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

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Inn at Tarbert

I have previously examined Inn at An-t-Ob and the Harris Hotel and now turn my attention to the Inn at Tarbert as marked on the 1857 Chart of East Loch Tarbert.
This zoomed view shows the Inn clearly in the space that, by 1865, was occupied by the newly-built Harris Hotel.
The chart also appears to identify the school of 1851 as the squat single-storey building shown in the centre of this Streetview image. but I have not seen any reference supporting this assertion and would welcome any additional information. The long building on the left, between the 'school' and the Harris Hotel, is also shown on the chart but is not identified. Again, any further information would be most welcome!

To return to the Inn, we have two sets of census records listing its residents:

1851 Tarbert Inn
Malcolm MacAnby (Macaulay?), 42, Inn Keeper and Crofter (Employing 5 men), b. Harris
Margaret, 37, Wife, b. Fortingall, Perth
Peter, 10, Scholar at Home, Son, b. Harris
Marion A, 8, Scholar at Home, Daughter, b. Harris
Jessie M, 6, Scholar at Home, Daughter, b. Harris
Bessie M, 4, Scholar at Home, Daughter, b. Harris
Catherine, 2, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Frederick J MacAnby, 8, Scholar, Nephew, b. Lochs
John Macdougal, 35, Free Church Student, Brother-in-Law, b. Fortingall, Perth
Ann Macdougal, 22, House Keeper, Sister-in-Law, b. Harris
Emmeline E Maxwell, 22, Teacher, Cousin, b. Edinburgh
Murdoch Morrison, 18, Waiter, Servant, b. Harris
Catherine Macleod, 23, House Servant, b. Harris
Murdoch Macdonald, 29, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Norman Macleod, 24, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Angus Mackillop, 18, Herd, Servant, b. Harris
Donald Macdermid, 17, Road Labourer, Lodger, b. Harris
John Macphail, 48, Seaman, Lodger, b. North Shields, Northumberland
Catherine Macphail, 41, Seaman's Wife, Lodger, b. Greenock, Renfrew
Elizabeth Fordeson, 6, Seaman's Daughter, Lodger, b. Greenock, Renfrew

I am almost reaching the point where a familiar name appears in a different context and I'm thinking, 'Oh, that's so-and-so who's the thingamabob from where-do-you-call-it and is such-and-such's relative...' and that is the case with some of the folk in Tarbert Inn.
The teacher Emmeline E Maxwell appears here but I am now wondering if she was teaching the children of the innkeeper rather than at the school down the road? Angus Mackillop the 'Herd' was one of those I did not itemise here because I was uncertain if he was dealing with cattle but he was certainly one of the three agricultural employees that the Inn required. Of the four folk lodging at the hostelry, we recognise Donald Macdermid as one of the roadworkers building the road to Stornoway that was completed three years later but I appear to have missed John Macphail off this earlier list Englishmen and women 'abroad' in Harris.

1861 East Tarbert
John Morrison, 21, Inn Keeper, b. Harris
Betsy, 24, Waiter, Sister, b. Harris
Alexander, 19, Assistant, Brother, b. Harris
Kennethina, 10, Scholar, Sister, b. Harris
Murdo Macdonald, 38, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
John Mclellan, 24, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Isabella Frazer, 29, Domestic Servant, b. Kintail
William Ferrier, 31, Pedlar, Traveller, b. Ireland
Alexander Bain, 44, Ship Agent, Traveller, b. England
James Shearer, 45, Ship builder, Traveller, b. Dunoon, Ayrshire
Effy Morrison, 20, Domestic Servant, Traveller, b. Uig, Rossshire
Donald Clark, 24, Domestic Servant, Traveller, b. Uig, Rossshire

I presume that the 'Ag Lab' Murdo Macdonald is the same man (Murdoch Macdonald) from ten years earlier but if so he is the only constant from that earlier time. The Morrison family are running the inn and amongst their five guests are Alexander Bain who did make the list Englishmen and women 'abroad' but, because he wasn't from the island, the Ship Builder Shearer is not in my list of Harris Boat Builders .

I think these two households are quite revealing and I am always particularly interested to note those staying at an inn or a hotel as they provide insight into another element of the past; but in fact the thing that is most intriguing me is whether I have correctly identified the school building in Tarbert from1857, for that is where many of my relatives would have trudged the two-miles to each day from Direcleit and that, for me, is rather a nice thought...

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