Maria and James' children
If my hunch is right, first born Jessie Elizabeth (20 January 1857-16 July 1905), was named after Maria’s grandmother Janet/Jessie. Four years after her father’s death, on 16 June 1875, 18 year old Jessie married lawyer’s son, Andrew Willison (1832-1907)(CR), aged 43, in Lightcliffe, York. Andrew was a Dundee oil merchant and commission agent from Broughty Ferry and this is where the couple made their home for most of their married life. Jessie died at home, The Laurels, East Newport (a Dundee Tayside suburb), of heart disease (nine months) and embolism (10 days). She was just 48 years old.
According to an obituary and various other newspaper items, Andrew had a “courteous and affable disposition” and had spent part of his younger life in an unspecified part of the Antipodes. He was a staunch Episcopalian and had sung in his church’s choir. He was a keen golfer and was a founding member of the Dalhousie Club. He died 19 months after Jessie. In his will is a donation to the Dundee Council of five paintings by his granduncle, George Willison, a renowned Scottish artist, to be known as the Willison Bequest.
Jessie and Andrew had seven children, most of whom emigrated to North America, leaving only eldest son, John, to carry on their Willison name in Dundee.
• Marion (1876-1952) was a nurse who had earned promotion to matron by the time she migrated in 1920, aged around 45. She arrived in Seattle in September, en route to Canada. She remained single all her life, dying in North Vancouver aged 76.
• John (1887-1952) was the only one of the Willison siblings to stay in Dundee where he was a jute and oil merchant and commission agent, as was his father before him. Given the Scottish tradition of transferring immovable property (e.g., real estate, business) to the eldest son, he may well have inherited the family business when his father died. Further, it may be he who was the John Willison, jute and oil merchant and insurance broker, who dissolved a partnership managing Willison Forbes & Co in 1921 to continue as just Willison & Co. What we do know is that he married Williamina Marshall Wallace and the couple had four children (John, Williamina, James and Cyril).
• Annie (1879-1932) may have been the girl of that name whose scholastic achievements were reported in the Dundee Courier in the early 1890s. Our Annie married William Stewart Sandeman (WWS), jute manufacturer and assistant manager (possibly in his father’s business), in November 1898. Two sons and a daughter were born in Scotland to the couple before the records show Annie arriving in Quebec in September 1907. A second daughter, Stella, may have been born there although the city directory lists Annie as the widow of WSS in 1908 (in fact he died in California in 1952: Stella may have been the daughter of WSS and another woman). The 1910 US census finds Annie the head of a household in Tacoma, a port city in Peirce County, Washington. As well as her children (notably, no Stella), included in her household were brothers James, George, Louis and Andrew. Annie remarried in 1916 to Robert Wingrove Lee who was born in British Columbia and that is where Annie died in 1939, in North Vancouver.
• James Carnegie (1880- 1937) arrived in Quebec in 1908, his nominated destination being Tacoma. His occupation was ‘clerk’. He became a naturalized citizen in 1916. In 1913, he married Nina Rosalie Ashmann and the 1915 City Directory has them in Seattle where James was clerking at shipping merchants Balfour, Guthrie & Co. By 1930, James was a self-employed insurance agent. He died seven years later, aged 56. I have found no record of children.
• George Murray (1882-1954) emigrated in 1902 and was a stenographer at Balfour, Guthrie & Co in 1903, making him possibly the Willison family advance guard to the United States. If they were all living together in 1910, by 1912 George had married Emily Durs Holz who already had a son. George and Emily became parents of a daughter in 1917. The Directories don’t give his occupation before retirement but a passport application in 1924 has him living in Vancouver, a US citizen whose occupation was Manager, American Trading Co. Emily died in 1940 and George was living alone when he died 14 years later, aged 72 in Pierce, Washington.
• Louis Bain (1884-1970) first crossed into the US from Canada, heading for Tacoma, in 1905. It looks as though he may have been a seaman prior to his marriage to Mabel Nolan sometime in the 1910s because there are several arrivals records and a Louis B Willison was 4th engineer on the Craighall that travelled to Sydney in 1908. In Tacoma, he was a machinist at Todd Drydock & Construction, a shipworker (1920) and later a watchman then an electrical engineer. In 1935, his occupation was chief engineer, Dpt Public Utilities. Louis and Mabel had a daughter (Virginia) and a son (Robert). He lived 86 years.
