Descendants of Charles Stewart of Atholl

 

The Stewart branch of the family probably originated in Blair Atholl , Perthshire. The earliest evidence appears as late as 1811. This is a marriage entry in the Blair Atholl and Strowan Old Parochial Register showing that John Stewart married Margaret MacGlashan on 17 November. There was a similar entry in the Dull OPR. Dull was the parish on the west bank of the River Garry and the entry may reflect the fact that Margaret lived, and probably worked, at the large house called Shierglass.

John was 'in Glaicnacaisardoch' (the Gaelic means hollow, stream, high), a homestead that is not shown on the maps of the period but is thought to have been in the vicinity of Glaicneed, just south of the river near present-day Balnastewardoch.

 

The entries do not give the names of the couple’s parents. However, Margaret’s birthplace was given as Midlothian in the 1861 Census for Blair Atholl. An IGI entry confirms that she was born on 16 June 1782 to Peter MacGlashan and Isabell Robertson at Canongate, Edinburgh. Peter was a Flax Dresser, one who prepared flax yarn for the spinning machine. He married Isabell on 13 August 1775. The Edinburgh Marriage Register gives the church as Lady Yester’s, in High Wynd.

 

John Stewart’s father and mother are revealed in his death certificate dated 19 September 1855. If his age at death - 66 - is to be believed, he was born in 1789 to Charles Stewart and Janet Campbell at Craggan, a cottage likely to have been on the Lude estate near Blair Atholl . Unfortunately, there are no records, among the many John Stewarts born at the time, which confirm his birth. Nor are there any records of his parents’ marriage, or even of their births.

 

Margaret - she was known as Kate - lived in Dunkeld for a time, giving birth there to four children.

 

John Stewart’s children

Charles (b 1813) survived to found a line that took the Stewarts to America. He was a Mason, like his father. By 1846, he had made his way to Auchterarder, along with his brother John. While there, he married Janet Stewart but shortly afterwards set up home in Perth. He died there in 1889. He had two boys and 3 girls, one of whom - Margaret - married a Joiner called Finlay McColl and moved to Kelvinside, Glasgow, starting a lineage that ended up in Victoria, British Columbia.

 

Ann, born in 1815 in Dunkeld, only lived for a year.

 

Twins came next, born in 1816 in Dunkeld, but only survived for a day.

 

There are no records for the last three births in the Old Parish Registers:

Isabella was born in Blair Atholl around 1819.

 

John was born around 1821.

 

Ann was born around 1824. She was recorded in Ballentoual in 1841, but disappears from the record thereafter.

 

John Stewart

John Stewart (b 1821), being a Journeyman Mason, may have moved around the county in search of work. This may explain why he is recorded as only having taken up residence in Ballentoual, a village just across the River Tilt from Blair Atholl, in 1835. The family was living there in 1841, next door to a 24 year old Tailor called Charles Gray. Two years later, Charles married Isabella Stewart (b 1819) and the pair lived at his tailor’s business in Blair Atholl, producing 6 children.

 

He married Jane McAinsh in Auchterarder in 1847. Jane was born around 1826 in Fowlis Wester, the third daughter of Alexander McAinsh and Isabella Maxton. Alexander came from a line of village Shoemakers, while Isabella came from Dollar, Clackmannanshire. The family had probably moved to Perth by 1848 - all 6 children were born there.

John Stewart died in 1883, while Jane survived until 1894.

 

John Stewart’s children

Isabella, born in 1848, has not been positively identified in the 1871 and 1881 census records. It seems certain that, like many a poor Scottish girl, she headed for London in the late 1860s to look for work in service. In January 1881, while living in Chelsea, she had a son called Russell Stewart Sime. The father, William Sime, a Carpenter, hung around long enough for the baptism of the child in March but probably vanished soon afterwards. By 1888, mother and child had returned to Perth, where Isabella married David Kemp, a Carter, in a Free Church ceremony. When her mother died in 1894, Isabella and David became Russell Sime's adoptive parents. When he married Isabella Smeaton in 1909, Russell was an Ironmoulder, described as the son of Isabella Kemp. After 1909 the Kemps went to live in Ochtertyre, where David was an estate worker. Isabella died there in 1920.

 

Jane, born in 1851, died of TB in 1870.

 

John was born in 1854 in Perth.

 

Maria, born in 1856 had the unusual middle name of Hannon. She was a Silk Finisher who married a Postman called William Reid at a Temperance hotel in Perth in 1891. She underestimated her age by 6 years on the marriage entry! She died in Perth in 1927.

 

Alexander McAinsh was one of the few members of the family to make good. Born in 1859, he started as a Message Boy, then a Letter Carrier, eventually becoming an Assistant Inspector of Postmen in Perth. He married Isabella McGregor in 1894 and had two children, Jane and Alexander. He died of a stomach ulcer in 1908.

