Douglas Carson (1850 - 1931) & Mary Ann Crosbie (1855 - 1937)

Douglas Carson was born in around October 1850 in Penpont, Dumfriesshire. He was the youngest of 10 children - 4 boys and 6 girls - born over a 21 year period from 1829.

His parents were John Nivison Carson, Agricultural Labourer, born in around 1806 in the Parish of Penpont, Dumfriesshire, and Agnes Herries, born in Cottack, Parish of Dunscore, Dumfriesshire in March 1808. Cottack was the old name for the village that is now known as Dunscore.

PENPONT, a parish and village, and the seat of a presbytery, in the county of Dumfries, 2 miles (W. S. W.) from Thornhill; containing 1266 inhabitants, of whom 492 are in the village.

The village of Penpont is situated on the turnpike-road leading from New Galloway to Edinburgh, and consists of several clusters of houses which once formed the hamlets of Townhead, Brierbush, and Burnhead; the last is within half a mile of the Nith, and may be regarded as a suburb. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in agricultural and pastoral pursuits; but the smelting of old iron, and the making of spades and other implements, have been lately introduced, and afford employment to about four or five persons. There are, also, some good inns, and several small shops stored with various kinds of merchandise for the supply of the neighbourhood; and some of the inhabitants are employed in the usual handicraft trades. Fairs were formerly held on the third Tuesdays in March, June, and October, chiefly for hiring servants. Letters are forwarded from the post-office at Thornhill; and facility of communication is maintained by good turnpike-roads, and by bridges over the different streams, of which the ancient bridge across the Scarr, from which the parish is supposed to have taken its name, has been rebuilt. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Penpont, who have their seat in the village, and the synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £236. 6. 9., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum; patron, the Duke of Buccleuch. The church, which is situated at the lower extremity of the parish, about 150 yards from the village, was built in 1782, and since substantially repaired at an expense of £340, including the session-house; it is a neat plain structure, partly cruciform, and contains 408 sittings. There are places of worship for Reformed Presbyterians and members of the Relief. Two parochial schools are supported, of which the masters have salaries of £27. 6. 6. and £24 respectively, with a house each, and one a small garden, in addition to the fees, which average £16 and £9: in one of these schools, the Greek and French languages are added to the usual routine.

Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846)

1860 Map showing Penpont 1860 Map showing Penpont National Library of Scotland

At the 1851 Census (31st March), 6-month-old Douglas was residing at the family home in Penpont Village. His father, John, was recorded as a 45-year-old Agricultural Labourer and his mother Agnes was 43. John's eldest son, William, aged 20, was also an Agricultural Labourer. Next oldest was 15-year-old Robert who was employed as a Servant, no doubt working on a local farm. Margaret was 11 and Janet was 9. Then came John (7), Isabel (5), Barbara (3) and the recently born Douglas (6 months). There were two older sisters Agnes and Jane missing from the family roll call. In fact they were working as General Servants on farms in nearby parishes.

At the time of the 1861 Census (8th April), the Carson family was still residing in Penpont. John's age was recorded as 56 and he was still an Agricultural Labourer, while Agnes was recorded as 55 years old. Robert (23) was now also an Agricultural Labourer, while Janet (19) and Isabella (15) were Farm Labourers. 13-year-old Barbara was 'At Home', while 11-year-old Douglas was a Scholar. Also resident on census night was William, the 10-year-old grandson of John. Agnes Carson, Douglas's eldest sister had William by married Farm Labourer John Girvan in around 1851. It is not clear for how long young William would have been residing with John and Agnes Carson and their family. Missing son 17-year-old John was employed as a Servant on, and resident in, a local farm 'Boage.'

At the time of the 1871 Census, Douglas Carson, now aged 20, was working as an Agricultural Labourer at Glengarr Farm in the Parish of Penpont. This farm, run by Samuel Hewetson employing 26 Labourers was located about a mile north-west of Penpont Village and is still in existence today.

