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THE STORY OF THE BEVERIDGES


This is a narrative history of my Beveridge ancestors. Family group charts can be viewed by clicking on underlined names.


The Origins of the Name

The name Beveridge is recorded in Fife as early as 1302, when Walter Beverage was a juror on an inquest at St Andrews. Our Beveridges can be traced back in that county as far as the late eighteenth century. The name became very common there, as it still is. It can be pronounced Berridge or Berritch.


The Beveridges at Halbeath, Fife

Henry Beveridge (d 1838)

Henry Beveridge is our earliest known Beveridge ancestor, and he was probably born in Fife around 1770. It was probably about 1794 that he married Janet White. She was born in 1781 at Coalhill, Dalgety parish, Fife, her parents being Andrew White and Elizabeth (Betty) Black. In 1795 Henry and Janet were living in the mining village of Halbeath in the parish of Dunfermline, where Henry was a coal miner. This may well have been the occupation of the Beveridges, men, women and children, for generations, as until 1799 the coal miners of Scotland were in serfdom to the colliery owners and by law could not leave their occupation without permission. Janet's father was originally a weaver at the nearby village of Aberdour, but by 1775 he had become a coal miner at the Fordell Colliery in Dalgety parish. By 1794 he had moved to Halbeath, which is where Henry and Janet were probably married.

At the end of the 18th century, Halbeath Colliery was one of the most important in Fife. As well as producing coal for the local market, it also sent it by waggonway five miles to Inverkeithing harbour on the Firth of Forth. There the dross was used in the production of salt, while the higher quality coal would be sent across the Firth to Leith for the Edinburgh market.

Henry and Janet's first child, David, was born in 1795, when Janet was just under 14 years old. At that time girls could marry at the age of 12 in Scotland. While staying in Halbeath they had three more children, Andrew in 1797, Elizabeth, or Betty, in 1799, and Isobel in 1801. Elizabeth is my direct ancestor.


Move to Coaltown of Burnturk

In about 1802 the family flitted to the village of Coaltown of Burnturk in the parish of Kettle (or Kingskettle), a distance of approximately 17 miles from Halbeath. The move may have been for economic reasons, i.e. higher wages. As explained above, miners were now free to take up employment where they wished, or indeed to leave mining altogether.

The Burnturk Colliery was also an important enterprise, the coal pits being linked by canal to lime kilns, which implied a considerable investment for the time. The Burnturk coalfield was, however, an isolated one and presumably served mainly the local area, as carriage of coal to the coast for onward transport would probably have been uneconomic. About the end of the 18th century the use of lime was becoming widespead in Scottish agriculture, leading to greatly increased production. The industrial and agricultural revolutions were at this time really beginning to get into full swing, being entirely dependant on one another. Increased food production was essential to support the fast-growing urban and industrial population.

Henry and Janet's next child, Helen, was born in Kettle parish about 1802, as were John in 1806, James in 1809 and Henry in 1814. They had at least one more child, Janet, although her date and place of birth are not known.


Migration to Stevenston, Ayrshire

By 1820, the family were on the move once more, this time well away from Fife, to Stevenston in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, a distance of about 80 miles. Again it is likely that the move was economic. At this period the Stevenston Colliery was one of the biggest coal mining enterprises in Scotland, and the subject of enormous investment. The mines were linked by canal to the nearby port of Saltcoats where, again, the dross was used in salt production, with the quality coal being exported to Ireland, particularly to Dublin. The movement of the Beveridges to Stevenston may have been associated with the great strike of the Ayrshire miners in 1817, when strike-breaking labour was brought in. This may have included the Beveridges.

In 1820 the family was staying at Broom farm on the outskirts of the town, and remained there until at least 1823. Henry, and by this time, some of his sons, were, however, working as coal miners. Presumably miner's houses, or rows, had been erected for them on the farm, on which were several coal pits. By 1835, they had moved the short distance to the adjacent farm of Little Dubbs, and there Henry died in 1838. Janet remained there until at least 1841, when, according to the census, she was living with three boys, probably her grandsons. These were William Smith, aged 15, Henry Beveridge, also aged 15, both already coal miners, and Andrew Beveridge, aged 4. Next door were living David and Henry Beveridge, her sons, and their wives and families. Janet probably died before 1851, as she is not recorded in the census of that year. Of Henry and Janet's children, most married and remained in the Stevenston area.

