William Campbell & Mary Montgomery

It’s been a wee while since I did some ancestry research. Something I’m happy to do for anybody for free, as long as there’s a direct Blantyre connection in exchange for me being allowed to include it into Blantyre Project.

Australian, Tanya Michell was looking for some help about her great great grandparents ahead of a visit to Scotland later this year. I’ve now researched this and can provide the following which I hope is interesting and adds some extra detail to what Tanya may know already.

William Young Campbell was born in 1835 at Bushmills, Antrim, Northern Ireland. The son of Dairyman James Campbell and Elizabeth McAleese. Mary Margaret Montgomery was 9 years younger than William and was born in 1844 at Lisnaskea, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland to William Montgomery a farmer and Mary Montgomery. This was of course a tremendously difficult time for Irish families, especially between 1845 to 1852 where a National famine forced Irish citizens into poverty and starvation. The answer for many people, following survival instinct was to emigrate and head towards areas of employment and better opportunity. Scotland was certainly seen as one of those places, with coal being discovered in Lanarkshire. Mining opportunities were abundant and William as a young man found employment in the mines.

As fate played its part, William met Mary it would seem in Scotland. The couple married on 4th Feb 1861  at Newarthill, Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Contrary to what appears on Ancestry services, there wasn’t just one child. Several children arrived to this marriage. In order James, George, Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, William Montgomery Campbell (Tanya’s great grandfather) in 1874, then little Catherine two years later.

By 1881, the aforementioned whole family were living at Old Monkland Middle District, Lanarkshire, Scotland, according to the census of that year. William by then was 46 years old and still employed as a Coal miner.

Sometime between 1889 and 1890, the family moved to Blantyre, most likely pursuing the increasing opportunities of Coal mining in the district.

By 1991, William was employed by Dixon’s Collieries as a coal miner. He was given a tied house at Dixon Street, Stonefield, Blantyre by his employers and moved his family to that location. Another three children are known to have been born. Sarah, Martha and Maggie (who wasn’t born in Blantyre hence able to date when the family moved). As such, it’s known that William and Mary Campbell had at least 10 children! The daughters in the family from ages 14 onwards were cotton weavers, though this was a declining industry in Blantyre in this era. Dixons’s Rows are pictured. Dixon Street no longer exists but is now back gardens of homes in Calder Street.

In 1895, according to valuation rolls, William Campbell was living at 7 Dixon Street, Stonefield, Blantyre at the terraced, single storey tied houses to Dixon’s Collieries. These houses had only 2 rooms, so it would have been a busy household! William Young Campbell died on 16th May 1898 Blantyre at the age of 64. His son, William signed the death certificate. He had spent between 8 and 9 years of the last part of his life in Blantyre and had been suffering from Bronchitis for 2 months prior. He had been attended to by Dr Grant.

Following William’s death, his wife and family continued to live at 7 Dixon Street, indicating that another family member, one of the sons at least must have been employed as a miner.

Mary his wife, passed away on 2nd July 1925 also in Blantyre, after a long life, aged 81. Her grandson William signed the certificate. It’s unknown where William and Mary were buried, but I’m fairly sure it would have been High Blantyre Cemetery or Dalbeth (St Peters).

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  1. Please correct year on move to Dixon’s in Blantyre. Great work otherwise.

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