Marion Fisher, who married John Pendlebury, was the daughter of William Fisher and Margaret Whyte or White who married on 3 May 1844. Their marriage and Marion's birth and christening (25.5.1845) are recorded in Muiravonside parish, in Stirlingshire, a parish that borders on West Lothian. The accounts I heard put her family in Linlithgow, in West Lothian. Now, there is a river (the Avon - one of many by this name which means 'river') that forms a county boundary, and the village or small town of Linlithgow Bridge, just west of Linlithgow (and now mostly part of Linithgow) spans the river, having houses on both sides of the old Avon Bridge and hence is in both counties. The road bridge is a replacement for the older stone-built bridge which was a Tollbridge, with a Toll House on the Muiravonside side, and which linked not only the parishes of Linlithgow and Muiravonside, but the counties of Linlithgowshire (later West Lothian) and Stirling, and indeed also the 'Lowland' and 'Highland' regions. A liminal - boundary or borderline - place indeed. There are two other bridges over the Avon there, one being the railway viaduct from the mid-1800s, the other being the earlier Telford aquaduct from 1822 or so, which was built to carry the Union Canal, the shipping waterway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, across this valley.
There's some material on the internet about Muiravonside: however the West Lothian/Linlithgow information is relevant also. Linlithgow is one of the old capitals of Scotland, from the time when the court rotated so that there was not just one capital. I should add that Muiravonside and its boundary with West Lothian also holds one of the earliest major Scottish prehistoric sites, Cairnpapple hill, which is a massive 'henge' site - a major place in the bronze age map of Britain, it would seem.
In 1851, the family of Marion Fisher was recorded in Linlithgow Bridge (fortunately for me this is available in the small online sample of the 1851 Scottish census). There are her parents, William Fisher and his wife Margaret approximately 32 and 25, and three children - Marion aged 6, Mary aged 4 and William, 1. Her father William Fisher is described as a 'shoemaker'. Later we know he became a calico printer or block printer, and he is described as such on Marion's marriage record, 12 July 1867, to which either he or his son William was a witness.
Shortly after the 1851 census, another child, Edmund, was born to the Fisher family (17 June 1851), in Muiravonside. It may be important that while Marion, William (apparently- though the 1851 census says he was born in Roxburghshire and it's more likely he was born in Dalkeith, probably while the family were in transit!) and Edmund were born or at least (for William) registered in Muiravonside, Mary was born in Newton St Boswell's, which is a 'new town' near Melrose, Roxburghshire.
Edmund moved to England and married, having (at least) three daughters. His family is shown in the 1881 English census, in Shuttleworth, near Ramsbottom, Lancashire. Edmund was then a 'paper maker' and later apparently managed a works of some kind - family stories say a cotton mill but more possibly a paper manufactory - and may also have owned a chain of baker's shops (see the 'Pendlebury' information in my earlier online material.)
The younger William (b. 1849) was said by my mother to have been her 'rich uncle' living in Hamilton when she was a small child. She described both William and Edmund visiting (in the 1900s and 1910s) and making music. The 1901 census shows a William Fisher, of the right age (born approx 1849), married to Jessie MacKay, but gives a birthplace of 'Dalkeith' not either Muiravonside or Roxburgh. As indicated above, this is quite possible - born in Dalkeith while the family was returning from the borders, but the birth registered in Muiravonside when they returned to the family houses there. This marriage is found in 1871 in Hutchesontown, Glasgow. The 1881 census shows William and Jessie in Govan, and also shows, living with them as a 'general servant' one 'Janet Pindlebury'. This would seem to indicate that there is a relationship.
However the details of the marriage record of this younger William Fisher, in 1871, say that he is the son of Joseph Fisher and Jane McGregor... (not William Fisher and Margaret White). Yet the constellation of details - especially the presence of Janet Pendlebury in the household in 1881 - indicate he is a close relative of Marion Fisher's family. Looking for a birth of a William Fisher to a Joseph produced no responses: however looking for the birth of a Joseph did. Joseph Fisher - an unusual name - is shown in the Scottish records as born 3rd August 1824 to a William Fisher and Mary Martin, in Melrose, Roxburgh. The marriage of William Fisher and Mary Martin(e) was on 4 July 1823, in Melrose.
