Lees – McKnight Family

Heather McKnight-Wendt, a Blantyre Project reader living in Germany shared these photos. The little girl is her gran around 1913, Margaret McKnight neé Lees who was nicknamed “Meg.” The second photo is of Elisabeth Lees who was attending her daughter Meg’s wedding in 1945. Finally, in the purple dress, grown up Margaret “Meg” McKnight (neé Lees) at a wedding in 1973.

Margaret Stein Lees was born on 15th May 1911 at 29 Merry’s Rows and I’m quite sure she is pictured as an infant here at former Merry’s Rows, the whitewashed stone a giveway. She was the daughter of William Lees, a coal miner and Elizabeth Smith Graham a couple married on Hogmanay 1908 in Blantyre.


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  1. Heather McKnight-Wendt

    Hi Paul, interesting observation regarding Merry Rows. Thanks for that. Unfortunately my gran was a bit of a “dark horse” regarding her life which was undoubtedly due to the fact she was adopted (which was of course quite a stigma in those days.) She was most likely adopted by the Lees family on the date you mentioned. According to her birth certificate, she was born as Ellen Tonner at 25 Lorne Street in Uddingston on 16th April, 1911 to Rose Tonner (a domestic servant). Her biological father is unnamed. However, my great-aunt (Mary Lees) once told me that my gran’s biological father was the “man of the big house” ( i.e. Rose’s employer). Perhaps he was an aristocratic or a wealthy landowner? Who knows! (But it would explain my gran’s love of the “finer things in life”. Designer labels and expensive jewellery, for example, were important to her.) Her paternal side of the family is one secret which has been taken to the grave 😉

  2. Hi Paul,
    thanks for posting these photos of the Lees family, my grannie and grampa lived in Knightswood Terrace along with a large Lees family who lived at the other end of the terrace. My mum, Mary Pearson, Effie and Ella Lees were firm friends, writing to each other all the way from New Zealand to Scotland where Ella lives still in Blantyre and to Effie in Canada? Until my Mum passed. I also went to school with the twins, Sandra and Linda Lees who lived on farm road. They were so different those two twins, not identical, and it showed in every way, Sandra the softer of the two, Linda way tougher. I wonder if any o these Lees’ were related?

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