John Baxter was born on 26th June, 1851 in Chryston, Parish of Cadder, Lanarkshire. His parents were David Baxter, born at Davieston, Lanarkshire, on 28th August, 1825 and Agnes Moir, born in Chryston on 15th October, 1828. They had been married on 7th March, 1851 in the Parish of Cadder, most likely in Chryston. Both John's parents were Cotton Weavers, although David Baxter would soon change his occupation to Pitheadman.
Chryston was a small village midway on the road between Glasgow and Cumbernauld and was described in the following contemporary account:
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.
David and Agnes Baxter continued to grow their family and Janet Baxter was born on 11th April, 1853, William on 12th November, 1855, Janet on 15th January, 1857, Ann on 25th January, 1855 and Mary on 29th January, 1861.
The 1861 Census (8th April) shows the family residing in Chryston and comprised of David, aged 35, and Agnes, aged 32, both Cotton Weavers, young John (10), a Scholar, William (5) and Mary, aged 2 months. 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.
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. 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.
Christina Weir was born at Middleholm Farm, Parish of Lesmahagow, on 24th August, 1856 and was the third child of ten born to Cambusnethan-born Agricultural Labourer John Weir and Lesmahagow-born Isabella Brown, who married in the Parish of Lesmahagow on 24th March, 1850.
Middleholm Farm was the home of Christina's grandparents Lesmahagow-born David Brown and Marion Allen. David was a Mason by trade and he would have been using accommodation at the farm rather than working the farm.
The third daughter was usually named after the mother although it is likely that on this occasion Christina was named after Isabella's paternal grandmother, Christian Hilston.
At the time of the 1861 Census, Christina, now 4, was residing at Netherhouse, Lesmahagow. John (33) was now employed as a Gamekeeper. Also present were her mother Isabella (31) and her sisters Marion (11), Janet (7) and Ann (1).
At the time of the 1871 Census (3rd April), Christina was residing in Overtown, Cambusnethan and employed as a Domestic Servant in the service of Ambrose G. Hyslop, Station Master (Railway). At this time, Christina's parents and family were residing some 6 miles away in Stane, Cambusnethan where her 44-year-old father John was employed as a Police Constable.
On 29th November, 1878, John Baxter, aged 27, married Christina Weir, a 22-year-old Domestic Servant residing in Allanton, Parish of Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, where the marriage was conducted. At the time of the John and Christina's marriage, John Weir's occupation was given as Molecatcher (Contractor). John Baxter's address at the time of the marriage 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, Christina's younger sister. It is not obvious how John and Christina would have met, as Allanton was a considerable distance from Glasgow. Perhaps Christina had been employed as a Domestic Servant in Glasgow.
Garscadden Street, later to be renamed Airdrie Street, was located at the north end of Renfield Street in the Cowcaddens district of Glasgow. The close entrance to no. 22 is visible just past the bend in the hill. The area has been completely redeveloped, although the nearby Theatre Royal remains in use to this day.
On 4th March, 1880, John and Christina's first child, Isabella Brown Baxter was born at 142 Waddell Street, Hutchesontown, Glasgow. She had been named after her maternal grandmother. John was still working as a Warehouseman. Hutchesontown was situated just east of Gorbals.
At the time of the 1881 Census (3rd April), the Baxter family was still residing at 142 Waddell Street. John, aged 29, was now a Grocer. However, just 3 weeks later, on 25th April, 1882, at 610 Rutherglen Road in Hutchesontown, Glasgow, Christina gave birth to David Baxter, named after his paternal grandfather. John was a Grocer's Salesman.
John Weir Baxter, named after his maternal grandfather, was born on 19th December, 1884, at 612 Rutherglen Road. It seems that the family had moved upstairs. John Baxter was a Grocer's Assistant.
At the far end of the first block of tenements on Rutherglen Road lay nos. 610 and 612.
