Larkhall Folk



1850- 1901.    GOLDEN WEDDING.       On Tuesday evening, Mr and Mrs Andrew Brown, McNeill Street, celebrated the 50 th anniversary of their wedding day. Mr and Mrs Brown are both natives of the town, and were married on 31st December, 1850, by the late Rev. John Shearer, of the U.P. Church here. The anniversary was held in Mr Brown’s house, and his children, grand-children and great-grandchildren, to the number of twenty-nine, were presided over by the Rev. Mr Borland, who spoke in high terms of Mr and Mrs Brown’s upright character, and of the respects in which they were both held by the community. He also mentioned that this was the sixth golden wedding in connection with his church at which he had been present in the course of the last ten years. During the evening Mr and Mrs Brown were the recipients of several gifts from the family, and a mist enjoyable night was spent. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 5/1/1901. Page 5. 

Wilma Bolton. 2006.


LARKHALL MAN’S BRAVE ACT----Friends of David Dempster, Royal Navy gunner, 24 Burnhead, Larkhall, will be interested to learn that he distinguished himself recently by an act of bravery when his ship was visiting Australia. The story is told by a shipmate, Mr R. Denton, Australian merchant seaman, and former compere for “Melbourne Herald” theatrical page, who relates that a fire broke out on the vessel and spread from the ship’s hold to the magazine. Without any thought for his own safety Dempster fought back the flames and succeeded in carrying all the high explosives off the ship to safety, a dangerous task which took several journeys to perform. Officers and men of the ship are proud of sailor Dempster’s brave act and he was given several handsome presents at parties held in his honour in Sydney and Melbourne. He is a son of the Late David Dempster and of Mrs Dempster, 24 Burnhead. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 9/2/1942. Page 8. (Photograph included in article.)

Wilma Bolton 2006



For his part in the initial assault on South Beveland in October, 1944, Colour-Sergeant James Lindsay, 6th Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) C/O 1 Albert Drive, has been awarded the Order of the Bronze Lion by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. He led his platoon into action in the landings.

Sergeant Lindsay who is a son of the late Mr William Lindsay and of Mrs Lindsay, 46 Wilson Street, was in the Territorials for some years before the outbreak of war, He was with the B.E.F. and was evacuated at Cherbourg on the fall of France. He returned to that country in the Normandy landing, took part in the Rhine crossings and was at the capture of Bremen, Sergeant Lindsay also holds the Territorial Efficiency Medal and Bar. He is now “demobbed” and is back as a steelworks labourer in Lanarkshire Works, Motherwell.

His younger brother, Gunner A. Lindsay R.A. has been overseas for four years and is at present in Italy. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 22/6/1946. Page 10. (Photograph included in article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



Petty Officer James Tyrie (Royal Canadian Volunteer Naval Reserve), son of Mrs E. McClements, 9 Craigbank Terrace Strutherhill, Larkhall, who was reported missing in May, is now a prisoner of war in Germany. A post card giving this news was received by Mrs McClements this week. Petty Officer Tyrie, who was born in Carluke 22 years ago joined the Royal Canadian Navy four years ago. He went to Canada three years earlier. He was a member of the crew of the Canadian destroyer Athabaskan, which was sunk in a naval action with two German destroyers in the English Channel on April 29. Many hits were obtained on the German vessels during the engagement. One was driven towards the shore and left on fire and the other escaped in the darkness. The Athabaskan was struck by a torpedo and went down fighting. A number of the crew were rescued by the Germans. Petty Officer Tyrie also took part ijn the sinking of the Scharnhorst battle. His brother Thomas, Royal Engineers, is with the invasion forces in Normandy. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 22/7/1944. Page 7

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



Married on July 17, 1896, Mr and Mrs John Currie, 39 Claude Street, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary quietly at their home on Wednesday. A native of Larkhall, Mr Currie, whom was born at High Pleasance 76 years ago, is a member of one of the town’s old weaving families. He was trained to the loom at an early age, and later had the honour of demonstrating hand-loom weaving at exhibitions in Edinburgh and Glasgow. After the passing of the hand-loom locally he was employed for nearly 30 years in the old silk factory. Mr Currie was later a school janitor at   Mary’s R.C. and Machanhill Schools. He is a former president of Larkhall Co-operative Society Educational Committee. Mrs Currie is a native of Portobello. They have a family of two daughters, both married and there are three grandchildren Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 20/7/1946. 

