Frederick Macartney (1877 - 1916)
and Isabella Brown Baxter (1880 - 1948)

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Frederick McCartney was born on 3rd August, 1877, at 50 Salisbury Street, Gorbals, Glasgow.  He was the son of Irish-born Provision Merchant James McCartney and Ellen Orr who had been married in Glasgow on 7th April, 1865.  Frederick was their fifth and last child.  Frederick's mother registered the birth.

Gorbals had started out as a small village south of the River Clyde in the Parish of Govan, with thatched cottages on either side of Main Street housing brewers and maltmen and later, weavers.  At the start of the 19th century, wealthy merchant James Laurie began to lay out on the south of the River Clyde the new suburb of Laurieston, to which he hoped to attract a class of business and professional gentleman who would have easy access to the city of Glasgow across two local bridges.  First built were the impressive terraces of Carlton Place, which ran along the banks of the River Clyde.  The principal street running south from here was South Portland Street and its southern extension, Abbotsford Place.  Other streets were named after the English aristocracy, such as Warwick, Cumberland, Norfolk and Salisbury.  As it turned out, the development of an industrial area in Tradeston to the immediate west of Gorbals conspired to ensure that Laurie's vision was never fulfilled.  That, and the construction of a railway line through the neighbourhood, caused most of Laurie's 'gentlemen' to move further south to the newly expanding suburbs there, and to Glasgow's rapidly developing west end.  Gorbals and Laurieston were left to be inhabited by the 'less professional' classes, the artisans and traders.  Nevertheless by the time James, Helen and their family moved there Gorbals was a densely populated, self-contained suburb of Glasgow and James would have had a large and ready custom for his provisions.

At the time of the 1881 Census (4th April), the family had moved from Gorbals to 149 Graeme Street, just to the north of the Gallowgate, near High Street in Glasgow.  James was recorded as 47 and gave his occupation as Onion Dealer.  As the McCartney family's new residence was very close to the Fruit Market in Bell Street at Candleriggs, it is highly likely that James would have worked there.  In the Census return John McCartney, aged 15, was stated to be an Apprentice Baker and young James, aged 13, (although recorded as 15) was a Cotton Mill Worker.  Sarah (9) was a Scholar, while both Alexander (5) and Frederick (3) were of pre-school age.

Tragedy struck the family on 15th July, 1887 when Frederick's older brother Alexander, aged only 13, (although recorded as 11) died of Tuberculosis.  The family had moved back to Gorbals and were residing at 64 South Shamrock Street.  James once again gave his occupation as Master Grocer.

At the time of the 1891 Census (5th April) the family now resided at 371 Caledonia Road, Hutchesontown, Glasgow and consisted of James, aged 53 and employed as a Bag Dealer, Ellen, aged 47, young James, aged 23, an unemployed Pastry Baker, Sarah, aged 19 (actually 18), no occupation given and Frederick, a 14-year-old Scholar.  Frederick had clearly shown some aptitude for schoolwork, as, for the times, 14 was quite old to be still at school without good reason.  It is not clear at this point what happened to eldest son John, who would have been 25.  The most likely explanation is that he had left home.

According to the Glasgow Trades Directory for 1898/9, Frederick McCartney had become a Watchmaker and Jeweller and operated from shop premises at 144 Crown Street, Gorbals.  In the following year, Frederick was recorded as having added another shop at 79 Eglinton Street to his business.  However, one year on again, in 1900/01, he was again operating his watchmaker and jeweller's business from the single shop at 144 Crown Street.

Isabella Brown Baxter was born on 14th March 1880 at 142 Waddell Street, Hutchesontown, Glasgow.  She was the daughter of Grocery Warehouseman John Baxter and Christina Weir who had been married at Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire on 29th November, 1878.  Isabella had been named after her maternal grandmother Isabella Brown.

At the time of the 1881 Census (4th April), the Baxter family was still residing at 142 Waddell Street in Hutchesontown.  John Baxter, aged 29, gave his occupation as Grocer.  Christina was 24 and Isabella was 1 year old.

At the 1891 Census (5th April) the Baxter family was residing at 16 Commerce Street in Tradeston.  John was 39 and gave his occupation as Grocer's Assistant and Church Officer and Christina was 34.  Isabella, aged 11, and David, aged 8, were Scholars and young John (6), Agnes (4) and Christina (7 months) were of pre-school age.