The Property Valuation Records of 1885 show that John Baxter was residing at 612 Rutherglen Road and that his occupation was that of Shopman. In the same record, 610 Rutherglen Road was not in fact a house but a shop occupied by John Wallace Jr., a Grocer. It contains a slight suggestion that John Baxter may have worked for John Wallace Jr., Tea Merchant, Wholesale and Retail who operated several shops across the city. However, this can only be speculation.
Agnes Moir Baxter, named after her paternal grandmother, was born at 612 Rutherglen Road on 22nd February, 1887. John was a still a Grocer's Assistant.
On 4th September, 1889, Isabella Weir, a Baker's Shopwoman who was Christina's 21-year-old sister and who had been residing with the Baxters at 612 Rutherglen Road, married 28-year-old Police Constable, Hugh Davidson at Crosshill, Allanton. Once again Annie Weir was a witness to the marriage.
After living in Hutchesontown for about 10 years after their marriage, John and Christina moved westward to Tradeston in Glasgow where Christina Weir Baxter, named after her mother, was born on 25th August, 1890 at 16 Commerce Street. John was employed as a Grocer's Warehouseman.
Tradeston, located just to the west of Eglinton Street, started out as a residential area around the same time as other Gorbals districts. However, it gradually became more industrialised and by the time that John and his family moved there was a busy manufacturing area.
At the 1891 Census (5th April), the Baxter family was still 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.
In addition to his regular job of Assistant Grocer, John was the Church Officer for the Free Church at 26 King Street (later renamed Kingston Street) adjacent to the tenement at 16 Commerce Street.
The aerial photo shows the former Free Church building at 26 Kingston Street at the extreme left corner of the block and the tenement at 16 Commerce Street immediately adjacent.
The Free Church of Scotland was formed in 1843 when most of the evangelical ministers in the Church of Scotland resigned because of state interference in its internal affairs.
Under a system known as Patronage, landowners could nominate and present ministers to congregations, irrespective of whether those ministers were evangelical or even whether the congregation wanted them. This was regarded by many as totally unacceptable.
They understood the historic position of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland to be that the Church and State were independent in their own spheres and that they ought not to interfere in each other's business, but rather help one another for the Christian good of Scotland.
The result was that in 1843, in what became known as The Disruption, a new denomination was formed. This was initially called the Church of Scotland, Free, but later became The Free Church of Scotland.
In 1900 the Free Church united with the United Presbyterian Church to become the United Free Church.
Marion Weir Baxter was born on 16th November, 1892 at 16 Commerce Street. It is possible that Marion was named after John's sister-in-law, Marion Lindsay who had married John's younger brother, William in 1881. John's occupation was stated to be Warehouseman.
On 1st June, 1893, at Stepps, John's father, David Baxter, aged 68, died of Stricture of the Urethra and Cystitis. John registered the death at Chryston.
On 31st January, 1895, William Baxter, most likely named after his father's younger brother, was born in Tradeston at 44 King Street which was just around the corner from Commerce Street.
On 3rd November, 1897, John's mother, Agnes Baxter née Moir, aged 68, died of Apoplexy at 44 King Street, Tradeston. It appears that at some stage after his father David's death, John and Christina brought John's mother to live with them in Glasgow.
On 31st June, 1900, Isabella Weir, or Davidson, who had been widowed, was married for the second time at 11 Westercraigs, Dennistoun, Glasgow. She married another police constable, 32-year-old Alexander Bennett. Isabella Brown Baxter, was a witness to her aunt's marriage.
On 3rd August, 1900, Isabella Brown Baxter, aged 20, married Frederick Macartney, a 23-year-old Watchmaker, in Gorbals Free Church, South Portland Street, Gorbals, Glasgow. Frederick's address at the time was 44 South Portland Street while the Baxter family had moved to 95 South Portland Street which was the address given by Isabella.
