Stories

David Baxter (1825 - 1893) & Agnes Moir (1828 - 1897)

John Baxter was born on 25th July, 1799 at 'Daviston' in the Parish of Cadder to parents David Baxter and Janet Crawford.

John Baxter's birth record in Parish of Cadder's Birth RegisterJohn Baxter's birth record in Parish of Cadder's Birth RegisterScotland's People

The Parish of Cadder was described in the following early (abridged) account:

CADDER, or CALDER, a parish, in the Lower ward of the county of Lanark, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Kirkintilloch; containing, with the village of Auchinearn, the hamlet of Bishopbridge, and the late quoad sacra district of Chryston, 4425 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its situation in the midst of a district abounding with wood and water, of which its appellation in the old British language, Calder, is significant.

The parish is about fourteen miles in length, and four in breadth, and the surface, which is generally undulated, is diversified with lakes, and by various tributary streams, which fall into the river Kelvin, the parish boundary on the north and west. Of the former, the most important were, Auchinloch, nearly in the centre of the parish, from which, on its being drained some years since, a stream was conducted to the Kelvin; Loch Grog, drained in 1844; and Robroyston loch, in the western part, now almost reclaimed into arable land. Johnston loch, in the eastern part, is about a mile in circumference, and is employed by the Forth and Clyde Company, as a reservoir for supplying their canal, for which purpose, also, they have appropriated the Bishop's loch, of which a small portion is within this parish.

The soil is extremely various; in some parts, a rich black loam; in others, mossy; on the banks of the various streams, chiefly alluvial; and in some parts, sandy. Several of the mosses, all of which abound with peat, have been reclaimed, affording excellent crops. About 9000 acres of land are in cultivation, about 300 deep moss, and there are something more than 500 acres in plantations, of which the principal, on the Cadder estate, contains many trees of ancient and luxuriant growth: there are several extensive dairy-farms, mostly stocked with cows of the Ayrshire breed. The crops are, oats, wheat, potatoes, barley, rye, and turnips, in the production of which the improved system of agriculture is adopted. The rateable annual value of the parish is £21,941.

The substratum is chiefly whinstone, many seams of which, in different parts, rise above the surface; freestone is also found in abundance, alternating with the whinstone, and large quantities of it are sent to Glasgow. Limestone is prevalent; and coal exists in the parish, at a considerable depth, but the quality is not sufficiently good to remunerate the labour of working it. There are some extensive tracts of clay, used for pottery and bricks; of the former, various elegant specimens of vases have been produced, and fire-bricks and crucibles of excellent quality are made of the latter. Ironstone abounds, and is wrought to a considerable extent by the Carron Company. The Forth and Clyde canal intersects the western portion of the parish, passing in a line nearly parallel with the river Kelvin; the Kirkintilloch railway, opened in 1826, crosses its eastern extremity, and the Garnkirk and Glasgow railway, opened in 1831, passes on the south side, for several miles. In 1842, the line of the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway was carried through the parish.

The Topological Dictionary of Scotland (1846)

1858-1961 description of the property at Davidston1858-1961 description of the property at DavidstonScotlandsPlaces.gov.uk

Daviston or Davidston was a mansion, probably set in farmlands located about three quarters of a mile north-west of the village of Chryston which lay on the north side of the road between Glasgow to Cumbernauld. It was built in the year after the Battle of Culloden and is described in britishlistedbuildings.co.uk as:

Courtyard Farm, dated 1747. Lime-washed harling, 2 storeys, 3 widely spaced small windows, ridge roof, crowstepped gables with skews centre pedimented doorway partly obscured by modern porch. T shape on plan. Flanking byres. Low screen wall with ball finials either side of centre gateway.

1795 Map showing location of Daviston in relation to the village of Chryston.1795 Map showing location of Daviston in relation to the village of Chryston.National Library of Scotland

Davidston Farm Buildings showing the original 1747 mansion.Davidston Farm Buildings showing the original 1747 mansion.Google Street View

The 25-year-old John Baxter married 17-year-old Janet Anderson on 5th June 1825 in Cadder Parish after the posting of Banns on the previous two Sundays. Janet was the daughter of General Labourer David Anderson and Janet (or Marion) Corbet.

John Baxter and Janet Anderson's marriage record in the Cadder Register of MarriagesJohn Baxter and Janet Anderson's marriage record in the Cadder Register of MarriagesScotland's People

John and Janet Baxter's first child David Baxter was born on 19th July 1825 in Chryston, Parish of Cadder. He was the eldest of 8 children born to John and Janet and was baptised on Sunday 28th August 1825 in Chryston.

David Baxter's birth record in Parish of Cadder's Birth RegisterDavid Baxter's birth record in Parish of Cadder's Birth RegisterScotland's People

Chryston was located on the north side of Cumbernauld Road (today the A80) which ran between Glasgow and Cumbernauld.