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



Married at Newtoncrommelin, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on February 23, 1984, Mr and Mrs Joseph Anderson, 35 Church Street, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their home on Tuesday night. Rev. James A. Macdonald, M.A., St. Machan’s Parish Church, in handing over a wallet of notes with the good wishes of members of the family and friends, spoke in high appreciation of the personal qualities of the recipients. Mr and Mrs Anderson have lived in Larkhall since 1900. Mr Anderson, miner for 30 years was injured in an accident at Skellyton Colliery in 1930 and has been confined to the house for the past two years. Of a family of eleven, three (two daughters and a son) are in Australia. The remainder were all present at the celebration. There are twenty-nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Both Mr and Mrs Anderson have been prominently identified with the Orange movement locally, Mrs Anderson being benevolent fund treasurer of Lodge Daughters of Israel, No. 25. Two members of the family are on service—John in the R.A. and William in the R.A.F. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 26/2/1944. Page 10.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



Married at Glasgow on January 24, 1894, Mr and Mrs Peter |MacDonald, 39 Swinnhill Terrace, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at a happy gathering held in Swinnhill Miners’ Welfare Hall last Saturday night. Mr and Mrs MacDonald came to Swinnhill 45 years ago and have seen many changes in the district—once a prosperous mining area. A former mason’s labourer, Mr MacDonald took up work as a miner when he came to Swinnhill and worked in the Old Royal George and other pits. Mr Tom Simpson who presided, in presenting the worthy couple with a wallet of notes, conveyed to them good wishes on behalf of relatives and friends, and spoke of the high esteem in which they were held in the community. A successful dance followed. The arrangements were excellently carried through by Mr William McLuckie. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 29/1/1944. Page 11.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



GOLDEN WEDDING—Mr and Mrs William Cunningham, 7 Wellgate Street, Larkhall, celebrated their golden wedding in Baillie’s Hall, on Wednesday evening. They were married at Lanark on the 28th April 1876, by the Rev. Daniel McLean of the U.P. Church. Of the family of ten children, four sons and four daughters are alive, and there are fourteen grandchildren and four great grand-children. Mr Cunninghame is seventy two years of age and a native of Mauchline, being a box fitter to trade and at one time, employed with Messrs Brown & Co., Lanark. Mrs Cunningham is seventy years of age and belongs to Lanark, her maiden name being Annie Anderson. Some forty years ago they came to Larkhall and opened a photographic studio in Montgomery Street, and with Mrs Cunningham’s able assistance a successful business was built up, only retiring from this a few years ago. Mr Cunningham was a Volunteer in the 9th H.L.I. (Lanark Coy.) and was present at the review in Edinburgh by Queen Victoria in 1881. At this review, Mr Cunningham remembers well when Lieutenant Lambie, Lesmahagow, who was leading the company, was kicked by the Colonel’s horse, but pluckily kept to the ranks. Mr Cunningham was the first caretaker of the Larkhall Public Hall Company. At the ceremony on Wednesday evening Mr and Mrs Cunningham were presented with purses and bags containing money from the family and friends, and Mr Andrew Muir, an old friend of the family was present and congratulated the couple on reaching such an event in their lives. Fully sixty persons were present. Both the aged people enjoy good health and are able to be out and about every day. It is worthy of note that Mrs Cunningham is a member of the family who presented Nance Tannock’s Table to the Mauchline Memorial Home. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser.  1/5/1926. Page 8

Wilma Bolton. 2005.          



SILVER WEDDING.   On Friday, Mr and Mrs McBride celebrated their silver wedding at their residence hers, when a large party of friends and officials connected with Merryton Colliery (of which Mr McBride is manager) assembled in honour of the occasion. Among the guests were—The Rev, James Rae) of Larkhall E.U. Church) Mr and Mrs Rae, Mr and Mrs Murray, (0f United Collieries, Ltd. &c. Mr and Mrs J.C. Gibson, cashier at the colliery, occupied the chair.

