Women of Means

The last of the Smith children were two girls, Marion (Minnie) born in 1896 and Margaret  (Maggie) born in 1898. How different their lives would have been than the two girls, Jessie and Anna, who were the first born, a span of nearly 18 years. Of the 3 other children, (who were boys) at home, Robert who was only 14, was already out at work. I have been told that James, the father, was “a tyrant” and I think you can see that by the speed at which the children went to work.  By the time Maggie and Minnie were born, money would be flowing in and gifts from the older children would probably be a regular occurrence. At this point the family was still at 5 Sykeside in Coatbridge. 10 years later, they had moved to their last residence, 4 School Street. The same children were there, Robert, then 24, Samuel, 21 and John,18, Marion, 15 and Margaret, 13. This is where we see a departure for the boys. The two older were working as iron puddlers but John had somehow become a carpenter.

The two girls like their oldest sister, Jessie, did not seem inclined to early marriage, Margaret did not marry until 1938 when she was 39 and Marion didn’t marry at all. My own grandmother didn’t marry until she was 25.There are two noticeable things on Maggie’s wedding cert. One, she was a clerk in a grocery store. Jessie owned a grocery store. Two, Maggie’s father-in-law, James Miller Sr. was a master builder and John Smith was a carpenter so it is likely that they were all  connected.

My grandmother, Jane, was the first to leave in 1913, the year of her mother’s death. Robert was killed in WWI. Annabella left for New South Wales in 1920. Sam and James left for Albany, New York in 1923. John was still living in Coatbridge at the time of Jessie’s death in 1949 but he only receives £100  where Marion gets the whole of the estate. Marion had gone to live with Jessie at Burnbrae Cottage in Houston, Renfrewshire. Margaret gets £500 and some personal effects.

Sometime in 1977, my own aunt Margaret made inquiries to the Coatbridge police looking for her two aunts (that was my Aunt alright). By that time Maggie was 80 and in pretty bad shape. Marion however, though she was older, was still running the little store that Jessie had left her. As I said, my aunt and uncle went to visit them and I think that Marion didn’t want to upset her sister,Margaret who was in advanced dementia. They also went to Ireland to see the remaining Phillips sibling, Eva, who seems to have been in a similar state when she told my aunt who was quite good looking, how ugly she was! Here’s a pic of my aunt so you can see what I mean.

Marg Fireplace Portrait c1965

When Marion died on December 9, 1979, there was quite a tizzy in my family over her estate. Jessie had owned some real estate and the store, possibly more than one. My Aunt had the estate audited to make sure all was well. I am not sure if Marion actually left a will but her estate was divided up equally among the then surviving siblings and their children. All in all, not a bad ending for girls that started out in a family of “puddlers”!



The Smith Brothers

I do not know as much about my great uncles as I would like. The only thing that came to me as a child was the devastation my grandmother experienced at the death of her brother Robert, who died in Flanders in WWI. Robert was only a year older than her, born in 1888. His name is inscribed on the memorial at Le Touret Military Cemetery, in France. It is one of those “erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to record the names of the officers and men who fell in the Great War and whose graves are not known.”

Robert was a Lance Corporal with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). He was killed in action on May 9, 1915. My grandmother had not married yet, she would marry later in November of that year. Here is a picture of the brothers c.1914

Robert, James and Sam Smith

Robert, James and Sam Smith

And Robert as a young man.

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

I have not found any WWI military records for James, the oldest brother (born in 1884) but he did serve in WWII,  after emigrating to the U.S. in 1923 with his wife Charlotte Brown. They lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he was foreman at Homewood Cemetery. There were no children. James died in 1943 at age 58 of pneumonia and was buried at Homewood Cemetery. Somehow, I see him out digging graves in bad weather and getting pnuemonia. By the way, that was a very common occupation for emigrants and veterans in those days. Here is a picture of James (2nd from the right) standing next to his brother, Sam, his wife on the left, c. 1930.

From right: Sam, James and Charlotte Smith

From right: Sam, James and Charlotte Smith

Sam Smith, the second youngest brother was born in Coatbridge in 1889. Here is a Christmas greeting card with him and his sister Marion c. 1897. Again, showing the family had enough money both for the card and the clothes the children were wearing.


