Joe Smith – Pitman, Pugilist, Poacher

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-19-37-33Steve Smith and I have been conversing these last few evenings. Steve told me, “I visited Blantyre many times to see my Aunt Mary , Uncle Willie and regularly went to Niaroo to visit my Uncle Hughie along with my Dad James Smith.

Joe Smith, (the father of John, Hugh, Joe, William, James, Terence, Daniel, Annie, Margaret, Mary, Cathy as well as two other children named Margaret and Mary who died as children), lived at Niaroo until his death in 1970.

Joe was a well known bare knuckle boxer who wrote an interesting book called ‘Pitman Pugilist Poacher’ which tells the story of the early years of his life and his experiences working down the pit as well as his many fights in the boxing ring.”

Steve has kindly shown me the covers of his grandfathers transcribed book, which Steve has through his own effort, made available.

Steve added, “My Grandfather Joe Smith was born in 1887, sometime during the late 1930s I think,he wrote a story telling of his life up until he married in 1908. I have the original copy of the book and over the years had thought about getting some copies made in case it went missing, I did send a copy many years ago to a cousin but I suspect she lost it.

In any event I have finally got around to getting the book put together along with some press cuttings and photographs and a number off copies professionally printed. I will be sending some of them off to members of my family in Australia and Canada however Joe and his wife Annie had a large number of children spread over a period of 18 years who themselves had children and they are scattered over the UK and abroad and we have either had no contact or lost touch with them.

I have heard over the years that on at least two occasions, once in the UK and Australia comments have been read on websites from people looking for a copy of a book named ‘Pitman, Pugilist, Poacher’, I can only assume they are from family descended from Joe.

Would it be possible that you could put reference to the book on your website and hopefully it will be seen by descendants of Joe who would be interested in receiving a copy of the book. I have attached a copy of the front and back covers of the book as well as a page which has the names and dates of birth and death of Joe, Annie and all the children”

I have now referenced this interesting book here on the website. If you’re a member of the Smith family, or interested in this book, Steve can be contacted at

On social media:

Jane Johnstone Very interesting
Margaret Brown Burns My dad’s cousin May Callaghan was married to Hugh Smith she was also my godmother
The Blantyre Project I suspect this is a very big family now with many connections abroad.

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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