In the course of the evening, the worthy couple, whom time has touched but lightly, were the recipients of several very handsome souvenirs of the event. Among others were two beautiful sets of solver plate—one on behalf of the officials, and the other from the workmen at the colliery, presented by Mr John Davidson and by Mr James Simpson respectively. Each in a few neat and appropriate remarks testified to the esteem in which Mr McBride is held by those employed at the colliery. Mr William Brown, organist, Larkhall, presided at the piano, and a most harmonious evening was spent, during which songs, recitations and the many dances engaged the company until the night was “almost at odds with morning.” Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 5/1/1901. Page 5.

Wilma Bolton. 2006.


MR AND MRS ALEXANDER W. PATE. GOLDEN  WEDDING 1942         Married at Ayr Road Station on 8th April 1892, Mr and Mrs Alexander W. Pate, 68 Burnhead, celebrated their golden wedding at a happy family gathering at their home on Wednesday night. Gifts, with good wishes, were presented to the worthy couple by members of the family. A native of Kirkmuirhill, Mr Pate came to Larkhall when a boy. He was for many years employed on the Hamilton Estates, later working as a Vanman with Larkhall Victualling Society and as a surface worker at Swinhill Colliery. Mr and Mrs Pate have a family of four sons and four daughters and there are ten grandchildren. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 11/4/1942. Page 8.   

Wilma Bolton




A remarkable story, comparable with the best fiction, was told by a 26 year old Larkhall miner, Pts William McIntyre, Gordon Highlanders, on his return home to this week with the “Gripsholm” repatriates this week.

For over two years he moved freely through occupied France under the name assumed name of  August Crombert, married a French girl and coolly lived the normal life of a French Workman until he was finally betrayed, caught and sent to prison.

Pte. McIntyre is the sixth son of the late Elijah McIntyre, 49 Machan Road, Larkhall. He joined the 1st Gordon Highlanders before the outbreak of war and on June 12, 1940, was captured at St. Valery. Twelve days later, while being marched through Belgium towards Germany McIntyre managed to drop out of the column and hid in a wood. He got over the frontier into France and there met Gilberte, a French girl. They were married and have two sons, Alex, born in 1941, and Bill, in January of last year.

“At first we were very poor,” he says. “With a faked identity card—they are easy to get in France –I got a job with the local council at Tourcouing in the Pas de Calais area. My job was to keep in good order a strip of boulevard where no civilians were allowed to stroll, because three German generals lived there. I had to keep moving. After some months I went to Midl. Eventually I was betrayed by a Flemish accordion teacher called Jan der Knot and was taken prisoner  on June 12, 1942, exactly two years to the day from the surrender at St. Valery. I was detained eleven months in solitary confinement in a civilian jail near Lilte, and my wife was given six months imprisonment.

Later Private McIntyre was transferred to Stalag 344 at Lamadorf in Germany, where he met his cousin Corporal George Mitchell, Royal Scots, Northrigg Row, Armadale, who was also captured at St. Valery.

Pte. McIntyre was formerly a miner at Broomfield Colliery. He is eagerly looking forward to the liberation of France, when he hopes to bring his wife and children to this country. His brother Henry, a lance-corporal in the Royal Engineers, was in the B.E.F. evacuation and is now on service in England. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 3/6/1944. Page 9. Photograph included in article.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



“SAFE AT GIBRALTAR” was the message received this week by Mrs Miller, 15 Hareleeshill Road, from her son wireless operator William Miller, a member of the crew of the famous aircraft carrier “Ark Royal,” which was sunk last week. Mrs Miller whose husband died a few weeks ago, has another son, James, serving in the R.A.F. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 22/11/1941.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



For his gallantry in evacuating wounded soldiers from exposed positions in the fighting around Termoli last October, Trooper David Wishart youngest son of Mr and Mrs John Wishart, 162 Raploch Street, Larkhall, has been awarded the Military Medal. The official citation says that while his regiment was defending the ridge the enemy attacked on both flanks with tanks and infantry, and a wood and its approaches were subjected to heavy machine gun, mortar and shell fire. Trooper Wishart, who was driving a jeep, volunteered to evacuate the many wounded to an advanced dressing station. He made several journeys through heavy fire, and his courage and his disregard of person. A former employee at Avon Foundry, he joined the Gordon Highlanders in 1940 and is now in the reconnaissance Regiment. He is 24 years of age and has served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Brothers John, James and Frank are in the R.A.F., the last names appearing in our photo of “Ye rustic Inn” from Australia a few months ago. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser.26.2.1944. Page 11. (Photograph included in article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.