Sam and Marion Smith

Sam and Marion Smith

In 1912 Sam married Jean McFarlane. Below a picture of the couple with Mary and James, the first two children.

sam,jeannie,mary&jim age 3, 1917

In 1923, Sam was “summoned” to work at the Cohoe Rolling Mills in New York State along with his brother in law James McFarlane. He carried this reference with him.

Letter of Recommendation for Sam 1923


He left his wife Jennie behind with their 4 children. It took 4 years for them to join him in New York.  Below a picture of Jennie and the 4 children, Mary, James , Marion and Daniel.

Mary, James, Marion, Daniel (bottom)


The family joined Sam in 1927 and the couple had one more child, Jean.  He continued the life of a working man in the mills but at days end , you could find him tending to the garden he was so fond of.  On April 15th, 1953, his heart finally gave out and he collapsed just as he was clocking into work.

The youngest Smith brother, John, was born in 1893. Like his brothers, he served in the Great War. It appears, he did not go into the steel business as his brothers did but was a carpenter (according to the 1911 census ). At the moment, I don’t have enough information to find anything on him but here is a picture of him. Handsome chap!

John Smith

John Smith

Thank you to my second cousins, Mary Beth Garrison and Karen Boarman for the pictures and information.



The Family of Jane Gartshore Smith 2

One might think of Glasgow, Scotland as being a perfect example of the effects of the Industrial Revolution, why the very catalyst for it was a Scottish invention. James Watt, the mechanical engineer and inventor had improved upon the Newcomen steam engine allowing for greater production levels than ever before. However, along with the great prosperity came unprecedented population growth that led to poverty, disease and squalor. You can get a sense of the situation here.

Initially, James and Marion lived at William Millers Land in Airdrie, New Monkland along with their first born Jessie and Marion’s sister Elizabeth Gartshore.  My grandmother, Jane was born at 7 Paddock Street on December 13, 1887. I believe Paddock Street still exists, and 7 Paddock would have been where there is now a care center. In the 1891 census, the family was at 6 Sykeside .Sykeside is a continuation of Paddock Street but though I contacted the map department of the National Library there, no location for that address could be found on a map of that time. Paddock was there but no #7. Perhaps, the two addresses were in the same location.

Paddock and Sykeside Streets, Coatbridge

Paddock and Sykeside Streets, Coatbridge

After the death of Jane in 1975, my aunt and uncle went to Scotland to try to find these places. My aunt said they had gone to a large house which I believe would have been at 3 School Street. I am not sure whether she knew that it was a multiple dwelling. They then went to visit my grandmother’s two youngest sisters who were quite elderly and did not want to let them in. That behavior was also typical of my grandmother. No one got past the door unless they were invited in!  I remember her telling me to never live in a “port city”, glad she doesn’t know where I am now!

Here is a picture of my grandmother, taken at Studio Cecil on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. That studio operated between 1901-14 which would put her age at between 14-25 years. She looks very young though and her clothing shows a modicum of affluence.

Jane Gartshore Smith

Jane Gartshore Smith

One of the ways that people survived these times was through family and acquaintances. That being said, once you were old enough, generally around 14, you were out in the world. My grandmother was not at 6 Sykeside in Coatbridge in the 1901 census nor any that followed very likely out at work. I do know that she came to Canada with a trunk full of beautiful gowns which she “made down” for her oldest girl Heather.

Marion Smith died in 1913 of a cerebral hemorrhage at 4 School Street in Coatbridge. James, surprisingly, in view of his profession, would not die until 1934, aged 77, from heart problems. That was at 3 Reid Street in Coatbridge, the home of Margaret his youngest daughter. There were murmurings of the coming war with Germany. Whatever Jane was doing, she packed up her trunk and left Scotland for good. She left behind the following siblings:

Jessie born in 1880, was the oldest of the Smith children. She went to work as a domestic at the home of the Montgomery family who were grocers at 6 Cecil Street in Govan, Glasgow. She spent all of her life with that family, finally marrying the son, Alexander in 1914 when she was 34 and he was 36.  One wonders what the impediment might have been previous to that. One of the witnesses is Jeannie Smith, one would suppose to be my grandmother.
The couple had no children. So Jessie rose to becoming a woman of some means, passing some money on to close members of the family and the remainder of her estate to another sister upon her death in June of 1949.