David Beveridge (1795-1864)

In 1819 David married Margaret Russell, who also came originally from the east coast of Scotland, from Clackmannan. They had at least eight children, while living in Stevenston. Margaret, the first known child, was born c1827, Henry c1828, Janet c1835, Alexander c1837, Isabella c1840 and Mary c1843. It seems likely that there were others born between 1819 and 1827. These may have included two children who died in 1833 and 1836, their names unknown. By 1851, the family had moved to Kilwinning, a small town a couple of miles away, where they are recorded in the 1851 census as living at No 24 Bensley Square. By 1861, they had returned to Stevenston, and were living at No 11 Grange Street. There David died in 1864, aged 69, of an "asthmatic complaint of long standing". This was likely to have been the occupational disease pneumoconiosis, caused by inhalation of coal dust, a common problem among miners. His wife Margaret was still alive then, but it is not known when she died.

Of David and Margaret's children, Margaret and Alexander were still alive in 1841, but nothing further is known of them. Henry became a coal miner and married Ann Frew in 1853. He died of phthisis (tuberculosis) in 1858, by which time they had had three children. Janet worked as a seamstress, and married Samuel Dick, a miner, in 1854, and they had at least ten children. The family was still living in Stevenston in 1878. Isabella worked as a muslin sewer and married Daniel Blythe, a miner, in 1861. They had four children, but Isabella died in 1871. Mary married Hugh White, her second cousin, in 1861. In that year they were living at No 1 Grange Street in Stevenston, but by 1881 they were at No 69 High Street, Irvine, a town a few miles to the south. They had at least seven children.

Andrew Beveridge (b1797)

Andrew married Janet McGhee in 1820 and they had at least one child, John, about 1830. In 1820 they were living at Broom farm on the outskirts of Stevenston, and later that year they moved to the nearby town of Irvine. By 1841 they had moved to Townhead Street in Stevenston. Andrew worked as a coal miner, but nothing further is known of this family.

Elizabeth Beveridge (b1799)

Elizabeth, or Betty, was born in 1799 in Halbeath and moved with the family to Burnturk a year or two later. By 1820 she was staying in Stevenston with her parents and brothers and sisters. In 1821, she married Samuel Smith, a blacksmith, and they had at least three children, William, born c1821, Henry c1824 and Samuel c1827. It is not known where Samuel and Elizabeth set up home, except that it was in the parish of Irvine. It is believed that Samuel senior died some time after 1827, as in 1833 Elizabeth married again.

Her second husband was Adam Jordan (or Jardine), aged 49, i.e 16 years older than Elizabeth. Adam came from Dreghorn, a village near Irvine, and was a Chelsea pensioner, i.e. he was in receipt of an Army pension. He had served in the Royal Horse Artillery from 1808 till 1830, and had fought in the Peninsular War, including the Battle of Vittoria in Spain in 1813. He also fought at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He served in Lt Col James Webber-Smith's F Troop and was awarded the Vittoria Clasp and the Waterloo Medal. In 1833 their only child, Elizabeth, was born in Stevenston, but by 1841 the family had moved to Dreghorn, Adam's home village, where he was working as an agricultural labourer. In 1843, Elizabeth had come into contact with Mormon missionaries, of whom there were many at work in Scotland at that time, and had been baptized into this faith.

By 1851 the family had moved back to Stevenston, where they were staying in Townhead Street, in John Walker's Land (or tenement). John Walker was the husband of Elizabeth's sister Helen. Elizabeth and her daughter were not at home when the census of that year was taken, but were visiting a friend in Glasgow. In the census Elizabeth is described as a flowerer (i.e. embroiderer) and her daughter, aged 18, as a milliner. By 1854, Adam had probably died. In that year Elizabeth decided to follow her new faith, and make the long journey to Utah Territory in the west of the USA, where the Mormons had their headquarters. The arduous and dangerous journey lasted 8 months. Once there she married for a third time, to Robert Lang Campbell, who was probably responsible for her conversion in Stevenston. Elizabeth died of pneumonia in Salt Lake City in 1870. More can be read about her eventful life by clicking on “Elizabeth Beveridge – Her Geographical and Spiritual Journeys”

Elizabeth's sons by her first marriage are dealt with in "The Story of the Smiths". Elizabeth junior married Samuel James Currie in 1855, and they had a son Samuel in 1856. Elizabeth had at least five more children, but they were illegitimate, taking their mother's surname, Jordan. They were Eliza Jane (1859-60), Adam (1861-61), twins Henry and William (b 1863) and Thomas (b 1868).

