Archive for the ‘George’ Category

Problem No. 93

While searching through the online newspapers in FindMyPast  recently I stumbled across this article printed in 1913. The article mentioned Mr George Watson, Kelty – I wondered if it was the George Watson who was my great grandfather William Watson’s brother? WATSON George draughts champs 1913A bit more searching revealed this article – Problem No 93 by George Watson, Kelty. Presumably the same George as in the article above, but was he ‘our’ George? Never having heard of any draught-playing Watsons in all our ‘family legends’ and knowing how common a name George Watson was I had my doubts.

WATSON George draughts problem 93After some more searching all my doubts had gone. The following article proved that he was, indeed, ‘our’ George, the last paragraph confirming it with the mention of his three sons, John, George and William, who ‘are resident at the other end of the world’.WATSON George obituary 1934Here’s a transcription of George’s death that I purchased way back in 1999 when I was just a couple of years into researching the Watson family.

WATSON George death 1934George’s first wife, Ann, died in 1897 while the family was living in Cowdenbeath.  This post mentions her death  and his second, Elizabeth, died in 1924.

WATSON Ann nee HODGE Death 1897WATSON Elizabeth nee ROBERTSON death 1924And finally, because I’m sure you are desperate to know, the solution to Problem No. 93!

WATSON George draughts solution





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Lance-Sergeant G Watson

As promised, here’s the complete article about George.

Dunfermline Heroes completeHere’s the link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – you can see which cemetery George is buried in. http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/724534/WATSON,%20GEORGE

This link gives some information about the British Expeditionary Force at the Battle of the Marne in the days leading up to George’s death. http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/79100/LA%20FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE%20MEMORIAL

This photo of George was printed in The Dunfermline Journal on Saturday October 31, 1914. Unfortunately the quality of the photo is not great.

george photo date

The following article was printed on page 5 of The Dunfermline Journal on the same day.

north parish roll of honour

The first article about George says he was “a faithful and efficient servant in the laphouse of Messrs Andrew Reid and Co, Pilmuir Works”. I’m not exactly sure what a laphouse is but my dictionary describes a ‘lap’ as a long rolled sheet of raw cotton cleaned and ready for carding. Here’s an advertisement showing the Pilmuir Works.

canmore_image_dp_14_DP146477This link takes you to photos of the Pilmuir Works in Dunfermline. http://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/details/907720

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Here’s a portion of an article that was published in page 5 of The Dunfermline Journal on 24 October 1914.

george letter

So, just who is GEORGE? (click on the image to enlarge)

george birth

Born on June 1st 1891, George Bisset WATSON was the son of John and Ann (nee BISSET) WATSON. John was my great grandfather William WATSON’s younger brother. Therefore, George was my grandfather David George WATSON’s first cousin.

The H.L.I. at the top of the letter stands for Highland Light Infantry. The First World War began on 28 July 1914.  The date at the top of the letter is 20 August 1914. How did George get to be in France so soon after the outbreak of war?

Check back next week to read the rest of the article and find out a bit more about George.

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This photo probably came to New Zealand with members of the WATSON family in 1906. The photographer was Roxburgh, New Station, Cowdenbeath. The only information on the back of the photo is April 1906.

I wonder if the man is William WATSON’s brother George? George was married to Elizabeth ROBERTSON in 1906 and they were living in Kelty (very close to Cowdenbeath). His first wife Ann HODGE had died in 1897.

It can’t be William’s other brother, John, as in April 1906 John’s second wife Joan BECK was eight months pregnant with their child (William Beck WATSON), who died just one day after he was born on 8 May 1906. John’s first wife was Ann BISSET, she died in April 1904 and John married Joan in July1905.

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William WATSON loved fishing. And by all accounts he was a great fisherman. While we do not know exactly when William began fishing, a reference to his prowess was reported on Saturday 12 August 1899 in The Dunfermline Journal. He won the Dunfermline Angling Club’s President’s prize for ‘greatest number of trout caught with fly at any competition (13)’. By 1901 he had purchased an Angling Register to record his catches.

Here’s an article from The Dunfermline Journal, Saturday August 12, 1905.

The Dunfermline Journal, Saturday 12 August 1905

And, yes, the Mr G. Watson from Kelty was William’s younger brother George.

This is the page from William’s Angling Register that records the results in the above newspaper article.

Page from William WATSON's Angling Register

The next article is from The Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 7 September 1905 – reporting on the championship competition referred to in the previous article. The loch the article refers to is Loch Leven in Kinross.

The Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 7 September 1905

And, again, William recorded the results in his Angling Register.

Page from William WATSON's Angling Register

I found a book called “A Lay of Loch Leven” by William O’ Ye West [published in 1887] in the Dunfermline Carnegie Library.  In it was this great poem about fishing on Loch Leven. I can just picture William as one of those anglers with ‘hopes swelled high, Bright gleaming in each eager eye;’

In jocund mood the Club drew near;

The boatmen busied on the pier;

The glistening rods in morning sun,

The glee, the banter, and the fun;

Kind greetings thrown from boat to boat,

Ere yet they from the pier had shot;

Sights such as these, too seldom seen,

So bright, so brief; too rare, I ween –

Fain would I linger o’er this scene.