The Topographical Dictionary of Scotland published in 1846 described Chryston in the following terms:

CHRYSTON, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Cadder, Lower ward of county Lanark; including the villages of Mollensburn, Moodiesburn, and Muirhead, and the hamlet of Auchinloch, and containing 2670 inhabitants, of which number 555 are in the village of Chryston, 7 miles (E. by N.) from Glasgow. The district is formed of the eastern half of the parish of Cadder, and comprises about eleven square miles, its greatest length being four and a half, and its greatest breadth three and a quarter miles. The village is handsomely built and pleasantly situated, and but for the want of water, which is obtained only from the well of Bedlay, nearly a quarter of a mile distant, and difficult of access, might become a more populous and flourishing place. A fair, chiefly for the sale of fat cattle, was formerly held here, at Martinmas; but it has been for some time discontinued. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The church is a handsome structure, built by subscription of the inhabitants; the stone for its erection was quarried by the labourers, and hauled, together with the lime and other materials, by the farmers without any charge; it will accommodate 564 persons, and is well attended. The stipend of the minister is £90, derived from seat-rents, with a manse and garden, valued at £10 per annum. A cemetery has been purchased, and is now appropriated to interment. One of the parochial schools is situated here; and a library has been recently established. The ancient tomb of the family of Gray, former proprietors, is here crossed by the line of road leading to Cumbernauld.From: A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846)At the 1841 Census (7th June) David Baxter was recorded as being 16 years old and working as a Hand Loom Weaver. He was residing in the village of Chryston in Cadder parish with his parents John (41), also a Hand Loom Weaver, and Janet (35) with their other children Janet (12), John (10), Archibald (8), James (4) and Alexander (1).On 7th March, 1851, in the parish of Chryston, David Baxter married Agnes Moir, daughter of Shoemaker William Moir (or More) and Janet Cherry, who had been married in the parish of Cadder on 10th February, 1822.Ten years previously, at the time of the 1841 Census, William and Janet Moir had been residing just a few dwelling houses away from the Baxter family in Chryston with 4 of their children Ann (18), Lilias (15), Margaret (10) and William (6). There was no sign of Agnes who would have been 12 years old.Shortly afterwards, at the time of the 1851 Census (31st April), the newly-married David and Agnes Baxter were residing in together in Chryston. David was recorded as 25 while while Agnes was 22. Both were Hand Loom Weavers. In the neighbouring dwelling house, David's widowed mother Janet, aged 42, was residing with her family, Janet (21), John (19), James (12) and Archibald (10), all four being Hand Loom Weavers, and Mary (8) who was at school.In his 'Rambles Around Glasgow', Hugh MacDonald described the visual appearance of Chryston in around 1850 in this way:"Chryston, at which we now arrive, is a village of remarkable cleanliness of aspect, the houses being mostly whitewashed, and regularly arranged in parallel rows along both sides of a broad and spacious street. It consists principally of one-storeyed cottages, in many instances covered with thatch, and having kail-yards attached to them. Flowers around the doors and windows are alone wanting to realize the picture of a small English country town. At the west end of the Main Street, by which we make our entrance, there is a neat little Free Church, with a handsome school by its side; while at the eastern extremity there is another church, also of small dimensions, in connection with the Establishment. The population consists principally of weavers, with the sprinkling of cart-wrights, blacksmiths, and agricultural labourers, usually found in rural villages."David and Agnes Baxter's first child, John Baxter, was born on 26th June, 1851 in Chryston. On 11th April, 1853, Janet was born, but sadly only survived just over two years and died on 23rd September, 1855. On 12th November, 1855, David and Agnes had another child, William, and on 15th January, 1857, they had another girl, also, named Janet. Janet died later that same year on 23rd November. Ann Baxter was born on 25th January, 1859 but survived for only three days. On 29th January, 1861 Mary Baxter was born. All children were born in Chryston.

1859 Map of Chryston1859 Map of ChrystonNational Library of Scotland

The 1861 Census (8th April) shows the family residing in Chryston and comprising of David, aged 35, and Agnes, aged 32, both Cotton Weavers, John (10), a Scholar, William (5) and Mary, aged 2 months. Young Mary Baxter died on 9th November 1864, at the age of three. Also resident was the family's domestic servant, the 19-year-old Mary Rennie, born in Dumbarton. It would appear from the sequencing of the Census record that the Baxters' dwelling house was immediately adjacent to the church and school. We also learn from the Census that the house had two rooms with one or more windows.