Annabella, the second child, born in 1883,  spent her young years in the same way (in service) until she met Joseph Collins Peat. It is likely that Joe was an acquaintance of her brothers since he was an iron worker as well. They were married in 1908. Joe served in the machine gun corps during the war. In 1920, they left Scotland for New South Wales, Australia. At that time, they had 4 children, Marion, Joseph, James and George. Marion was 7 years old which would mean that they had no children until 1915 unless some stayed behind. Like my grandmother, Annabella would be leaving her family behind to start a life in a strange and hard land, especially with her husband working in the mines. You can find them at Linlithgow, McQuarrie, NSW, in the Australian Electoral Rolls.

Joe and Annabella Smith Peat 1908

Joe and Annabella Smith Peat 1908

I have always been fascinated by the bodice of Anna’s wedding outfit. It shows such an intricate celtic design. She was obviously proud of her heritage. Now if we only knew what colour her dress was!

Annabella's Wedding Dress

Annabella’s Wedding Dress

To Be Continued …..

The Family of Jane Gartshore Smith

In previous posts, I had talked about my grandfather, Richard Walker Phillips, being sent to Canada by Walter Bates, his uncle. Walter and Sophie, the youngest McDowell girl had taken over the farm at Lisheenamalausa in Tipperary when Alice McDowell died in 1904. It has been difficult to gauge the exact circumstances of the family at that time. William, the patriarch, had died under very unusual circumstances, his throat being cut by a scythe in a cart accident. The resulting hemorrhage did not kill him immediately but rather debilitated him until his death some months later. He left a substantial estate including houses, land and insurances by which all the family benefited including Richard and his siblings. There was enough money for Richard (called Dick of course) to come to Canada via New York on the maiden voyage of the Lusitania in 1907. Neither brother, Richard or George brought a lot of money with them and took labouring jobs when they came to Canada. There is no sign of them actually working together but George is listed as Richards contact in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The main purpose for both was to earn enough to “land a homestead” which they eventually did in the Lawrence municipality.

In the meantime, Jane Gartshore Smith, my grandmother, worked and saved enough to go to New York to meet her intended. As you might guess, her name is a logistical nightmare when looking for genealogy records. Her claim was that she arrived in Canada in 1913. The engagement did not last however, because she did not get along with her fiance’s sister.After that, she took work as a domestic and in that way, met my grandfather who was working on either the same farm or one close by.

Jane (called Jean) came from a large family of iron-worker. The Smith family originated in Muirkirk, Ayrshire, the Gartshores in Dunbartonshire. Like most people of that time, they were originally farmers until the mines came in. Then they traveled to where the work was.

Jane’s paternal grandparents, John and Annabella Smith were married on the 5th of August, 1836 in Muirkirk, Ayrshire.

Marriage of John Smith and Annabella McGhee

Marriage of John Smith and Annabella McGhee

By 1861, they had 8 children, James my great-grandfather being the youngest. In 1863, Annabella died of uterine cancer. John was still alive on the 1881 census at the age of 65.

On April 11th, 1879 James Smith married Marion Reid Gartshore in New Monkland, Lanark.

Marriage of James Smith and Marion Gartshore

Marriage of James Smith and Marion Gartshore

Marion’s parents, John Gartshore and Janet Gray were from Coatbridge. He too was an iron-worker. They married on the 28th of November, 1847.

Marriage of John Gartshore and Janet Gray

Marriage of John Gartshore and Janet Gray

John and Janet had 10 children, my great-grandmother, Marion being the seventh. Janet died in 1875 of gastritis (so easily treatable today) . The story in our family was of how Marion had to help raise the family after her mother died. By following the Scottish censuses you can see John, her father moving around from one child’s place to another, possibly lost after the death of his wife. He lived for a period of time with James and Marion so my grandmother would have known him well. John died in 1901. Here is a chart with my Gartshore family line on it. Thanks to Sondra Gartshore Jernigan.

