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THE STORY OF THE SMITH FAMILY OF BARTONHOLM IN THE PARISH OF IRVINE, AYRSHIRE


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


The Origins of the Name

The name Smith is derived from the occupation and is the commonest surname in Scotland, as well as in England. It is first recorded in Scotland in the late 12th century.


Samuel Smith

The first of our known ancestors to bear the surname Smith was Samuel Smith. Little is known about him except that he was a blacksmith and is believed to have come originally from Cumberland in the north of England. In 1821 he married Elizabeth Beveridge in Stevenston in Ayrshire (see "The Story of the Beveridges"). Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry Beveridge and Janet White, the family having come from Fife to Ayrshire around 1817. Samuel and Elizabeth (or Betty) are known to have lived in the parish of Irvine in Ayrshire and to have had at least three children, William, born 1822, Henry 1824 and Samuel junior 1826 or 1827. Samuel senior probably died some time after 1827, as Elizabeth remarried in 1833.

Her second husband was Adam Jordan (or Jardine) from Dreghorn, a village near Irvine. He was a Chelsea pensioner, i.e. he was in receipt of an Army pension. In 1833 their only child, Elizabeth, was born in Stevenston. In 1843 Elizabeth was converted to Mormonism, and after Adam's death 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. Elizabeth died in Salt Lake City in 1870. More can be read about her eventful life by clicking on “Elizabeth Beveridge – Her Geographical and Spiritual Journeys”


William Smith (1822-1869)

William was the first son of Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Beveridge and was born in 1822 in the parish of Irvine. In 1841 he was living with his maternal grandmother, Janet White (Mrs Beveridge), who was by then a widow, at Little Dubbs farm, just outside Stevenston. At that time he was working as a coal miner. There were several pits in the vicinity, all part of the Auchenharvie Colliery complex, one of the largest coal mining enterprises in Scotland at that time. In 1844 William married Janet Jaffrey, a daughter of David Jaffrey and Agnes Chalmers, and they had at least ten children - Samuel, born c1846, Agnes, c1848, William, 1850, Elizabeth, c1853, David, 1855, Andrew, 1857, Ellen, 1860, Alexander, 1863, James Small, 1865 and Henry Beveridge, 1869. By 1848, William and Janet and their growing family had moved to the nearby town of Kilwinning, where in 1851 they were staying at the Double Row at Eglinton Ironworks, a very large industrial enterprise. William, however, was still working as a miner. After several years in Kilwinning, they were on the move again in the early 1850s, this time to the mining community of Peesweep near the town of Dalry, a few miles north of Kilwinning. In 1861 they were living at No 1 New Row. By this time William had found better employment as a colliery engine-keeper, the same occupation as his younger brother Samuel. The family were still staying at Dalry in 1869, when their last child Henry Beveridge was born.

Shortly after this William and Janet moved to Maryport in Cumberland, where in 1871 they were living at 8 Gilmour Street with six of their children. William was still working as an engine-keeper, presumably at one of the local coal mines. Next door at No 6 were living William's aunt Janet Beveridge, widow of his mother's brother Henry, and her children Malcolm and Henry and grandson David. Henry Beveridge had died in 1870 at Peesweep. By 1881, the family had moved to the nearby town of Workington, where they were living at Meadow View. William died in Workington in 1889, but it is not known what eventually became of William's wife Janet.

Of the children, Samuel, born c1846, was working as a pit fireman (blacksmith) in 1861. He married and had at least one child, Janet, born c1878. In 1881 the family were at Mossbay Cottage in Workington, but by 1891 they had moved across to the east of England, and were living at 12 Bridges Place, Hunslet, in the city of Leeds. Samuel died in Cumberland, probably Workington, in 1898.

Agnes, born c1848, married William Duncan, a blacksmith from New Cumnock in Ayrshire, and they had at least 7 children. In 1881 they were at Meadow View in Workington, and in 1891 at 13 Western Place in the town.

In 1861, William, born 1850, was also working as a pit fireman. In 1870 he married Ann Wilson in Grosmont, Egton, near Whitby in Yorkshire, and their first child was born there. By about 1875 they family had moved to Maryport in Cumberland, but by 1875 they were back in Yorkshire, at Loftus, also near Whitby. They had returned to Cumberland by 1881, however, when they were staying at the 23 The Old Iron Works, Seaton, near Workington. They remained in the Workington area, where William worked as a blackmith at an iron furnace.

