Thomas Kelly was born at 8.30 p.m. on 6th August, 1866 in Beech Row, Gartsherrie, near Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. His parents were Thomas Kelly (Sr.), a Collier, born at Moffatsland, Westmuir, Glasgow and Elizabeth Hyslop, a Farm Labourer from Dumfriesshire. Thomas was the fourth child and second son of Thomas Sr. and Elizabeth. At the time of his birth, Thomas's parents were not yet married and it would be another seven years and a further three children before they would get round to it.
In around 1860, Beech Row was described in the following terms:
"A long row of dwellings the property of Messrs. Bairds Now occupied by pitmen and others."
Scotland's Places: Lanarkshire Ordnance Survey Name Books
GARTSHERRIE, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Old Monkland, county of Lanark; containing, with the villages of Coatbridge, Coatdyke, Gartcloss, Merrystone, and Summerlee, 5906 inhabitants, of whom 1499 are in the village of Gartsherrie, 2 miles (W.) from Airdrie. This is a considerable mining district, in the works connected with which the chief of the population are employed: the iron-works are of great magnitude, and include a number of blast-furnaces for the smelting of the ore. The coal-mine here is also worked on a very extensive scale; there are five strata of coal, between each of which is a stratum of sandstone and shale: the seams of coal vary in thickness from one foot four inches to four feet. The Glasgow and Garnkirk railway, which starts from St. Rollox, in the north-east quarter of the city, joins the Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway at this place. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and the patronage is vested in the subscribers to the church: the stipend of the minister is £150, secured by bond. The church, erected at a cost of £3300, is an elegant structure, with a tower rising to the height of 136 feet, and contains 1500 sittings. Near it is the Academy, erected in 1844, at a cost of £2300; and there is a large Sabbath school in connexion with the Establishment.
Beech Row was a typical miner's row, undoubtedly tied to a nearby pit (probably Gartgill Coal Pit) and tenancy would be conditional on employment at the pit. This type of accommodation would be the most basic imaginable. For a description of family life in a miners' row cottage, read "The Raws". Although this describes a case in Ayrshire as an example, conditions for miners' accommodation tended to be the same all over. The owner of the Gartgill Coal Pit was Baird & Co. who also owned Beech Row. Although the Bairds had a reputation for looking after the spritual and educational needs of the children of workers in their employ, it seems that young Thomas was not able to take advantage of this as for all of his life he was unable even to sign his name. This may have been partially due to the fact that the family rarely stayed for very long at any particular location.
Thomas Sr. constantly moved around west central Scotland, undoubtedly to ensure continuity of employment at one or other of the vast number of pits whose coal supported the explosive economic expansion of the Industrial Revolution, and naturally, young Thomas and his brothers and sisters would follow on.
At the time of the 1871 Census (3rd April) the family was residing at 44 Wemyss Row in Overtown, near Wishaw, Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, some 12 miles south east of Gartsherrie. The family roll-call was Thomas Kelly (31), employed as a Coal Miner, Elizabeth (30), Margaret (10), John (6), both at school, Thomas (4), Mary (2) and Ann who had been born just a week previously at the same address. Thomas and Elizabeth were stated to be married in the Census return although we know this not to be the case.
It was while the family was living at Wemyss Row that Thomas Kelly and Elizabeth Hyslop had finally decided to get married, which they did on 15th July, 1873 at the nearby Cambusnethan Manse.
By the time of the 1881 Census (4th April), a further four boys had been added to the family, which was then residing at Dunsmore's Square in Hamilton Census area, Lanarkshire. Thomas Sr was recorded as a 39-year-old Miner and his wife, Eliza in the census, was also 39. Thomas (14) and his brother John (16) had themselves almost inevitably become Coal Miners. Also resident were Mary (12), Ann (10), Maitland (7), James (6), all four of them Scholars, and Samuel (3) and Andrew (1).
No information has been found on Dunsmore's Square, although 'Square' was a name often given to miners' rows that have been built in a square configuration around a common green.
After a brief stay in Hamilton, the family moved, via Uddingston, where the last two of Thomas's siblings, David and Elizabeth were born, to Rutherglen. We can be sure that the family had arrived at Rutherglen by 1887, for on 18th January of that year, Thomas's younger brother, Maitland Kelly, was killed in an accident at Wellshot No. 2 Pit, Cambuslang. This pit was located on the western side of what is now Dukes Road, between Glenside Drive and Fraser Street. The cause of death is recorded in the Mine Inspector's Report as a roof fall at the coalface. Maitland had been just 13 years old.
The family's address at the time of Maitland's death was Kerr's Land, Eastfield.