GOLDEN WEDDING. Married at Larkhall on 31st December, 1891, Mr and Mrs James McLachlan, 76 Drygate Street Larkhall celebrated their golden wedding on Hogmanay night. A native of Craigneuk, Mr McLachlan came to Larkhall when a boy. He was colliery blacksmith at Home Farm and Bog Collieries for 44 years. A keen football supporter, he has followed Royal Albert, since he was a lad of 14, and his son Danny, now in Corby, played for many seasons with the team. Mrs McLachlan is a native of Ashgill. They have a family of four sons and three daughters, and there are 26 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 10/11/1942, Page 9.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



On Wednesday, 26th ult., a number of relatives and friends met in a social capacity to celebrate the 50 years of married life of Mr and Mrs Shearer, 46 Burnhead, Larkhall. Mr Alexander Shearer and Miss Lily Watson, Cleland, were married at Larkhall on June 26, 1896, by the late Rev. Dr. J.D. McCallum. They have seven of a family five sons, and two daughters, all married and the eldest son John has been in Canada for the past 23 years. Mr Shearer was born at Strathaven in July 1873. The family removed to Larkhall when Alexander was a little boy of five. During his working career he was employed in the mines, but retired from active employment some years ago. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 6/7/1946.

Wilma Bolton. 2005. 


GOLDEN WEDDING. MR AND MRS ANDREW McMILLAN.                                 28th MARCH 1890-----1940.

The fiftieth anniversary of their wedding, which took place at Carluke, on March 28, 1890 was celebrated by Mr and Mrs Andrew McMillan, 27 Raploch Road, at their home last Saturday night. Mr Robert McMillan, eldest son, presided, and many gifts to the worthy couple were made on behalf of the family and friends. Born at Broomilton in 1868, Mr McMillan began work in the of Fairholm pit at 11 years of age, an occupation which he continued for about fifty years until his retiral when Bog Colliery closed down twelve years ago. A keen musician, he was a member of the Larkhall Flute Band, conducted by the late Harry McGhie, later joining the old Raploch Brass Band. With this band Mr McMillan took part in the monster franchise demonstration at Hamilton in 1884 and also in the great Truck Act meeting at Motherwell about the same time. He was also a member of the Larkhall Brass Band and of Larkhall Town Band, serving as a committee member of the latter until its dissolution. Mr McMillan had a long association with the Free Miners’ Friendly Society. (Alexander Lodge.) A keen football supporter, he has followed the fortunes of local clubs for over sixty years and can recall Royal Albert’s hectic days at Plotcock Park. Mrs McMillan whose maiden name is Marion Thomson is a native of Carluke. Of a family of ten, four sons and five daughters survive and there are seventeen grandchildren. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.

MR AND MRS JAMES BURNS. GOLDEN WEDDING                                         1888 -1939.

Mr and Mrs James Burns, Woodend, Strutherhill, who celebrated the fiftieth anniversary if their wedding in the Masonic Hall, Wellgate Street on Wednesday evening, when a large company of relatives and friends joined in celebrating the happy event. Rev. Louis H. Watson, M.A., Dalserf Parish Church, presided, and the principal toast was given by Mr R.M. Kirkwood—Mr James Burns, jun., replying on behalf of the family. Mr John Burns proposed the toast to the guests, to which Rev. H. Munro, M.A. Stonehouse, replied. A happy social evening followed. Mr and Mrs Burns were married at Summerlee Rows on December 7, 1888 by the late Rev. J.D. McCallum of St Machan’s Parish Church.

Mr Burns who is a native of Larkhall, is well known locally as a mineowner, and with his sons, James and John, operates West Machan Colliery at Burnhead. He was born at Hareleeshill in 1862, and at the age of ten began work in the pits. With the passing of the Coal Mines Act of 1873, which prohibited juvenile labour under twelve years, he took up farm work for a short period.  All his working life has been associated with mining, and before opening West Machan Colliery in 1923, he was a contractor at a number of local collieries. In his younger days, Mr Burns was a well-known competitor in the works tug-o-war competitions and was for a period an enthusiastic long-distance runner, until a knee injury put him out of the sport. In 1887, when the Late W. Thomas (“Stabman”) won the West of Scotland Challenge Shield, Mr Burns acted as his pace-maker in training. He is presently manager of the colliery. His sons, James and John, hold manager’s certificates. A native of Craigneuk, Mrs Burns has spent practically all her life in Larkhall. She takes a keen interest in W.R.I. work, and her daughters Barbara, Mary, and Jean are well-known exhibitors at handcraft competitions.

