17 August 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 33 - Defective, Dependent & Delinquent

Week 33 (August 13-19) – Defective, Dependent, & Delinquent: In 1880, there was a special census schedule for “Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes” — the blind, deaf, paupers, homeless children, prisoners, insane, and idiotic. Do you have someone in your family tree who would have been classified as such? (To learn more about the special 1880 schedule, see my post, Do you have a Defective Ancestor“)

I don't think I had any ancestors who were in the US when the 1880 census was taken, but according to the list in the post linked to above the Defective, Dependent and Delinquent classes covered people who were:

  • Insane
  • Idiots
  • Deaf-mutes
  • Blind
  • Homeless Children
  • Inhabitants in Prison
  • Paupers and Indigent

So based on this list, this week I am writing about my great-great-grandfather ALEXANDER HUNTER.

Alexander was born on July 22, 1838 and baptised on August 5, 1838. He was one of the 9 known children of Robert Hunter and Agnes Wright.






He married Rosana Hunter (my favourite ancestor) on August 27, 1858. He was an Apprentice Blacksmith [correction, that should read Rosana McLuckie]



One of the witnesses to this marriage was George Charleston who was married to Rosana's half sister Janet.


Alexander had a number of changes of occupation over the years - Blacksmith's Apprentice, Blacksmith, Coachsmith and finally Coach Builder, but all related to working with metal in some form or another. There is one record where his is listed as a Woollen Weaver - between his apprenticeship and starting as a tradesman Blacksmith, but this is the exception to the rule for his career


The family made the move from Stirling to Glasgow some time between 1873 and 1881. I imagine this was so Alexander could be close to where work could be found.


Alexander and Rosana had 8 children:


  1. Margaret Ure Hunter - born 1858 died 1859
  2. Robert - born 1860 - married to Mary Fraser - he passed away some time between 1881 and 1891 (I haven't been able to find when yet, there are just too many Robert Hunters - another thing on the list for my visit to Scotland)
  3. Duncan - born 1863 - married to Florence Catherine McDonald
  4. John Alexander - born 1865. Have not yet found a marriage or death record for him.
  5. James Hunter - born 1869 died 1870
  6. Agnes Wright - born 1871 married to Duncan McDonald (seemingly not related to Florence Catherine McDonald)
  7. Rosanna - born 1873 married to James Martin (my great grandparents)
  8. Alexander - born 1879 married to Margaret Carroll


But what does all this have to do with the topic of this post? Nothing, apart from being the lead up to the end of Alexander's story.


Rosana died in 1884 and I think Alexander missed her greatly. He did not seem to cope after her passing.

In the 1891 census, all of Alexander's living children except his youngest son had left home and the "Alexanders" were boarding with a family - it seems Alexander was no longer able to rent his own accommodation and was boarding with the Wilson family.



Things got even worse, and some time between 1891 and 1898 he ended up in the City of Glasgow Poorhouse. However, as he was originally from Stirling, he was sent to the Stirling Combination Poorhouse.

I don't know why he did not live with one of his children - most of them are listed (except youngest son Alexander) in the records. Young Alexander did not marry until 1900 (in Glasgow), so he must have lived with one of his siblings.



Alexander remained at the poorhouse in Stirling for over 2 years - and we find him there when the 1901 census is taken (though his age is incorrectly listed as 73). All the residents of the Stirling Combination Poorhouse were homeless in this census





Alexander passed away on June 18, 1901 at the poorhouse - sadly the informant to his death is another resident of the poorhouse and not one of his children. 



I wish I new what happened between Alexander and his children that led to such a sad, sad end to his story






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