Map showing Glengar Farm c1860sMap showing Glengar Farm c1860sNational Library of Scotland

Mary Ann Crosbie was born on 24th August 1855 at Meikle Larg, a farm about 250 metres north of the hamlet of Crocketford in the Parish of Urr, Kirkcudbrightshire. Her father was John Crosbie, Labourer, born on 8th September, 1833 in Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire, to parents Robert Crosbie, Quarryman and Parish Officer, and Mary Dalziel. Mary Ann's mother was Janet Clint, born in June 1826 in Crossmichael, Kirkcudbrightshire. Janet was the daughter of Alexander Clint, Agricultural Labourer, and Mary Little. On Mary Ann Crosbie's birth record, it is stated that Janet had previously given birth to an illegitimate son and that Mary Ann was Janet's second child.

This boy was named Jacob and had been born at Crocketford Village in around 1852. His father was Farm Servant Joseph Johnston.

The Farm at Meikle Larg c.1860The Farm at Meikle Larg c.1860National Library of Scotland

CROCKETFORD, a village, partly in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham, and partly in that of Urr, stewartry of Kirkcudbright; containing, in the Kirkpatrick-Durham portion 117, and in the Urr portion 122, inhabitants. A road branches off from the village to New Galloway and the Glenkens. There is a small school.

Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846)

On 14th August, 1858, Mary Ann Crosbie's mother Janet died aged 32 at Meikle Larg, the same farm where her daughter had been born 3 years earlier. No cause of death was recorded when her father Alexander Clint registered the death.

1858 Death Record of Janet Crosbie née Clint1858 Death Record of Janet Crosbie née ClintScotland's People

Janet was buried in the Clint family grave in Dunscore Church Yard about 10 miles north of Crocketford. Dunscore Churchyard hosts the graves of the families of Janet's parents, Alexander Clint and Mary Little.

At the time of the 1861 Census (8th April), young Mary Ann Crosbie was residing with her grandparents, Agricultural Labourer Alexander and Mary Clint in the village of Crocketford, Parish of Urr, in Kirkcudbrightshire. She was recorded as being 5 years old and a Scholar. Also resident was Mary Ann's half brother Jacob Clint, a 9-year-old Scholar, the son of Joseph Johnston.

At the same time, Mary Ann Crosbie's father, the recently widowed John, was boarding at Wigton Street in Newton Stewart. He was employed as a Labourer and he was sharing the accommodation with eight other Labourers, seven of them Irish.

Eighteen days later, on 26th April, 1861, at Castle Douglas, 27-year-old widower John Crosbie married 28-year-old spinster Janet Cooper. Witnesses to the marriage were Hugh Halliday, who, we believe, was Janet's step-brother, and James Crosbie, who was most likely John's 21-year-old brother.

Mary's grandfather, Alexander Clint, at the time of his death working as a Dyker, died at Crocketford on 21st May, 1864. His age was reported as 64 and he was shown as the son of John Clint, Farmer, and Agnes Dickson. The cause of death was given as Pneumonia and the death was registered by his widow, Mary.

1864 Death Record of Alexander Clint1864 Death Record of Alexander ClintScotland's People

Alexander was buried in the family grave at Dunscore. The inscription on the broken headstone reads...

In Memory of Mary, daughter of Alexander CLINT,
who died at Crocketford April 23rd 18?? aged 17 years
Also Jacob CLINT his son, who died at Crocketford 1st August 1848 aged 27 years
Also Janet CLINT his daughter, and wife of John CROSBIE,
who died at Meikle Larg 11th August 1858 aged 32 years
Also the above Alexander CLINT, who died at
Crocketford 21st May 1864 aged 65 years.

Headstone Inscription

Mary's grandmother, Mary Clint née Little died at Crocketford on 17th February, 1866. Her age was reported as 77 and her parents were shown as John Little, Farmer, and Janet Milligan. The cause of death was given as Carcinoma and her son John registered the death.

1866 Death Record of Mary Clint née Little1866 Death Record of Mary Clint née LittleScotland's People

We are unable to tell whether or not the 10-year-old Mary Ann Crosbie went to live with her father following the passing of her grandmother. Of course her 13-year-old half-brother Jacob would also now be without his mother and grandparents.

Mary Ann's father John and his new wife started raising a family after their 1861 marriage, the first two children being born in Scotland. However, John moved to the Cheshire and Lancashire area and the rest of his family were born there. His son William was born in Cheshire in March 1865 and that would place him far from Crocketford at the time of his mother-in-law Mary Crosbie's death in 1866.

Although there are a number of young women named Mary Crosbie of the appropriate age who appear in the 1871 Census (3rd April) in the southwest of Scotland, we are unable to state conclusively that any particular one of them is our Mary Crosbie who would have been 15 years old.