The link between Muiravonside and Melrose was unexpected. It may be only coincidence. It seemed to me at first, finding this, that Joseph Fisher was likely to be a half-sibling of the Muiravonside Fishers, and hence an uncle of Marion. It seemed unlikely that Joseph Fisher and Jane McGregor were the actual parents of the younger William - the birth evidence is of William Fisher and Margaret Whyte being registered as parents, and later generations seem to have regarded 'great uncle William' to be a brother of Marion Fisher rather than a cousin - but he may have been born in their household - if they were in Dalkeith at the right time - and in part brought up by them. More of this (younger, third) William Fisher anon. Let's go back a little, first.
William Fisher and Mary McCulloch had two children born in Muiravonside, i.e. Linlithgow Bridge: Ann Fisher b 1813 chr. 30.5.1813, William born 1817 chr 26.5.1817. Ann Fisher married one Robert Stewart, bore several children, and died in Muiravonside aged 75 in 1888 (Scottish women's deaths are usually indexed by birth surname, so she was not hard to find). More of her anon. Her brother William's death record, and that of Margaret White, though, I could not find, although I knew (from their daughter Marion's marriage record) that both were alive in 1867. They could have been anywhere in Scotland, though, and the names are too common to bet on, when such a gamble costs credits through the Scotlands People site. Fortunately one of their children, Edmund, had an uncommon name, and furthermore I knew that he had gone to live in Lancashire. I found him in the 1881 and 1901, and eventually the 1871, census - in Shuttleworth, Ramsbottom, exactly where expected, where he had married and had a family. I'm likely to have relatives in Lancashire, even today.
But having a (brief) access to the English census records, I looked for William and family. There they were - they had migrated to England: William and Margaret, at 21 Factory Street, Ramsbottom, with daughter Mary aged 23, and some younger children about whom I'd had no previous information, James and George, in the 1871 census: James was aged 16, George 10, William listed as 'block printer', Mary and James cotton weavers, and the whole family born in Scotland. By 1881 the picture had changed, I could not find William or Margaret (they may have died before then, or emigrated), James may have been either a soldier on in prison (there are two likely candidates!) - and George seems likely to have emigrated to the USA. It is quite possible from later censuses that James eventually was living in Bootle, as an assistant to a spirit dealer there, and married and had a family - again I may have relatives there of whom I have no knowledge.
Access to the 1861 Scottish census has qualified and validated this information. By 1861, William Fisher and Margaret Whyte had moved several times, as shown by the births of their children: they were now (1861) at Hillhead Row, New Kilpatrick, Milngavie. Marion my great grandmother is not shown in this census record - she was living elsewhere, possibly in Paisley, and I have not yet found where. Ages and birthplaces of the others appear thus:
|William Fisher, 43, Stirlingshire, Linlithgow Bridge|
|Margaret Fisher, 33, Stirlingshire, Linlithgow Bridge|
|Mary, 13, Roxburghshire, St Boswells|
|William, 11, Edinburghshire, Dalkeith|
|Edmund, 9, Stirlingshire, Linlithgow Bridge|
|James, 7, Renfrewshire, Elderslie|
|George, 4 mo., Renfrewshie, Elderslie|
In the 1841 census William Fisher is listed in Old Monkland, age given as 20, a shoemaker. His mother's family had kin in that area. His sister Ann had married, and was in Linlithgow Bridge (in the Muiravonside part, and one presumes at the Bridge Inn), aged 27 with her husband Robert Stewart, spirit dealer aged 35 and their son Alexander aged 4 months. Their eldest child Mary Ann, who would have been aged two years, is not in the household and so is presumably with kin elsewhere.