Isobel Beveridge (c1801-1881)

It is possible that Isobel did not join the rest of the family in their move from Burnturk in Fife to Stevenston, as in 1823 she married Henry Storrar, a linen weaver, in Falkland in Fife. Falkland is only a few miles from Kettle. Henry and Isobel had at least eleven children. Their first home was in Auchtermuchty, when Henry was born c1825. In 1828, they were staying in Newburgh, by the banks of the Firth of Tay on the north coast of Fife, which may have been Henry's home town. Their twin daughters Amily and Grace were born there in that year. By the following year they had flitted to Markinch, a town a few miles from Kettle and Falkland, where their next five children were born - Christian in 1829, William in 1831, Isobel in 1833, John in 1835 and David in 1837. By 1840, they had returned to Newburgh, where they had three more children - Agnes Birrel in 1840, Catharine in 1842 and Elizabeth in 1846.

Isobel died at Clinton Street, Newburgh in 1881, her husband Henry being left a widower.

Of the children, nothing further is known of most of them, but William and Agnes both eventually moved to Ayrshire, where many members of the Beveridge family were living. In 1851 William was staying at No 24 Bensley Square in Kilwinning with his uncle David Beveridge and his family and working as a coal miner. By 1853 he had moved to Kilwinning where he married Jane Fulton, a widow, and they had at least seven children. In 1866 the family were staying at No 66 Townhead Street and remained in the same street and possibly the same house till at least 1881. By then William had left the pits and was working on the roads as a turnpike surfacer. John remained in Fife, where he worked as a mason. In 1862 he married Magdalene Miller in Leslie. By 1872 Magdalene had died as in that year John married again, to Ann Barclay, also in Leslie. In 1881 they were living in the town of Kirkcaldy. David remained in Fife, where he married Agnes Spittal in 1859 at Markinch, and they had at least nine children. Like William, Agnes also moved to Stevenston, where in 1871 she married her cousin James Beveridge, the son of James Beveridge and Margaret Kane. In that year she was working as a dressmaker, and living in Townhead Street. Agnes and her husband moved to Fife, but James returned to Stevenston by 1877, Agnes having died. James was also probably dead by 1881.

Helen Beveridge (c1802-1876)

Helen moved with the rest of the family to Stevenston before 1820. In 1824 she married John Walker, a colliery engine-keeper. Helen and John had at least eight children, Robert in 1825, Henry 1826, David 1831, who died young, a second David in 1833, Janet White in 1836, John in 1838, Helen c1843 and Margaret c1847. In 1835 the family were living in the Cowroading or Cowrodden in Stevenston, now called New Street, but by 1836 they had flitted to Townhead Street. In the census of 1841, they do not appear to be in Stevenston, but had returned to the town by 1843. In 1851 they were back in Townhead Street. No 58 is recorded as their address in 1861 and this may have been their home for many years. At that time Helen worked at a muslin sewer. Helen senior died in 1876.

Of Helen and John's children, in 1851 the second David was working as an engine-keeper like his father, Janet was a muslin hand-sewer and John was a colliery labourer. In 1860 John married Mary Roe, and they had at least seven children. John died in 1879. In 1854 Henry married Lilias Pollonius and they had at least five children. In 1859, Helen junior married James Glauchan and they went to live in Townhead Street, Stevenston, and had at least eleven children. Their sons John, William, James and Henry were victims of the Auchenharvie Colliery disaster on 2nd August 1895, which claimed the lives of nine miners in total.

