Tales of Livingstone

On 30th March 1909, Mr Thomas Russell fruit merchant of Glasgow passed away with the accolade of being one the last known companions of David Livingstone during his boyhood.

Thomas Russell was born at Fore Row, in the Village, Blantyre, Glasgow, Tuesday. He used to tell of young David Livingstone and two companions wandering from their home in Blantyre to Glasgow, whilst still children, and a distance of eight or more miles.

Mr Russell recalled a story about Livingstone from the early 1820’s when young David and those two boy companions were on one such adventure to Glasgow. On route, the boys got tired and hungry, and so driven to desperation one of the played in front of the doors of a miner’s row on a tin whistle and the other two sang hymns.

An old woman who had listened to them, when the boys had finished, said “these are nane o’ the gangrel kin’,” and asked them into her home, and after she had thoroughly refreshed them, sent them on their homeward journey.

Mr Russell used to tell that when Livingstone delivered a lecture in Blantyre in 1857, upon his return alter sixteen years sojourn in Africa he had frequently to stop in the course of the lecture. Ultimately he had to explain he now did most of his thinking and talking in African , and had to wait, so he could translate his thoughts and speech into English.

Mr and Mrs Russell celebrated their diamond wedding in 1901 when their entire family of six sons and five daughters were present. Mrs Russel had died around 1903. Two of the couples grown up children were Mr Thomas Russell Junior, the well known fruit broker and Mr Alex Russell a well known legal solicitor gentleman.


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  1. Thomas Russell is my 3rd great grand uncle, his brother Robert is my 3x great grandfather.

  2. Linda Mackie-Marieskind

    Thanks for this lovely story Paul I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of Livingstone as a child apart from his working at the mill.

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