The air was warm, and hopes swelled high,

Bright gleaming in each eager eye;

The gilding sun ‘mong clouds arrayed,

Lent to the Loch a softened shade;

Mild eastern breezes gently blew,

Slight ripples o’er the waters threw;


Light fleecy clouds of sober grey –

Auspicious promise for the day –

Hung high o’erhead, o’erspread the lift,

Lent to each bay, each bank and drift,

That sheen so dear to angler’s eyes –

A sheen which only anglers prize.

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Brass plaque from Mayfield House, Cowdenbeath

In 2000 I was fortunate to be able to spend seven weeks in Scotland.  I stayed with my Aunty Kirsteen and Uncle Gil in the centre of Dunfermline in a flat belonging to Uncle Gil’s brother David Gray.  I spent many hours researching our family at the Dunfermline Carnegie Library (which is  less than 100 paces from the flat I stayed in), Register House in Edinburgh and The National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.  One of the gems of information I found at The National Archives is partly transcribed below:

Disposition by Alexander Henderson with consent to
William Watson and George Watson.

At Edinburgh the sixth day of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety seven between the hours of eleven and twelve forenoon the Disposition underwritten with Warrant of Registration thereon was presented by Robt S Young Solicitor Kinross and is with said Warrant of Registration recorded as follows: I Alexander Henderson supervisor of Inland Revenue Kirkliston heritable proprietor of the subjects after disponed in implement of  a minute of sale dated the eighth day of January Eighteen hundred and ninety seven entered into between Messieurs Wilkie Youden and Bruce Solicitors Leven my Law Agents on my behalf of the first part and William Watson Coal Merchant Kinross of the second part and in consideration of the sum of Four hundred and eighty five pounds Sterling instantly paid to me by the said William Watson and by George Watson Aerated water manufacturer presently residing at Number eight Alexander Street Dysart being the price thereby agreed on of which I hereby acknowledge the receipt and discharge the said William Watson and George Watson Do hereby at the request of the said William Watson as testified by his subscription hereto Sell and Dispone to the said William Watson and George Watson conjunctly and their heirs and assignees whomsoever heritably and irredeemably all and whole that area or piece of ground forming part of the lands and estate of Foulford extending to one acre thirty seven poles and five yards imperial measure or thereby and which piece of ground is bounded as follows videlicet on the east by the North British Railway on the south by the lands of Stevensonbeath and on the north and west by lands belonging to the Cowdenbeath Coal Co all lying within the parish of Beath and County of Fife …

The Disposition continues on for another eight foolscap pages of handwriting which I am not about to transcribe here!  From what I can gather William  agreed to purchase the land described above on the 8th of January 1897.  He paid 485 pounds sterling.

Mayfield House is shown on the map below.  This is a copy of an 1895 map of Cowdenbeath. [Courtesy of Dunfermline Library – Local History Department, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland]

Partial map of Cowdenbeath showing Mayfield House

So it would appear that William and George had purchased Mayfield together. Interesting to see that George’s occupation was already noted as aerated water manufacturer and William was a coal merchant.

Further searching at The National Archives produced another Disposition, part of which is transcribed below:

Disposition by William Watson and George Watson to said William Watson

At Edinburgh the second day of July in the year One thousand eight hundred and ninety seven between the hours of ten and eleven forenoon the Disposition underwritten with Warrant of Registration thereon was presented by Jas A Masterton Register of Sasines and is with said Warrant of Registration recorded as follows: We William Watson sometime Coal Merchant Kinross now Aerated Water Manufacturer Cowdenbeath and George Watson Aerated Water Manufacturer sometime residing at Number eight Alexander Street Dysart now in Cowdenbeath joint heritable proprietors of the subjects and others after mentioned considering that it has been arranged between us that the conveyance after written should be granted for the purpose of vesting the said William Watson solely in the said subjects therefore we the said William Watson and George Watson do hereby for certain good and onerous causes and considerations but without any price being paid give grand and dispone to the said William Watson and his heirs and assignees whomsoever heritably and irredeemably all and whole that area or piece of ground …

There follows another four pages of legal land descriptions/history of the property and then the following:

…before these witnesses John Watson Vanman and Nellie Watson Bottlewasher both residing at Mayfield Cowdenbeath…

So, having purchased Mayfield House and surrounding land together in January 1897 by July 1897 William had become the sole owner. Witnesses were William’s son and daughter John and Helen (aka Nellie).

Mayfield House

Rear view of Mayfield House

The photos of Mayfield House were taken in 2000. The external stairs and single storey addition to the left were added after the Watson family emigrated to New Zealand.  While Mayfield House is now showing her age and has been converted into two dwellings it is still obvious to see she was once quite a grand house.  And the brass plaque at the top of the page? Well, that was given to me in 2000 by the then owner of Mayfield House, Mrs Davina Jeffrey. She was a lovely lady in her eighties who welcomed me into her home on a couple of occasions. Aunty Kirsteen and I went to see her shortly before I returned home to New Zealand and she gave me the plaque. She thought I might like it because my great granny would have spent hours polishing it.  Apparently there used to be a brass bell at the front door but it was stolen many years ago. After the bell was stolen, Mrs Jeffrey removed the plaque and stored it inside in case it too was stolen.

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