Handloom Weaver at workHandloom Weaver at workhttps://artisansinscotland.wordpress.com/dancoughlan/

Living next door on the other side from the church and school was David's mother, Janet Baxter, a 52-year-old widow, with her 21-year-old son, Alexander, who was employed as a Potter, 18-year-old daughter, Mary, also a Cotton Weaver and 7-year-old granddaughter, Janet, a Scholar. Over the next 10 years, David and Agnes Baxter added to their family with David, born 1st May 1863, Alexander, born 25th December, 1865 and Thomas, born 11th April 1868, all ,born in Chryston.

From about 1790 textiles had become the most important industry in the west of Scotland, especially the spinning and weaving of cotton. The first cotton spinning mill was opened at Penicuik in 1778. By 1787 Scotland had 19 mills, 95 by 1795 and there were 192 by 1839. The rise of cotton was the result of a sudden fall in the price of the raw materials, mostly imported from the US, and the availability of a pool of cheap labour caused by population rise and migration. In 1775 137,000 lb of raw cotton were being imported into the Clyde and by 1812 it had increased eightfold to over 11 million lb. The capital invested in the industry increased sevenfold between 1790 and 1840. By 1800, cotton was the main industry in the Glasgow area: New Lanark mills were at the time the largest in the world. Early production was aided by the new technology of the spinning mule, water frame and water power. Steam powered machines were introduced into the industry from 1782. However, only about a third of workers were employed in factories and it continued to rely heavily on the hand loom weaver, working in his own home. In 1790 there were about 10,000 weavers involved in cotton manufacture and by 1800 it was 50,000. The cotton industry in Scotland flourished until 1861 when the American Civil War cut off the supplies of raw cotton.The industry never recovered, but by that time Scotland had developed heavy industries based on its coal and iron resources.

The 1871 Census (3rd April) shows the family still residing in Chryston, although at an unspecified address. David, now aged 46 had changed his occupation and was working as a Limestone Pitheadman, perhaps as a result of the downturn in the cotton industry just described. A pitheadman, as the name suggests, worked above ground. Agnes was now aged 42. John, as yet unmarried, was aged 19 and was a 'Shopman Grocer' - the start of a long career in the grocery trade. William. aged 15, was a Fire-Clay Vase Maker. David, now aged 8, was a Scholar, while Alexander (5) and Thomas (3) were still of pre-school age. Also resident was a nephew, Robert Gray, aged 18, born in Kilmarnock and a Fire-Clay Pipe Maker.

It is noteworthy none of the family still worked in the weaving industry. It is likely that they would have worked in one or other of the local fireclay works and associated pits.

Cardowan, Garnkirk and Heathfield Fireclay Works c.1858 built on the Caledonian Railway line.Cardowan, Garnkirk and Heathfield Fireclay Works c.1858 built on the Caledonian Railway line.National Library of Scotland

About 1 and 1/2 miles to the south west of Chryston, in 1832, the Garnkirk Fireclay Company (known originally as the Garnkirk Colliery and Brickfield), was set up. It was reputed to be one of the largest and most complete works in the United Kingdom, using a bed of fireclay 4 to 19 feet thick, of a composition superior to that used elsewhere in the trade. The products were therefore of a high standard, the fireclay bricks, ornamental vases, urns, etc., being highly sought after. It is recorded that in addition to an "immense wholesale home trade" there were exports to France, Germany, Russia, the East and West Indies, U.S.A., and New Zealand. In 1869 three hundred men and boys were employed, and 200 tons of clay and about an equal weight of coal were being used daily. There was an internal railway system, which had earlier extended to limestone pits in the Crowwood area and to fireclay workings in the Woodhead locality. The fireclay pits were finally exhausted in 1895 but the works continued in production until 1901. Additionally, in 1833 the clay deposits owned by Dr James Jeffray of Cardowan House came into use, on the formation of the Heathfield Fireclay Works who continued in charge until about 1862. The output over the years was varied and included firebricks, tiles, ornamental vases, chimney pots, sewerage pipes and the like. These facts probably establish where William, and his cousin, Robert Gray, would have been employed and the Works are identified in the map. David Baxter would have worked at one of the several limestone pits shown on the map.

On 7th March, 1872, David's mother, Janet Baxter, died of Apoplexy (Stroke) at Chryston. David reported his mother's death.

On 29th November, 1978, John Baxter, now aged 27, married 22-year-old Christina Weir, a Domestic Servant residing in Allanton, Parish of Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, where the marriage was conducted. John's address was given as 22 Garscadden Street, Glasgow, and his occupation was Warehouseman, presumably still in the grocery trade. Witnesses to the marriage were John's brother, William, and Annie Weir, who would be Christina's sister. David's profession was declared as Pitheadman. It is not obvious how John and Christina would have met, as Allanton was a considerable distance from Glasgow. It is quite possible that Christina had been employed as a Domestic Servant in Glasgow. John and Christina went on to raise their family in Glasgow.