Mary Callaghan was born on 27th March, 1869, at 58 Mill Street in Rutherglen. Her parents were Mason's Labourer Michael Callaghan and Helen McGinn, both born in the Parish of Aghnamullen, Co. Monaghan, Ireland and who married in Ballybay, Co. Monaghan on 8th March, 1850.
Michael and Helen Callaghan had come to Scotland before 1855 for it was there that Margaret Callaghan was born on 26 February at 80 Main Street in Rutherglen.
The picture above is an artist's impression of Rutherglen Main Street sometime after 1872. The Town Hall had opened for business in 1862. However the East Church (the spire in the distance) was opened in 1872. The scene is almost idyllic and there would hardly seem a need for even a two-man police force. The scene depicted is long before East Main Street was opened up and the cottages in the distance represented the eastern extreme of the town. This is clear in the above map of the town.
At the 1871 Census (3rd April), the Callaghan family was residing at 58 Mill Street, where Mary had been born, and included Michael, now 45, employed as a Stone Mason's Labourer, and Helen, aged 37. Keeping an accurate track of age was not a priority for the Callaghans. Margaret, now 16, was a Paper Mill Worker, while the 14-year-old Patrick was a Printfield Worker. Helen (12), James (7), Francis (5) and Mary (2) completed the family. It is likely that Helen, James and Francis would have been at school although this was not recorded.
At the 1881 Census (4th April), the Callaghan family had moved to 82 Main Street in Rutherglen. Strangely, the 50-year-old Ellen was stated to be a widow, although we know that Michael did not die until later. This might be explained by a census enumerator later being confused by his or her notes, and incorrectly assuming that Michael, absent on census night, had died. Also present were Patrick, a Coalminer, aged 23 and unmarried; James, aged 17 and unmarried, a Labourer in a Boat Yard; and Francis, aged 14, an unemployed Coalminer. Finally, there was Mary, an 11-year-old Scholar.
On 3rd May 1883, Michael Callaghan died of Bronchopneumonia from which he had been suffering for 6 months, and General Dropsy (2 months) at 82 Main Street, Rutherglen. Ellen Callaghan registered her husband's death
After his family's move to Eastfield, young Thomas Kelly met Mary Callaghan, and they had a child, Ellen, named after her maternal grandmother, born on 20th December 1888 in Rutherglen.
Two months later on 18th February, 1889, the now 22-year-old Coal Miner Thomas married and 19-year-old Pottery Worker Mary married in the Catholic Chapel in Rutherglen . Thomas's address at the time was Kerr's Land, Eastfield while Mary's address was 82 Main Street in Rutherglen. Witnesses on this occasion were John McGlade and Catherine Callaghan.
We know from the 1881 Census that 82 Main Street was also the address of Mary's parents, Michael and Helen Callaghan. This was a tenement building and the Kellys and Callaghans occupied different dwellings in the same 'close'.
The 1891 Census (April 5) shows Thomas and Mary Kelly still residing at 82 Main Street, Rutherglen, with 2-year-old Ellen and their new 6-month-old son Maitland, born on 17th September, 1890. Thomas and Mary had named their first son after Thomas's younger brother who had been killed some two years earlier in the pit accident.
Another boy, Thomas Kelly, was born at 82 Main Street on 9th February, 1892. Sadly the child died at the same address exactly one year later. The Cause of Death was Bronchopneumonia, from which he had suffered for 14 days. Thomas registered his son's death.
Over the next several years, Thomas and Mary added to their family with Margaret (Maggie), born 25th December, 1893; Elizabeth Hislop (Lizzie) born 16th June, 1896; Mary Frances, born 8th January, 1899. All were born at 82 Main Street in Rutherglen.
About a year later, Thomas and Mary had a professional studio family photograph taken.
The photograph shows Thomas and Mary Kelly, with (left to right) Maitland, Lizzie, Maggie, Mary and Ellen.
Jean Kelly was also born at 82 Main Street on 12th September, 1900. Sometime after Jean's birth, the family moved eastward along the Main Street to number 192. This address would be opposite Castle Street, approximately where the Co-operative Food store is now and it was at this address that the next two Kelly children were born - Bridget (Bessie), born 21st August, 1902, Sarah (Sally), born 20th November 1904.
According to the Property Valuation Roll, the family was still residing at 192 Main Street in 1905. However, by 1907 they had moved to 13 Regent Street and it was here that Andrew Kelly was born on 17th July, 1908.
Thomas's father, Thomas Kelly died at 92 Glasgow Road, Cambuslang on 23rd November, 1908. The cause of death was recorded as Acute Congestion of the Lungs and Alcoholism.
Mary's mother Helen Callaghan née McGinn died at 13 Regent Street on 24th April, 1909. The Cause of Death was General Debility and Bronchopneumonia from which she had been suffering for 2 months. Mary registered her mother's death and signed the register.