Elizabeth, born c1853, remained unmarried and lived with her parents, working as a dressmaker, until her father died in 1889. David, born 1855, also remained single, and worked as an ironworks blacksmith. In 1891 he was living with his brother Samuel and family in Hunslet, Leeds. Ellen, born 1860, was with the family in 1871, but nothing more is known of her. Janet, born c1867, was not with the family in the 1871 census, but was with them in 1881. Henry Beveridge, born 1869, was also with the family in 1881. Andrew, born 1857, Alexander, 1863, and James Small, 1865, all probably died young.


Henry Smith (1824-1870)

Henry was the second son of Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Beveridge and was born in 1824 in the parish of Irvine. In 1841 he was a lodger at Inchgotrig, Riccarton, near Kilmarnock, and working as an engine keeper like his brothers William & Samuel. In 1844 he married Mary Reid of Stevenston, the daughter of Charles Reid and Elizabeth Easdale. Henry became a coal miner and in 1851 he and Mary and family were living at the Misk near Stevenston, which was both a farm and a colliery. Henry and Mary had at least six children, all born in Stevenston parish - Elizabeth, born c1845, Easdale (a girl), c1850, Samuel, c1852, Jean, 1855, Charles, 1857 and Henry, 1860. By 1861, the family had moved into the town of Stevenston and were staying at No 67 Townhead Street. They then flitted to Cowroading Street (now called New Street), where they were residing in 1866, before returning to Townhead Street by 1870.

Around 1856, Henry contracted asthma, probably as a result of his occupation as a coal miner, respiratory diseases being a hazard of the job. By 1857, he had given up the pits and by 1861 had become a grocer. Despite having this business, Henry seems to have had difficulty supporting the family and needed to apply for poor relief between 1857 and 1870. In that year he unfortunately succumbed to his asthma, leaving his widow Mary to continue running the grocery business after his death.

Of the children, Elizabeth was working in service in 1866. Easdale whose unusual Christian name was her grandmother's maiden name, died of measles in 1859. Samuel became a baker, married Helen Kennedy White in 1874, and they had 8 children. He died in Irvine in 1923. Jean was still living in the family home in 1881. Charles was a coal miner in 1868 at the age of 11, but by 1871 he had become an apprentice baker. In 1881 he was still a baker, like his elder brother Samuel, and was still staying in the family home in Townhead Street, Stevenston. Henry was living with his mother in 1871, but by 1881 he had moved to Cumberland and was staying with his uncle William Smith and his family in Workington and working as an engine fitter. In 1881 their mother was still in Townhead Street and working as a grocer, but by 1891 she had flitted to 16 Montgomery St, Irvine, and was working as a seamstress. .


Samuel Smith (c1826-1901)

Samuel was the third known, and probably last, child of Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Beveridge, having been born in the parish of Irvine in 1826. In 1841 he was living with his mother and stepfather in the village of Dreghorn, just outside the town of Irvine. His whereabouts in 1851 are not known, but by 1857 he had found employment as an engine-keeper at the Bartonholm colliery between Irvine and Kilwinning, a job he did for most of his working life. While living at Deep Draught Cottages, adjacent to the miners' rows of the pit village, he had an illegitimate son, Samuel, with Marion Hunter. They had a second son Robert in 1859 before Marion and he got married. Marion was the daughter of Robert Hunter and Jane Paterson, and came originally from Thornhill in Dumfries-shire. Samuel and Marion continued living at Bartonholm and had eleven children there. These were Samuel, born 1857, Robert, 1859 (both illegitimate), Elizabeth Beveridge, 1861, William, 1863, Jane Paterson, 1865, Agnes Hunter, 1867, Alexander Hunter, Henry Beveridge, 1870, Helen Hunter, 1874 and James Hunter, 1875. A female child was also born in 1873, but only lived one day. She is not named on her birth or death certificates, but is believed to have been called Helen. A second Helen, with the middle name of Hunter, was born in May 1874, but only lived until January 1875, when she died of bronchitis.

Family of Samuel and Marion Smith c1871

Samuel retired from his colliery employment some time after 1893, and the family moved to Whitehurst Park, a farm on the outskirts of Kilwinning, where Samuel was a tenant of the farmer. He is described variously in the records as a dairyman and poultry farmer. Later they moved again, this time to a house called Greenbank in the Fullarton district of Irvine. There Samuel died in 1901 of natural causes, aged 74. After her husband's death, Marion moved to 83 Montgomery St, Irvine, where she was living in 1911. Later she moved again, to the nearby village of Dundonald, where she lived in a house at No. 3 Main Street called "The Bungalow". This was owned by her son Henry, and may have been built by him. There her sister Agnes came to live with her, until Agnes's death in 1912. Marion was found dead of natural causes in 1916, aged 84. Samuel, Marion and several of their children are buried in Shewalton Cemetery just outside Irvine, where the family gravestone still commemorates them.