However, the most likely is that she was employed as a Dairymaid, aged stated as 17, at Drumberg Farm House in Torthorwald, Dumfriesshire about 14 miles east of Crocketford.

At this time, Mary Ann Crosbie's father, John Crosbie, was residing with his second wife Janet and their family at 1 Lorton Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, England. He is aged 36 and employed as Labourer. Janet is also 36. Elizabeth (9) and Robert (7) had been born in Scotland, while the three younger children had been born in England - William (5) in Upton, Cheshire, Ellen (3) in Birkenhead, Cheshire and Isabella (1) in Liverpool, Lancashire. Clearly, the family had moved south in around 1865. It seems clear that Mary Ann Crosbie did not accompany her father and his new wife when they moved to England, at which time she would have been around 15 years old.

Mary Ann's half-brother, identified as Jacob Clint at the 1861 Census, was now Jacob Johnston, having adopted his father's name. He was employed as a Ploughman residing at Whitehill Farm in Kirkmahoe Parish in Dumfriesshire. This farm was located about 7 miles from Torthorwald where we suspect his half-sister may have been residing.

On 23rd May, 1876, the 25-year-old Douglas Carson, at this time working as a Ploughman, married 23-year-old Farm Servant Mary Crosbie at Fardingjames Cottage, Keir, in Dumfriesshire. Douglas gave his usual residence at the time as Barr in the Parish of Keir, adjacent to the Parish of Penpont. Mary gave her residence as Brecco, also in the Parish of Keir. This is the first confirmed 'sighting' of Mary since she was recorded as living with her grandparents at the 1861 census. Mary's father, John Crosbie, was recorded as being a Blacksmith. One witness to the marriage was William Crosbie, most likely a relative, albeit unidentified, of Mary. The other witness was Mary's cousin, Joanna Clint, 20-year-old daughter of Mary's uncle John Clint. This suggests that Mary Crosbie had kept close links with both of her parents' families.

Location of Farding James Cottage on 1898 MapLocation of Farding James Cottage on 1898 MapNational Library of Scotland

Fardingjames Cottage todayFardingjames Cottage todayGoogle Street View

On 12th November 1876, Douglas and Mary Ann Carson's first child, Barbara Goodin Carson, was born in the Parish of Kirkpatrick Durham in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightshire. Douglas gave his occupation as Drainer and had his mark witnessed by the Registrar. Barbara was possibly named after Douglas's nearest older sister, although given our later speculation regarding how Douglas and Mary chose names for their children, there is an outside chance that she was named after Barbara Goodwin, the wife of a Kirkcudbrightshire farmer, William Goodwin, who just might have been employing Douglas around the time of the birth.

In the village of Penpont on 1st October 1877, Mary Ann gave birth to another daughter who was named Herries, adopting Douglas's mother's maiden surname as a forename. On this occasion, when Douglas registered the birth, he was able to sign his name.

On 24th October, 1879, Douglas's mother Agnes Carson née Herries, daughter of William Herries, Dyker, and Jane Jardine, died at Penpont Village, Dumfriesshire. The cause of death was recorded as Supposed Paralysis although there was no medical attendant. Her widower, John Carson, registered the death.

1879 Death Record of Agnes Carson née Herries1879 Death Record of Agnes Carson née HerriesScotland's People

On 18th November, 1880, Douglas and Mary Carson's third child and first son, Robert Hyslop Carson, was born at Townhead in the Parish of Penpont. The name Hyslop does not appear to have a family connection and we might speculate on the origin of the name given to their son. At the 1881 Census, adjacent but one to the Carsons' dwelling was the residence of Robert Hyslop, General Labourer (like Douglas Carson), and his family. Robert was aged 50 and had a son, also Robert, aged 23, who was also a General Labourer. It is quite probable that Douglas and Mary named their first son in honour of their friend and neighbour.

At the 1881 Census (4th April), Douglas Carson, now aged 30 and working as a General Labourer, was residing in Townhead, which was a small hamlet just to the west of Penpont Village, with his wife, Mary, aged 27 and their three small children, Barbara (4), Herries (2) and 4-month-old Robert. Also resident was Douglas's uncle, James Carson, an 84-year-old General Labourer who had also been born in Penpont.

