Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Obituary of Alexander John Kerr


The Late Mr Alexander J Kerr

On Tuesday of last week there passed away a
respected and familiar local figure in the
person of Mr Alexander J Kerr, Shipmaster,
Keith Street. Although he had been in failing
health for several weeks, he was out a few
days before his death, and the end came with
unexpected suddenness.
Sixty Seven years of age, he was one of the
few remaining links connecting us with the
time when in his youth the town of Stornoway
was of considerable importance as a shipping
port, and when a fine fleet of sailing ships
registered here, and belonging to enterprising
local owners, carried on an extensive trader with
Archangel and the Baltic ports; ln those ships
Mr Kerr had his first seagoing experience
having, at the age of 14, joined the "Alliance"
on a voyage to Archangel under Captain
Macpherson. He continued in the same service
under Captain John Smith, in the "Africa", and
in the brig "Supply", with Captain Murdo
Morrison - names of ships and men well known
to all old Stornowegians.
After several years' sailing in foreign parts on
the "Gleniffer" of Glasgow he joined his
father, the late Mr Malcolm Kerr, in the
coasting trade off the West Coast of Scotland
which he continued to work on this own
account after his father's death. There was no
one better known than Mr Kerr in the
different places of call between the Mersey
and Cape Wrath, and no craft more readily
recognised than the "Jessie," the "Crest", and
the "Lady Louisa Kerr"; which he owned and
sailed in succession. But as with the larger
windjammers that had to yield the ocean trade
to the modern steamer, so also with the small
coasting vessels. The competition of steam
has rendered them unprofitable, and the
picturesque sailing coaster has been almost
completely squeezed out of existence.
For some years Mr Kerr had worked on shore
in the employ of Mr Murdo Maclean, shipping
agent, where he was available as pilot for
steamers proceeding south to Clyde, Mersey
and Irish ports. His unique knowledge of the
West Coast peculiarly fitted him for this
service, and among mariners he had the
reputation of being one of the most skillful
and careful of pilots.
Of a very quiet disposition, he was a respected
citizen of his native town, and the esteem in
which he was held was marked by the very
large number who turned. out in wet and
disagreeable weather to his funeral on
Thursday when he was interred in Sandwick

Stornoway Gazette, October 1922

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