More information about Marion and her siblings and ancestors can be found in "The Story of the Hunters".

Smith Family Gravestone, Shewalton Cemetery, Irvine

The Bungalow, 3 Main Street, Dundonald

Samuel Smith (1857-1916)




Samuel Smith (1857-1916)

Samuel, known as Sam, was the eldest of the ten children of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter, being born in the parish of Irvine, probably at Bartonholm, in 1857. He first found employment in the pits at 11 years of age, but later found a new job, probably as a seaman, as he became active in the Glasgow Railway and Seamen's Union. In 1882 he decided to emigrate to Australia, and settled in Sydney, New South Wales, where he found work as a ship's fireman. There he helped found the Seamen's Union, becoming Assistant Secretary in 1890, and Secretary in the following year, remaining in this post until 1902. He was closely involved in the great maritime strike of 1890. At some time he also served as President of the Stewards' and Cooks' Union and the Shore Drivers' and Firemen's Union. In 1887, Samuel married Ellen Gorman and they had six children - twins Ellen Maria and Annie, born 1889, Agnes Margaret, 1892, Mabel Catherine, 1894, Elizabeth, 1896 and Samuel James, 1897. In 1896 Samuel fell foul of the law when he was found guilty of fraud in connection with his position as Director of the "Daily Post" newspaper, and served two months in prison before the conviction was quashed. As well as various trade union and labour movement positions, Samuel was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1898 and served for four years until 1902. He also served on Sydney City Council from 1900 till 1902, reaching the position of alderman. He resigned from these positions on his appointment to the new Arbitration Court. In 1905, however, he had to resign for health reasons from his position as workers' representative on the Court, and never resumed his public activities. Sam eventually died in 1916 in the Hospital for the Insane at Callan Park, Sydney, at the age of 68.

Sam is buried in the Presbyterian section of Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney. He was known as the "Plimsoll of Australia" because of his efforts to improve safety in shipping.

Of Sam and Ellen's children, Ellen, known as Nelle, married Eric Hibble. They had six children, two of whom died as infants. Eric became a bank manager, and the family moved around New South Wales and Queensland, eventually retiring to Forster, New South Wales. Nelle died in 1970 and Eric in 1979. Annie died at birth, while Agnes, who was known as Marge, never married, worked as a secretary in Melbourne, and died in 1981. Mabel married Frederick William Feek, a minister of religion, in 1925. She died in 1951 and her husband in 1956. Elizabeth, known as Betty, married Walter E R Smith in 1926, they had at least two children. Samuel junior became a bus driver and also a leading trade unionist like his father. He married Jessie May Robertson in 1928 and they had two children, a boy and a girl. Samuel junior served on the New South Wales Legislative Council from 1931 till 1940 and died in 1964 and his wife Jessie in 1966..


Robert Hunter Smith (b1859)

Robert was the second child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter, being born in 1859. By the age of 11 he was working in the mines like his father, but in 1877 he enlisted in the 79th Regiment of Foot, or Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. For some reason he initially used the alias of John Smith. After two years in the new Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow, the regiment sailed in June 1879 to Gibraltar to join the garrison there. Robert progressed rapidly through the ranks, and by 1882 he had become a colour sergeant.

In 1882, a crisis arose in Egypt, when Arabi Pasha led an Egyptian army revolt against the government. Britain decided to intervene, and soon captured Alexandria. The Camerons were transported there in August and later taken to Ismailia on the Suez Canal, from where the British force marched to El Magfa, a very arduous and thirsty trek. On the early morning of the 13th September, the regiment, along with the Gordons and Black Watch, led the famous night march by 17,500 men on Arabi's fortress at Tel-El-Kebir. The attack began at dawn, the British storming the Egyptian fortifications with bayonets fixed, not a shot being fired until the Egyptians and Sudanese had been driven from their trenches after a stiff fight. Tel-El-Kebir was soon in British hands and the revolt was effectively over, a great victory having been won. Fortunately Robert survived the battle unscathed, and was awarded the Egyptian Medal with Clasp and the Khedive's Star.

Although most of the Camerons remained in Egypt until 1887, Robert returned to Britain in December 1882, where he served at the regimental depot at Fort George near Inverness. In 1883, Robert had the honour of representing the regiment at the ceremony of placing the old colours of the Scottish regiments in St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, when he escorted the flags of the 79th in the procession from Edinburgh Castle.

