James Farrell and Mary Bradley

A story shared by Reeni Kennedy, in their own words:

waterloo row

c1920 Waterloo Row. The Dolan’s lived in the end house gable facing.

“James Farrell, my 2nd great grandfather (1864 – 1898) hailed from Ireland, I have not discovered which part yet nor at what point did he come to Scotland. There is no way of telling whether he met Mary Bradley (1866 – 1947) in Stranraer, where she was born, lived and worked until at least 1881. What is known is that during the 8 years they were together, there was no time or desire to marry. They did however produce 5 children – Rebecca Walker Bradley (1891 – 1973) my paternal great grand mother, was the eldest. She was born at McLean Street in Govan. Mary’s address is given as Duncraig, Uddingston whilst James is at Adelphi Street, Glasgow. Adelphi Street is where the family are at the time of 1891 census which was taken on the night of 5/6 April. Mary has taken Farrell as her name and is recorded as wife.

When James Farrell (1892 – 1975) comes along the family have moved to Middle Row, Blantyre, 2 years later Charles Farrell (1894 – 1951) is born at Front Row, Blantyre, followed 2 years later by Harry Bradley (1896 – 1978) at the same address. Throughout this period James senior is working as a furnace keeper – Middle Row, Front Row and Cross Row are all addresses associated with miners housing in Blantyre however James could have also been working in the cotton mills or at Blantyre Foundry. All industries used coal in furnaces either to heat water for steam power or in other operations.

Tragedy hits the family in September 1898, when James is working as a furnaceman at Greenfield Foundry. Cause of death is given as poisoning by sulphur fumes at just 34. Newspaper report of the accident said he was found dead with his head in the furnace and it was assumed he had been overcome by fumes. Was he aware that Mary was pregnant with Robert Farrell Bradley (1899 – 1959) born just 5 months later? Mary remains with the children at Cross Row until at least 1915, where she is recorded on valuation roll as resident at Ulva Place, Station Road, Blantyre. She lives there until her death.

It is son Robert that deals with the paperwork when his mum Mary passes away in 1947, and despite all the children been declared illegitimate on birth certificates, she is recognised as Mary Farrell on her death certificate.

It took some time to find my paternal great grandmother due to illegitimacy, the varying names and how the online records where recorded. Certainly a lesson in searching using all available name data!”

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