On 3rd August, 1900 Frederick Macartney, aged 23, married 20-year-old Isabella Brown Baxter in Gorbals Free Church, South Portland Street, Gorbals, Glasgow. Image 1 shows what was probably their wedding photograph.  In addition to being a Grocery Warehouseman, Isabella's father John Baxter was the Church Officer at the Gorbals Free Church and was actually resident with his family at apartments in the church at 95 South Portland Street, Gorbals, Isabella's address at the time of the marriage.  It is likely that, rather than being married in the Church itself, which was the exception at the time, the couple would have been married in the Baxters' apartments.  Frederick gave his address as 44 South Portland Street, his parent's new family home.  As well as being close neighbours in South Portland Street, James McCartney and John Baxter may have been acquainted through the grocery trade.  It is possible that the McCartneys were also members of the Gorbals Free Church.  The Church was built immediately adjacent to the Jewish Synagogue in South Portland Street and years later was bought over by the Synagogue after which it became the Jewish Institute.

At the time of his marriage, Frederick had adopted the alternative spelling of his surname 'Macartney' - as would his future children.  The marriage record confirms that Frederick's occupation at the time of his marriage to Isabella was Master Watchmaker.

On 3rd January, 1901, Frederick and Isabella's first child was born.  James Macartney, named after his paternal grandfather, was born at 47 Prince Edward Street, Queens Park, Glasgow, shown as it looks today in Image 2.  Frederick registered his son's birth.

Shortly afterwards, at the 1901 Census (31st March), Frederick and Isabella were still residing at 47 Prince Edward Street with their 3-month-old son, James.  On this occasion, Frederick's occupation was given as Watchmaker and Jeweller and he was recorded as being an 'Employer'.  At the same time, Isabella's younger brother David was still living with his parents in the apartments in the Gorbals Free Church at 95 South Portland Street and was recorded as being a Watchmaker and a 'Worker'.  We might speculate that Frederick had employed his brother-in-law in his business.

The Glasgow Trades Directory for 1901/02 records that Frederick Macartney was a Watchmaker and Jeweller and operated out of single premises at 98 Parliamentary Road.  This was located at the north side of Glasgow near the Royal Infirmary.  However, it appears that Frederick had not moved his family north of the river.

Frederick and Isabella's second child, Christina Weir Macartney, named after her maternal grandmother, was born on 16th June, 1902 at the home of her grandparents John and Christina Baxter at 95 South Portland Street in the Gorbals, the address of the Gorbals Free Church.  When Frederick registered Christina's birth, he gave his occupation as Watchmaker (Master) and his usual address as 9 Cleland Street, Gorbals, Glasgow.

Just a few months later, on 24th February, 1903, Frederick's mother, Helen McCartney (maiden surname Orr) died aged 59 at 44 South Portland Street, Gorbals.  The cause of death was Asthma from which she had been suffering for a year and Cardiac Syncope.  Her son Frederick registered the death and again gave his address as 9 Cleland Street, Gorbals, Glasgow.

Frederick and Isabella were soon to move to Rutherglen, about 3 miles to the south-east of Gorbals, and it was at "Rowallan", 39 Jedburgh Avenue that their next three children were born. Helen Orr Macartney, named after her paternal grandmother who had so recently died, was born on 28th August, 1903.

Image 3 shows Frederick and Isabella proudly standing in front of their home at 39 Jedburgh Avenue, Rutherglen. Their three children shown are Helen, James and Christina. the photograph would have been taken in about 1905.  This semi-detached villa, which still stands today, was a substantial property at that time (as it is today) and suggests that Frederick's business was doing well.

The Post Office Directory for Glasgow for the years 1903/04 through 1905/06 records Frederick as being a Watchmaker and Jeweller with premises at 144 Crown Street and residing at Rowallan, Jedburgh Avenue in Rutherglen.  We have further evidence that his business was prospering in the next 3 issues, 1906/07 through 1908/09, when he was recorded as operating from 413 Rutherglen Road in addition to 144 Crown Street. 

Isabella Baxter Macartney, named after her mother, was born on 9th September, 1906 at Jedburgh Avenue and Frederick and Isabella's fifth child and second son, John Frederick Macartney, named jointly after his maternal grandfather and his father, was born on 11th July, 1909, also at Jedburgh Avenue in Rutherglen.

