Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Family Tragedy

David Wood Leslie was born on 8 December 1910, at Wemyss, near Buckhaven, Fife, Scotland. His parents were Patrick and Margaret Leslie (née Wood), who were originally from Larkhall in Lanarkshire. 

The Leslie family returned to Larkhall soon after, so it was here where David grew up. In the late 1920s however, the family moved to Twechar; a small mining village in Dunbartonshire.

When David was 22-years-old he married Rachel Hickie Burns, a local girl from Twechar, at the Roman Catholic church in nearby Croy. 

On 21 February 1937 the Leslies had a baby girl, whom they named Rachel. Sadly, tragedy struck soon after.

There was a write-up in the Kirkintilloch Gazette a week later, which went into further detail as to what happened on that tragic day. 




A tragic occurence took place at Twechar on Friday nightm resulting in fatal injuries to Rachel Leslie, the six weeks old daughter of David Leslie, miner, who had been living in lodgings at Burnbrae. The house is an upstairs one. Mrs Leslie had the little girl in a perambulator, intending to go out. There are a number of inside steps, then a landing, with other eight steps to the ground level. On reaching the landing, Mrs Leslie left the pram to return to the house, and in her absence the pram had moved and gone over the edge of the landing and down the eight steps. The infant was thrown out. It was found to be seriously injured. The child was taken to Yorkhill Hospital, where it was found to be suffering from a fracture of the skull. The infant succumbed on Saturday.

On 4 May 1937, only three days after her death, Rachel was laid to rest in the family lair at Larkhall Cemetery. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Good Samaritan

At St Andrew's Methodist church in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, there is a curious stained glass window.

The window depicts the tale of the Good Samaritan of Biblical fame, who is known for his sympathy, compassion and kindness.

The window at Newbiggin is special to me, as it is in fact my great-great-grandfather, Adam Storey, who is depicted as the Good Samaritan. 

The window is dedicated to both Adam Storey and Jane Mavin, his wife, who were "Most Ardent Members Of This Church."

If you look into the face of the Good Samaritan, you will be able to see Adam's kindly face looking back. The glass worker must have been incredibly skilled.

I'm very touched by the symbolism of the window. The church must have believed Adam shared the same qualities as the Good Samaritan.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Widow of Edward Carlin - Update

Back in April I wrote about Janet McComb or Carlin, the younger sister of my 3x great-grandmother, Jane (or Jean) McComb. Their parents were James and Ruth McComb (née Duggan), who were Irish migrants.

In my blog post in April I detailed the sad married life of Janet. She birthed three boys who all died in early infancy, and was widowed early. With nothing left, Janet shortly followed her babies and husband to the grave, almost like she willed herself to die.

Janet's death certificate describes her as a pauper, resident in the Govan Poorhouse at the time of her death. Her death was caused by phthisis (tuberculosis).

Janet's death certificate.

Now, with thanks to my good friend (and distant cousin!) Matt Reay, I am better able to understand Janet's final days. I now know that shortly before her death, Janet applied for Poor Relief. Matt visited the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and was very kind to transcribe the application for me. It reads as follows;


Name: Janet McCoombe or Carlin.
Residence: 15 Cleland Street, low.
Application date: 13 March 1877 11.30am.
Religion: Prot. (Protestant)
Status: Widow.
Trade: Washing and cleaning.

She is listed as being wholly disabled with no earnings besides relief.

Any family living at residence? None.
Any family living elsewhere? None.

Husband: Edward Dickie Carter (Error)

Report by Assistant Inspector Robert Davie who visited the property 14 March 1877 at 1pm:

She is aged 33 years, born at Blackfaulds, Rutherglen. Prot. She is the daughter of James McCoombe, miner, and Ruth Dougan, both dead. Her husband Edward Carlin, carter, born in Thistle Street, son of Thomas Carlin, carter, dead, & Jean Turner who is living at 34 Thistle Street, died at Thistle Street five years ago.
No family.

In present house: 5 months.
34 South Wellington Street: 3yrs 6mos.
327 Crown Street: 1yr.
34 Thistle Street: 6mos.

She is a washer certified unfit from bronchitis and fit for removal. Application is made for her admission Poorhouse having no home. - Govan Combination.

The decision of the committee: 20 March 1877 - PH (Poorhouse) Requiring treatment.

Applicant died PH 7 April '77


Poor Janet. What a life. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Brown Forebears

Elizabeth Brown was born in 1848 at Widdrington, Northumberland, the eldest daughter of Robert and Isabel Brown (née Joisce). The Brown men were all farmers, but Robert spent sometime as the Widdrington baker. 

Elizabeth's baptism at Widdrington.

When Elizabeth was around the age of 21, she gave birth out of wedlock, to a baby girl named Alice. I don't think I will ever discover the identity of the father. Alice was certainly accepted by the wider family, as she was raised in the house of her grandparents. Interestingly, there was another granddaughter who lived in the household of Robert and Isabel Brown. Her name was Margaret who was born in around 1874. It could be that Elizabeth had another illegitimate daughter. 

Robert Brown died on Christmas Day 1881, and was buried with his parents in the family grave at Widdrington. Illegitimate Alice Brown was also laid to rest in the plot in 1884, when she died unexpectedly. 

Elizabeth Brown married James Bell at Morpeth in September 1876. James was a coal miner, born in New Hartley. Their child, Robert, was born the following year. 

In around the mid-1890s, James Bell became a greengrocer in Ulgham, close to Widdrington. He also found work as a rabbit catcher. Robert Bell was truly his father's son, as he also worked as a gardener and rabbit catcher. 

The Brown lineage.
Jane Mavin was my great-great-grandmother.

Elizabeth Brown was the second cousin of my great-great-grandmother, Jane Mavin. Jane was born in 1853 at Widdrington, so likely grew up knowing Elizabeth and her family. Their common ancestors were their great-grandparents, Anthony Brown and Margaret Marshall, a couple who raised their family in the small hamlet of Druridge, in the parish of Widdrington. 

Elizabeth Brown died in February 1938, a few weeks short of her 90th birthday. A rather unique obituary appeared in the Morpeth Herald in the week following her death. It read as follows;


Living in a district where changes are continually taking place there are not many individuals who may claim that their family has resided in one particular area for upwards of five centuries. Yet this unique record was revealed at the funeral of Mrs. Elizabeth Bell, who passed away on Sunday, at the residence of her brother, "Hillcroft," within six or seven weeks of her 90th birthday. A member of the Brown family, particulars of their forefathers are traceable in Widdrington parish records for almost 500 years, and many an interesting account of old customs and practices were recounted by the deceased lady as her friends gathered round a homely fireside on a winter's night. A search into the past a few years ago revealed the fact that one of her forebears had reached the age of 89, and her one wish was to live until April of this year when she herself would establish a record for longevity for the Brown family.
The interment took place in Ulgham Churchyard on Wednesday afternoon, the service being conducted by the Rev. L. Tirrell, vicar of Ulgham. ..."

I so wish I could have sat at the fireside as Elizabeth spoke of the bygone customs and our shared family. I certainly have some research to do it in the wake of this find. I have no where near 500 years of Brown history!