Jo Bryson emailed me recently with this photo commenting, “A friend of mine told me about the tremendous work you have done on Blantyre and in particular the Blantyre Pit Disaster. I have relatives on my maternal grandmother’s side who died in the disaster. Martha Revie Laing (Lang) b1830-d1900 was the daughter of John Revie b1786 – d1841 and Agnes Turnbull b1789-d1863.”
Born in Airdrie around 1830 or 1831, she lived in New Monklands for over half her life. She married James Laing in September 1851 in her hometown when she was 21. They had eight children in 22 years. However, the family including extended family members had all moved to Blantyre by 1875, no doubt for James to pursue employment at the newly sunk Dixon’s pit. Tragedy struck just 2 years later.
Martha sadly lost 5 members of her family in the 1877 pit disaster namely:
Husband James Laing (Lang)
Son Archibald Laing
Son-in-law George Sawyers
Brother John Revie
Nephew Alex Revie
After the tragic loss of so many members of her family, Martha continued to live at Stonefield, Blantyre and was there in 1881 with her 2 daughters and 2 sons and grandson. There would have certainly been a relationship here where the grown up children were supporting 50 year old Martha.
In 1891, the census has her living in High Blantyre at Riddell’s Land as a housekeeper. By then, aged 60, with her was daughter Maggie 27 and son Alex 17. Martha later became a member of Blantyre Priory Lodge for 17 years and held the office of Chaplain in the Congregational EU Church for 16 years. A memorial vigil was held for her in the church after her death on 5th July 1900. Sister Laing was never absent from those positions she held so highly. She was survived by 2 sons and 4 daughters.
Interestingly, the wife of her son Archibald Laing who died in the pit disaster in October 1877 had a baby due when Archibald died. The baby was named Martha, after her gran.
I have a slightly better photo of Martha which I’ll include here along with the memorial stone in Hamilton.