David and Martha
(25 October 1800-21 November 1875) (ca1800-after 1875)
Maria James Martha Elizabeth William Louisa Ellen David Jessie John
Menzies Brown Brown Bain Martha Charles Bain
(1827-1907) (1828-1913) (1830) (1832-1882) (1834-1902) (1835-) (1838-1873) (1839-1890) (ca1842-1900) (ca1846-1914)
Little is known about David’s (CR) life between his birth in 1800 and his marriage to mason’s daughter, Martha Bain (CR), in 1826. It is interesting to speculate, in lieu of any other information, they may have met through their fathers’ Three Trades association: James the wright, John the mason. Frustratingly, I have found nothing about Martha, before or during her marriage or after David’s death. Nor, for that matter, have I found anything about her parents (John Bain (CR)/Martha Brown) other than the record of their 19 December 1795 marriage. She appears every ten years in census data but that gives no idea of her life other than it was filled with children.
David’s career took a different direction from that of his wright father and shipmaster grandfather, into the world of banking. The same poor support register that listed his father’s contribution assessment first included David’s in 1827 (15/-) and gave his address as the Union Bank. The final entry in 1836-37 has him still at the Union Bank where he had advanced to be worth £2/10/- to the city’s indigent. By the time of the first census in 1841, he was “banker”, implying a senior role in the profession. According to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) records, he was THE cashier for the 105 Murraygate branch of the Western Bank of Scotland from at least 1850 until being appointed its agent (manager) by the mid-1850s.
The Western Bank was a Glaswegian initiative at a time when small, independent banks were being set up to provide services unavailable from their older established competitors. RBS online archives say that, from the off, the Western Bank had a “vigorous lending policy with minimal liquid reserves” that quickly brought predictable consequences. Pulling itself together, it expanded until it became the second biggest bank in Scotland. Unhappily, it collapsed in 1857, in the midst of a banking crisis, and was taken over by the RBS. David was retained as manager by the bank’s new owners and continued in that position until his death from dysentery in 1875. Wealth provided no immunity to C19th diseases for David or his father, James.
Up to the 1851 census, David and Martha's address was 105 Murraygate, David’s business address. I don’t know whether that meant the family lived on the premises or whether it was the head of the household’s business address that was recorded for census purposes. We do know from his will that father James owned property in Murraygate. Thereafter, David's address was Mount Rosa, Broughty Ferry.
David’s obituary says that, when he was a young man, he was very interested in science and literature and that, when he died, he was “thoroughly posted up” in
Dundee’s old family histories, not to mention very familiar with the town’s business world. Today’s Urban Dictionary defines “posted up” as “chillin, hangin out”. I’m sure David, and his parents before him did, indeed, chill out with Dundee’s establishment. I am equally sure that his role as banker meant he knew a great deal about Dundee’s social structure, and where the bodies, so to speak, were buried.
David took a keen interest in gardening, particularly in the cultivation of exotic plants. Auctioned six months after his death were “150 varieties of British and Tropical Ferns” as well as garden implements such as a “Grass Cutting Machine and Roller, Joiners’ Bench and Tools”. It is tempting (or sentimental?) to think the latter may originally have belonged to his father. Why else would a banker have a wright’s tools of trade?
David's will is a lot easier to read (not to mention a lot shorter) than his father's. In essence, all moveable property went to whichever spouse remained "for the love and favour we have for one another" then to their children, with specific instructions that none of their daughters' husbands could go anywhere near their wife's inheritance. I don't know how normal this was in Scottish wills but I was surprised because I expected to see male privilege in the disposition of patriarchal property. My great frustration with finding nothing about Martha extends to her life after David although it is lovely to see her signature at the bottom of the will's inventory at the time of his death. She may have died before the next (1881) census but Scotland's People can't find a death record. I think it unlikely that, aged 75, she remarried, moved to England or migrated further away, but I suppose it is possible.
Dundee City Archives
The Dundee Courier and Argus
Wednesday, 24 November 1875
British Newspaper Archives
Because much more is known about David and Martha's children, and their families, it seems best to allow them dedicated pages for ease of reading and finding specific identities. From here, the Next button will take us through the family in their birth order except for our direct ancestor, David Charles and his family - us - whom I'll put last.
Maria Menzies Anderson/Oldfield
Martha Brown Anderson
Elizabeth Brown Anderson/Edgar
William Bain Anderson
Ellen Martha Anderson/Edgar
David Charles Anderson
John Bain Anderson