Many Years Ago

Genealogy writings about my ancestors

Sympathy Saturday – Testaments & Trusts!

Sadly, I associate the name Hugh Baird with an early death, not just this Hugh but also his nephews.

Hugh, the third son of Alexander “the Blacksmith” Baird and Ann Clark born 13th November 1832 and baptised at Montrose [OPR 312/00 0100 0257] executed his Last Will and Testament “upon the 26th day of November 1879” four days before his death.

“At Montrose the 13th day of May 1880 in the presence of James Mundie Esq one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Forfar appeared David Beattie, Grocer residing in High Street, Montrose, Executor of the deceased Hugh Baird, Labourer formerly residing at Lochside afterwards residing at Nursery, Montrose, who being solemnly sworn and examined deposes that the said Hugh Baird died at Nursery Montrose upon the 1st day of December 1879 and the Deponent has entered upon the possession of management of the deceased’s Estate as Executor nominated by him along with James Baird and Charles Baird his brothers in a Trust Disposition and Settlement executed by him along with a Codicil …”.

Snip Personal Property Hugh's WillTotal movable property amounted to £79/6/6 consisting of:

Body clothes belonging to the deceased: 10/6

National Security’s Savings Bank, Montrose: 76/17

One Share in the Montrose Baking & Trading Society: 1/19

That Beattie name rears its head again and I’m seriously thinking of tossing my original research on Ann Clark’s parentage out the window.

“Trust Disposition and Settlement” that stumped me but may have something to do with the home occupied by brother Charles at Little Nursery, Montrose.

Checking the NAS: “Between 1868-1964 a will could transfer movable and heritable property.  A Trust Disposition and Settlement (TD&S) could be used to transfer ownership of the land concerned to a group of named trustees.  They did not require to be registered to be valid. Locating a copy is not always straightforward.  Could be in the register of deeds either of the local sheriff court …” – unless you were a major landowner!

Forget hunting for the TD&S. I turned to the 1905 and 1915 Valuation Rolls I had for Charles Baird of Little Nursery – noted as Owner/Occupier and wonder whether this real estate was part of the TD&S.  Perhaps Charles and Hugh were joint owners/long term lessees?

In 1915 yearly income totalled £27/10 and feu duty £4/5/6.  Charles lived in No. 9 and occupied the garden area while son-in-law Alexander McDonald occupied or sub-let No 7.  [VR58/33/237]

Snip 1915 Valuation RollThe tenants, some long term:

No 3:  John Taylor, Surfaceman (and 1905) and at No 5: Mrs Mary Carnegie (1905 John Carnegie, Labourer).

So what was the relationship between Hugh and David Beattie?

Tracking shopman/grocer, David through census years on Ancestry, he originated in Dundee relocating to Montrose by 1861 with brother, William also a shopman and died in April of 1888.  In another twist, Hugh’s niece, Euphemia Sturrock Baird named her only child, Charles Beattie Watson.

Perhaps Hugh appointed David as a third man, to resolve any differences that may have arisen between brothers, Charles and James?  Who knows, I’m speculating.

A share in the Montrose Baking & Trading Society – a labourer in a bakery shop I presume. Many of Hugh’s nephews earned their living from the baking trade.  A google of this Society led me to

How did Hugh acquire this property or long term lease for it? – Absolutely no idea.

The answer may lie in the vaults of the National Archives of Scotland, a resource unavailable to me.  Forfar (B26), 1680-1699, 1709-1935, indexed 1809-1914


Travel Tuesday – The Lucky Country

BEEJAPORE 12 JAN 1853What a journey – 85 days at sea and that was the shortest on record!  Benjamin Yarham, my first cousin 4 times removed arrived in New South Wales, Australia in January 1853.

Younger brother William, less than one year old was one of the 56 children who lost their lives from scarlet fever or measles during the voyage on the Beejapore.