• Andrew (1888-1966) arrived in New York in 1907. He, too, was a clerk, and at the time of the 1910 census was a bookkeeper at the Tacoma branch of the Bank of California. Between publication of the 1914 and 1915 Directories, he married Olive Sargent Derrickson and, by the time of the 1930 census, they were parents of four daughters (Helen, Jessie, Betty and Louise). The couple also had a son, Andrew VI. The couple was living in Petaluma, California, by the 1950s and this was where Andrew died in May 1966.
Maria’s next daughter, Marion Vida (6 August 1858-8 November 1935), married (William Gregrach?) Loch/Lach Stone, an accountant (?, engineer on Marion’s death registration), in Leeds in April 1886. The family lived in Leeds but Marion was widowed in 1890. She and her two young daughters moved temporarily to her mother’s house in Broughty Ferry then into the house next door. She was still in Louisa Terrace in 1911 but at the time of her death was in Grove Road. She remained a widow and was a woman of independent means her whole life. The Dundee Courier reported her estate, at probate, to be £1,428/16/3. Marion and Lach/Loch had two daughters who may have been twins.
• Dorothy Marion and Elizabeth Lyon (Bessie)(1889-) also seemed to be financially self-sufficient as suggested in Dorothy’s witness statement (right) in a murder case where she is of “no occupation”.
I have found little about Bessie other than in several Dundee Courier public notices (1904-1907) about the success of Dundee High School pupils where she was listed for her achievements in writing, art, singing and gymnastics. She remained single and was with her mother when Marion died of a probable heart disease mid-morning on 8 November 1935.
Maria’s first son, Louis Anderson (10 January 1860-6 April 1897), was in Canada, with his younger brother (James) by 1891, returning to the UK in 1892 then heading to New York in 1893. The 1891 Canadian census records he was (i) a druggist, and (ii) a Methodist. According to his US entry papers in 1893, he was a chemist intending to live in Brooklyn. In 1896, he was a gardener in Bridgeport, Connecticut where he died prematurely in April 1897, aged 37, leaving his effects (£336/11/-) to his sister, Marion Stone.
Eveline (Evelyn)(June 1861-21 May 1930) married Piercy Griffith Bruce-Austin (1855-1919) in 1889, in Leeds. His occupation was “clergyman”, hers “lady”.
Piercy’s father, Preston, was also a clergyman and, going by
the announced conferral of a Bachelor of Laws degree in 13 February 1857’s London Evening Standard, a lawyer. The Bruce-Austins appear to be a prominent family, particularly in the church and in the affairs of the British colony of Barbados.
In 1889, Piercy was appointed one of Her Majesty’s chaplains in the Presidency of Bengal so presumably Evelyn accompanied him to India for the duration, which may have been upwards of 20 years. There is no record of them in the UK until 1910 when Evelyn is named as her brother’s (James) nearest relative on the New York passenger list. Her address was 42 Comeragh Road, Kensington, as it was at the 1911 census. (There were two nieces in the house for the 1911 census, Dorothy Stone and Norah Dixon.) There is a record of a Mr Evelyn Piercy Austin (the original “Mrs” had been scored through) arriving first class on the Burutu in Liverpool in 1909, which seems overly coincidental to not, somehow, be them.
Piercy, “retired chaplain”, died in 1919 leaving an estate of £1,630/2/11 to Evelyn who lived another 11 years until her death in May 1930. Probate of her estate of £965/7/5 was to her brother-in-law, Brigadier-General Elliott and to a sister-in-law, Vera. The couple does not seem to have had children.
Florence (Florry)(December 1862-19 October 1899) married Albert Edward Dixon, a maltster, in Leeds on 30 April 1887 (when their daughter, Nellie, married in 1915, his occupation was linen merchant). The 1891 census has the expanding family living with Florry’s father-in-law, William Dixon, a man of private means. Florry died in 1899, around the time her youngest child was born, so I’m assuming the two events were linked. The family was still living with William Dixon in 1911, Albert was now a commission agent. Unlike the Willison family, there are few records about the lives of Florry’s children.
• First-born Evelyn Mary (Eva)(1888-1951) married joiner Percy Arthur Stinchcombe in 1909. They may not have had children because probate of Percy’s estate (£11,986/15/-) in 1963 was to a bank and a collotype plate maker. When Eva died 12 years earlier, probate was to Percy, then a retired farmer. They were living in Charfield, Gloucestershire.
• Florence Norah Bruce (1892-) remains a mystery, my final sighting of her was when she was staying at her aunt’s (Evelyn) for the 1911 census.