Of a family of twelve, two sons and six daughters surviving, and there are twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 10/12/1938. Page 7.   (Photograph included in article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.


DIAMOND WEDDING.                        31ST December 1879—1940.

The 60th anniversary of their wedding was celebrated at their home, 6 Miller Street, on Hogmanay, By Mr and Mrs Thomas McGhie and members of the family. The wedding took place on 31sr December 1879, at Larkhall, the late Rev. John Crichton officiating at the ceremony. Mr and Mrs McGhie have spent all their married life in Larkhall.

A native of Newarthill, Mr McGhie who is in his 82nd year, came to Larkhall when a boy of eight years and started work in the pits at an early age. He was a pioneer in the early trade union movement of the Larkhall miners and worked in a number of local collieries with Mr Robert Smellie, who later became leader of the British miners. But it is as a bandsman that Mr McGhie is better known, his association with the old Raploch Prize Silver Band and Larkhall Town Band extending over a period of almost 30 years. In his retirement he has taken an active interest in the Toc H Old Cronies Club and is one of its leading figures.

Mrs McGhie is a native of Larkhall and with her husband has had a long association with the Labour movement locally.

Of a family of 12, five sons and four daughters survive and there are 24 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. One of the sons Mr James McGhie, is a well-known local musician, and was conductor of the Larkhall Socialist Choir and Larkhall Festival Choir, Mr and Mrs McGhie, who both enjoy food health were recipients of many gifts from members of the family and friends to mark the happy occasion of the diamond wedding celebrations. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 6/1/1940. Page 16.

 (Photograph included in article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.


The fiftieth anniversary of their wedding was celebrated by Mr and Mrs Peter Smith, “Wepner,” Victoria Street, Larkhall, at a happy social gathering of members of the family and friends in the Masonic Hall, Crossgates, on Wednesday evening. Mr William Smith, elder son, conveyed good wishes on behalf of the company to the worthy couple; also presenting them with a wallet of notes as a gift from the members of the family. Presentations of umbrellas were also made on behalf of the grandchildren by one of their number. The cake for the celebration, it is interesting to note, was made by a member of the family, Chrissie (Mrs Bruce Russell,) now residing in Detroit U.S.A., and arrived at the function after its 4000 miles journey in perfect condition. Among those unable to be present was Sir Harry Lauder, who attended the wedding ceremony on February 28, 1890, at Larkhall, and sang a number of songs, one of which was a popular item fifty years ago, “It’s a’ black sape wi’ me noo.” The officiating clergyman at the wedding was the late Very Rev. J.D. McCallum, D.D.

A native of Hamilton, Mr Smith, who was a salesman, came to Larkhall about 18 years ago, retiring 10 years later. He had previously been in employment at Hamilton, Helensburgh, Dalmuir and Glasgow. Mrs Smith is a native of Larkhall and is a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Archie Cowie, who resided at Church Street. There is a family of two sons and three daughters, and eight grandchildren.

The worthy couple received a large number of presents, among the gifts being one fro Mr Smith’s old chum and fellow worker, Sir Harry Lauder. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 2/3/1960. Page 16.

(Photograph included in article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.



A large number of Larkhall exiles, now in Canada, took part in an interesting event on December 30, when many friends of Mr and Mrs Thomas Muir, of 269 Strathearn Avenue, Hamilton Ontario, joined with them in celebrating their silver wedding. Over fifty guests attended, and of this number the majority were natives of the village. A happy night was spent in songs and dancing Mr George McDonald directing the proceedings. Mr and Mrs Muir were the recipients of many fine gifts, and at the close of a memorable gathering the entire company joined them in singing “They are jolly good fellows” and Auld Lang Syne,” three rousing cheers for Larkie being also given. Before going to Canada Mr and Mrs Muir resided at 19 John Street. The Larkhall families represented were :-

Mr and Mrs Hugh Muir.