2nd September 1812Some further information has come from the archivist at Hopetoun House, to whom I owe thanks. From his information, William Fisher appears in the Hopetoun House records in 1812. He was paid at Martinmas an annual salary of £17 17s (17 guineas) with an 'extra' allowance of £1 17s 6d, possibly for special clothing or as a tea and sugar allowance . He was also that year given an additional five guineas 'pr Adml Hope's orders'. On 18 January 1813 he signed a receipt for his 1812 salary.
William Fisher Gentlemans Servant at Hopetoun house and Mary McCulloch daughter of William McCulloch Innkeeper in Linlithgow, residing Queensferry Street, 6, gave up their names for proclamation of Banns Matrimonial.
William Dick Smith
Thomas Sharrat Hostler
It is possible that he was either the personal servant of Admiral Hope, or connected directly with his family. At this time, Admiral Sir George Hope was a cousin of the Hopetoun family who had married back into that family; he had come from Carriden House near Bo'ness. Whether William was associated with the Bo'ness area or with Sir George Hope's naval career we cannot yet say. It seems likely that William's leaving this employment was connected with his marriage.
So, tracking William and Mary is a bit tricky. The Alloa McCullochs have been ruled out - thanks to a message from a member of Genes Reunited.
This is intriguingly close to my family history....Ruling out people is an important part of family research! Mary's birth may simply not be recorded in parish records. Further information, however, suggests that the McCulloch's were at one time considerably further north: they may have originated there. However the William McCulloch, Innkeeper and Mason, seems to have been a twin son of Robert McCulloch and Eupham Gillies, born in Linlithgow in 1755 into a quite large family. His twin brother, another Robert, became a merchant in Linlithgow and this Robert's descendant Margaret Macculloch or Hall has a website at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~macculloch/ which gives information on some of these people. Eupham Gillies was from a large Linlithgow family, and I have various pieces of information about the members of this family, going back several generations.
I have a William McCulloch who married Mary Fisher in 1781 in Alloa, and had a bunch of children, including Mary born 1796. But this Mary married Peter Sanderson in Edinburgh in 1818 - these are my ggg-grandparents. Mary died in 1886 at the ripe old age of 91.
The only way this could be the same Mary as yours, is if William Fisher died before 1818, and Mary married again. But there is no note of that in my Mary's death cert.
The 1851 census for Muiravonside shows, at Linlithgow Bridge, the family of William Fisher the 2nd and his wife and elder children, the Stewart household including Ann Fisher, with her husband Robert Stewart as Vintner, and the household of Mary McCulloch, widow, described as 'Proprietor of House', possibly meaning Innkeeper but also possibly meaning simply that she owned the property, all of these living next door to each other. In the household of Mary are living several children, all Stewarts. The material as transcribed (from FreeCen - I also now have an image from ScotlandsPeople of these census records and have made some corrections) is:
|(Number of Householder's schedule) 66 LINLITHGOW BRIDGE |
WILLIAM FISHER HEAD MAR 32 SHOEMAKER STI MUIRAVONSIDE
MARGARET FISHER WIFE MAR 25 ditto
MARION FISHER DAUR U 6 ditto
MARY FISHER DAUR U 4 ROXBOROUGHSHIRE
WILLIAM FISHER SON U 1 ditto
67 LINLITHGOW BRIDGE |
MARY MCCULLOCH HEAD WIDOW 60 PROPRIETOR OF HOUSE [Birthplace not given]
MARY ANN STEWART LODGER U 12 SCHOLAR STI MUIRAVONSIDE
JEAN STEWART LODGER U 7 SCHOLAR ditto
WILLIAM STEWART LODGER U 4 ditto
MARGARET STEWART LODGER U 1 ditto
| 68 LINLITHGOW BRIDGE |
ROBERT STEWART HEAD MAR 50 VINTNER PER BRIDGE ARRAN
ANN FISHER WIFE MAR 40 STI MUIRAVONSIDE
ALEXANDER STEWART SON U 15 SCHOLAR ditto
CATHERINE NELSON SERV U 19 HOUSE SERV LLS BATHGATE
JAMES MCKENZIE LODGER U 30 MASON STI FALKIRK
JOHN HILL LODGER U 30 CALICO PRINTER PER PERTH