• Irene Nellie (1894-1947) married grocer Alfred Woolrich in 1915. When Nellie died in Manchester, probate was to Alfred, of no occupation. Again, I can find no record of any children.
• I have found nothing for Bessie (1898-), other than she was alive for the 1901 and 1911 censuses.
• James Oldfield (1899-1976) has left a bit more of a paper trail. His WWI service records show that when he signed on at Seaforth, Lancashire, he was a farm labourer, aged 18, living with his sister Nellie. The next record is his migration to Western Australia in 1938. His occupation then was tractor driver but by 1943 he was a machinist living in Perth’s salubrious “western suburbs” (i.e., the prestigious suburbs on the coastal side of the Swan River that are the natural habitat of Perth’s rich and famous). With only a slight deviation to the bush (Canning) later that decade, James stayed in the same Perth area for the rest of his life, his occupation becoming moulder’s assistant. It doesn’t look as though he ever married or had children although his plaque reads "in loving memory" so there may have been intimate or social friends who mourned his death. He died in October 1976 – three months before we migrated to Perth - and is memorialized in Perth’s Karrakatta Cemetery.
Ellen Mary (1864-) married Gilbert Sutherland McDowell Elliott in 1893. GSMcDE was born in Poonah, India, but in 1881 was a gentleman cadet boarding at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. By 1901, Major GSMcDE (now of the Royal Engineers) and Ellen had two children: Mary (b.ca1994 on Mull) and John (b.ca1895 in Baden, Germany). In 1911, he had advanced to colonel and the family, expanded by Gilbert Oldfield (b.ca1899, Barnhill, Scotland), twins Florence Margaret and George Anderson McDowell (b.ca1900, Herne Bay, Kent) and Robert Menzies (b.1905, Dover, Kent), was in Bedfordshire. I have not found enough about these children to give much details of their lives.
GSMcDE travelled alone to Canada in 1921, courtesy of the British Overseas Settlement scheme that was established for WWI veterans. He apparently was intending to settle and farm in British Columbia. Ellen’s address was c/- 16 Charing Cross, London. A newspaper columnist, writing 'The Rendezvous' in the Hull Daily Mail, quipped “I believe it would be quite safe… to say that if one waited long enough at 16 Charing Cross (Messrs Cox and Co.), one would see the whole of the British Army - past and present” (14 March 1922). Cox & Co was a private bank and army agency that offered a range of financial and other administrative services to enlisted personnel. Robert Menzies also migrated, in 1922, to join his father. He gave an address in Bristol for his
mother and sister. In 1927, he was a cadet (left) in Canada’s Royal Military College.
The emigration endeavour was not permanent. GSMcDE died in Buckinghamshire, England,
in January 1937; Robert Menzies in Camberley, Surrey, in 1982.
I have found nothing more about Ellen, Mary, or Florence, which may indicate they
eventually moved to Canada. However, Gilbert Oldfield died in Farnborough, Kent in 1964
and I’ve found a record of George travelling to the US in 1938. His occupation was
'director' and it looks as though he was visiting rather than either migrating or living there.
This suggests the whole family remained in or returned to England.
Maria Menzies’ youngest son, James Robertson (1866-1942), may have been named after his father, James, or uncle, James Robertson, husband of Maria’s Aunt Janet. To say the young James was peripatetic is not quite an overstatement. He was born in Wales in 1866 and his wanderlust began early. Aged 20, he married Irish born Margaret Maxwell in Canada in 1886. Margaret died after their son’s only day on earth, in November 1887. From there, James touched down in the US, where, in 1898, there is a US Army enlistment record for him; his occupation looks like Painter/something. He landed in Glasgow in 1901 then, sometime in the next few years, headed off to South Africa where he married for the second time, to his cousin, Edith Edgar, in Butterworth, Eastern Cape. Interestingly, some NZ Andersons were also in South Africa at the time so there may have been quite a family enclave there. In 1910, he, Edith and their infant daughter departed Southampton, England, for New York. His occupation was now druggist. There is an entry for James R Oldfield on the WWI Victory and 15 Star medal rolls (I think ‘15’ means 1915). It looks as though he may have been a driver in France. He and Edith finally migrated to Australia where the family settled in Thangool, Capricornia. James’ occupation in Queensland was “selector”, somebody who bought land previously monopolised by squatters (Australia’s version of landed gentry) for small-scale farming. James died in April 1942, some years after Edith. Details of their two children are included in Edith’s section.