This is the second part of a research paper titled “The family of Angus McPhail and Mary Graham 1783-1877”.

Angus McPhail and Mary Graham both in Glensellach (sic) married 21 January 1812.[1]  OPR entries are in date order and it appears the data has been batch processed (recorded in one sitting).  Where a researcher would expect to see a change in the handwriting script when entering marriages immediately after each event, there is no variation. The OPR Registers of Births for Kilmore and Kilbride show Angus McPhail and Mary Graham, are the parents of Isobel, Duncan and Donald.[2]

An incomplete death certificate exists for Mary Graham age 86, single, who died 1877 at Lorn Combination Poorhouse. [3] Details of parents and spouse are not recorded, presumably because the gatekeeper at Lorn Combination Poorhouse, also the informant, was not cognizant of her personal details.  However, the parental details in Donald McPhail’s death certificate 1888 lists father Angus McPhail(e)’s occupation as butler while his mother is described as “Mary McPhail afterwards May Ms Graham (deceased)”.[4]  There is no reason to doubt the validity of the information supplied by John McPhail, to complete his father’s death certificate because at the time of the 1871 census Mary Graham is enumerated as mother, in the home of Donald McPhail.[5]

Indeed, the 1879 death certificate for Isobel McPhail daughter of Angus McPhail and Mary Graham confirms her mother’s second marriage in a roundabout way, “Mary McPhail previously May Ms Graham” but not her decease. [6] A series of OPR documents and statutory records uploaded by sledgehammer127 between 2011 and 2014 to an Ancestry Tree confirm that in 1838, “William Allan, weaver in Glasgow and Isabella McPhail residing there [were] married 30 March by Dr John Forbes one of the Ministers of Glasgow”. [7]

An overwhelming reason for Mary Graham’s return to Oban is the lack of immediate family members in Kilbrandon to care for her.  After a six month illness, thirty-nine year old James May, died in February 1867 at Balvicar, Kilbrandon.  He is described as pauper formerly an ag. labourer.[8]  Another son, Hugh died in 1857. A copy of Mary Graham’s Poor Law appeal can be obtained from http://www.oldscottish.com “Poor Law Appeals Widow Mary GRAHAM or MAY 1870 (2) Refused (poorhouse). Cursory details of her application are provided at page 110 in the Annual Report of the Board of Supervision for the Relief of the Poor: “No. 242 Date of receipt of application 1870 June 1 Eo die to Inspector received June 17: Pauper Widow Mary Graham or May Kilbrandon Parish Application laid before Board 23 June 1870 Refused poorhouse Deliverance intimated to applicant”.[9]

While this paper (when read in conjunction with a previous post titled “The family of Angus McPhail and Mary Graham, Oban, Argyll, Scotland”) has proved that Angus McPhail is the son of Duncan and his first wife Mary Cameron, it did not confirm that Angus’ parents were first cousins.  Further research into the families of Isabella McPhail-Donald Cameron and Colin McPhail-Marion Campbell is necessary to identify kinship relationships.  That may lead to a more accurate identification of the family of Donald and Isabella Cameron enumerated High Street, Oban 1841. The second part resolved what it set out to do, connect Mary Graham to both the McPhail and May families and provide the context for her return from Kilbrandon to Oban and subsequent death.  This paper has also shown that by widening the scope of research to include extended family members, neighbours and acquaintances of the McPhail family it is possible to place an obscure figure with his family.  This study makes an original contribution to the lineage of Angus McPhail and Mary Graham.

This paper provides an original contribution to the family of Angus McPhail, Mary Graham and their descendants. This research should not be accepted as conclusive, there may be mistakes in the transcription of records or my hypothesis may prove to be false. If you wish to include any of the material contained in, or derived from this paper, place quotation marks around the extracted portion and credit it as follows: “Sarah Baird, “Angus McPhail and Mary Graham 1783-1877”, August 2020 at sbaird1.wordpress.com/2021/04/06/the-family-of-angus-mcphail-and-mary-graham-oban-argyll-scotland/”.


[1] “07/01/1813 MCPHAILE, DONALD (Old Parish Registers Marriages 523/ 10 163 Kilmore and Kilbride) Page 163 of 168”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 21 January 2020) “1812 Jany 21 Angus McPhaile and Mary Graham both in Glensellach”.

[2] “27/10/1812 MCPHAIL, ISOBEL (Old Parish Registers Births 523/ 10 87 Kilmore and Kilbride) Page 87 of 168”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 19 July 2020) : “24/08/1814 MCPHAILE, DUNCAN (Old Parish Registers Births 523/ 10 93 Kilmore and Kilbride) Page 93 of 168”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 8 February 2020) : “14/11/1816 MCPHAILE, CATHARINE (Old Parish Registers Births 523/ 10 99 Kilmore and Kilbride) Page 99 of 168”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 27 January 2020) “Oct 10 Baptised Dec 11 Donald lawful son to Angus McPhail and Mary Graham in Glenshellach”.

[3] “1877 GRAHAM, MARY (Statutory registers Deaths 523/ 74)”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 27 January 2020).

[4] “1888 MCPHAIL, DONALD (Statutory registers Deaths 523/ 86)”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 27 January 2020).

[5] “MCTAVISH, DUNCAN (Census 1871 523/00 002/00 018)”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 29 November 2009) “Donald McPhail head m. Age 50 Fisherman b. Kilbride Catherine (McRae) wife Age 54 b. Kirkintulloch John McPhail son 20 Sailor b. Kilbride Mary Graham mother w(idow) Age 85 mother b. Kilbride”.

[6] “1879 MCPHAIL, ISABELLA (Statutory registers Deaths 581/ 5)”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 1 August 2020).

[7] “30/03/1838 ALLAN, WILLIAM (Old Parish Registers Marriages 644/1 420 134 Glasgow) Page 134 of 798”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 1 August 2020).

[8] “1867 MAY, JAMES (Statutory registers Deaths 515/ 4)”, National Records of Scotland; digital image; (https://scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 20 July 2020).

[9] Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Board of Supervision for the Relief of the Poor in Scotland (Accessed July 2020) https://books.google.com.au/books?id=AC0MAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA110&dq=Pauper+Widow+Mary+Graham+or+May+Kilbrandon+Parish&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi6krLkjeDqAhWDwTgGHTpbBCsQ6AEwAHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q=Pauper%20Widow%20Mary%20Graham%20or%20May%20Kilbrandon%20Parish&f=false