John Beveridge (1806-1861)

John also moved with the family to Stevenston before 1820, and became a coal miner. In 1828 he married Ann McNight (or McKnight), and they had at least four children, Janet born c1830, James c1833, Henry c1835 and Elisabeth c1838, all in Stevenston. In 1835 the family were in Schoolwell Street, but by 1841 they had flitted to Grange Street. By 1851 they were on the move again, this time to the nearby town of Kilwinning, where they stayed at Kenneth's Row, Corsehill, a mining community. By 1861 they had returned to Stevenston, and were living at No 1 Grange Street. There John died in 1861 at the age of 55 of heart disease, which he had suffered from for six years. Ann went to live with her daughter Janet and her family in Glasgow, where she died in 1883.

Of the children, Janet married Thomas Hamilton, a coal miner, in 1848 in Kilwinning, where they had at least five children. By 1881 the family had flitted to Glasgow, where Janet's widowed mother came to live with them. James became a coal miner and married Jane Kirkwood in 1857. They had a son, John, in 1859 before James tragically died about 1860. Henry also became a miner and married Janet Brown in 1861. Nothing more is known of Elisabeth after the 1851 census.

James Beveridge (c1809-1875)

James also moved to Stevenston with most of the family, where in 1834 he married Margaret Kane (or McKean, Keane, Cain). Like the rest of the brothers, James became a coal miner, and he and Margaret had at least ten children. These were James, born c1835, Janet, c1837, Henry, c1839, Jane, 1841, David, c1844, Margaret, c1846, John, c1848, Joan, c1850, Andrew, c1852 and William 1856. James and Margaret lived at various addresses in Stevenston, Kilwinning and Dalry. Probably as a result of his occupation, James, like his elder brother David, suffered from asthma for a number of years. In 1874, he had to apply for poor relief, as he could no longer work, and he finally died a pauper in 1875. His widow Margaret was still living in Stevenston in 1880, when she also had to apply for poor relief. In the 1881 census she was living with her sons Henry and David.

Of the children, James became a miner and married Agnes Birrel Storrar, his cousin, in 1871. In 1874, his father's poor relief application states he was delicate and partially disabled. He had probably died by 1881.

Henry, also a miner, married Janet White, his second cousin, in 1861. From about 1859 to 1869 he was in the army. By 1874, he was living in Baillieston, Lanarkshire, he and Janet having separated. Janet appears to have moved to Hamilton in Lanarkshire, where she had two illegitimate children by an Edward Burt - Mary in 1867 and Grace in 1873 . By 1876, Henry and Janet appear to have made up, as in 1876 they had a son Henry, in Dalziel parish, Lanarkshire. Janet died about 1878. In 1881 Henry was living with his mother and brother David, and working as a pit-head coal weigher.

Jane went to London and married Charles Stripling, a coach painter. They had at least one child, James, in 1868. By 1874, Charles had died, and Jane was living in Rutherglen in Lanarkshire. There Jane had an illegitimate child, Jessie (Stripling) c1876. By 1891 Jane had returned to Stevenston, where she was recorded in the census as a field worker.

David also became a collier and in 1867 he married Jane Miller. They had at least five children, James, born 1868, Jane, 1870, Margaret, c1874, and twins Mary and Peter, c1889. At first they stayed in Stevenston, but by 1870 they had gone to live in Dalmellington, a mining village in south Ayrshire. In 1874, they were in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire. In 1877 Jane applied for poor relief in Partick in Govan parish, now part of Glasgow, claiming that David had deserted her, although this was not substantiated. Apparently David and Jane soon got together again, as they had at least two more children, Mary Baird, born 1885, and Peter, born 1889. By 1880, the family was back in Ayrshire, at Kilwinning, but by 1881 they were in their home town of Stevenston. By 1889, however they had moved again, to Avonhead, New Monkland, Lanarkshire. By 1897 they were staying in the small iron ore mining settlement of Inkerman near Paisley, Renfrewshire. David died near his home in 1897, when he was run over by railway train on the Greenock section of the Caledonian Railway near Walkinshaw Bridge, Paisley. It is believed that he committed suicide. Of the children, it is thought that James, Jane and Margaret died young. Mary and Peter both went to live in Paisley, a large town in Renfrewshire, near Glasgow. Mary married William Killen and had at least four children. Peter at first worked as a coal miner, then fought in the First World War, where he lost a leg. Afterwards he took up a new occupation as a cobbler. In 1918 William Killen and Peter Beveridge were witnesses to the marriage of Robert Carson, Peter's second cousin once removed. (See "The Story of the Carsons"). In 1939 Peter died of pneumonia, aged 50, and his sister Mary died in 1970.