Mr and Mrs J. McGowan.

Mr and Mrs Steve Muir.

Mr and Mrs James Muir.

Mr and Mrs John Muir.

Mrs J. Cruikshanks.

Mrs T. Mills.

Mr and Mrs Alex, McDonald. (Auld Reekie.)

Mr and Mrs G. McDonald.

Mr and Mrs James Frame.

Mr and Mrs W Douglas.

Harry McDonald,

Mr and Mrs Horton.

County neighbours present included families from Bothwellpark, Coatbridge, Coalburn, Wishaw and Hamilton. Ref. Jan 1939.

Wilma Bolton.



A happy birthday party was held at the home of Mr Neil Wood, 15 Miller Street, Larkhall, last Saturday evening, when a large number of friends and members of the family honoured Mr Wood to mark the occasion of his 91st birthday, Mr John McCulloch, son-in-law, presided and in name of the family conveyed to the nonagenarian good wishes for continued health and happiness. A large number of birthday gifts were presented to Mr Wood during the evening, a happy social hour being thereafter spent in games, dancing, etc. Born at High Pleasance on February 24th 1849, Mr Wood spent all his days in Larkhall, beginning work in the pits at eleven years of age, after two years in his fathers weaving workroom. His father William, and his Grandfather Archie, were also Larkhall men. In his early days, Mr Wood was a keen quoiter and contested several important challenge games. He has resided at 15 Miller Street since the houses were erected by the Building Society in 1875. Over thirty years ago when he was employed at Millburn Colliery, Mr Wood received injuries to his eyes which necessitated his retiral from pit work. Mrs Wood Died 13 years ago. Of a family of 4 sons and 7 daughters, William, Annie (Mrs Miller Dumbarton,) Margaret, (Mrs Shiach Renfrew,) Isa (Mrs McCulloch,) James (Dumfries,) and Montgomery (Strathaven) were present at the birthday party, Mary (Mrs Reid, Illinois, U.S.A.) Minnie (Mrs Smith, Corby) Janet (Mrs Dawson Corby,) Christina (Mrs Bell, Prestwick,) and Neil (Govan) being unable to attend. Mr Wood despite his advance years, possesses good health, is hale and hearty and enjoys nothing better than a night at the cinema—watching Hollywood’s version of this modern world so vastly different from life in our village ten—twenty—forty—sixty—eighty years ago. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 2/3/1940 Page 16.

(Photograph of Neil Wood in article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.


The sixtieth anniversary of their marriage, which took place at Larkhall in April, 1880 was celebrated at their home 45 Drygate Street Larkhall, last night by Mr and Mrs William Laird. Pastor Thomas Hynd, The Tabernacle, presided over a happy family gathering, at which many gifts on behalf of the members of the members of the family and friends were presented to this worthy old couple, while messages, conveying good wishes, included a greetings telegram from Their Majesties the King and Queen.

A native of Riccarton, Kilmarnock, Mr Laird, who is in his 82nd year, began work in the mines before his 9th birthday and on his retiral about 12 years ago from Skellyton Colliery had completed 60 years working in connection with mining.

He was for over 30 years an underground fireman at Skellyton Colliery, where curiously enough he was employed as a sinker when the pit opened about 50 years ago. He was employed at Home farm Colliery at the time of the Haugh flooding disaster in 1877, when four miners lost their lives and was one of the last men to be raised to the surface. His two brothers were also saved. Mr Laird had also experience of mining work in America and received burning injuries in an explosion at Braidwood, Illinois. He was a strong supporter of the early trade union movement locally.

A keen mason, Mr Laird is the oldest member of Lodge Clydesdale, No. 551, and has the unique distinction of having seven sons in the lodge, in which he has occupied several important posts. His youngest son, Thomas, is a Past Master of the lodge.

In his youth Mr Laird was a keen athlete and was a promising boxer, his other accomplishments including that of being an expert marksman and a champion dancer.

Mrs Laird is a native of Newmains. Of a family of 12, 7 sons and 3 daughters survive and there a re 23 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Their golden wedding was celebrated in 1930. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/4/1940/ Page 11.  (Photograph included with article.)

Wilma Bolton. 2005.