During all this time, Thomas continued to mine coal for a living. Today's residents of Rutherglen might wonder where a coal miner might find work in Rutherglen as all remains of its mining industry have long since vanished. However, there were many coal pits within walking distance of Rutherglen Main Street. The closest one would have been Stonelaw Pit which was located opposite the former Rutherglen Academy/Stonelaw High School building with the pit shaft in the middle of the square of tenements bounded by Stonelaw Road, Parkhill, Belmont and Johnston Drives. Gallowflat Pit was another possibility. Still another pit was located at Farme Cross.
At the time of the 1911 Census (2nd April) the Kelly family was residing at 177 King Street. This address was located at the foot of KIng Street Lane. Thomas (44) was a Coal Miner Hewer and Mary was 42. Maitland (21) was employed as a Coal Miner Hewer, while Margaret (17) and Elizabeth (15), were both employed as Hair Refiners in a Curled Hair Works, while Mary Frances (12), Jane (10), Bridget (8) Sarah (6), were at School. Finally there was 2-year-old Andrew. Eldest daughter Ellen's whereabout are unknown. The census return notes that Thomas and Mary had had 9 children, all of whom were still alive. This omits young Thomas who had been born in 1892 and died a year later.
The photograph shows King Street looking east behind the Town Hall in 1926. The streets are decorated to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the granting of the burgh's royal charter. 177 KIng Street would be one of the tenement buildings in the left middle distance. It is likely to be the 4-story tenement at the end, mostly hidden by the 3-storey tenement.
On 31 January, 1910, Thomas and Mary's eldest child, Ellen, aged 22, married widower John McLuskie, Tobacco Worker, of 12 Mitchell Street, Rutherglen, at 50 Wellington Street, Glasgow. Her address was given as 52 Main Street at that time.
Youngest child of Thomas Kelly and Mary Callaghan, Catherine (Kate) was born at 177 King Street, Rutherglen on 17th October 1912.
While Thomas and Mary Kelly did ultimately have 11 children - 8 girls and 3 boys - 10 of whom survived past infancy, his granddaughter Margaret Murdoch informed us that Mary did have 6 miscarriages. She relates the tale that Grandpa Tam Kelly was sitting on a bench on Rutherglen Main Street one day and a friend stopped by to chat. The friend asked Tam if he and Mary still had only 10 children. He replied "Aye an' she could'a had mair if she'd kept her mooth shut!"
Ellen McLuskie died, aged 25, at 119 King Street on 25th November, 1914 of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. The death was registered by her husband of only 3 years who had by that time changed his peacetime occupation to Coalminer and was serving as a Private in the 12th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry.
Next to marry was 18-year-old Maggie Kelly, now employed as a Starch Worker. On 1st November 1912, she married 23-year-old Coal Miner John Campbell in St. Bride's Chapel in Cambuslang. Both gave their Usual Residence at 2 Vicarland Terrace, Kirkhill, Cambuslang. Thomas Kelly's occupation at the time of the marriage was given as Coal Miner. John Campbell died of wounds suffered during the World War I. He was a Sapper serving with the Royal Engineers. Although requiring verification, we suspect that John served with the 175th Tunnelling Company, died near Varennes in France on 11th March, 1917, and is buried at Varennes Military Cemetery. John's death was recorded in the Roll of Honour in W. Ross Shearer's 'Rutherglen Lore', where his address was given as 20 Castle Street, Rutherglen. His name also appears on the Cenotaph at the west end of Rutherglen Main Street.
When their eldest son, Maitland, was married in December, 1916, Thomas and Mary Kelly's family address was given as 177 King Street, Rutherglen. Maitland married Winifred Kildae, Thread Worker, of Paisley and the wedding was held in St Conval's R.C. Church, Linwood. Maitland's occupation was stated to be Coalminer, although at that time, during the First World War, he was a Private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and had been recuperating in King George Hospital London, after having been wounded in action. Thomas Kelly's occupation was recorded as Coal Miner.
The war time studio photograph shows Mary Kelly deep in thought about her soldier son, Maitland.
Maggie Kelly remarried on 12th March, 1919. Her second husband was 23-year-old Coal Miner, Alexander Kerr of 14 Wallace Street, Rutherglen. At the time of the marriage, Maggie was residing at 20 Castle Street, Rutherglen. The marriage was conducted by civil ceremony at 19 Howard Street in Glasgow in the presence of witnesses Alexander McMillan, Coal Miner and Helen Wilson, Pottery Worker. Thomas Kelly's occupation at the time was recorded as Coal Miner.