The Free Gorbals Church, now Gorbals United Free Church, was formed in 1843, a majority of the Kirk Session of Gorbals Parish forming the new Kirk Session. The congregation called the Rev. Robert Bremner, M.A., then a young probationer, to be their first minister, their meeting-place being the Baronial Halls, South Portland Street. In the Autumn of 1844 they entered their fine new church in King Street, and continued to worship there under the pastorate of Mr. Bremner till, in 1891, they made choice of the Rev. John Robertson to be his colleague and successor.
The church proved too small for the crowds who wished to hear the popular preacher, and an adjournment was made to the National Halls, in Main Street, Gorbals, where there was accommodation for some two thousand five hundred people. These halls continuing crowded during Mr. Robertson's ministry, the congregation sold their church in King Street, intending to build a large evangelizing centre on the banks of the Clyde. This enterprise, however, was checked by the termination of Mr. Robertson's ministry.
In 1895, the congregation called the Rev. D. C. Macnicol, B.D., who soon bestirred himself to have them comfortably housed in their old district. This task took three and a half years, the present handsome and commodious buildings being opened at the close of the year 1898. Mr. Macnicol having accepted a call to Stockbridge, Edinburgh, in 1904, the congregation the following year made choice of the Rev. W. B. Hutton, M.A., the present pastor.*
* Since this paragraph was written, the Rev. W. B. Hutton, M.A., has accepted a call to Saltcoats.
Around the time that the Free Church at 26 King Street was sold, John Baxter had moved with his family to 16 Commerce Street and it is likely that he became Church Officer at a time when there was no church building. Of course, the assistance of a Church Officer may have been all the more critical to the minister and the congregation.
When the new church opened in South Portland Street, John Baxter remained as Church Officer and moved his entire family into the pristine apartments within the church building.
At the time of the 1901 Census (31st March), the Baxter family, minus Isabella of course, was still residing at 95 South Portland Street in Gorbals. John, now 49, gave his occupation as Grocer and Christina was 44. Eldest son David was 18 and was employed as a Watchmaker. We might surmise that he was employed by his brother-in-law Frederick Macartney. Young John Baxter, aged 16, was a Clerk and Agnes was now 14 years old. Christina (10) and Marion (8) were Scholars while young William (6) was of pre-school age.
The Census Return records that there were four rooms with at least one window in the Baxters' dwelling.
On 15th February, 1904, Christina's father John Weir died, aged 78, at 95 South Portland Street, although his usual address was declared as Allanton by Shotts. The cause of death was Cystitis, from which he had been suffering for 6 months, Uraemia and Exhaustion. The death was registered by his son-in-law, John Baxter.
On 25th October, 1904, Christina's mother, Isabella Weir (m.s. Brown), died, aged 76, at the Baxter family home at 95 South Portland Street. The cause of death was Angina Pectoris. Her son-in-law, Alexander Bennett, of 406½ Gallowgate, registered the death.
On 30th December, 1904, David Baxter, now aged 22, residing at 95 South Portland Street, and a Grocery Warehouseman like his father, married 21-year-old Jessie Newbigging at her family home 120 Scotland Street, Tradeston, Glasgow.
The Property Valuation Records of 1905 show John Baxter as Church Officer residing at 95 South Portland Street.
We are unable accurately date ths photo. However, the board on the left behind the group informs us that the Church Officer was John Baxter of 95 South Portland Street. The minister at the time was Rev. W.B. Hutton who in fact took charge of the church in 1904 and left in 1919.
It is reasonable to ask why this photo would be part of the Baxter family collection. A simple answer is that John was the Church Officer and he acquired a photo simply as a memento. A more intriguing answer is that perhaps John Baxter was a member of the group. He would have been between 54 and 66 years of age and perhaps the only candidate is the mature gent behind the bass drummer. Alternatively, John's son William Baxter, born in 1895, would have been aged between between 9 and 20. Sadly for us, there are too many candidates fitting that range.