Frederick's father, James McCartney, died of Cardiac Failure at 435 Rutherglen Road, Hutchesontown, Glasgow on 16th November, 1909. Frederick's sister Sarah registered the death.  We notice that this address was very close to his second business premises at number 413.

According to the Voters' Roll, Frederick was still resident at Jedburgh Avenue in 1909/10.  However, one year later they had gone and the house had a new owner.  The Post Office Directory for 1910/11 and 1911/12 informs us that Frederick and his family had undergone significant changes to their circumstances.  They were now residing at 226 Crown Street, which would have been a tenement flat in an area which had long been a slum and would certainly have represented a significant decline in their social and economic circumstances.  Furthermore, in those same two years Frederick's business was operating out of the single premises at 178 Crown Street.

Frederick appeared in the Post Office Directory for the last time in 1912/13 as F. McCartney & Co., Watchmaker and Jeweller with business premises at 251 Crown Street and residing at 326 Crown Street.      

We next learn that Frederick and Isabella took their young family, ages ranging from 3 to 12, to Belfast in Ireland.  It is not clear what the motivation for this move would have been.  Perhaps it was an attempt to make a fresh start if indeed he had hit hard times in his business.  Of course, Frederick's father James had been born in Ireland and it is quite likely that Frederick would have had relatives in Belfast.  Europe was in a turmoil and Britain went to war with Germany in 1914 and although at that time all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, a strong nationalist movement was pressing for independence for Ireland.  This reached a head in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Image 4 shows the two youngest Macartney children, Isa and John, in a happy group of friends in Rutland Street in Belfast where they had settled.  Sadly, the move to Belfast did not prove a happy one. On 10th August 1916, Frederick Macartney died at 30 Rutland Street, Belfast.  The cause of death was Chronic Endocarditis, a condition which causes inflammation of the heart lining, heart muscles and heart valves.  His eldest son, James, only 15 at the time, registered the death.  It is possible that ill health may have contributed to the assumed decline in Frederick's fortunes.  He had just turned 39.

30 Rutland Street, shown in Images 5 and 6, was a brick built terraced house about one mile south of Belfast City Centre running off the east side of Ormeau Road.  Rutland Street was first named in 1896 and we can assume that the house was built at that time.  It would there have been a relatively recently built property at the time the Macartney's moved there.  At the eastern end of Rutland Street flowed the River Lagan.  On the other side of the Lagan was Ormeau Park and about half a mile to the west of Rutland Street was the Botanical Gardens and Queen's University.  If the political troubles of the time can be discounted, it would not have been an unpleasant environment in which to live.

Isabella initially found work in order to support her young family but soon took her family back to Glasgow, although we cannot be certain of the dates. A family anecdote informs us that Christina Macartney, who was 14 when her father died, also found work for a while in a Belfast clothing factory as a Sewing Machinist.

On 15th October 1917, Isabella's father John Baxter died aged 66 of a Cerebral Haemorrhage at 40 Abbotsford Place in the Gorbals in Glasgow. It appears that they had moved from the accommodation in the church where they had lived.  John had probably retired or at least had ceased to be the Church Officer.  Isabella's brother David registered the death. We cannot know for sure if the widowed Isabella and her family were back in Scotland at that time.  However we know from examination of the Voters' Roll that Isabella was residing at 40 Abbotsford Place in 1919 and, although we cannot be certain, she and her family were probably living with her widowed mother Christina Baxter.

The next that we find of Isabella Macartney and her family is on 1st February, 1924 when the 22-year-old Christina Weir Macartney, residing at 40 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, Glasgow and employed as a Sewing Machinist, married 27-year-old William Alexander Abercrombie, a Journeyman Plumber of 20 Apsley Place, Gorbals, Glasgow.  The couple are shown in Image 12.

The 31-year-old Marine Engineer James Macartney married 25-year-old Confectioner's Warehousewoman Esther (Essie) Ann Weir Simpson on 10th October 1932 at the Macartney Family home of 40 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals.  Although she had born in Renfrew in 1907, Essie' parents had been married in Londonderry in 1904.  Image 15 shows James and Essie on their wedding day. According to the Voters' Roll, James and Essie started their married life residing with Isabella and her family, Helen, Isabella and John, at 40 Abbotsford Place.