Benjamin, named after his grandfather, born 1838, at Themelthorpe, Norfolk, the son of Sarah Yarham made the long and arduous journey with step-father, James Oldman, cordwainer (and according to the 1851 Census, also a beer housekeeper), his mother Sarah, some ten years older than her husband and little sister Hannah Oldman.

Sarah and James settled in “Sofala located on the Turon River 45kms north of Bathurst, Australia’s oldest surviving gold town. The village came into existence in mid 1851 when gold was discovered on the Turon River, not long after the initial discovery at Ophir. In the early days the township is reputed to have had a population of 30,000 Europeans and 10,000 Chinese. By 1868 there were 51 licensed hotels and numerous other businesses catering for the needs of the prospectors.”.

Twenty-three years later Sarah, passed away on 2nd February 1876 at the age of 65 and was buried at Sofala Anglican Cemetery.  A snippet appearing in the The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday 1 April 1903, page 8 “Mr. James Oldman, 78, died on Monday at Sofala, where he had resided for 50 years”.

It’s not clear whGippsland Times, January 1924ether Benjamin left his family after arriving in Australia.

Sadly, the next piece of information relates to his demise – let’s hope death was swift.

Reported in The Argus on Thursday 27 September 1923 (pg 18) under the heading: Search for Missing Man:

“OMEO, Wednesday – Mr Benjamin Yarham, an old resident of the district, who lived at Dry Gully, four miles from Omeo, has been missing for three weeks.  A search has been in progress for three days by aborigines under the direction of Constable Baker.  His hat was found in his hut so the police believe that he has met his death.  It is surmised that he collapsed in one of the gullies surrounding his home and that his body was washed away in the flood waters after the recent rains or has become entangled in the bed of the Livingstone Creek”.

Benjamin’s body was found in January 1924 not far from where the search was abandoned last August.  Gippsland Times, January 1924

Mystery Monday – Alexander Baird, the Blacksmith

Ann Clark, head of the household and wife of Alexander Baird the Blacksmith, was never enumerated as widow in Scotland’s census for 1851 and 1861. I always felt Alexander was out there, wandering somewhere, but contact was maintained with the family because his sons Charles and James marriage certificates did not include the word “deceased” adjacent to Alexander’s name in the parent column. I subconsciously categorised him as a runaway husband. Only recently did I find a death certificate for Ann’s missing husband, however, my excitement at finding it was short-lived.

Alexander was not surrounded by friends or family when he took his last breath in January 1870. His death was registered by a neighbour. Where I expected to see the names of his parents, to fill in the void, the column is empty, just one big space of nothingness. Not only that, there is also the question, which will never be answered, why he walked out on his family. One can only surmise the reason, but perhaps, the answer lies in the future.

In a similar way, Alexander Baird, son of Alexander the Blacksmith and Ann Clark walked out on his family. When retrieving the 1871 census for the family of Alexander Baird the son, and his wife Ann Nichol, there on the page, glaring out at me beside the name of his wife Ann Baird were the words “deserted by husband”. Ann Baird and her daughter Mary Ann, abandoned by their husband and father had taken in lodgers to support themselves.

Probably Alexander the son of Alexander the Blacksmith was forced to marry heavily pregnant Ann Nichol in December of 1846. A month and a half later they welcomed their first-born child John into the world and for the first twenty years of marriage, the couple lived in Old Machar, Aberdeenshire where Alexander worked for the railways. On paper, the census records portray a normal family life, but why or how did it become intolerable that Alexander the son, felt it crucial to walk out on his family?

Using census records to follow Alexander the son’s movements, he returned to the Montrose area and worked as a labourer until his death in a Dundee hospital on 27th May 1898. Unlike the witness to his father’s death, the witness to Alexander the son’s death was able to furnish the authorities with parent and spouse details.