By the time of the 1881 Census (4th April), the Baxter family had moved from Chryston a little way westward down the road towards Glasgow. Their address was Blackfaulds Road to Cardowan. David was 56 and a Fire Clay Pit Headman. Agnes was 51. William, now 25, was a Fire Clay Pan Maker and young David, aged 17, was a Fire Clay Moulder. Alexander, 15, and Thomas, 13, were Brick Carriers. Also resident was visitor Marion Lindsay, an 18 year old unmarried woman, born in Armadale, Linlithgowshire. The residence was still within a short walk of the Fireclay Works, and it is possible that the family were still employed at the same place, although Cardowan Fireclay Works was even closer.

The presence of 'visitor' Marion Lindsay was soon explained, as on 17th June, 1881, William Baxter, aged 25, now employed as a Paper Maker, and the 18-year-old Marion, a Carpet Weaver, were married at Newtongrange, Parish of Newbattle, Edinburghshire. Witnesses on the occasion were David Baxter, William's next younger brother and Maggie Lindsay, most likely Marion's sister. William gave his usual residence as Newtongrange.

On 28th December, 1884, young David Baxter, then 19 and still a Fire Clay Moulder, married 19-year-old Margaret Wells, born in St Andrews and St Leonards, Fife. Margaret had been working as a Farm Servant on the nearby Whitehill Farm run by 72-year-old John Hamilton, his wife Agnes and their family.

Some time between 1885 and 1889, William and Marion Baxter emigrated with their two small children to Wasatch in Utah, USA, where they had another 6 children, before moving on in around 1902 to Magrath in Alberta, Canada, where they finally settled, adding another two children to their family.

Magrath was established in 1899 by settlers sent by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from Utah and Idaho. These Mormon settlers were recruited by the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company to construct irrigation works. The settlers were paid in cash and land in the town. This was the first major irrigation work in Canada and was made possible by the settlers' experience with the extensive irrigation projects undertaken by the Mormon church in Utah and Idaho.In around 1891,

Young David Baxter and his wife, Margaret, and their 4 young children, followed the same path as his older brother, William, and emigrated to Utah, settling in Park City, Summit, where they added a further 5 children to their family.

At the 1891 Census (5th April), David and Agnes had moved to the village of Stepps, to an address "Steppshill", still very close to the Fireclay Works. David was 66 and still working as a Pitheadman. Agnes was 61. Alexander was 25 and a Labourer in a Fire Clay Works and Tom was 22 and a Fire Clay Retort Maker.

According to the 1891 Census, the Baxters lived next door to the Turtle family.

The growth in the population of Stepps generated a need for community facilities, both religious and secular. Sunday evening prayer meetings were held in the Turtle family's kitchen in the workers' row at Stepps Hill. Planks of wood were laid between chairs to provide sufficient seating. Although a fairly large kitchen (comprising most of the house) it soon became inadequate for the purpose, when attendances of 50-60 were expected. The meetings were regularly addressed by John Hamilton, farmer at Whitehill, who was said to be an excellent speaker and a fine singer.

From: The Story of Stepps by Freda Bunyan & Neil Kidd

David Baxter died at Stepps, of Stricture of the Urethra and Cystitis, from which he had been suffering for several years, aged 68, on 1st June, 1893. His eldest son, John, travelled from Glasgow's Gorbals and registered the death.

Agnes Baxter nee Moir, aged 68, on 3rd December, 1897, of Apoplexy (Stroke) at 44 King Street, Tradeston, Glasgow which was the home of her son, John, who registered the death.

Thomas Baxter, a Grocer's Assistant aged 31, married Margaret Kerr, a 28 year old Yarn Winder, at his home address of 204 Garngad Road, Dennistoun, Glasgow, on 6th July, 1900.

Their eldest son, John Baxter, father of 7 children, died at 40 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, Glasgow, on 15th October, 1917. William, father of 10, died in Magrath, Alberta, Canada on 2nd January, 1924, while David Jr died, probably in Utah, USA on 28th June 1925. Alexander Baxter, occupation stated as Tailor, aged 58 and unmarried, died of Lobar Pneumonia at Hartwood Asylum, Shotts on 12th March, 1924, and Thomas Moir Baxter, a Biscuit Storeman, aged 79, died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage at 28 Gadshill Street, Glasgow on 19th December 1947.

Chryston Parish Church built 1780 as a Chapel of Ease and replaced in 1878. School is shown far left.Chryston Parish Church built 1780 as a Chapel of Ease and replaced in 1878. School is shown far left.

Chryston Parish Church c. 1900 built 1878Chryston Parish Church c. 1900 built 1878https://tour-scotland-photographs.blogspot.com/2016/01/old-photograph-chryston-scotland.html

Same view in modern times.Same view in modern times.Google Street View