From an April issue of “The News Letter” published at Newcastle Wyoming, U.S.A. we cull the following particulars of the golden wedding of Mr and Mrs David Kirkwood, who were married in Larkhall on 31st March, 1876, the wife’s maiden name being Anna McTavish. They left Scotland for America in the spring of 1880, and first settled in Pittsburgh, from which they moved two years later to Clay City Indiana. In 1889 Mr Kirkwood accepted a position as chief engineer for Kirkpatrick Bros & Collin9s at Cambria Wyoming. He held this responsible position until 1913, when for health reasons he resigned and left with Mrs Kirkwood for Palo Alto, California, only returning last year to Newcastle, Wyoming, where their son and daughter Archie J. Kirkwood and Mrs B.H. (Tina) Thoeming reside. Here Mr and Mrs Kirkwood are now enjoying good health. On the occasion of their golden wedding celebration their home in Winthorpe Street was decorated with a profusion of flowers and included a lovely bouquet from the Consi???  at Cheyenne. The wedding dinner was served to immediate relatives only, the tables being decorated with gold candles and golden flowers, with in the centre a large wedding cake. The table cloth and napkins of Scotch linen were those used on the wedding day at Larkhall fifty years ago. The estimable couple were the recipients of many handsome gifts together with a poetic tribute from friends. Mr Kirkwood is a brother of Mrs John Paul, 86 Burnbank Road, Hamilton. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 22/5/1926. Page 8.

Wilma Bolton 2005.


1942.                                 THE LITTLE BROTHERS.


Happiest man among the British reinforcements which arrived recently was Private Matthew Little a member of  a Highland regiment, when he had the surprise of his life in a visit from his brother, Alex, a gunner in the Royal Artillery and a Western Desert fighter for the past two years. They are sons of Mr and Mrs Mathew Little, 15 Academy Street, Larkhall, and this was their first meeting for three years. News of the meeting is given in a letter just received, which tells of how Alex., learning of the Highland regiment’s arrival in the desert, obtained leave and was able to meet his brother. The Larkhall lads had many things to discuss about the old home town and its affairs and their friends far away.

Alex., who joined the Royal Artillery in 1935, was stationed at Singapore for three years before the outbreak of war. He went to France with the B.E.F. and was in the Dunkirk evacuation. Matthew who is 23 joined the colours three years ago. He was formerly employed as a miner at Broomfield Colliery Motherwell.

Their father Fireman Matthew Little, is an ex-serviceman and served overseas with The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in the Great War. He has been a member of the N.F.S. and of the A.F.S. since its formation. For a long period he acted as trainer of Larkhall Thistle football team. Of the other two sons of the family Peter, a miner, is a member of the Home Guard, while 16 year old Jackie is in the A.R.P. Messenger Service. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 22/9/1942.

Wilma Bolton. 2005. 



On Friday, 12th inst., Mrs Elizabeth Fotheringham, 28 Brown Street, celebrated her 80th birthday. She was born in Bo’ness in the year 1846, but has lived the major portion of her life in Larkhall. Her Husband Thomas Fotheringham, died over thirty years ago leaving her to the care of a large family five of whom still survive. George, the only member of this group, is still living with his mother, and is much devoted to her.  There are sixty grand-children and fifty-nine great-grandchildren. The most pleasing feature of all is that the old lady is enjoying wonderful health, and looks like completing her century. Her state of health may be measured by the fact that she is able to perform much of the work in the home, such as baking cooking etc. She is at present ably assisted by her grand-daughter, Elizabeth, who lost her husband in the late war. A pleasant social evening was spent in Marshall’s Hall to commemorate the occasion and also to contribute respect to her grandson, Thomas Fotheringham, who, departed for America the following day to join his father, James Fotheringham who has been living there for the past sixteen years. A number of valuable presents were given to the old lady, amongst them being a beautiful birthday cake from her grandson, Wm, Fotheringham, who is well known if football circles, having played with Airdrieonians and Dundee. Mr Wm. Douglas was appointed chairman for the occasion, and proved himself worthy of the position by delivering a neat little speech, expressing on behalf of all present the desire that Mrs Fotheringham would live to see many more happy birthdays. After this the company indulged in song and dance, and thereafter the evening was brought to a happy conclusion by the joining of hands and singing Auld Lang Syne                                                                                                                                  Wilma Bolton. 2005.