Pondering reasons for Alexander the Blacksmith’s abandonment of his family as well as Alexander the son’s desertion of his family, I remembered the 2003 Obituary I had found for his fourth great-grandson. The fourth great-grandson’s Obituary had two parts to it. Firstly, about the man himself, his education, work, army career and sporting achievements. The fourth great-grandson was very successful.

The second part read: “… Baird was also – Baird. A beautiful woman inside and out suddenly left us. A lover of people and animals, the world will be a lesser place without her. She will be deeply missed by all those whose lives she touched. Her kindness and generosity reached even those who did not know her; a friend to all stray cats and lonely people, she will always be in our hearts. We love you and will always miss you, -. Please join us for a gathering of -’s friends to celebrate her life at …”

Whether I’m correct in contemplating that Alexander the Blacksmith or his son Alexander, had the same feelings as his fourth great-grandson or grand-nephew, who knows, but it certainly seems within the realm of possibilities. And if so, then how lucky was the fourth great-grandson, able to live life on his terms, accepted by his family and society. However, I recalled an incident which made me take a second look at the death certificate for the grand-daughter of Alexander the Blacksmith. There, on the 1935 death certificate, next to the informant’s name were the words ‘intimate friend’. Surely, ‘intimate’ conveys a relationship rather than close friendship?  Whatever the case, as society evolved, the grand-daughter and fourth great-grandson of Alexander the Blacksmith lived life on their own terms.  Perhaps Alexander and his son were victims of the period in which they lived.

The mystery of Alexander Baird the Blacksmith’s lineage continues to frustrate me.  Restricting my OPR search to the Kincardineshire area based solely on the fact that he and Ann Clark married at St Cyrus, presented these results:

  • 24 June 1798 Garvock: William Baird/Jane Milne
  • 2 May 1803 Fordoun: Alexr Baird/Margt Murray FR 896
  • 1 May 1803 St Cyrus: Alexander Bard/Margaret Murray
  • 10 October1808 Arbuthnott: Alexr Bard – too young to be married in 1823?

Selecting the Baird/Murray record – “Baptised May 1st Alexander Bard & Margaret Murray at Lauriston had a son in fornication (born 28th April) baptised at Fordoun named Alexander” (1 May 1803 – Bard, Alexander OPR Births 267/00 0010 0174 St Cyrus). Presently I’m leaning toward these two as his parents.  Alexander and Ann named their first born daughter Margaret.

Effigy Burning, Evangelist Meetings and Obscene Language

The Dundee Courier & Argus, Thursday 19th October, 1893
The Dundee Courier & Argus, Thursday 19th October, 1893

This was not a win-win situation for the Committee of the Laurencekirk School Board when they failed to appoint a local man to the janitor’s position.  Angry residents protested on Saturday 7th October, 1893.

At about 9pm, a crowd numbering around 50, gathered outside the shop of William Ironside, merchant/member of the Committee and a bag of straw was set alight in the shop doorway.  The disturbance lasted a quarter of an hour; closing the shop Ironside went home, only to be aroused in the early hours of Sunday morning when rioters smashed four large panes of plate glass in his shop.

Sergeant Low of Laurencekirk first arrived at Ironside’s shop after the fire had burned out.  The crowd with Sergeant Low following closely, moved on to committee member, W W Dow’s house.  Crowd numbers had increased to 200-300.  Stones were thrown, windows and slates of the house broken, cursing and swearing indulged in.  Sergeant Low’s warnings to the ringleaders fell on deaf ears.

Mr Dow testified in Stonehaven Sheriff’s Court (18th October, 1893) that he heard there was to be a demonstration against the Committee, burning of effigies and so on.  On Saturday night, about 10pm a noisy crowd had gathered in front of his house.  All of the windows were broken and he and his family took refuge in the back room from the stones and missiles.  He did not look out and could not identify anyone in the crowd.

Charged were, William McKenzie, tailor; George Milne, blacksmith; Robert Mitchell jun. plumber; Alexander Baird, baker; James Hampton, telegraph clerk; James Massie, joiner and Robert McKay, labourer all residents of Laurencekirk and all pleaded not guilty.

