John Thomson b1865-d1919

Ina Sanders asks, “I’m trying to find information about my gran’s first hubby. I have him as William Thomson born in 1897 and died 1939. He had a brother, David born in 1902. I’m trying to find out if he (David) married and when he died and if they had any other brothers and sisters?”

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I was able to reply with:
Hi Ina. David Thomson did indeed have several brothers and sisters. He was born on 20th January 1902 at School Lane, High Blantyre. He was the son of John Thomson (a coal miner) and Hannah Frazer.

I was unable to find a year of David’s death, but I did notice that he travelled across the Atlantic in the 1920s and I believe settled in either Canada or America. Passenger lists will be able to confirm that. Whilst I’ve not been able to confirm the year of David’s death, or indeed what happened to him when researching this, I found the story of his parents fascinating and hope you don’t mind me commenting on this further, as i believe the death of both of his parents was a driving factor in his decision to leave Britain. There is of course a possibility he came back and passed away elsewhere outwith Blantyre. Turning to his parents and a time earlier than this:

John Thomson was born on 10th October 1865, a Larkhall man and he married Hannah Fraser in Blantyre on 13th August 1886. A first child John F Thomson b1888-d1954 arrived in 1888. Daughter Jessie was born in 1890, Mary in 1892, Hannah in 1894, William in 1897, Thomas in 1899 and finally, the youngest, David in 1902. So David had 6 brothers and sisters, four of whom died in Blantyre much later in life.

The Thomson family first lived at 12 Calder Street where they were in 1891, then moved to School Lane  by 1901 and settled down eventually at 48 Broompark Road, a former house , prior to the one with that address today. I have mapped out their ancestry as attached:

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Hannah Thomson (nee Fraser) passed away at 48 Broompark Road on 29th January 1919. She was only 49 years old. For 6 months prior to her death, she had been suffering from Endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. Signs and symptoms would have included fever, chills, sweating, malaise, weakness, anorexia by rapid weight loss. This so soon, after the trauma of having at least one son fighting in WW1.

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Hannah’s illness in 1918 and into 1919 would have put a strain also on her family, of that there’s no doubt. Her family would have rallied around her. The eldest child John, by then in his 30s and youngest, David being 17. Her son was present and signed the death certificate, something I found strange considering her husband John Snr was still alive.

Upon investigating further, I discovered that all may not have been well with her husband at that time. Perhaps caring for his wife had taken its toll on him too. He may not have worked as a coal pit stoker in the mines for some time. For, just 2 months later on 22nd March 1919, John Thomson died. He was just 53.

He had been ill also for some time with Atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, at the time thought to have been caused by smoking. This can restrict blood flow and ultimately, it was a bleed to his brain which killed him, likely in the form of stroke. However, it was the place of his death that should also be noted. He passed away in Bothwell at the Kirklands Asylum, indicating that he may have suffered some sort of breakdown, depression or anxiety following the death of his wife.

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Tragically, the 7 children lost both their parents in the space of 52 days.

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Finally, you will be aware that William Thomson served in WW1 and married Williamina Liddle on 31st December 1919. In the 1920s, he may have travelled to Canada with David but clearly William came back to Scotland. He is buried in High Blantyre Cemetery following his death in 1939.

 

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  1. Paul, you are a star, I think I went to school with one of the Thomson children, and it may even have been a John! this was first at Nessie’s school then David Livingstone Memorial Primary. You have done a wonderful job of finding more out about the family Paul. One day I’ll ask about mine again. In awe, Linda

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