Jim Cochrane messaged me, “This is Maggie Downie of Calderside Row, Auchnitibber Maybe Sometime 1900-1910. Maybe census would help to date this.”
Norma Marr, also related to Maggie later told me that the photo was taken in 1904, when Maggie was 22 years old. Norma once told me, “Maggie was an amazing woman. It seems she was a bit of an adventurer as she came to Calgary, Canada as a young single woman (accompanied by her brother James) — her older brother Robert had moved to Calgary in 1910. She worked in Calgary at a hotel as a maid at the Windsor Hotel and lived here for a couple of years, returning to Blantyre around the time of WW1. She then married our grandfather John Patrick. She then returned to Calgary as a widow with her daughters, my mom and aunt. She lived a far more interesting life than we ever had imagined and our family is so proud of her.”
Now, I always like to add some detail to a photo, especially if not a lot is known about it, and from my notes, it was a delight to research and tell Maggie’s story, as follows.
Margaret Downie of Calderside Row, Auchentibber. Maggie, as she was known was born on 12th April 1882. Maggie Downie was daughter to John Downie of Blantyre, a joiner by trade and Elizabeth Stobie an incomer to the area. When she was born in 1882, John was 35 and Elizabeth was 36. However, she was not the first daughter to be born. In 1876, shortly after the couple had married, they gave birth to another girl, called Margaret. She is noted on the 1881 census, as being the eldest daughter and was aged 5 that year. The fact that the couple named another daughter Margaret just one year later in 1882, would suggest little Margaret had sadly died aged 5 around 1881/882.
Maggie had an older brother Robert, born on 11th August 1879 – 1963 and a younger brother James born on 27th June 1885 – 1975. In 1891, the family lived at Walkman House, Calderside, which may have been the name of one of homes on Calderside Row. Little Maggie shortly after would suffer some personal tragedy when her mother, Elizabeth passed away on May 26, 1895, at the age of 49. Maggie was only 13 when she lost her mum, suddenly finding herself in an all male household. It is likely here schooling was done at Auchentibber and later at High Blantyre Primary School.
As Norma noted, her adventurous spirit took her to Canada for a spell before WW1, but she returned back to Scotland. Margaret Downie married John Patrick on April 7, 1915, in High Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when she was 32 years old. John Patrick may have seen no army service for in his 30’s he may have escaped conscription. It would appear the couple initially lived at Auchentibber beside Maggie’s family, for her daughter Georgina Day was born on March 2, 1916, in High Blantyre, Lanarkshire. A first of 3 children.
Her daughter Elizabeth Sorbie (named after her mother) was born on December 18, 1918, in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire. Tragedy struck Maggie once again and like her own mother, little baby Elizabeth was to leave this earth far earlier than normal. Indeed, baby Elizabeth died in 1918, the same year that she was born.
Maggie and John would go on to have a third child, at their new residence in Cambuslang. Her daughter Margaret Downie was born on June 23, 1920, in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire. However, once again, for the third time, tragedy struck Maggie when her husband John passed away on October 21, 1926, in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, at the age of 41. They had been married 11 years. Maggie was 44, a widow and now a single mother of 2 children.
Like many people in Blantyre in the 1920’s, opportunity of a new life beckoned in the Americas and Canada. Maggie, may have felt there were not many ties left to Lanarkshire and perhaps remembering her fondness for the previous visit, she took daughters Margaret and Georgina across the Atlantic to Canada, settling in Calgary in January 1927.
Maggie Downie died on June 4, 1959, in Calgary, Alberta, when she was 77 years old. Her brothers were to join her in Calgary. Brother Bobby (Robert) died in 1963, James in 1975, both in Calgary. Her daughters Margaret passed away in 1988 and Georgina in 1994.
The Patrick family still live in Calderside and are related to the Downies and MacFarlanes. Maggie’s granddaughter is Norma Lawrence Marr, a reader of Blantyre Project .
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