In 1884, while stationed at Fort George, Robert married Margaret MacNiven, who was from an army family, having been born in Gibraltar. They had at least two children - James Austin, born at Campbelltown, Ardersier, near Fort George in 1885 and Samuel, born at Diriebught in Inverness in 1887. In 1885, Robert was transferred to the 1st Regiment of the Guernsey Light Infantry (also called the Guernsey Militia). In 1891, the family was living at Mill Cottage, Arsenal Road in St Peter Port. In 1890 Robert was promoted to the rank of sergeant-major. From that date until his discharge from the army in 1901 he worked in the orderly room under the adjutant. In his discharge papers he is described as thoroughly trustworthy, a very good clerk and accountant and an excellent shot and drill instructor. Robert did not take long to find employment, as at the time of the census in April 1901, he was living at High St, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire with Margaret and their younger son Samuel and working as a publican. In 1900 their elder son James had started an apprenticeship at Chatham Naval Dockyard in Kent, where he remained until his early death in 1926. The family was soon on the move again, this time to Leith, the port for Edinburgh situated on the Firth of Forth. There Robert had secured an appointment as civilian warden at the barracks in Leith Fort. Instead of remaining in Leith, their second son Samuel went to Inverness to live with his maternal grandmother, and to finish his education, later obtaining employment with the Caledonian Railway Company. Sadly, in 1904 Robert's wife Margaret died of tubercular peritonitis, aged only 38. Robert, however, did not take long to find happiness with a new wife, as in 1906 he returned to Biggleswade to marry Emma Harris. He brought his new wife north to Leith, where he continued in his employment at Leith Fort until at least 1912. Later he got a job as a newspaper branch manager. Robert and Emma lived at first in Hawthornvale, Leith, and later at 5 Connaught Place, Edinburgh. They had two children, Robert Hunter, who was born in 1909, and Muriel Louise, known as Louise, in 1912. Robert senior died in 1938 at the age of 79, while Emma continued to live at Connaught Place until her death in 1954 at the age of 86.

Robert junior became a journalist, married Helen Dorothy Bain, and had at least one son. He died in 1966, aged 56. Louise lived at Connaught Place all her life, never married, and worked as a post office clerkess. She died in 1978, aged 66.


Elizabeth Beveridge Smith (1861-1926)

Elizabeth was born in 1861, the third child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter and in 1888 she married William Carson, son of Jane Carson, who worked at Nobel's Explosives Factory at Ardeer, Stevenston. Elizabeth and William had seven children. Following William's tragic death in an accident at work, Elizabeth remarried in 1907, to James Robertson Paton. The marriage was not a happy one, and they were divorced in 1923, Paton having been convicted of bigamy at the Old Bailey in London. Elizabeth died in 1926. More details of her life are given in the "Story of the Carsons".



To read more about her life and her two husbands, click “Elizabeth Beveridge Smith and her Two Husbands”

To read about the court action for slander involving Elizabeth and her brother Alexander, click “The Stange Case of Elizabeth Beveridge Smith and Baldy-Headed Sanny”.

Elizabeth Smith c1905


William Hunter Smith (1863-1924)

William was born in 1863, the fourth child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter. As a young man he moved to the town of Renfrew on the south bank of the River Clyde, where he worked as a carpenter in a shipbuilding yard. In 1886 he married Jeanie Sim, the daughter of William Sim and Jeanie Sommerville, and they had at least five children - Samuel, born 1887, Jeanie, born 1890, Marion Hunter, born 1892, Jeanie Sim, born 1887 and William Sim, born 1899. The first Jeanie unfortunately only lived about 18 months and died of whooping cough in 1891. In 1887, the family were living at 24 Orchard Street in Renfrew, but by 1890 they had flitted to 11 Dunlop Street. By 1892 they had moved to 5 Hamilton Street in Yoker, just across the River Clyde from Renfrew, but by 1897 they had flitted to 1 Campbell Place, also in Yoker. By 1899 they had moved again, to Cross Place, Ferry Road Head, also in Yoker. At the beginning of the 20th century the family decided to emigrate to North America. In 1903 William travelled alone to Montreal on the SS "Sardinian", then continued his journey to Toronto, before crossing Lake Ontario to Buffalo in the USA. From there he journeyed on to Seattle in Washington state on the Pacific coast. In February 1906, his wife Jeanie and three of their children Marion, Jeanie junior and William junior sailed to New York and travelled overland to Seattle to join William. William became an American citizen in 1910. In 1920, William and Jeanie were lodging in Vancouver, Clarke Co, Washington State, where William was working at his trade in a shipyard. He died in 1924, aged 61. Jeanie died in Seattle in 1954, aged 90.

