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

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Harris Roadwork(er)s




A list of those appearing on the census records, arranged alphabetically by location:

1841
Norman Mackenzie, Airdhang, Road Constructor

1851
John Macleod, 29, Ardhasaig, Road Labourer
Roderick Mackinnon, 18, Cluer, Road Labourer
Alexander Mackinnon, 14, Cluer, Road Labourer
Murdo Macdonald, 20, Cluer, Road Labourer
Murdo Maclellan, 30, Cluer, Road Labourer
Neil Maclellan, 48, Cluer, Road Labourer
Donald Macullip, 20, Cuidinish, Road Labourer
Alexander Macullip, 20, Cuidinish, Road Labourer
Donald Macleod, 21, Direcleit, Road Labourer
Angus Campbell, 20, Direcleit, Road Labourer, Visitor
Ewan Maclellan, 17, Direcleit, Road Labourer, Lodger
Roderick Mackinnon, 55, Flodabay, Road Labourer
Peter Macaskill, 20, Kyles Scalpay, Road Labourer
William Mackinnon, 18, Leaclee, Road Labourer
Donald Mackinnon, 18, Leaclee, Road Labourer
Norman Macleod, 22, Leaclee, Road Labourer
Neil Macleod, 19, Leaclee, Road Labourer
John Morrison, 37, Manish, Road Overseer
Peter Macdonald, 24, Meavag, Road Labourer
Angus Macdonald, 17, Sradabay, Road Labourer
Murdo Macauly, 15, Scradaby, Road Labourer
Alex Grant, 37, Tarbert, Road Contractor, Lodger
Donald Macdermid, 17, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
John Macdonald, 50, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Angus Macdonald, 25, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
John Macdonald, 20, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
Norman Macaskill, 20, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Donald Mackay, 20, Tarbert, Road Labourer
John Mackay, 30, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
Norman Macleod, 50, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
Donald Macleod, 45, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Finlay Macleod, 20, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Angus Macleod, 19, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Angus Martin, 42, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
Donald Mackinnon, 20, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Kenneth Morrison, 48, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Allan Morrison, 37, Tarbert, Road Labourer
Allan Morrison, 23, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
Duncan Morrison, 19, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
Angus Morrison, 17, Tarbert, Road Labourer
John Paterson, 30, Tarbert, Road Labourer, Lodger
William Fraser, 20, Urgha, Road Labourer

1861 (none discovered)

1871
Norman Mackenzie, 80, House at Carragrich, Road Contractor
Roderick Ross, 48, Geocrab, Road Contractor

1881
Donald Mackenzie, 55, Carragray, Road Contractor
Murdo Mackenzie, 40, Carragray, Road Contractor

1891
Donald Maclennan, 45, Scaristavore, Road Foreman

1901
Donald Kerr, 38, Bernera, Road Labourer (b.Strond)
Macdonald, 52, Kintulivig, Road Contractor

The 1851 Census was taken on the night of 30th/31st March.
Quite why it records such a vast population of road workers, including no less than 20 living in Tarbert, is explaine by this:

Construction of the road from Stornoway to Harris, through the parish of lochs, began in 1830. It was eventually completed in 1854, and though it was a road only in the vaguest sense of the word...



Ref: http://www.witpg.org.uk/articles3.htm

My suspicion is that the census happened to take place at a period of unusually vigorous roadworks and the proportion of those listed as lodgers lends credence to this suggestion.

If I am correct, then travellers in Harris that Spring were probably a tad more sympathetic at being inconvenienced by the roadworks they encountered than would be the case today for these were connecting communities with proper, passable, paths perhaps for the very first time.

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