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, 16 October 2011

Lexy Morrison (1834-1921) & Lexy Campbell (1908-1994)

I don’t know why I’d not looked at Lexy Kerr’s Death Certificate before now, but I hadn’t...

She was born in South Uist to Donald Morrison (who would later become the schoolmaster at Kyles Scalpay,) and his wife Christina MacKinnon.

By 1861, Lexy Morrison had joined the household of the Factor, John Robertson Macdonald, at Rodil House where she was the House Maid. It was there that she met the then Ploughman, Angus Kerr, whom she married on the 5th of April 1870 and the census of the following year records the couple living in Rodel where Angus was now the Farm Grieve, or manager.

Their daughter Marion, an only child, was born in Rodel in 1873 and the family remained there with Marion marrying a farmer called John Campbell.  John’s  father, Roderick Campbell, had been farming Borve in the island of Berneray prior to it being re-crofted but the pair were also successful Fish Curers in South Harris.

John then became the farmer on Taransay and Marion was to give birth to two daughter and three sons the eldest of whom, Roderick Campbell, continued to farm on the island after his father’s death in 1945, some 11 years after Marion herself had died.

Marion’s mother, Lexy, had been widowed in 1910 and I had assumed that she remained in Rodel (where she is recorded living alone in 1911) until her own death 11 years later.
However, her death certificate informs us that, on the 29th of October 1921 at 7:30 in the morning, she passed away at ‘Tarinsay Island’.

I presume that at some time during the second decade of the twentieth century, Marion had invited her elderly mother to join the Campbell family on Taransay and hence that was where Lexy died.
The informant, incidentally, was Malcolm Campbell, described as a ‘neighbour’ in Borve, Harris but he is also very likely to have been one of her son-in-law’s relatives.

Half-a-century after Lexy’s death her grand-daughter Lexy Campbell, (who had married but remained at Taransay) had some visitors and in his book ‘The Isle of Taransay’, Bill Lawson refers to how hospitable she and her husband Ewen MacRae were as hosts.

Lexy had been born at Taransay on the 4th of September 1908 and died on the Harris ‘mainland’ in 1994. She would have been only 17 months old when her grandfather, Angus Kerr, died at Rodel on the 27th of February 1910 but I’d like to think that at least a little of her hospitality had been inherited from him and, of course, from her grandmother Lexy after whom she was, presumably, named.

It seems that my two cousins, Lexy Campbell and her son Ewen MacRae, were the last permanent residents of Taransay but what is unclear to me is whether another cousin (one of Lexy's brothers) had owned the island at some earlier time?

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