At the time of the 1911 Census (2nd April) the Baxter family was still residing in the church apartments at 95 South Portland Street. John (59) was a Grocery Manager and Christina was 54. Also resident were Agnes (24) who was an Assistant Chemist, Christina (20) was not employed, Marion (18) was a Drapery Saleswoman and William (16) was a Clerk.
On 13th September, 1913, John Weir Baxter set sail aboard the SS California and arrived in New York 9 days later.
The Property Valuation Records of 1915 confirm that John Baxter was residing at 95 South Portland Street and was the Church Officer.
Christina Weir Baxter, aged 26, and a Wartime Munitions Worker, residing at the family home at 95 South Portland Street, married 36-year-old chemist William Barrie at 21 Hope Street, Glasgow, on 27th February, 1917. Christina and William would go on to live and raise their family in London.
John Baxter, aged 66, died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage on 15th October, 1917 at 40 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, Glasgow. His eldest son, David, of 120 Scotland Street, Tradeston, registered the death. John's occupation was given as Grocery Manager. It is clear that the Baxter family had moved from their residence at the church, probably because John had retired.
BAXTER.- Suddenly, at 40 Abbotsford Place, S.S., on the 15th inst., John Baxter, aged 66 years, of Messrs. D. Wight & Co. Ltd., beloved husband of Christina Weir.- Funeral to Craigton Cemetery on Thursday, at 2.30 p.m.; friends omitted wishing to be present notify Jas. Henderson Ltd., 61 Eglinton Street; funeral service to be held in Gorbals U.F. Church.
D. Wight & Co. Ltd. was a company of Wholesale Italian Warehousemen and Tea Merchants who built the warehouse shown below at 30 Clyde Place just off the north end of Commerce Street in 1906 (see map and photo above). An Italian Warehouse in those times supplied imported foodstuffs (not necessarily sourced from Italy) such as salad oil, olives, pickles, anchovies, tea, coffee etc. and some licensed products - wines and spirits.
After John's death, the Baxter family took up residence at 40 Abbotsford Place.
The sisters are dressed in what is probably black suggesting that they were both widowed.
On 11th July, 1918, Agnes Moir Baxter, aged 30, employed as a Dispensary Assistant and residing at 40 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, Glasgow, married 39-year- old Preserve Work Manager, William McLintock of 15 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, Glasgow at 5 Maxwell Drive, Pollokshields, Glasgow. The witnesses on the occasion were her younger sister, Marion Weir Baxter, and John F. Murray.
Marion Weir Baxter, aged 26 and working as a Drapery Saleswoman residing at 40 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, married John Ferguson Murray, a Journeyman Cabinetmaker of 3 Dixon Avenue, Govanhill, Glasgow on 28th April, 1919. The marriage took place at 39 Melville Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow.
Agnes Moir McLintock née Baxter died at home at 15 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals, Glasgow on 6th April, 1938. The cause of death was Bronchopneumonia and Cardiac Failure. The death was registered by her husband, William who was a retired Confectioner.
David Baxter, eldest son of John and Christina Baxter, died, aged 58, of Arteriosclerosis on 2nd April, 1941 at 856 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, which was the residence of his elder sister, the now-widowed Isabella Macartney. At the time of his death, David was a widower and a retired Grocery Warehouseman. His son, John Baxter of 45 Sinclair Drive, Battlefield, Glasgow, registered the death.
After John Baxter's death in 1917, it would be a further 25 years before the death of Christina Baxter, which occurred on 2nd February, 1942, at the age of 85. The cause of death was Pylorus (Carcinoma Pylori) or stomach cancer. Christina died at 856 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, the residence of her daughter Isabella Macartney. Christina's youngest son, William, of 4 Skipness Drive, Govan, Glasgow, registered the death.
Isabella Brown Macartney née Baxter died at 856 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, on 16th September, 1948. The cause of death was Arteriosclerosis and Cerebral Thrombosis. Her son, James Macartney of 17 Ross Avenue, Renfrew, registered the death.