Sheriff Robertson found there was a distinction between the parties who were members of the crowd, those who had gone as a crowd with the intention of committing certain acts and those who went to look on and he thought it was up to the prosecutor to show that each of the accused belonged to the first class.

Alexander Baird was of the second class and had his case dismissed.

The Dundee Courier, Wednesday, September 19, 1894
The Dundee Courier, Wednesday, September 19, 1894

He wasn’t so lucky the following year, fined 10s for using obscene language.  Perhaps he should have attended a few of the Evangelist meetings run by his cousin, Charles Baird.


Leader (Melbourne, Vic), Saturday 8 August 1914, page 42
Leader (Melbourne, Vic), Saturday 8 August 1914, page 42

An attempt was made today (Wednesday 5 August 1914)  to rob Mr John Veale, Manager of the Johnson’s Reef company’s mine at California Gully.

Completing his business in the city, Mr Veale, in accordance with his usual custom, called at the office of the local director Mr J A Petrie to obtain a cheque for £592 representing a fortnight’s wages for the miners.  After cashing the cheque, he drove home in a gig with Mr Willoughby for lunch.  When returning to his office, Mr Veale  noticed two men following him up to the office.

One of the men presented a reference, purporting to have been written by Mr J Highmore, manager of the Golden Pyke mine which had recently closed down, recommending them as honest workers.  Told they could start work the next morning in No. 3 shaft, the would be thieves asked John to show them where the shaft was.

As he got up from the table, leaving the bag of money in the office, one of the men struck him over the head with a sandbag. The sandbag, however, burst, and Mr Veale raised the alarm.

A blacksmith, employed on the mine, reached the scene, but one of the men presented a revolver.  Mr Veale thereupon also produced a revolver and at the sight of this the two men vanished.  It appears that the robbery was premeditated.  Thankfully the revolver wasn’t discharged.

John, my first cousin 3 times removed was 64 when this incident occurred.  Born in St Just, Cornwall, November 1850,  John like his ancestors, started tin mining at the age of 10.  Five years later he arrived in Australia and rose to become a prominent and respected Mine Manager in the Bendigo district, retiring in 1921 at the age of 71.

Thriller Thursday – Four Children Destroyed by their Father! and A Brutal Assault

Horrible Murder at Whitwell, Norfolk: Four Children Destroyed by their Father!

Whilst searching the newspaper archives ( for articles on my mother’s Yarham relatives who emigrated from Norfolk to Australia in the 19th century, one of the results happened to be about these murders.  I can place Yarham relatives near Whitwell when these grisly murders happened in April 1844.

William Frost, journeyman farmer left alone with his young family while wife Martha popped out to visit a neighbour, killed three of his children; Harriet 5, Charlotte 3 and Eliza 18 months by beating them on the back of their heads with a hammer. The youngest, Louisa, only 10 weeks old, was drowned in a earthen pot of water.

Upon Martha’s return, neighbours hearing her screams rushed to the house, one being Elizabeth Yarham.  Whether Elizabeth is a relative, I’m not sure, but the memory would have remained with her for the rest of her life.

Frost confessed to the murders, the coroner’s jury returning a verdict of wilful murder. He was transferred to Norwich Castle to await trial at the next assizes session. The report mentions that Frost recently joined a new sect called the “Revivalists” and had been very active among them as a preacher. Residents of the district believe he committed the murders under the influence of fanaticism. (original source: Norwich Mercury: reported in the Colonial Times, (Tasmania) Tuesday 13 August 1844).

