Remembering Hugh McKerrow

 

Incredibly this is a Kirk Session Record from High Blantyre, kindly shared with me from my good friend, Alex Rochead. Written on April 25th, 1880 by the Rev Stewart Wright. There are 3 small entries raised in the minutes that day, which were taken to record the death of Mr Hugh McKerrow.

I have transcribed the text as follows, “The moderator in suitable terms referred to the death of Mr. Hugh McKerrow, Elder and moved that the following notice of his demise be engraved in the minutes and that a copy be forwarded to his widow.”

“That the Kirk Session desire to record their deep regret on the death of Mr. Hugh McKerrow, their fellow elder and member of the session. Mr. McKerrow was justly respected and dearly beloved by reason of his jovial kindly manner and consistent Christian character. He will be missed by minister, elders and people at the approaching Holy Communion.”

So who was Mr Hugh McKerrow? 1879 Naismith’s Directory suggests Hugh was a Grocer at Auchentibber. In the 1881 census, a year after his death, his widow is Jane McKerrow, a 71 year old still running the grocery business at Auchentibber. She was however being assisted that year by her granddaughter Jan Fowler (24). When Hugh died in 1880, he was 78 years old. Jane appears in the 1891 census and died in 1892 aged 82. Interestingly, the McKerrow’s were the only family of this name in the census information in the 19th Century and do not appear in the 1871 census nor in the 1875 valuation roll, indicating they came to Blantyre between 1875 and 1881, in the latter part of their lives. It is telling from Rev Wright’s statement and from how short Hugh McKerrow lived in Blantyre, just how quickly he became part of the community and what an impact he made.

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