It is probable that Margaret and William died young. John became a miner and married Susan Auld. In 1872, they were living in Rutherglen, a large town in Lanarkshire, near Glasgow, but by 1874 they were back in Stevenston. They had at least ten children - Jane, born c1872, Susan, 1874, James, 1877, Margaret, c1880, Joan c1883, Ellen c1886, John, c1888, Mary c1892, Emily c1894 and Elizabeth c1899. In 1876 John served 60 days in prison for an unknown offence. In 1877, Susan made an application for poor relief, stating that her husband had deserted her, but he soon returned. In 1880, he was staying in Kirkintilloch in Dunbartonshire, but by 1881 he was back in Stevenston. Susan died about 1900 and John in 1921. They are buried in New Street Cemetery, Stevenston. Little is known of most of their children, but James became a coal miner, married Janet Lambie and had at least two children. James died in 1915 and is buried in New Street Cemetery.

Joan (also known as Joanna) had an illegitimate son David in 1868. In 1874 she was working as a servant in Parkend House, Saltcoats. In 1881, Joan was working in Hillhead, near the University of Glasgow, as a cook in the household of a theological professor. At some point after this she married Robert Kelso. Joan died in 1914 and is also buried in New Street Cemetery.

Andrew, like most of his brothers, became a miner. He married Joanna Hopkirk in 1879 and they went to live in Kilwinning, but in 1881 they were in Stevenston with a baby son James, born 1880. Nothing further is known of this family.

Henry Beveridge (1814-1870)

Henry was born in Burnturk in 1814, and a few years later he was taken with the family to Stevenston. In 1834, he had an illegitimate son, Andrew, with Janet Mitchell. Henry did not marry Janet, however, but instead in 1837 he married Janet Robertson from the nearby town of Saltcoats. Henry and Janet had eight children, Ann, born c1839, Henry, c1842, Agnes, c1845, Janet, c1847, Malcolm, c1850, Margaret, c1852, Isabella, 1855 and David, c1859. At first they stayed at Little Dubbs farm, Stevenston, Henry working as a coal miner. By 1851 the family had moved to Boglemart Street in the town, but by 1861, they were on the move again, this time to Dalry, another small town a few miles to the north, where they lived at New Row. Henry was still in mining, working as a pitheadman in the Dalry iron ore mining industry. Later the family moved to the Peesweep, a mining village just outside the town, where Henry died in 1870. After Henry's death, Janet went to live at Old Manse Close in Dalry, where she died in 1882.

Of the children, Andrew married Marion Ferguson in 1857, and they had at least eight children. Ann is believed to have had an illegitimate son, David, in 1858, then married Thomas Wood in 1859, with whom she had at least six children. Thomas and Ann soon moved to Dalry, then to Burnfoothill, a mining village near Dalmellington in south Ayrshire. By 1872 the family was in Crosshouse near Kilmarnock, but by 1881, they were on the move again to Dalry, where Ann worked in a mill.

Henry became an ironstone miner in Dalry and in 1873 he had an illegitimate daughter by Mary Ann Fullerton. He seems to have developed mental problems, for in the 1881 census he is described an an imbecile.

Agnes may have died young, as she is not recorded with the family in the 1861 census. Janet became a woollen mill worker and married William McManus, an ironstone miner, with whom she had at least four children, all born in Dalry. Janet died in 1882, aged only 35. Malcolm was still alive in 1870, but nothing further is known of him. Margaret is believed to have lived in Dalry, where she died in 1932, aged 80. Isabella died in 1861 of scarlet fever, aged only 6.

David died tragically in 1864, aged only 5, in an accident at the Blair ironworks at Dalry, where he was run over by railway waggons.

Janet Beveridge

Janet was born about 1816 at Burnturk, and in 1837 she married John Anderson, a coal and ironstone miner, who was also at times an innkeeper. They had at least two children, Henry and Robert. Janet is presumed to have died between 1851 & 1854. By 1861 John had remarried and was living in Kilsyth, Stirlingshire.


© Robert James Carson 2008. All rights reserved.

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