Once again we learn from the Voter's Roll that in around 1934 Isabella removed her family from the quickly deteriorating Gorbals to 856 Pollokshaws Road in the Queen's Park area of Glasgow. The recently married James and Essie also made the move along with siblings Helen, Isabella and John.  Still residing with her daughter was the 78-year-old Christina Weir Baxter.

Helen Orr Macartney, aged 34 and at the time employed as a Drapery & Sports Goods Buyer, married Clock Importer and Agent Robert (Bert) Craig on 28th December 1937.  Helen's address at the time was the Macartney family home of 856 Pollokshaws Road in Glasgow.

On 2nd April 1941, Isabella's widowed brother David, died aged 53 at 856 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.  The cause of death was Arterio-Sclerosis.  His son John Baxter of 45 Sinclair Drive registered the death.  It certainly appears that Isabella would have nursed her brother through his final days.

On 2nd February 1942, Isabella's mother Christina Baxter (maiden surname Weir), died aged 85 at 856 Pollokshaws Road.  The cause of death was Pylorus (Carcinoma Pylori).  Isabella's younger brother William Baxter of 4 Skipness Drive, Glasgow registered the death.  Isabella's mother had lived with the Macartneys since their return from Belfast sometime after Frederick's death in 1916.

The Macartney residence at 856 Pollokshaws Road, shown as it looks today in Images 16 and 17, was part of a three story sandstone tenement building facing Queen's Park in Glasgow's south side. It would therefore have had a very open and pleasant outlook and would have been quite a desirable property at that time.

John Frederick Macartney, youngest child of Frederick and Isabella Macartney died on 7th July, 1944 at 856 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.  The cause of death was Mitral Disease of the Heart from which he had suffered for many years.  His occupation was given as Marine Insurance Clerk.  He died just 4 days short of his 35th birthday and had never married.  His brother James of 81 Beech Avenue, Newton Mearns registered the death.

On 22th July, 1945, Isabella (Isa) Baxter Macartney married Sheet Metal Department Progress Manager William John McLean Leitch at Shawlands Church.  Isa was employed as a Wholesale Boot and Shoe Buyer and gave her address at the time of the marriage as 856 Pollokshaws Road.  Following their marriage, Isabella and William continued to reside with Isabella Macartney. All the other siblings had by now married, and of course, John had recently died.

On 16th September, 1948, Isabella Brown Macartney (maiden surname Baxter) died aged 68 at her home at 856 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.  She had been a widow for 32 years.  The cause of death was Arteriosclerosis; Myocarditis and Cerebral Thrombosis. Her son James, of 17 Ross Avenue in Renfrew, registered the death.

William and Isabella Leitch continued to reside at 856 Pollokshaws Road until about 1952.  They moved, probably immediately, to Kilbirnie in Ayrshire where William found work in the steelworks at Glengarnock.  He was a talented organist and played the church organ at St. Columba's Parish Church in Largs.  Isa was also a talented singer and regularly sang solo in the same church.

Just across the road from William and Isa Leitch's their residence in Kilbirnie lived Bert and Helen Craig.

James Macartney, eldest child of Frederick and Isabella Macartney, died aged 71 on 15th January, 1972 at Heathfield Hospital in Ayr.  His occupation was recorded as retired Engineer Surveyor. The cause of death was Congestive Cardiac Failure; Coronary Pulmonalis and Emphysema. His usual address at the time of his death was 29 Fullarton Road in Prestwick.  His widow Essie registered his death.

Helen Orr Craig (maiden surname Macartney) died age 77 on 19th May 1981 at 90 Niddrie Road in Glasgow. The cause of death was Ischaemic Heart Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. She had been confined to a wheelchair for a few years before her death.

Christina Weir Abercrombie (maiden surname Macartney) died aged 80 on 14th November 1982 in Coathill Hospital, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. The cause of death was Bronchopneumonia; Immobility and Cerebrovascular Accident.

Isabella Baxter Leitch (maiden surname Macartney) died age 82 on 28th February, 1989 at Crookfur Cottage Homes, Newton Mearns. The cause of death was Coronary Artery Thrombosis and Coronary Artery Disease.

Of the five children of Frederick and Isabella Macartney, only Christina had children of her own.

 

 

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  • Image 13: James Macartney  » Click to zoom ->

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  • Image 14: Helen Macartney  » Click to zoom ->

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