William and Jean's eldest son Samuel also emigrated to North America, where he settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. He became a marine engineer, and by 1930 he had risen to be 2nd Engineer on the "Empress of Asia", owned by Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd. In 1923 he married Isabella Sutherland, also from Scotland, but they are not believed to have had any children. Samuel died in Vancouver in 1934, aged only 46. William junior took up the trade of electrician, married Nellie Anna Paton and had three children. He died in Pasco, Washington State, in 1954, aged 55. Marion married Henry Melbourne Richardson in 1913 and they had 5 children. Marion died in Renton near Seattle in 1960, aged 67. In 1922 Jean married John H McClure, a bank cashier from Pennsylvania. Jean lived for over fifty years at 3804 24th Ave South, Seattle and died in 1985 at the age of 88.


Jane Paterson Smith (b1865)

Jane or Jean was born in 1865, the fifth child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter and was working as a dairymaid when in 1890 she married James Richmond, a gardener, the son of William Richmond and Ann Connell. Later James became a tomato grower at the village of Loans near Troon, a few miles down the Ayrshire coast. Jean and James had at least nine children - Marion Hunter, born 1891, Ann Connell, 1893, William, 1895, Jane Paterson Smith, 1897, Agnes Hunter Smith, 1900, Isabella Hamilton, 1903, James, 1905, Helen Hunter, 1907 and Elizabeth, 1909. Jane senior died at home at Roseberry Cottage in the Loans in 1953, aged 88, her husband James having died earlier.

Agnes died in 1914, aged only 14. Ann never married, and died in 1945. Marion, known as Minnie, and Elizabeth, known as Bessie, also never married, both becoming schoolteachers. They both lived in the Loans, possibly together, where Marion died in 1981. Elizabeth, who had suffered from diabetes, died in 1993 at Drumchapel Hospital in Glasgow. Helen also never married, and worked as a housemaid. Latterly she lived at Acharn on the banks of Loch Tay in Perthshire, and died in nearby Aberfeldy in 1989.

Marion Richmond 1964

Elizabeth Richmond 1964

William married Ellen Duncan and with his brother James became a market gardener at the Loans like his father. They had two children. William died in 1966, aged 71.

Jane was a sub-postmistress in Motherwell in Lanarkshire when in 1924 she married Robert Scott, a newsagent in the town. They had one daughter.

Isabella married John Dale, a schoolteacher from Wishaw, in 1932. They went to live in Knightswood, Glasgow and had one daughter.

James joined the Army as a regular soldier about 1928 and served in the Second World War. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery during an attack by the Italians on Sollum Barracks in Libya. He reached the rank of Company Sergeant-Major. After the war he ran a market garden at the Loans with his brother William.


Agnes Hunter Smith (b1867)

Agnes was born in 1867, the sixth child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter. In 1901 she was living at Barkip, Dalry, when she married a widower from Stevenston, Joseph Anderson Carey. Agnes was a saleswoman at the time of her marriage and Joseph was a railway signalman. At first Agnes and Joseph went to live in Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast, where they had three children, Agnes Hunter Smith in 1902, Mary Anderson in 1904 and Hugh in 1906. Later the family moved to Green Street, Bellahouston, in Glasgow, where James was born in 1911. They stayed there until at least 1921, but by 1928 the family had moved to No. 21 Clifford St, also in Bellahouston. About 1933 the family is believed to have moved to Elderslie in Renfrewshire.

In 1927 Agnes junior obtained a position as a typist in the Civil Service and went to work in the Board of Trade in London. She remained unmarried, and died in Hillingdon, west London, in 1969. Mary became a typist, married James Johnston in 1933, and had at least one son. She died in Dunoon, Argyll, in 1994. Hugh and James also went to live in London. Hugh married Patricia, had 2 children, and died in Islington, London, in 1989. James married twice, first to Margaret, then to Gwyneth. James and Gwyneth lived in Malaya in the 1950s, returning in 1959 to England, where they lived in Ruislip, Middlesex. They had 2 children. James died in Hillingdon in 1971, aged 59. Agnes senior died in Ruislip in 1954 at the age of 86, while Joseph died in Hillingdon Hospital, Middlesex, in 1961, aged 90.


