James McRae Gibson (1868-1937)


screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-17-53-32Born on 8th June 1868, James McRae Gibson was originally from Dunoon and was the son of Alexander Cameron Gibson. He had a natural flair for music, and by 1881, at the age of 12 following a family move to Blantyre, he started playing as organist for High Blantyre Old Parish Church!

On 22nd April 1889, when he was 21, he married his sweetheart Jeannie McNaught at Kirkton High Blantyre. Jeannie was a Blantyre woman, born at Smithycroft, High Blantyre on 20th October 1865.


1923 Craigmuir Road, Blantyre


James had a music business which he ran from 2 Central Buildings on Glasgow Road. He is noted in the 1895 census as being a musician and is said at one time to have led an orchestra. He was not the only family member to be involved with music, for nearby that year at 9 Central Buildings was another James Gibson Jnr, noted as being a music teacher. The relationship was father and son.

James Senior was the organist for High Blantyre Old Parish Church for 7 years, the church being exactly adjacent to Smithycroft, the home of his wife before they married. It is quite probably this is how they met. He was a pianoforte tuner and also a member of Blantyre Kilwinning Masonic Lodge.

In 1891, they appear in the census at Adam’s Land, High Blantyre, which was not far from Smithcroft and adjacent to the old Parish Church Halls. With them was 1 year old, first daughter, Agnes.

After 1895 but before 1900, they family left for Hawick, then later in 1912 moved to Dunville , Canada, taking a ship from Scotland to Seattle. His  family moved with him. During his lifetime he had 11 children (3 daughters and 8 sons). He died at home on 15th November 1937, aged 69. His wife, Jeannie died on 16 March 1947 in Dunville, Canada. The couple’s obituaries are attached.

With thanks to Paul Gibson of Oakville, Canada for taking time to provide some of these details.

4 responses to “Welcome to the Blantyre Project

  1. Wilma and her parents lived next door to my sister Alice. Perfect neighbours and a lovely family. I remember Wilma from Calder Street school.
    Chatted with her parents a few times over the fence on some of my trips. 1982 when I was back for the Junior Cup final, which of course, the ‘VICS won! A bit more than a chat, more like a blether!

  2. I am in touch with Hughina now and again via e mail, I met up with Hughina a few years ago for lunch at the Avonbridge in Hamilton during one of my trips. A lovely lady.
    She has 2 sons who share my passion in football.

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