At this time, Douglas's father, the 81-year-old widower, John Nivison Carson, was residing alone at Back Close, Penpont. Nevertheless, immediate neighbours were his sons William and Robert with their wives and families. Another immediate neighbour in Back Close was his sister Margaret's son Thomas with his family. Yet another neighbour was his sister, 75-year-old Mary Carson, who was residing with her son Robert and his new wife and baby. So although John had his own accommodation, he did not want for the company and support of family members.

At this time, Mary Carson's father, John Crosbie, the 46-year-old Labourer was residing with his 46-year-old wife Janet and their family at 12 Buttermere Street in Toxteth Park, Lancashire, England. This was just one street way from where they were residing 10 years earlier at the time of the 1871 Census. Their son Robert was an 18-year-old Labourer, William (16) was now employed as a Labourer in an Ironworks, Scholar Isabella (10), and young Janet (5), who had been born in Liverpool in around 1876. Ellen Crosbie, age recorded as 15, was working as a General Servant and residing in the home of 55-year-old widow Jane Roberts at 121 Harrowby Street. There is no sign of Elizabeth who would have been 19.

In 1883, on 27th February, Douglas and Mary's fourth child, Ellen Robson Carson was born in Penpont. Once again we note that residing very close to the Carson family at the 1881 Census was a 43-year-old unmarried Dressmaker, Helen Robson. It is probable that Douglas and Mary would have named their new baby in her honour.

On December 27th 1883, Douglas and Mary's only son, Robert Hyslop Carson, died, aged 3 years.

Just over a year later, on 6th March 1886, Mary gave birth to another son. The child was named Robert Hyslop Carson in memory of his older brother. The practice of naming a child in honour and memory of an older deceased brother or sister was quite common in those times, although it probably sits uncomfortably with us today.

On 12th September, 1888, Agnes Clint Carson, named after her late paternal grandmother, was born in Penpont.

Janet Carson was born about July 1890, In Penpont, Dumfriesshire. Tragically she died very shortly after on 31st July, 1890, in Penpont, Dumfriesshire.

On 10th May, 1890, Douglas's father John Nivison Carson died at age 90 in Kirkbride, Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire. The cause of death was simply Old Age, although there was no medical attendant. He had been residing with his married daughter, Jane McGuffie at the time of his death. His son-in-law, Robert McGuffie, registered the death.

1890 Death Record of John Nivison Carson1890 Death Record of John Nivison CarsonScotland's People

At the 1891 Census (5th April), Douglas Carson and his family were residing at Back Street in the village of Penpont. Douglas was a 40-year-old General Labourer and Mary was 37. Barbara, aged 14, was a Scholar, as were Herries (12), Ellen (8) and young Robert (5). Their youngest child, Agnes, was 2 years old. Also resident was Agricultural Labourer, Douglas Carson, the 21-year-old nephew and namesake of the head of the family. He was the son of Douglas's brother, Robert and his wife, Margaret Pagan.

1899 Map showing the Back Street, the narrow passage lying south of and parallel to Main Street.1899 Map showing the Back Street, the narrow passage lying south of and parallel to Main Street.National Library of Scotland

Very shortly after this on 27th May, 1891, Barbara Goodin Carson, Douglas and Mary's eldest child, died in Penpont, aged 14 years 6 months. The Cause of Death was Phthisis Pulmonalis.

On 14th January, 1892 Mary gave birth to another daughter, whom her parents named Barbara Goodin Carson, in memory of her older sister who had so recently died.

In 1897, 19-year-old Herries (or Harris) Carson married Robert Broadfoot in Penpont.

On 24th August, 1897, John (Jack) Carson, who in later life would be known as John Crosbie Carson,, was born in Penpont. He was named after his maternal grandfather.

Mary Ann Carson, the tenth and last child of Douglas and Mary Carson was born in Penpont on 14th August, 1899, clearly named after her mother.

At the time of the 1901 Census (31st March), the Carson family was residing at Princes Street in the village of Penpont. Douglas Carson, age stated to be 48 gave his occupation as Sawyer and General Labourer. His wife Mary was 47. Robert Carson was now 15 and employed as a General Servant, probably on a local farm, while the 12-year-old Agnes and 9-year-old Barbara were Scholars. John (3) and Mary (1) completed the family.

