MURDER AT HAMILTON 1914.

ACCIDENTAL MURDER AT HAMILTON 1914.

Like most big towns and cities in Scotland, Hamilton has had its fair share of murders, and accidental deaths. As a result of a brawl, which occurred in Almada Street, in Hamilton, on the evening of 25th of September 1914, a charge of murder has been preferred against Robert Tait, a miner, living in George Street, Burnbank, Hamilton.

It appears that Robert Tait and another man named Francis Graham, who stayed in a lodging-house in Limetree, Burnbank, met in Almada Street, and an altercation followed. Both men, were somewhat under the influence of alcohol, and they started to quarrel, which led to increasing in intensity and developed from words into blows. They came to grips with one another, and it is alleged that they fell, Graham, who was beneath Tait, striking his head on the ground with some violence.

There were a number of people in the vicinity at the time, and as Francis Graham was apparently stunned, he was carried into the County Police Office, where he was examined by Dr Hugh Miller, who then ordered his removal to the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow. Francis was taken to the institution in the ambulance waggon, and, without recovering consciousness, died about one o’clock, Sunday morning.

After the man’s death was reported back to the town, Robert Tait was apprehended by a Constable Goldie, of the Burgh Police, and at the Burgh Court on Saturday he was, the motion of Chief Constable Millar, who remitted him to the Sheriff Bailie Slorach.

On the Tuesday, Robert Tait, was detained and remanded in custody and appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court, he was brought before sheriff Shennan at the County Buildings, and was charged on indictment with having, on 25th September, in Almada Street, assaulted Francis Graham, striking him with his fists, knocking and pushing him down and fracturing his skull, in consequence of which he died on 26th September, and did thus murder him.

Francis Graham was a miner who at the time lived in Burnbank, and it seemed that in recent times before he died, luck wasn’t going his way. Before he was killed, he was living at Birdsfield Lodging House, or better known as the Model Lodging House in Birdsfield Street, in Limetree, Burnbank.

Trades Hotel WM.

Francis had been in trouble with the law before as in the 31st of March 1902, he had appeared at Hamilton JP court, on a charge of Breach of the Peace, however, the charges were dropped against him and on the 1st of December 1905, he was again brought before the courts on another Breach of the peace when he was loitering on a Hamilton footpath, this time he was charged and fined 7s 6d.

 

Francis was the son of an Irish Family who were called Francis Graham Sr, and Ann Jane Lang. His father had died in 1876, and his mother had remarried to a man called Robert Beggs.

Francis Grahm Death 1914.

He was from Dalry in Ayrshire and had probably moved to Hamilton to gain employment in one of the many coal mines. His brother, William Graham, had moved to Hamilton, so he may have come with him, however his brother had a tied house to Earnock Colliery and he was living at 13 Argyle Buildings at Burnbank.  It is unclear as to why Francis would not have a tied house himself.

I did find that Francis had a wife, who was called Mary Thompson, and a son, who was also named Francis. The son was born in Hamilton, on the 13th of January 1899. I then found that his wife and son had left Hamilton, and were living back in Dalry without Francis, as they appeared on the 1901 Census without him.

It appears that Francis may not have been a law-abiding citizen and going by what I have found out, it does paint a picture of a man who may not have been a nice person, so I must ask myself, did this man Francis Graham bring this upon himself?

His wife and son were no longer living with him and he was in trouble with the police on at least two occasions, and could he have possibly been the person who was the agitator on the night of the 25th of September 1914, and also the one who started to exchange words with Robert Tait?

 

 

It is likely, that these two men would have already known each other or possibly worked together. They were both from Burnbank, so there may have been some bad blood between them.

After researching Francis Graham, I tried to find what became of Robert Tait. I could not track down any information on his whereabouts. I also couldn’t find any information on the trial, so I have to leave this open for further investigation and possibly another story for another day.

What I did find, was in 1915, I found a Robert Tait living at the Workmen Burgh Dwellings at Low Waters, However I can’t confirm if this is the same Robert.

In my opinion, this was just a tragic accident and one we still hear of in modern times. What started as an argument left one-person dead. When I am researching the history of Hamilton I find lots of nice stories, but sadly, for every nice story that I uncover, there is always a sad one that is waiting to be found.

Researched and written by

Garry McCallum – Historic Hamilton.

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Doon the Burn.

Doon the Burn.

Doon the burn mam that’s
where we are gaun, an a
canny take the wee yin a’ll
be gaun too long.

There’s just me Wullie an
Jim mam, naw we’ll noa git
in tae bother, naw a canny
mam don’t make me tak
ma brother.