Alexander Hunter Smith (1868-1923)

Alexander, known as Sandy, was born in 1868, the seventh child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter. He never married and worked firstly as a joiner. In 1901 he was living with his parents at Greenbank near Irvine. In 1911 he was running a confectionery shop at 64 Canal Street, which was owned by the children of his elder sister Elizabeth. In 1912, after falling out with Elizabeth, Sandy vacated this shop and opened his own confectionery shop at 45 Raise Street, Saltcoats. The bad feeling between the siblings led eventually to a slander action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh! Sandy died in 1923, aged 54, of natural causes, probably heart failure.

To read more about the court action, click “The Strange Case of Elizabeth Beveridge Smith and Baldy-Headed Sanny”.


Henry Beveridge Smith (1870-1927)

Henry was born in 1870, the eighth child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter. He studied medicine at Glasgow University, graduating M.B., C.M. in 1894. He must have been a remarkable person, for this was certainly very unusual for the son of a mine-worker at that time. On first qualifying, he stayed at the family home in Bartonholm, but he soon commenced his travels, which were to take him to several places in England and abroad. In 1897, he was living at Chapeltown, near Sheffield in Yorkshire, but by 1900 he was living at 2 Hall Lane, Bradford, Yorkshire. Later that year he found employment as a junior medical officer in the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire County Asylum, but soon he went out to South Africa to serve as a civilian surgeon with the South African Field Force in the Boer War between 1900 and 1901. While returning by ship from the war in 1903, Henry met Jane Sarah Edwards, a divorcee from Ladismith, Cape Colony, and they married later that year. At first Henry and Jane went to live at Whitehurst Park farm, where his parents were tenants of a cottage, and apparently they continued to live there until 1905 while his parents went to stay at the nearby village of Dundonald in a house Henry had bought or built. In 1906, he and Jane had a son, Henry Hunter, and later a daughter, Jane Sarah. By 1909 the family were back in England, staying at 8 Ormond Avenue, Hampton-on-Thames, Middlesex, but they were soon on the move again, this time to Willow Grove, Hiss, near Brandon in Suffolk. In 1915, Henry was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was later promoted to captain, then major. After the end of the war, in 1919, he transferred to the Royal Air Force, where he held the rank of flight-lieutenant and honorary squadron-leader. In 1920, a tragedy occurred when his wife Jane was killed by a train at Lakenheath level crossing, very close to the Hiss. Henry continued his RAF service, becoming medical officer at the No 1 Flying Training School, Netheravon, Salisbury, Wiltshire from 1922. He retired from the RAF on 6th April 1927 to take up farming full-time, but his life came to a sudden and tragic end a fortnight later, when he was gored to death by a bull at his home at the Hiss. He left an estate of £6,061, a very large sum for the time.


James Hunter Smith (1875-1945)

James was born in 1875, the eleventh child of Samuel Smith and Marion Hunter. He was also a clever boy, who attended Irvine Academy, then trained as a pharmacist at Glasgow Technical College. In 1907 he married Grace Barr, a drapery saleswoman from the Gorbals in Glasgow, and they had three children, Mary Ethel Mowbray (known as Ethel), born 1908, James Rodger, known as Rodger, born 1910 and Norman Barr, born 1913. By 1916 James and Grace had gone to live in Westerton Garden Suburb in Dunbartonshire, as great a contrast to the slums of the Gorbals as it is possible to imagine. They were among the first residents of Scotland's first garden suburb, where James was known as 'Chemist Smith'. By 1920 James had founded the pharmacy firm of J. Hunter Smith & Co. Ltd., who had premises at 9 Virginia Street in the city centre of Glasgow. About 1924 the firm moved a short distance to the prime position of 12 Glassford Street. In 1942, after Grace died, James married Elizabeth Simpson, a tea-room manageress from Lenzie, Dunbartonshire. They went to live at 7 Kirklee Quadrant, Kelvinside, Glasgow, but only three years later James died at the age of 69. The pharmacy in Glassford Street continued trading as J H Smith & Co after James's death until 1950.

Of James and Grace's children, Ethel married William Fulton Gibson, a banker. They lived in Westerton and had three children. William died in 1964 and Ethel in 1991. Rodger became an art teacher and married Lucy Frances Bain in 1945, and they had 4 children. The family went to live in Comrie, Perthshire, where Rodger died in 1986 and Lucy in 1991. Norman married and worked as a colour matcher. He died in the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow in 1980.


© Robert James Carson 2008. All rights reserved.

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