McGuire’s Link to Livingstone

Paul McGuire wrote to me saying, “I’m looking for information on my father’s family. John (Jack) McGuire, born December 16, 1916 in Blantyre, sergeant in the Scots Guards, moved to London in the 1930’s. Father Edward. Brothers Edward junior and James nick named “Happy” & Sister Kathleen. His mother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Hunter who may have been related to David Livingston’s mother (or so goes the family legend). Edward junior’s twin sons were Brian and Eamonn born around 1956 and daughter Helen born around 1954.”

Wishing to test the claim to link Livingstone’s family (who married into Hunter family), I decided to focus on the the maternal name of Hunter. Here is what I found.John

Elizabeth Hunter was born in 1892, the daughter of James Hunter, a coalminer and Ellen Rodgers. The family lived at Auchinraith at 84 Merry’s Rows, James being employed as a coalminer for Merry & Cunninghame (coalmasters). By 15th November 1919, when Elizabeth married, her father had died, and her mother married again into the Lees family.

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Elizabeth married in Glasgow to Edward McGuire (b1897) who lived at 36 Bute Terrace, Blantyre (an unknown address today). John Jack McGuire may have been born out of wedlock, during the WW1 years, perhaps whilst Edward was on war leave, but certainly he looks to have been born 3 years or so before the couple got round to marrying.

Going back a generation Elizabeth’s father James Hunter (b1862) had married Ellen (b1864) or Helen Rodgers on 21st October 1884 at Cross Row, Blantyre Works! We find a link to the Village here where we know relatives of Livingstone habited. Helen was a weaver working at the cotton mills.

Sticking with the Hunter name, James’s father was John Hunter and mother Jane Dunsmuir, although by 1884 John Hunter had died.

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Back another generation, John Hunter was born on 20th September 1841 to David Hunter and Jean Dunlop.

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David Hunter was the son of David Hunter, the maternal grandfather of David Livingstone. The link to Livingstone is proven!

He was a tailor who had a shop in the Wages Building at Blantyre Works. Livingstone’s father, Neil was apprenticed to David Hunter but was never an employee of the Blantyre Mills Company. Neil Livingstone married Hunter’s daughter, Agnes in 1810. David Hunter was born the son of a crofter in the Parish of Shots. Janet Livingstone (David’s sister) would later after his death state that David Hunter was a tailor who earned 4d. per day plus his food. According to family tales told around the fireplace in the Shuttle Row, it was said David Hunter was the only person in the Parish of Shotts at the time who could write! David Hunter learned his father’s trade and he married Janet Moffat. They owned a cottage and a croft in the Parish of Airdrie. He fell on hard times after his wife’s death when in Janet’s own words, “A great dearth happened within the Parish and my grandfather, who was of a gentle nature, trusted meal and corn to many who failed to pay him.” Hunter’s 15-year old daughter Agnes, nursed her mother throughout her illness until her death. After the failure of her father’s business, she moved with him to Blantyre Works. Hunter started a tailoring enterprise and opened a shop that was located in the Wages Building, part of which still stands today adjacent to the David Livingstone Memorial Bridge. The building is now listed. Agnes kept house for her father and assisted him by embroidering the garments that he produced. She died on 18th June 1865, just 10 days after her son David had returned to Africa, after his last visit home. David Hunter, like his father was very religious and died in 1834 and was buried in the old kirkyard at Kirkton, High Blantyre.

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