In August 2015, James Hislop contacted me to say, “My grandfather was James Hislop: Born 18th September, 1875, probably not in Blantyre he married on 9th February 1915 to Agnes Frew: born 09th September, 1886, High Blantyre. It would be great if you would look into my family history. Hislop/frew from High Blantyre.”
Always up for an Ancestry challenge, I was able to reply with the following:
I’ve mapped out the Hislop-Frew lineage for your family. I didn’t have a great deal of luck on the Hislop side, and as your grandfather was actually born in Edinburgh, I decided to concentrate on the Blantyre side of your ancestry, the Frews.
James Dempsey and Janet Service were both born in Ireland in 1795. Their daughter Ellen Dempsey was born in 1823 in Ireland and married Irishman James Frew (1807 – 1877.) James was from Killinchy, Co Down, Ireland. In 1849 he moved to Scotland, to 23 Long Row, Waterside, Dalmellington, Ayrshire where he met Ellen who was working on the nearby farm. (By a remarkable co-incidence, my construction job saw me repairing a bridge near that location in 1999!) They got married on 3rd December 1857, but strangely for the time, they had 5 children by the time they decided to marry. At the time of their marriage, James was 50, Ellen was 27. James, ploughman and farm labourer died there on 15th November 1877, aged 70, his wife Ellen passing away in South Wellington Street, Glasgow on 22nd December 1892, aged 69. Their marriage was fruitful and all in all they had 6 sons and 2 daughters (1 of whom was named Helen Frew who died aged 1 in 1859, a year after the couple had married!) The other siblings had fairly long lives and ended up in Glasgow or in the case of Samuel Frew, in New South Wales, Australia. However, the focus for this story next has to be Andrew Frew (another son of James and Ellen), for it is he who ended up in Blantyre.
Andrew Frew was born in Dalmellington about 1860. By 1881, at the age of 21 he was employed locally as a Furnace Labourer (sounds like stoking coal!). That year he lived at Dalmellington at the family home with his mother, for his father had passed away when he was 17. Perhaps seeking change of employment, he moved to Blantyre sometime between 1881 and 1885, for on Hogmanay 1885, at the age of 25, he married Blantyre girl Mary Burnett, who was the same age. By 1891, Andrew was 31 and lived at Gardiner Place, High Blantyre together with Mary and their first 3 children. He is noted as being a coal miner and in that location, it is likely he was employed by William Dixon’s collieries in High Blantyre. Gardiner Place was a tenement on Main Street which stood directly across the road from Broompark Road junction. Today, it is now modern Jinxy’s Bakery. Andrew died on 20th May 1924. It is known he and Mary had moved to Aitkenheads Buildings (at Kirkton) between 1891 and 1901. Then moving again to School Lane, High Blantyre between 1901 and 1911 and it is there at School Lane that Mary died on 10th November 1911 (not living to see any world war)
The couple had 7 children, the eldest of whom was Agnes Frew, (your grandmother!) Born 9th September 1886 she had left school by the age of 14 and at 15 was a tailoress. (according to census). At 28, she married your grandfather , James Hislop on 9th February 1915, a groom working at the stables at Greenhall for Mr. Wardrop Moore. (picture from June Hislop). James had previously been working in England as a groom according to the 1901 census. Agnes died in High Blantyre on 29th June 1951 aged 64. James died on 27th December 1956, aged 81. The couple clearly had children in their lifetime, but for your privacy, i have not explored this, as one of them directly would be your father. I note that indeed your father or his brother Andrew was born above the stable at Greenhall!
Not wanting to leave the story here, I can tell you a little more about each of your grandmother’s 6 brothers and sisters. In order they were born. After Agnes, was Ellen Frew. She was born on Boxing Day 1887. She lived only until she was 34, passing away in Blantyre in 1921. The cause of her death is unknown. I think she may have married Blantyre man Henry McGhee, so you may have second cousins from that relationship! Her twin Nellie Frew lived until 29th June 1951.
Their sibling Andrew Frew, named after his grandfather, i found his story quite sad. Born in 1889 by 1914, he enlisted for service in WW1 on 5th October 1914. Now, he must have seen a tremendous amount of action, for he won several medals for his brave actions, including Victory, British and Star medals. In June 1919, having survived the horrors of war, he sadly died young at his home in Coalburn on 3rd November 1934. It is unknown if he married.
James Frew was born in 1892 and lived until he was 20, passing away in Blantyre on 13th November 1912. Brother Robert Frew was equally unlucky, but this time succumbing to the horrors of Flanders in WW1, on 11th April 1917 in France. He had arrived in France on 10th May 1015. He was 23 when KIA. A private with the Gordon Highlanders, he also had many medals.
Agnes Frew’s youngest sibling was Mary Frew. Born 11th April 1896. She passed away after a long life on 6th September 1985, aged 89. I’d like to share the photos I have found of this family. Hopefully some of them are new to you. Sorry, I didn’t manage to find any photos of James Frew.
On social media:
Jane Johnstone I think I am related to the Hislops somewhere along the line? I remember a young Jimmy Hislop doing a ‘turn’ at my great uncle Bobbie’s Golden Wedding..