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, 19 September 2010

Uncle Angus Martin

According to the Croft History, another distant uncle, Angus Martin (1810-1896) married Rachel Macaulay from Tolmachan and the couple lived in Tarbert. But we can do better than that!:

In 1841, Angus and his younger brother John (who has proved difficult to find in later records) were living with their parents, Neil Martin and Ann Macdonald at No 6 Direcleit. A decade later finds the 42 year-old Road Labourer lodging at the home of Rachel Campbell and her four children aged from 5 to 12. Rachel is described as being a Pauper, her Fisherman husband Alex Campbell presumably having perished.

However, when we next see them, in 1861, not only have Angus and Rachel married, producing two more offspring aged 10 (!) and 5, but Angus has put-away his road-making equipment and replaced it with the tools of tailoring. It seems entirely reasonable to believe that his brother-in-law, John the Tailor would have played a role in this conversion.

Intriguingly, a decade later the couple are living at the Tarbert Hotel and Rachel is described as a midwife, which role she continues to perform in 1881 when they were at West Tarbert 46, in 1891 from No. 9 West Tarbert and in 1901 when the widow is living at 'No. 20'.

I think there is something quite heartening in this little tale of a man (presumably lodging with a widow whilst engaged upon the road-making that took place as a means of alleviating unemployment at the time) who then takes-up a new skill and gives hope not only to himself but also to a poor widow and her family, she then giving many years of service to the community as a midwife.

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