Family Line for John Gartshore

Family Line for John Gartshore

In the next post I will talk about my grandmother and her siblings.








Speed Bonnie Boat

On March 2, 1316, Marjorie Bruce, King Robert’s daughter, in late pregnancy, fell from her horse and went into labor. She had married Walter Stewart ,6th High Steward of Scotland in 1315. She died in childbirth at Paisley Abbey, after having a son, Robert who would later become the first Stuart king of Scotland. Robert the Bruce’s son, David would die without a legitimate heir, making way for the new king.

The Stuarts kept close ties with France and maintained the fight for Scottish independence. James IV attempted to make peace with England by marrying Margaret Tudor but later went to war against England when Henry VIII invaded France, Scotland’s ally. He was killed and defeated at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1542. In that same year his son James V, died leaving the throne to his daughter Mary Queen of Scots.

During the Scottish Reformation, Mary who was Catholic, was forced to give up her throne to her son James VI. When she fled to England, Elizabeth I had her imprisoned and eventually executed. When Elizabeth died, James, raised as a Protestant, took the throne and the Presbyterian church became Scotland’s national church. He ruled Scotland as James VI and England as James I, both countries unified under one king. James established Scottish colonies in America and Ireland and set about reorganizing the Presbyterian church.

James’s son Charles I, continued with church reform but met with resistance in 1638 when the National Covenant was drawn up. The Covenant was basically a pledge to keep the church as it was, with God as its head only and no interference from royalty. In 1642, civil war broke out between Charles and Parliament, many of whom were Puritans. The Parliamentarians under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell were supported by the Scottish Covenanters. In 1646, Charles was overthrown. Later, in 1649, parliament had him beheaded.

Although the Scots persuaded Charles’s son to agree to the National Covenant, Cromwell defeated them at the Battle of Dunbar in 1651. By 1654, he had forced the Scots to unite with England. When finally, in 1660, Charles II became king, he dissolved this union and like his forebears ruled the two countries separately, allowing Scotland her own beliefs. After his death though, the two countries realized that to preserve peace, they had to unite. Along with Wales, they formed the Kingdom of Great Britain under the Act of Union which took place in 1707. The Scots dissolved their own parliament and instead sent representatives to the British Parliament. They retained their own laws and religion.

The last Stuart monarch was Queen Anne. When she died in 1714, the  German House of Hanover came to the throne under George the I. Many people in the Scottish Highlands remained loyal to the Stuarts and supported James Stuart (known as the Old Pretender), as the rightful heir to the throne. They became known as “Jacobites”, “Jacobus” being the Latin word for “James”.  James lead a rebellion against the crown in 1715 but was crushed and fled to France.

In 1745, the Jacobites rose again in an attempt to plant James’s son, Charles Edward Stuart (known as the Young Pretender) on the throne. He was a handsome lad, hence called “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. The English were easily defeated by the Jacobites in Scotland but when they marched into England they were forced into the Battle of Culloden Moor where they were routed and then mercilessly pursued by the infamous Duke of Cumberland.The story of Charles’s escape through the glens and moors of Scotland until he was rescued and put aboard a frigate to France is one of Scotland’s favorite legends. Below, Charles as painted by John Pettie in 1898.

Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie

Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie

His flight is also remembered in “The Skye Boat Song”

After the revolt in 1746, many clan chiefs were executed and all signs of Highland culture were banned. Kilts and bagpipes were outlawed and the men were disarmed. The restrictions were not removed until 1782 when it was thought the threat of more rebellions had passed.

What does all this mean to me? As I stated previously, Gartshore, Smith and Reid families were living in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire when Charles Stuart passed through on his retreat from Culloden. These on my maternal grandmothers side. Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather’s name, Phillips, is on the list of Cromwellian Adventurers for Land who were granted land in Ireland during the Cromwellian plantation. To do this he forced Irish landowners off their land.