Princes Street, Penpont c.1980sPrinces Street, Penpont c.1980sFacebook: Memories of Penpont Dumfriesshire

Ellen Carson, now 18 years old, was working as a Domestic Servant at Glengarr Farm in the Parish of Penpont. This is the same farm where the the 20-year-old Douglas Carson worked at the time of the 1871 Census.

Ellen Robson Carson married Ploughman Thomas Barbour, born in Lancashire, of Scottish parents, on 6th January, 1905 in Penpont Village.

Penpont Main Street at the Cross c.1905 Penpont Main Street at the Cross c.1905 Pinterest

On 12th March, 1907, Mary Carson's father, John Crosbie, died, aged 74, of Heart Disease at Princes Street, Penpont. He was the son of Robert Crosbie, Roadman, and Mary Dalziel. It appears that he was residing at the home of Douglas and Mary Carson at the time of his death. Douglas Carson, registered the death and gave his father-in-law's occupation as Retired Blacksmith. Clearly John had kept in touch with his daughter, despite having spent most of his life following his second marriage in Liverpool.

1907 Death Record of John Crosbie1907 Death Record of John CrosbieScotland's People

On 5th June, 1908, 22-year-old Robert Hyslop Carson, employed as a Lorryman and residing at 39 Florence Street, Glasgow, married Domestic Servant Rebecca Ann Johnstone, daughter of James Johnstone, Fisherman (deceased) and Ann Norries, at 28 Myrtle Park, Glasgow. Rebecca had been born in Portree on the Isle of Skye.

At the time of the 1911 Census (2nd April), Douglas Carson (60) was residing at Princes Street with his wife Mary (57). Douglas was recorded as earning his living as a Wood Sawyer at Shinnel Saw Mill. Census records were rarely so specific in identifying places of work.

Shinnel Mill was located on the bank of Shinnel Water about 1 mile south-west of Penpont.

Shinnel Mill shown on 1899 MapShinnel Mill shown on 1899 MapNational Library of Scotland

Shinnel Forge was the one real industrial site in Tynron Glen. About 1840 William Cotts built a wonderful two-storey mill building beside the Shinnel. He dammed the river and diverted it via a small millpond on to a 16 foot breast-shot wheel, which he used to provide power to hammer out peat spades, shovels and plough parts. Blacksmith's hearth and working bellows remain for the forge. Cotts had started at Penpont, but moved to this better site.

After 1880 John and James Penman of Sanquhar became tenants of Buccleuch at Shinnel Mill. They converted the mill to saw wood and bend iron for wheel rims, as they were coachmakers and joiners.

Shinnel MIllShinnel

Residing with Douglas and Mary were Barbara (19), John (13 ) and Domestic Servant Mary Ann (11). Also resident were Douglas and Mary's daughter Nellie Barbour (28) and her children Thomas (6), Mary Ann (4), Jean (2) and Infant (2 days). The 2-day-old infant was in fact Douglas Carson Barbour. Another granddaughter, 2-year-old Thomasina Kerr was also resident.

Later that year, Douglas Carson had two sad duties to perform when he registered the deaths of two granddaughters. Thomasina Kerr died at Princes Street, Penpont, aged 2 years and 5 months on 2nd August of Convulsions, Epilepsies and Meningitis. Thomasina was the illegitimate daughter of Agnes Clint Carson and Railway Porter Thomas Kerr. Janet Carson died aged 7 months, also at Princes Street, on 10th December of Acute Broncho-pneumonia and Marasmus. Janet was the daughter of Barbara Goodin Carson and putative father, David Mundell.

Remarkably, only two days before little Janet died, her mother Barbara Goodin Carson was a witness at her sister's marriage. 23-year-old Domestic Servant Agnes Clint Carson, married 24-year-old Carter William James Bisset at her home in Princes Street, Penpont. The other witness was Samuel McNeish.

In 1912, Barbara Goodin Carson married Sawyer Samuel McNeish in Penpont Village.

On 27th October, 1914, Jack Carson enlisted at Glasgow in the Scottish Rifles (Cameronians). He had just passed his 17th birthday. He served for 3 years 339 days and was discharged on 30th September 1918 from the 5th Res. Scottish Rifles as a consequence of 'Being no longer physically fit for War Service - Para 392 (XVI) K.R.' Intriguingly, his discharge certificate stated that he had been born in 1895. It appears that Jack had been less than truthful about his age when he enlisted as the minimum enlistment age at the start of the war was 19.