Just 12 days later, on 24th March, 22-year-old Lizzie Kelly married John McLaren, a 22-year-old Sailor of 176 King Street, Rutherglen, also at 19 Howard Street in Glasgow. The witnesses to the civil ceremony on this occasion were Jospeh Conley and Sarah Calls or Conley. Lizzie's address at the time was given as 177 King Street, Rutherglen. Oddly, Lizzie gave her father Thomas's occupation as Steelworker.
On 4th September, 1920, the 20-year-old Oatcake Baker, Jeanie Kelly married Thomas McMillan, a 20-year-old Coal Miner residing at 2 Newhall Street, Glasgow. Jeanie was residing in the Kelly family home at 177 King Street. The civil ceremony took place at 90½ Great Hamilton Street, Glasgow, in the presence of witnesses David Cunningham, Rivetter and Christine Miller, Oatcake Baker. Thomas's occupation at the time of the marriage was given as Pithead Worker.
On 26th February, 1921, 22-year-old Oatcake Baker, Mary Frances Kelly married Andrew Black Greig, a 21-year-old Tool Turner then residing at 16 Cambuslang Road at Farme Cross in Rutherglen. The civil ceremony took place at 54 Gordon Street, Glasgow in the presence of witnesses William Wood, Professional Boxer and Margaret Findlay Newton, a Dairy Keeper's Assistant. Mary's usual address was given as 117 King Street, although we feel that this is a clerical error and should be the Kelly family home address of 177 King Street. Thomas Kelly's occupation was recorded as Coal Miner.
On 7th May, 1923, Thomas Kelly's mother, Elizabeth Kelly nee Hyslop died, aged 85, of Senile Decay at 20 Glasgow Road, Cambuslang. Thomas's elder brother, John, registered the death.
Bridget Kelly, aged 20 and employed as a French Polisher married Kennedy Picken, a 21-year-old Ship Steward resident at 442 Baltic Street, Glasgow. The civil ceremony was conducted at 90½ Great Hamilton Street, Glasgow, on 15th June, 1923, in the presence of witnesses James McPhee and Isabella Craig. Oddly, Bridget, who according to family sources, had never liked her given name, and had been called Bessie for most of her adult days, gave her forename as Renee. Further, her usual residence was given as 176 King Street, while her parents' address was 177 King Street. We are unable to confirm the accuracy of this address. Finally, she gave her father's name as Andrew, rather than Thomas.
On 9th November 1923, Sarah Kelly, now a 19-year-old Oatcake Baker residing at the Kelly family home at 177 King Street, married 23-year-old Pattern Maker David McKay of 20 Farme Loan Road at Wardlawhill Parish Church, Rutherglen. Witnesses to the marriage were Isabella Gillespie Adams and George H. Tennant. Thomas Kelly's occupation was recorded as Coal Miner.
On 16th February, 1931 the 22-year-old Motor Mechanic Andrew Kelly residing at 631 Dalmarnock Road, the home of his sister Bridget Picken, married 22-year-old Confectioner's Assistant Helen Rankin Brown of 144 Boden Street, Glasgow. The marriage was conducted at the Sacred Heart Church, Bridgeton, Glasgow. The witnesses to the marriage were John Kelly of 23 Victoria Street, Rutherglen and Jeanie Brown, of 144 Boden Street, Glasgow. It is believed that this marriage ultimately ended in divorce. Thomas Kelly's occupation was recorded as Coalpithead Labourer.
On 13th May, 1932, the youngest daughter of Thomas Kelly and Mary Callaghan, Catherine Kelly, a 19-year-old Laundry Worker residing at 177 King Street married the 22-year-old Joiner Robert Clark of 4 Crawford Street, Rutherglen. The marriage took place at the Manse in Rutherglen. Thomas's occupation at this time was recorded as Night Watchman.
Mary Kelly nee Callaghan died on 28th February, 1934 of a Cerebral Haemorrhage at 177 King Street, Rutherglen. She was 64, although recorded as 60. The death was registered by her daughter Sarah McKay and Thomas's occupation was given as Night Watchman. Oddly, Sarah stated that her grandfather Michael Callaghan had been a Chemist when it seems he had always been employed as a Mason's Labourer.
Family legend has it that Tam Kelly left for work in the morning and bade his usual gruff farewell to Mary who was sitting on a chair by the fire. On his return that evening, Mary was sitting in the same position on the same chair. Evidently she had died before he had left home and had lain undiscovered all day.
After Mary's death, Thomas Kelly spent his last years at 27 Burnhill Street in Rutherglen, the home of his daughter, Jean McMillan. He died there on 20th January, 1938, aged 71. The cause of death was given as 'Neoplasm Large Bowel; Intestinal Obstruction; Cardiac Failure.' The death was registered by his eldest son, Maitland.