Mary McCulloch also appears in the 1861 census. There she is described as (Late?) Cook, and Robert Stewart is given as Innkeeper. If she was a cook, it does not necessarily mean in the Inn: the 1841 census finds her in Edinburgh (St Colme Street) with occupation 'female servant' and the testament of her daughter Ann indicates that Mary had also lived at Balloch Castle, presumably as a servant there. Apparently Mary spent considerable amounts of time residing elsewhere than the Linlithgow Bridge inn.The death record of Mary, in 1863, aged 73, describes her as widow, but not of whom. Her parents are William McCulloch and Ann Simpson. William is described here as Mason, not Innkeeper. His memorial inscription indicates he was both. The birthplace of Mary McCulloch, not given in the 1851 transcript above, is given in the 1861 census: it is hard to read, but most certainly not 'Muiravonside'. The scan is patchy, but the writing appears to read 'Rossshire - Urray'. There is a recorded marriage of a William McCulloch and Anne Simpson in Golspie, Sutherland, in 1789: and records of four McCulloch children born to these parents in Muiravonside, Robert in 1797, Margaret in 1802 and Euphemia in 1806. It may indeed be that William McCulloch had kin in the north, or that Ann Simpson was from the north.
In all the available census material, we have Mary McCulloch - not Mary Fisher. While her legal name remained, of course, McCulloch, it seems more usual to have the husband's last name given in census material and at least noted on the death record. This does not happen for Mary. While Ann Fisher is given her birth name in the 1851 census, in subsequent censuses (1861 and 1881) she is Ann Stewart.
A remaining puzzle relates to the names of Ann's children. Their baptisms are recorded as:
|Mary Ann Stewart||1 APR 1839|
|Alexander Stewart McCulloch||28 MAR 1841|
|Janet Stewart McCulloch||17 MAR 1844|
|William Stewart McCulloch||24 JAN 1847|
|Margaret Stewart McCulloch||30 OCT 1849|
|Robert Stewart McCulloch||16 APR 1854|
Mary Ann Stewart married a local tenant farmer, Andrew Bowie who farmed Gilmeadowland (in 1880 valued at 150 pounds and part of the Callendar Estate owned by William Forbes, Esq.) , and it was this Andrew who registered the death of Mary McCulloch, according to her death certificate. By the 1881 census, Mary Ann was widowed, and registered as 'Farmer of 200 acres, 150 arable), employing three men and three women'. One servant lived in the house. There were at least five children, Robert (18), Andrew (17), Ann Jane (15), Agnes (13) and James (11), and a visiting cousin from Lanarkshire, Ellen Forgie aged 50.
If there are any Stewarts or Bowies still in Muiravonside/Avonbridge or Linlithgow, it would be interesting to meet them. I have briefly visited the Bridge Inn but alas the current owner was away: I would like to find out how much further is known about its history. The Register of Sasines in Edinburgh is likely to help with this.
In the meantime we have various puzzles regarding this family: Whatever happened to William Fisher? Did he simply die young - but where and when was he 'huntsman'? Why did Mary McCulloch revert to using her birth name for apparently all purposes? Why did the Stewart McCullochs take their last name for their grandmother? As William McCulloch and Ann Simpson came to be, at the end of the 18th century, in Linlithgow Bridge, running an Inn, how did this connect with the northern birth of their first child? How did Mary McCulloch acquire property which she passed to her daughter? There is much to learn here about property and inheritance in the Linlithgow area during the 18th and 19th centuries.
 A servant such as William would also have his keep - he would be living in the household. As a personal servant or valet, William would have quite high ranking among the servants of the household, especially if he were the personal servant of the Admiral.
 see Electric Scotland pages on History of Stirlingshire [Nimmo 1777, rev. Stirling 1817 and rev. Gillespie for final version 1880] at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/stirlingshire/chap37.htm.
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