I was stoked when I came across the High Court proceedings for Angus McPhail, his employer being second great grandfather, Duncan McTavish.
Duncan wasn’t just a fisherman, he ran a commercial operation.
Other crew members were brother-in-law Alexander McKinnon, husband of Duncan’s sister Catherine and Alexander McRae. Angus may be a brother of Duncan’s first wife Catherine McPhail.
Nabbed for illegal fishing or fish killing the four appeared before Sheriff Substitute Robertson on 30 June 1860. An excerpt from Reports of Cases before the High Court and Circuit Courts of Justiciary in Scotland during the years 1861, 1862, 1864 and 1864 by Alexander Forbes Irvine, Advocate. Vol IV.
“The Sheriff substitute finds the complaint proved. Therefore finds Duncan McTavish, Angus McPhail, Alexander McKinnon and Alexander MacRae, the parties complained on, severally liable in the modified penalty of £1/5 shillings sterling each, together with £1/1 shilling sterling each of expenses and discerns and convicts accordingly and failing payment within 14 days after this, the date of conviction, grants warrant for recovering the said sums … also to apprehend and commit the said named parties to the prison of Inverary, therein to be detained for the period of 20 days unless the said several sums be sooner paid or recovered respectively …”
Fortunately for Duncan, the Sheriff ordered return of the boats and nets to the parties except the fish which were distributed to the poor in the Kinlochspelvie neighbourhood; unfortunately for Duncan, the coffers were bare for the week he was without his boat.
Angus and Alex. McRae failing to pay their fines, spent 20 days in Inverary Jail; probably mending or making herring nets.
Alexander McRae Prisoner No 935; Age 24: Crime: Salmon Killing; Sentence: 20 days imprisonment or 46/-; Tried: 30 June 1860 by Sheriff Robertson; Unmarried; Address: Resident Oban; Occupation: Fisherman; Admitted 4 August 1860 after non-payment of fine. Released 24 August 1860 (20 days in Inverary Jail).
Angus McPhail Prisoner No 949: Age 19: Crime: Salmon Killing Sentence: 20 days imprisonment or 46/- Tried: 30 June 1860 by Sheriff Robertson Single Address: Born Glasgow Resident Oban. Occupation: Sailor; Admitted 25 September 1860 after non-payment of fine. Released 15 October 1860 (20 days in Inverary Jail).