of my ancestry!
Mary, who I met in Bragar on my first island excursion in 2007, has written this authoritative piece on the Whale Bone Arch at Bragar, which her father Murdo Morrison, the Postmaster, created:
Bragar Whale Bone Arch
She also made an episode of ‘Taisdealach’ for BBC Alba, but unfortunately it is not available on iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hww4n
Note: Thanks are due to my cousin Dorothy, for furnishing me with Mary’s notes, and to Donald (Dorothy’s brother), for giving me a whistle-stop tour of Lewis, but, most of all, to Mary herself.