Very shortly after Jack Carson's discharge, his recently widowed sister Ellen Robson Barbour née Carson died, age 35, at Main Street, Penpont on 26th October, 1918. The Cause of Death was Acute Pneumonia (Double), Nephritis and Influenza. Her brother, Robert Carson of 160 Cathcart Road in Glasgow reported her death to the Registrar.

Just two weeks later, Barbara Goodin McNeish née Carson died, at age 26, at Dumfries Infirmary of Influenzal Pneumonia on 9th November, 1918. Her death was reported by her husband Ploughman Samuel McNeish who gave their usual address at the time of Barbara's death as Ingliston Farm, Irongray in Kirkcudbrightshire.

It was more than coincidence that both Ellen and Barbara died of Influenza.

In 1918 as the First World War was drawing to a close following the deaths of millions of military personnel, a deadly influenza virus spread across the globe resulting in the deaths of millions. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet's population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims.

By the spring of 1918, the First World War was into its fourth year. A weary British population had lost fathers, sons, uncles and friends all fighting on the battle fields.

Life was hard on the home front too, where the deadly influenza virus spread resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians. The death toll was less than a third of the 750,000 British fighting personnel who died in the war, and a fraction of the estimated 50 million people who died worldwide throughout 1918 and 1919, but the shock of it echoed throughout communities.

The influenza took the name 'Spanish 'Flu' because the media were able to report on the epidemic sweeping the neutral country of Spain.

The flu arrived in Britain via ports in Glasgow. The original source is still a mystery - some contemporaries believed that it originated in the far east, others in the unhygienic and overcrowded British military camp at Étapes in France. Wherever it began, it was a universal experience; the shipping networks freely transported the illness across the world. Servicemen and travellers stepped off the ships onto Clydeside, unwittingly spreading the virus. Railways helped the flu to travel locally; urban and coastal areas - those well-served by mass communication and transport links - suffered worse than the rural, inland and isolated areas across the country.

Over five months in late 1918, the registered deaths in Scotland numbered 14,742, more than the corresponding five months of the previous year. The deaths in 1917, by comparison, had been the lowest in all the years since 1868.

The Registrar General for Scotland's yearly report covering 1918 recorded that 78,372 deaths (39,144 male and 39,228 female) were registered in 1918. The report confirmed that at least 17,575 deaths that year were attributable to influenza. This was probably an underestimation; some deaths were ascribed to other causes and complications due to the presence of influenza, for example, 'bronchitis' or 'pneumonia'.

The flu pandemic came to an end by the summer of 1919 as those that had been infected had either died or developed immunity to the virus. In the 100 years since the Spanish flu outbreak, there have been four influenza pandemics, but none were as deadly as the 1918 outbreak.

Ellen and Barbara were the fourth and fifth of Douglas and Mary's ten children to pass away.

Douglas and Mary Ann Carson possibly at Penpont c.1915Douglas and Mary Ann Carson possibly at Penpont c.1915Family Album

By 1919, Douglas and Mary Carson had moved from Penpont to Glasgow where they appear in the Electors Roll for that year resident at 3 Hopetoun Place as does their son John. Hopetoun Place ran south off Cathedral Street

Location of 3 Hopetoun Place, GlasgowLocation of 3 Hopetoun Place, GlasgowNational Library of Scotland

On 30th January, 1920, at 7 Firpark Terrace, Glasgow. Jack Carson, then working as a Milk Storeman and residing at 3 Houston Place in Glasgow, married 20-year-old Agnes Niven Boyle of 161 Wishart Street, Glasgow. Agnes had been born on 7th September, 1899 at 45 St. James's Road, Townhead in Glasgow. She was the daughter of Thomas Boyle and Margaret O'Rourke, both of whom had died when Agnes was young. One of the witnesses to the marriage was Jack's younger sister, Mary Carson. Jack's father, Douglas, was stated to be a Stableman at the time of the marriage.

In 1921 Herries (or Harris) Broadfoot née Carson, died aged 42 at Dunscore in Dumfriesshire.

By 1925, Douglas and Mary Carson had moved again to 187 Comelypark Street in Dennistoun, Glasgow.