FROST WHITWELL MURDERS 1844At Whitwell, in Norfolk, on Monday, William Frost, a respectable “journeyman-farmer,” killed three of his children by beating them on the back of the head with a large hammer, and the fourth by holding its head in a pot of water. He seems to have laboured under a fit of religious mania ; for he said that he wished them to go to heaven. He was formerly a preacher among the Ranters, and lately he had joined a sect called “Revivalists.” A Coroner’s Jury have returned a verdict of “Wilful Murder” against the man, who has been committed for trial. (source: The Spectator, 13 April 1844 pg 6)

A Brutal Assault

The Norfolk News, August 3, 1867 page 6
The Norfolk News, August 3, 1867 page 6

The British Newspaper Archives threw up this article about Elizabeth Yarham.   Whether she is related, I honestly can’t say.  Elizabeth lived at Sale.  “Whilst on the road leading to Aylsham” she met Alfred Gaff from the parish of Cawston who attempted to strike up a conversation with her.  Eventually he threw her down and attempted to commit an offence. Regaining her footing he made another attempt, tearing Elizabeth’s clothes in a “shameful manner”.  Alarm was given and Gaff and appeared before the Magistrate a few weeks later.


GRACE L M M TREZISE WEDDING 1920Unfavourable weather conditions prevailed on the Kalgoorlie Goldfields when returned solider and miner, William Burns Andrews married Grace Lavinia Margaret Mitchell Trezise in the first week of August, 1920; the heavy overnight frosts tricking residents into thinking snow had fallen.  And it hadn’t improved by their wedding day, with drizzling rain setting in and continuing throughout the night.  However, in writing that, I have never been to the hot dusty goldfields in Western Australia and the wedding party may have been pleased with those conditions.

Grace, “looked sweet in ivory crepe de chine, embroidered in silk and swathed in ninon (sic), with trimmings of silver beads, tassels and orange blossom.  She swore the customary wreath and veil and carried a bouquet of white jonquils, carnations and fern.

Matron of Honour was Miss Elsie Graham, who wore a dress of cream muslin de soie, with picture hat and carried a bouquet of pink and white sweet peas, carnations, jonquils and fern”.  William was ably assisted by Mr Roy Anderson.

The flower girls (or two little maids) were Alma Morley (William’s niece) and Grace Owen (Grace’s cousin, the daughter of Ellen Thomas and Ernest Lewis Owen) dressed in “dainty frocks of cream silk.  The little maids carried bouquets of pink and white flowers over their arms.

Congratulatory telegrams were read and customary toasts honoured at the wedding breakfast, served at the residence of the bride’s parents.

Grace my first cousin, twice removed, born at the end of the 19th century (7 Nov 1896)in Eaglehawk, Victoria arrived on the Goldfields probably around 1903, following completion of the water supply pipeline.  Blessed with longevity genes, Grace survived William, who died on 25 July 1958 at the age of 71, by 38 years as well as first born son, Lieutenant Commander Esver “Sam” Andrews.

Reaching her hundredth year, Grace died on 18 April 1996.

William and Grace’s ashes were scattered over the rose gardens at Karrakatta Cemetery.

Genealogy by State – Week 38 – Colorado – Husband had Murder in his Heart

DAY 1 TRIALDay 1 of the trial was reported in The Denver Post, 29 March 1915

Bullet Intended for Home Raider Struck Housemaid:  Girl at Trial of Clayton Pattison Explains how her Life was Endangered:  Miss Inez Markle, a maid employed at the Iris who was in an adjoining room, was struck by one of the six bullets fired by Pattison but the force of the bullet was partly spent after passing through the wall and when it struck a bunch of keys suspended at her waist it lodged in her apron.  When DA Rush and others were looking for the bullet directly after the shooting the bullet dropped from her apron.  She handed it to the DA, saying that she had found it on the floor, but at the time said nothing about having been struck by it.

Day 2:  While her husband covered his face with his hands and wept, Mrs Pattison seemed almost unmoved by the ordeal on the witness stand.  She chewed gum in the intervals between questions.  One toil-worn hand shielded her face from the spectators in the Court room.  Her rusty hat was placed neatly on her grey hair.  She concealed awkwardly made shoes under the edge of her skirt.

