Samuel Gilmour & Mary Ann Cook

I’ve finally got round to looking at more ancestry requests. As you may know i’m happy to do that for free for anybody with a Blantyre connection.

Moyra Lindsay wrote, “My great grandparents were Samuel Gilmour and Mary Ann Cook. My Granny was Elizabeth Gilmour known as ‘Lizzie’ born 1896. If you find the dates for Mary Ann Gilmour’s children’s deaths I would be grateful. I’ve never really looked at this granny!”

Samuel and Mary Ann married on 24th October 1890 at Stonefield, Blantyre. Samuel a Hamilton man and Mary Ann from Glasgow had each been living in Blantyre with their families a short time when they met. Samuel was employed as a coal miner living at Baird’s Rows and Mary Ann , 2 years older was a dye worker living at McAlpines Buildings on Glasgow Road. They married when Samuel was 22 and Mary Ann was 24.

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They started off their married life by moving to 77 Craighead (Baird’s) Rows, a move necessitated likely by Samuel’s employment. Like any newly married couple, they must have been filled with hope for the future, looking forward to life and perhaps starting a family. Six Children followed, but so did tragedy.

In 1891, Andrew was born to the couple, a first son. Shortly after in 1893, Annie, a first daughter. Then in March 1895, another son Thomas. However, 1895 would be a year that would be immersed in sadness.

On 16th May 1895, young Andrew died, aged 4 years old. Then just 11 days later on 27th May, Annie also died, aged only 2. The Gilmours had lost both their oldest children within a fortnight, leaving them with Thomas, a three month old baby.

As if this sorrow wasn’t enough, Thomas would only live until 9 months old, dying on 15th December 1895. By Christmas 1895, just 5 years into their marriage, Samuel and Mary Ann had lost all their children.

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They went on to produce more children. In 1895, Elizabeth (or Lizzie) was born. This is Moyra’s gran and she would live a relatively long life until 1972. In 1899, another boy was born, named Samuel Jnr. However, young Samuel would only live for 13 months, passing away on 15th April 1900, incredibly a 4th lost child. One more child, Alexander was born in 1901.

The children’s lives were taken by outbreaks of (malignant) Measles, something that also affected other children in Baird’s Rows at the time. It’s important to remember what life was like prior to the onset of vaccines and just how contagious measles was. The children’s deaths would have terrified other neighbours who also had children. Measles often led to serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). In addition, measles infection damaged and suppressed the whole immune system, making people , especially in poorer areas more likely to contract other diseases.

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Mary Ann outlived her husband and died on 21 April 1948m aged 82 years. The family who suffered such heartache are buried together in High Blantyre Cemetery, their stone as pictured.


Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Henry Hambley Another example of how serious measles was especially in children who were malnourished. Important that parents today have their children immunised !
Marian Maguire Omg what a tragedy, poor family how did they cope? My husbands granny was the same she lost a daughter aged 21yrs, a son aged 7 yrs and another son aged 5 yrs and her husband was killed in the same year as one if the children in Gateside Colliery Cambuslang, leaving her with 3 daughters out of 6 children.
Elizabeth Grieve This happened to a lot of families around this time, a lot due to poor housing and no sanitary conditions
Maggie Anderson How sad is their story….modern medicine has all but eradicated measles
Anne Mackie That is a very sad story Horrible life some people endured xxxx
Moyra Lindsay Paul I can’t thank you enough for this I’ve never been able to find Mary Ann anywhere. I actually own the deeds to this grave, my mother changed them to my name years ago! It was a bit of a shock when they arrived as she forgot to tell me!
The children however are only named on the stone, at least that’s what I was told, they are in the old churchyard as far as I am aware. My own mother buried two babies one 4 months old 1942 my dad was serving in India and never saw her and one I think 1957 stillborn. Both are beside her and my dad in High Blantyre. Not far from Mary Ann.
Thank you again I am off to renew my ancestry membership!
Moyra Lindsay Btw Paul she had another Samuel and a William. I remember her in a huge white bed with a wee white hat on I was a year and seven months and I have an awful feeling she was maybe dead!


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