Mary Carson, youngest daughter of Douglas and Mary Carson, married John Cowie, Carter, at 16 Moray Place, Pollokshields in Glasgow on 24th August 1926. Both gave their address at the time as 187 Comelypark Street, Glasgow. One of the witnesses to the marriage was Thomas Barbour, Mary's 21-year old nephew, also residing at 187 Comelypark Street in Glasgow. Mary stated that the occupation of her 75-year-old father Douglas was that of a Sawyer.

By 1931, Douglas and Mary Carson had moved again to 7 Monteith Place on the edge of Glasgow Green. They were residing at the home of their daughter Agnes Bisset and her husband William. Residing with them was Thomas Barbour.

Location of Monteith Place, GlasgowLocation of Monteith Place, GlasgowNational Library of Scotland

Nearest closemouth is 7 Monteith Place, Glasgow

On 24th January, 1931, Douglas Carson, died at the age of 81, at 7 Monteith Place in Glasgow. The cause of death was reported as Chronic Bronchitis, Congestion of Lungs and Syncope. The death was registered by his son Robert H. Carson, residing not too far away at 203 Bell Street in Glasgow, who gave his father's occupation as Wood Sawyer.

1931 Death Record of Douglas Carson1931 Death Record of Douglas CarsonScotland's People

Carson Family c.1930sCarson Family c.1930sFamily Album

The photograph shows members of the Carson family with their mother Mary. These were the only surviving children of Douglas and Mary Carson in the 1930s when we believe the photograph was taken - probably just after Douglas's death. On the left is Robert and standing third from the left is Jack. We are not able to identify the other women, except that they would be Agnes Bisset and Mary Cowie. All family members are known to have been living in Glasgow at that time.

After her husband's death, Mary Carson moved to live with her daughter Agnes Bisset and her husband William at their home at 214 Hunter Street in Glasgow

Location of 214 Hunter Street at Duke Street in GlasgowLocation of 214 Hunter Street at Duke Street in GlasgowNational Library of Scotland

214 Hunter Street at Duke Street214 Hunter Street at Duke

Douglas's widow Mary Carson née Crosbie died age recorded as 84 on 7th January, 1937 at 214 Hunter Street, Glasgow, of Myocarditis and Old Age. The death was registered by her daughter Mary Cowie, residing at 298 Kennedy Street, Glasgow.

1937 Death Record of Mary Ann Carson née Crosbie1937 Death Record of Mary Ann Carson née CrosbieScotland's People

Robert Hyslop Carson died on 4th October 1943 at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. The cause of death was Carcinoma of Stomach (Operation) and Toxaemia. The death was registered by his widow Rebecca, who gave Robert's occupation at the time as Inspector of Horses (Railway) and their usual address at the time as 106 Calder Street, Glasgow.

Agnes Clint Bisset née Carson died on 27th August, 1949 at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow. Her usual residence at the time was 1792 Great Western Road in Glasgow. The cause of death was Malignant Hypertension and Uraemia. Her son, W. Bisset, registered the death.

Douglas and Mary Carson's youngest child, Mary Cowie née Carson, died in Glasgow in 1979.

John (Jack) Crosbie Carson died at his home 86 Armadale Street, Dennistoun in Glasgow on 20th May 1961, aged 63 years. The Cause of death was recorded as Dermatomyositis - 1 year, Myocarditis, and Cardio Renal Failure. He was buried in the Carson family grave in Penpont churchyard.

Carson Headstone in Penpont ChurchyardCarson Headstone in Penpont ChurchyardFamily Album

Erected by
Douglas Carson in
memory of his children who died at
Penpont. Robert died Dec 27th 1884 aged
3 years. Janet, July 31st 1890 aged 3 weeks.
Barbara May 27th 1891 aged 14 years & 6 months.
Also John Crosbie aged 74 years.
Also Thomasina and Janet Grandchildren
of Douglas Carson.
Also Thomas Barbour, dearly beloved husband
of Ellen Carson who died at Outertown Cottages
Annan, 6th July 1916, aged 33 years.
Also Ellen Carson, beloved wife of the
above Thomas Barbour, who died at Main
Street, Penpont, 26th Octr 1918, aged 37 years.
Also the above Douglas Carson, who died in Glasgow,
24th Jany 1931, aged 81 years.
Also Mary Crosbie, wife of the above Douglas Carson,
who died at Glasgow 7th Jany, 1937, aged 84 years.
Also John Carson, son of the above
who died at Glasgow, 20th May 1961, aged 63 years.