 

Jessie, born in 1865 married John Nairn in 1885 and had 2 children in Perth, before vanishing from these shores. She appeared in St. Stephen's Green West, Dublin in 1911 with her surviving daughter, Jeannie.

 

John and Jane had a seventh son, the adopted Russell Sime. It is not known when or why he came to Perth, but he was born in 1881 in London, the son of William Sime, a Joiner. After Jane’s death, he moved in with his step-sister Isabella, who was living with her sister Maria in Kinnoull Street, Perth. By the time of his marriage to Isabella Smeaton in 1909, he was an Ironmoulder, described as the son of Isabella Kemp.

 

John Stewart

John was born in 1854, the year before his father’s death. He was a quarrelsome man and, judging by his wedding photograph (which no longer exists), a tall (6ft), severe and ugly one with staring eyes, a squint and big feet. He was a drinking man who was not much liked by his children. He had a range of occupations listed in the various censuses, from Despatch Clerk to Timekeeper and Furniture Salesman. He probably began working for the Scottish Cooperative Society in Perth, transferring first to Dundee, where he married Elisabeth Inches in 1876, then to Edinburgh and finally to Glasgow as a manager in the Drapery Department. The couple had 10 children, 5 girls and 5 boys. His drinking seems to have led to his demotion and eventual dismissal from the Coop.

He died in 1912 in an asylum of ‘General Paralysis of the Insane’.

 

John Stewart’s children

Elizabeth Maxton Stewart, born in Dundee in 1877, took her middle name from her great grandmother on the McAinsh side. She also went into the Coop (she remained unmarried) and became their first female buyer (in gloves).

She died in Glasgow in 1959.

 

Georgina Stewart was born in Edinburgh in 1879. She appears as George (M) on her birth certificate, suggesting a slight error of classification. She married a butcher called James Johnston in 1900 and had 3 girls. She died in Glasgow in 1966.

 

John Inches Stewart was born in 1881 in Glasgow. He started his working life as a Mason, after his grandfather. He signed up with the Royal Horse & Field Artillery in 1899 and was sent to fight in the Second Boer War in 1901 and 1902. He drove the horses that pulled the great artillery pieces to the front. On his return to Glasgow, he was promoted to Corporal and trained as a Bombardier. According to family recollection, he contracted some kind of disease in South Africa. This may have had a grain of truth – he died of skin cancer in Glasgow in 1913. He never married.

 

Alexander McAinsh Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1884. He trained on Clydeside as a Ship’s Upholsterer and went to Liverpool to look for work. He may have been in a reserved occupation that saved him from being called up. Instead, he married his landlord’s daughter Dorothy Allen in 1918 and raised 3 girls and 2 boys. One, Margaret, emigrated to Portland, Oregon. John, the last born, had a son, Alistair, who emigrated to Australia.

 

Jane McAinsh Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1887. A Cash Girl at the Scottish Coop, she met William Francis Hamilton there and married him in 1914. They had 2 boys and 2 girls, although one girl survived for only a few weeks.

She died in Glasgow in 1969.

 

Thomas Ogilvie Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1889. A Railway Clerk, he married Janet Cannon in 1916 and had at least two sons. One, Charles Athole, died of meningitis at 13 months. The other, John Ogilvy, has left no tracks, though he may have died of TB in his youth.

Thomas died in Glasgow in 1931 of a lung tumour, although he was a non-smoker.

 

Isabella Kemp Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1892. After her parents died she became the family housekeeper but escaped by getting pregnant and marrying Robert Rennie in 1915. Bob was unable to find work in Glasgow but got a job in the oil industry in Regina, Saskatchewan. Isabella followed him there in 1924, together with her three girls. A son, Robert, was born in Canada and became a successful businessman in Toronto.

Although her husband later got well-paid work in Bahrein, Isabella refused to stay there with him, waiting in Canada instead until he returned many years later.

The family ended up in Portland, Oregon, which is where Bob died in 1977.

 

Charles Athole Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1894. Reputedly the best-looking member of the family, he volunteered as a Private in the Seaforth Highlanders and was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

 

Maria Reid Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1895. The family knew her as Myra, though she preferred to be called Jean. She is thought to have eloped with David Brown, a Photographer from Arbroath in 1914. Sadly, the marriage ended in divorce. Myra then trained as a nurse and may have worked in London. Returning to Scotland at the start of the Second World War, she took up a residential position as Personal Assistant to a wealthy family of solicitors. Later, she became the live-in Housekeeper and Nurse to Wilfred Semple, one of the sons of the family. He left her his house, furniture and car when he died in 1970.

Myra herself died in Paisley in 1981.

 

William Kenneth Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1898. He is said to given the wrong age at call-up and enlisted as a Private in the Gordon Highlanders. He was killed, probably at the Battle of the Selle in Flanders, almost the last action in the War, in 1918.

 

 

 

 

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