The King Rests

The death of King Robert I in 1329 was as poignant as his life had been. In the last few years of his life, he suffered from a disfiguring illness. Some have said leprosy but there is no proof of this. He had desired to make a crusade to the Holy Land as all good knights did but that didn’t happen. Once he knew his days were numbered, he made a pilgrimage to St. Ninian’s Shrine at Whithorn in Galloway where he fasted and prayed for four days in penance. Then he ordered his heart removed after death and taken to the Holy Land on crusade. This, his chief commander, Sir James Douglas did. Most of the small party, including James Douglas were lost in battle. The two men who remained found Bruce’s heart, which was contained in a small casket, on the battlefield and brought it back to Scotland. It was buried at Melrose Abbey in Roxburghshire. The King  was buried at Dumfermline Abbey, beneath the high altar beside his queen, Elizabeth. An alabaster tomb covered in gold leaf was made in Paris and placed over the grave. Below, the present tomb.

Grave of Robert the Bruce

Tomb of Robert the Bruce

His heart, buried with an inscription which we may interpret as saying  ” A noble heart may have no ease if freedom fails”.

Bruce's Heart

                        Bruce’s Heart

The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow has a plaster cast of his skull as well as fragments of his tomb from the discovery of it in 1818. That is an interesting story in itself.

Skull Cast of Robert the Bruce

        Skull Cast of Robert the Bruce

You can see what he might have looked like here. The skull had many war injuries on it according to this really interesting report about the facial reconstruction of Bruce.

And finally, I like this carving of him in the Bruce Chapel at St. Conan’s Kirk in Bute and Argyll, Scotland. The head and hands are made of alabaster marble, the rest is wood.

Carving at St. Conan's

           Carving at St. Conan’s



Inspiration and Incentive

What is the relevance of family history? Part of it is simply finding the names of your ancestors listed in connection with the main players and events in history. My maternal grandmothers name was Jane Gartshore Smith. Her parents were Marion Reid Gartshore and James Smith .These names were found in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, a place with some historical connection to Charles I, Bonny Prince Charlie and Robert the Bruce.

Kirkintilloch and Glasgow

Kirkintilloch and Glasgow

The name Gartshore (in the form Galfrud) was found on a charter of exgambion (land grant) from Alexander II and was written about in a book by Thomas Watson called “Kirkintilloch, Town and Parish” (1894).

Gartshore Land Grant

Gartshore Land Grant

Later on in the book he quotes :

Gartshore and King Charles I

Gartshore and King Charles I

I have not researched these families intensively yet but I did have an experience with a lady  who is related to the Gartshore family that came to Canada around 1800. They were an educated family of engineers and one of them, John Gartshore became well known in Canada for supplying steam driven pumping engines to the old Hamilton Waterworks. We have the same ancestors up to a certain period but then my “Two Brother” theory kicks in. That is based on the concept that every family will have two brothers who part ways and the fortunes of their families differ accordingly, either up or down. If you would like to read about the above John you will find a paper on him by his descendants here.  The Gartshore estate in Kirkintilloch passed into the hands of a Murray who took the name of Gartshore but it is now basically a pile of rubble.

What happened to my family up to 1800 I will have to find out. As far as I can tell they were miners and then iron-workers. As I say my grandmother was the first over in 1913. Her family were a direct product of the Industrial Revolution. Glasgow was the archetypal city of that era, calling herself “The Second City of the Empire”.

Watson also writes about James Smith as being one of the Covenanters,who is buried at the Martyr’s Stone outside of Kirkintilloch.

Martyrs Stone t.wat.

Martyr's Stone

Martyr's Stone (fjstuart)

Martyr’s Stone (fjstuart)

The two were found unarmed and made an example of but gave up their lives willingly.

The  MacDowall clan were part of the rising against Robert the Bruce.Their kin, the MacDougall’s were in possession of the Brooch of Lorn, said to be torn off of the Bruce’s cloak when they ambushed him at the Battle of Dalrigh. Today there is some question as to the authenticity of the brooch but it has been legend for many years. William McDowell was my 2nd great grandfather. His family went to Ulster during the Plantation of Ireland.

On the flip-side, my maiden name is Beauchamp. That side of the family is French-Canadian. William de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick, was Edward I’s best friend and lead military commander against the Welsh . There is a long history of chivalry and crusades in that family and a Coat of Arms.

Beauchamp Coat of Arms

Beauchamp Coat of Arms

Which would you rather, a colorful history or a page of names and dates? How much is YOUR ancestors life worth?