Transcribed from photograph

Penpont Main Street at the CrossPenpont Main Street at the CrossGoogle Street View

Whatever happened to Jacob Clint?

We last heard of Mary Ann's half-brother Jacob Clint at the time of the 1871 Census when he had assumed his father surname Johnstone and was working as a Ploughman at Whitehill Farm in Kirkmahoe.

The following year, on 15th November, 1872, 20-year-old Jacob, still a Farm Servant residing at Whitehill Farm, married Domestic Servant Elizabeth Inglis at her residence Springbank in Kirkmahoe.

1872 Marriage Record of Jacob Johnston and Elizabeth Inglis1872 Marriage Record of Jacob Johnston and Elizabeth InglisScotland's People

At the time of the 1881 Census (4th April), Jacob was now employed as a Police Constable residing at 14 Eskdaill Street in Langholm. He and his wife Elizabeth had four children all born in Dumfriesshire.

In around 1883, Jacob and Elizabeth, now with 5 children, moved to Cumberland in England where he continued his career in the Cumberland Constabulary.

In 1885 Jacob Johnstone was involved in a life-changing incident described in the Cockermouth Post in 2012 and reproduced by the Cockermouth Heritage Group.

Cockermouth Post Article October 2012

The shooting of Police Superintendent Jacob Johnstone

With the relocation of the Cockermouth Police Station, and the uncertain future of the former Police Station on Main Street, we realised that we had relatively little information about the history of police service in the town, so we were very pleased during our exhibition to have a visit from a descendant of Jacob Johnstone, a former Cockermouth Police Superintendent, and to hear some of the details of his police career, in particular an incident in Carlisle that nearly cost him his life.

The account of his retirement in 1907 notes that, during his time as a police officer, he had been severely kicked six times, twice stabbed by potters in Dumfriesshire, and once nearly fatally shot. In 1885 Superintendent Johnstone, then a humble police constable in Kingstown (Carlisle) confronted four armed robbers, who had stolen a quantity of valuable jewellery from Netherby Hall, the home of Sir Frederick Graham. With Jacob was his colleague Sergeant Roche, and in the ensuing struggle Sergeant Roche was shot in the arm:

"P.C. Johnstone at once went to the sergeant's assistance, helped him up, and together they pursued the men, who had made off towards Carlisle. This was the fine part, for the two officers now knew that the men were armed and desperate, but they did not 'funk' their duty to the public. After running about 25 yards P.C. Johnstone got up to one of the four men and was in the act of reaching forward to seize hold of him when the revolver again blazed about four yards in front of him. One of the men had turned round and deliberately shot him and he fell with a three-ounce bullet in his right breast. He was carried into his own police station, and for months lay between life and death ..."

The robbers had fled towards Penrith, and at Plumpton a P.C. Byrnes would receive a fatal gunshot wound. By now a major manhunt was under way, and finally the three men were apprehended at Tebay (one had got away). The three (Rudge, Martin, and Baker) were tried and found guilty at Carlisle Assizes after a three day trial in January 1886, and they were hanged shortly afterwards at Carlisle.

P.C. Johnstone made a remarkable recovery, and was presented with the bullet that had been extracted from his liver. P.C. Johnstone's great act of bravery and determination to do his duty was rewarded with promotion to Merit class Sergeant and service at Alston, followed in 1889 by promotion to Inspector at Penrith. In 1891 he became Superintendent at Cockermouth.

Gloria Edwards

Cockermouth Heritage Group

Another account of the incident is given here.

In 2007, the Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald recalled the incident in a '100 Years Ago' feature as follows:


Supt. Jacob Johnstone, Appleby, was to retire from the Cumberland and Westmorland Constabulary after 32 years' service. His name became known all over England in connection with the Netherby burglary when, as a PC, he was shot and seriously injured in attempting to arrest the desperadoes, Rudge, Martin and Baker, who had stolen jewellery worth £250. The officer's life was in danger for many months, but he recovered to continue his police career at Alston, Penrith, Shap and Appleby.

Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald

Jacob Johnstone died aged about 81 on 14th November, 1933 in the village of Newton Reigny near Penrith.

1933 Probate Record1933 Probate