Susan Silva contacted me back in January 2017 saying, “I’m hoping to get some assistance on an ancestry matter. My grandmother was from Blantyre, and subsequently emigrated to Canada in the early 1920’s, however her parents remained in Blantyre as far as I know. I am from Toronto, Canada and am planning a trip to Blantyre in the summer for the first time and would love to be able to visit some of the places they lived (if still standing) and particularly their grave sites. I am on Ancestry and Scotland’s People, and have not been able to find burial records for my grandmother’s parents or her sisters that remained in Scotland. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Below, is the information pertaining to my grandmother’s parents:
Andrew Cooper Born: September 28, 1862, Parish of Aberlour, County of Banff Died: January 18, 1917, District of Kelvin, Occupations: Gas Stoker, Constable, Brewer’s Carter
Matilda Jane Cooper nee McLeary Born: September 20, 1864, Clogh, Antrim, Northern Ireland
Died: March 9, 1908, Watson Street, Parish of Blantyre
Married: December 26, 1890, Shotts Parish (Church of Scotland)
Children: Harriet, Agnes, Sarah, Jane, Mary.
If you require more information, please advise, as I wasn’t quite sure what you needed. They lived at different addresses as well: 3 Watson Street, Cross Row Village, Larkfield Buildings, Waterloo Row Village.”
From the information Susan provided, I see Andrew and Matilda likely only lived in Blantyre for a short time. Married in 1890, Matilda passing away in 1908 in Blantyre then Andrew in Kelvin, I thought there was a possibility that Andrew moved away from Blantyre following his wife’s death? Checking census records, in 1901 Andrew was indeed in Blantyre aged 38, Matilda aged 36. However, by 1911 Andrew was still indeed in Blantyre, aged 48. With him were 5 daughters at 3 Watson Street. Agnes (16), Isabella (13), Jane (8), Harriet (10) and Sarah (5). The family would have lived near the Larkfield Bar. In 1915, he had moved nearby to 55 Stonefield Road. When Andrew died in 1917, his youngest child Sarah was only 11 and she along with all 4 siblings were orphaned. It is likely that eldest daughter, Agnes, being 22 years old in 1917, would have felt a great responsibility to look after her sisters, especially with war looming over the whole country.
I’ve not been able to find Matilda Cooper’s grave. She died on March 9th , 1908 at 3.30pm of cerebral haemorrhage (a type of stroke). However, her maiden name McLearly, her ancestry from Ireland may give a clue that she was possibly Roman Catholic, and as such, there is a possibility that Matilda was buried in Dalbeath Cemetery (St Peters) on London Road, in Mount Vernon a few miles away? This was the custom of RC Blantyre residents at that time although a quick search is showing no valid returns, so this still remains a mystery.
It is uncertain what would have caused the stroke. It is said that in this era Watson Street had deplorable sanitary conditions, some drains pouring out on to the street and combined with the proximity to Dixons colliery 4 across nearby Broompark Road. Despite this, Watson Street was a real cluster of habitation at Larkfield at that time, sandwiched in between open fields of Larkfield (where later the primary school would be built) and Gooseholm field (where later Stonefield Crescent would be built). It is perhaps no surprise that the family moved out but remained nearby to the Dixon’s 4 Colliery, the locations of their home telling that it is likely that stoker Andrew Cooper was employed by William Dixon & Co.