The prosecution endeavoured to show that a conspiracy existed between Mr and Mrs Pattison to do away with Showalter, to no avail.

DAY 3 TRIALFound not guilty a second time.  “He came down the jail steps, a little bent man, carrying a roll of clothing in one hand.  He kissed his daughters with tears streaming down his cheeks.  He turned to his wife, hesitated a minute, then kissed her.  The four left the jail yard and walked down the street, arm in arm”.  Denver Post 30th March 1915.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:  The happy family scenario didn’t last long and on the 23rd April,  Pattison asked the police to search for his wife, after she and their three youngest children disappeared. The police believe that Mrs Pattison and the children have deliberately deserted Pattison.

Daughter asserts Pattison has declared he will kill them all:  On Sunday 2 May 1915, the Denver Post reported on the arrest and incarceration of Clayton Pattison the previous day.  According to charges sworn by his daughter, Ruth Quinn, Pattison had threatened to kill her and his wife.  His daughter is the wife of George Quinn who shot and killed William R Herbertson in a quarrel over Herbertson’s wife.  Quinn is under a sentence of death.

Fleeing Denver with daughter Florence, Margaret found employment as a cook at Malcolm Bellairs well-known hostelry in Livermore.  Pattison found her a month later “but she sent him away … “.  On the afternoon of Tuesday 22 June Pattison re-appeared in Livermore, the locals not knowing his identity thought nothing of it.

After clearing away the evening dinner and completing her work in the kitchen, Margaret with daughters and granddaughter ventured out for an evening stroll.  Pattison appeared beckoning daughter Florence who was at the rear of the party.  Asked what he was doing there, Pattison replied “tell your mother I want to talk to her”.

Recognizing the voice, Margaret turned to her eldest daughter “you watch, there is going to be trouble”.  The daughters took off towards the hotel.

WHAT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAIDSeizing Margaret, Pattison “whipped out a revolver and shot his wife in the breast.  Death was instantaneous.  … he turned the gun toward his fleeing daughter (Florence) firing one shot which failed to take effect … Pattison turned the revolver on himself, one bullet grazing the heart, the second passing directly through it … the shots setting his clothing on fire”.  source: The Weekly Courier, Fort Collins, Colorado, Friday June 25, 1915.

Of course, the Denver Post had reports of this tragedy splashed over the front page and details of the Coroner’s Inquest appeared on page 5 of the Weekly Courier, Fort Collins (6/25/1915).  General consensus among the locals was “good job Pattison killed him, saved the county the expense of a trial”.

Margaret’s death notice appeared in the The Denver Post on Friday June 25, 1915.  She was laid to rest at Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, her headstone reading “Margaret Pattison June 22, 1915”.

FUNERAL NOTICE MARGARETAs for Clayton, well he is in an unmarked grave at Grandview Cemetery, Fort Collins, Larimer Co.

Genealogy by State – Week 38 – Colorado – Jury Finds Slayer Justified by the Unwritten Law

JURY CLEARS PATTISONContinuing on from my previous posts here and here

The swiftness of the police investigation is to be admired and three days after the fatal shooting, Pattison was on trial before a Jury.

Deputy DA, Louis C Rush cross examined Mrs Pattison who made a confession, complete to the last detail.  Throughout the ordeal she betrayed little emotion although her face was flushed and she did not lift her eyes from the floor.

During Margaret’s testimony, “her aged husband sat a few feet distant, held a handkerchief over his face and sobbed.”  Pattison himself did not testify.

A coroner’s jury upheld the “unwritten law” yesterday afternoon and returned a verdict of “justifiable homicide”.

In spite of the verdict, DA John A Rush will file against Pattison an information charging him with murder in the first degree.  A trial date was set for 29th March.

source:  The Denver Post, Friday 12 March, 1915 page 1.  (Genealogy Bank).

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