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, 26 November 2010

Scandal at Scarista!

I was poking around in the National Archives of Scotland when I stumbled upon this unusual episode from Harris history:

On the 26th of April 1856, Allan Silver, a 35 year-old Plasterer living in Kintulavig, Harris, was tried
' for the crime of bigamy at the Manse, Harris, Scarista, Harris, Inverness-shire'.

He was the 'married, lawful husband of Catherine Fraser or Silver, servant to Catherine Mackintosh or Rose, widow, Nessbank, Inverness' and his victims were her and Ann MacLean, whom he was now 'bigamously married to' but who had returned to live with her father, a Tailor called Norman MacLean.

Allan Silver was found Guilty 'in terms of his own confession' and sentenced to 2 years in the General Prison at Perth.

What surprised me, though, was that in 1861 there was a 24 year-old Dress Maker living with her father Norman MacLean the Tailor in Strond. Her name was Ann Silver and with her were 4 year-old Duncan Silver and his 2 year-old brother, Walter Silver...

A decade later Ann had reverted to her original name of MacLean but the two boys, ages 15 and 12, kept their father's name, under which we find Walter Silver in 1901 proudly proclaiming that he was born in 'Obe, Harris', whilst now working as a 'Shipyard Plater's Helper' in Greenock.

Refs: AD14/56/150 & JC26/1856/8 held at http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/

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