Duncan McKay was born in 1826 in Inverkip. He came to Blantyre to work for the first time in 1858 aged 32 coinciding with his marriage.
He commenced his business as a joiner and cartwright at High Blantyre. He had no capital but only a few pounds saved from earnings when he arrived. By 1861, the census noted him living at Birdsfield, High Blantyre and being a master carpenter. With him was wife Ann and three daughters Christina aged 3, Elizabeth aged 1 and and Ann, 1 month. The census records his surname as McHay, although newspapers and documentation elsewhere has him as McKay.
The business did not pay him an income for the first 2 years and was a burden on his debts forcing a sequestration (seizing of belongings). The business had started to profit from 1860 onwards, but little money had been paid back to any of the previous debts. Two valuable accounts worth £62 and £4 were lost and when he had to lay out further money to keep his rented home in good order, suitable for his young family.
Liabilities had amounted to £186 by Autumn 1862 with belongings worth only £32. In all, it hadn’t been a good three years. As such, in November 1862, Duncan McKay was declared bankrupt forcing a move elsewhere and according to census and valuation records, never to return to Blantyre.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018