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

Friday, 12 February 2010

A Stornoway Wedding...

A Stornoway Wedding

The year is 1883 and on the 22nd March the marriage takes place at 9 Lewis Street (now home to Stornoway Sheriff Clerk) of 25 year-old Domestic Servant Margaret (Peggy) McArthur and 27 year-old Seaman Alexander John Kerr of 28 Bayhead, Stornoway.

Originally from Cro Mor, Lochs, the MacArthur family of the retired Fisherman Donald and his wife Mary (MacLeod), are all living at the home of their son, Alexander, who is a General Merchant in Stornoway.

This, briefly, is his story:

Born in Cro Mor in 1854, Alexander was the eldest of four children.

In 1861, Alexander, his sister Peggy and their parents were living in Cro Mor but a decade later he had left to seek his fortune in Stornoway and Malcolm, aged 3, and 6-month old Annabella had completed the family who were now in Entresgein(sp?) in Stornoway.

The teenager Alexander began his merchandising career in as an Apprentice Shopkeeper to Hector Ross of 47 Cromwell Street (now the Bank of Scotland) where he was part of the household in 1871.

Tragedy struck on the 4th October 1872 when 2 year-old Annabella succumbed to a 3-month illness.
Alexander, who spoke and wrote English, was the informant.

A decade later, 27 year-old Alexander and his wife Isabella had established themselves in 9 Lewis Street with his retired parents and his 12 year-old brother Malcolm.

By 1891, the family, including 5 children, have moved to 64 Lewis Street along with Alexander's brother Malcolm and the Donalds Maclean & Mciver, all 3 of whom are Salesman. A General domestic Servant, Christina Macleod, completes the household.

The new Century finds Alexander's family, including 8 of their children, still residing at 64 Lewis Street along with his now tailoring brother Malcolm, Domestic Servant Christina and a 'Nurse Domestic'.

Alexander MacArthur, General Merchant, died on the 14th July 1912 at 48 Lewis Street, Stornoway. He was 56 years old. The cause was Disseminated Sclerosis, which we know today by the more frequently used term Multiple Sclerosis.

He was thus spared what befell his youngest son 4 years later:


Last address in Lewis: 48 Lewis Street, Stornoway
Son of Isabella Macarthur, of 48, Lewis St., Stornoway, Ross-shire, and the late Alexander Macarthur.
Service unit: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS Defence
Service number: Clyde Z/3622
Date of death: 31 May 1916 at the age of 26
Lost at the Battle of Jutland.
Memorial: Portsmouth Naval, panel 24,
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial
Came from ranching in USA to do his bit. Transferred from RND to RN after 6 months' training.

Source: http://facesmemorial.blogspot.com/2007/07/stornoway-steornabhagh.html

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