On my bookshelf there is a small leather bound King James Bible with a side clasp. The licensing information on the inside page reads “Edinburgh, 14th May 1859” On the back of the front cover is a small family history written by my grandfather. “Jane Hamilton daughter of Adam married Tom Blair* and died at 21 on the birth of her son John who married Elizabeth Rankin of Ardrossan Scotland only issue Thos. H. B. who married Norah M. Campbell of Glasgow [he then lists his year of marriage, children’s names and year of birth] *Tom remarried – other Blair’s”. I was told by my grandfather that this Bible belonged to Jane Hamilton.
My grandfather was a great one for writing small notes of things he remembered about the history of the family. I have a small collection of sheets of paper and old envelopes with notes written on them.
Finding out more about Jane Hamilton was one of the first items on my list when I started researching the family. I was lucky my grandfather had listed her parent’s names as well as her age. As is usual with family stories there were a few mistakes in the details.
Jane Hamilton married Thomas Blair on 11 February 1868 at 36 St. James Street. The banns were read at the Free Church of Scotland in the Parish of Middle Church Paisley. Thomas was 23 years of age and a coach proprietor and Jane was also 23 years of age and a mill worker. Thomas’ parents were Thomas Blair and Helen Brown. Jane’s were Adam Hamilton and Jane Smith. If Jane was 23 at the time of her marriage then she was not 21 when she died.
Her son John was born 7 June 1868 also at 36 St. James Street. Jane died on 18 February 1869 at 36 St. James Street, Paisley Renfrew Scotland. She died of gastric fever. This was sometimes referred to as bilious fever or typhoid fever. So John was about eight months old when his mother passed away.
36 St. James Street was the home of Adam Hamilton and Jane Smith. Adam and Jane married on 19 May 1839 in the parish of Middle Paisley. They had three children Robert, Ann and Jane. There may be two more daughters named Margaret and Janet.
John, Adam’s grandson, is found with the family in the 1871 Scotland census and in 1881 he is with his father and his second family. John did not have much time for his father and was not with the family in the 1891 census.
So the note written in the Bible of Jane Hamilton by my grandfather had some truth to it. He probably heard the stories from his mother as his own father died when he was very young. John Blair may not have known the details of his mother’s death. John stayed close to the Hamilton family and my grandfather was the executor of Ann Hamilton’s estate when she died.
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