Daunner doon Hillhouse
Road an then ower the fence,
watch an noa snag yir breeks
it widna mak much sense.

Nae thochs o’ any polluted
streams entered oor wee
heeds, we wir fu o’ pirate
ships an fighting dastardly
deeds.

Building up a dam tae mak a
swimming pool, but it only
rose another foot I felt like
such a fool.

Wullie an I were chucking
stanes across the dammed
up pond, wan hit a wee wasps
bike then wan stung ma haun.

Then Wullie filled a pocket
wi mare o’ they wee stanes,
shinned up the tree, a said
It’s aw yir ain the blame.

The rest is confined tae
history aye Wullie he fell
doon, covered he wis in
stings frae his erse tae
his croon.

Wi tried our best tae suck
thim oot o’ his airms and his
legs, a wisnae fur daen the
middle bit he kin dae his
ain wee peg.

Wullie wis wupped aff tae
hospital tae get him some
Jabs, just because we hud
saved him we goat
Sherbet Dabs.

Written for Historic  Hamilton by

Kit Duddy

Chatelherault Country Park From Above.

The following video was sent to us by the Clyde & Avon Valley Landscape Partnership and was filmed by Drone Scotland.

Have a look at the stunning view and hidden panoramas revealed at our very own Chatelherault Country Park.

THE PATON FAMILY OF HAMILTON.

John Paton & Elizabeth Cunningham Kerr.

THE PATON FAMILY OF HAMILTON.
Harry Paton Evans sent us a picture of his Grandparents who were called John Paton & Elizabeth Cunningham Kerr. Harry told us a little bit about the picture where he said it was taken round the back of 79 Cameron Crescent and he pointed out that you could see the Bing just to the left of the picture. Harry told us that this picture was took roughly around the late 1930s or early 1940s.
 
As Harry was kind enough to share his family photo, I thought that I would look in to his family history to see what I could find.
Harry, your grandfather John Paton was born on the 30th of June 1893 to parents George Paton & Mary Ann Simpson, who were married at Rutherglen on the 30th of August 1891. Your grandfather was born at 11 Bertram Street, Greenfield, Burnbank and he was born at 4:30 am. Now your Great Grandfather George was an educated man as he signed his name on your Grandfathers Birth certificate, rather than mark it with a X. Back in 1893 there were a lot of illiterate people, who could not read or write.
 
In 1901, I found your grandfather living with his mum and dad at 32 George Street in Burnbank and it appears that this is where the family settled down, probably because your great grandfather worked at the Bent Colliery. When I was looking at Census returns for your great grandfather George Paton, it seems that he was a man who was really trusted and would have been respected by people in his trade. Your Great Grandfather George Paton was born in the year 1864 at Rutherglen and he was the son of an Irishman called John Paton & your Great Grandmother was called Bridget McCabe.
 
George Paton worked in the coalmines and he was appointed the trusted job of checkweighman, this was documented in the 1901 Census and back then, coal miners were paid by the amount of coal that they had dug each day and in the old days of coalmining, the coal masters were frequently known to underpay the miners, so to prevent this from happening, the miners elected a trusted man of their own to weigh the coal and around 1901 your great grandfather was this man.
 
Your Great Grandfather George was also possibly involved in a minority Trade Union as on the 1901 Census which was taken on the night of 31st of March 1901 he had a Visitor living here with him. This visitor was a man from England who was called William Gee and he stated his occupation as an Agitator for the Social democrat federation. This statement of occupation really tells a story in itself. I can’t find any other record of why the said William Gee was visiting your Great Grandfather.
 
The family are still living at 32 George Street in 1911 and your Great Grandfather has a new job! He is working as an Electrical coal cutting machine man. Electric coal cutters did the job a lot faster but none the less, it was still a very dangerous job. On the 27th of December 1912, a tragic accident happened
Capture
 
in the No1 Shaft of the Bent Colliery. George was at work when he stopped his machine to clear away some dirt when there was a roof collapse and a large section of rock fell and entombed George. It took 4 hours for his fellow miners to get to him and when they found him he was dead. The cause of his death was recorded as asphyxia, he was only 49 years old.
Capture.JPG1
Staying with your Great Grandmother on this side of the Family, Mary Ann Simpson was the daughter of an Irish man called Robert Simpson & Margaret Baird, who was from the Paisley area. Mary Ann was born at Rutherglen 4th of December 1868 at 35 New Street.
 
Robert who was your 2 X great grandfather was born in Ireland c 1848 and worked as a coal Miner. He married Margaret Baird in Ireland on the 20th of April 1867.
 
Robert worked as a Chemical work labourer in Rutherglen from 1870 until at least 1884 when he then moved to Hamilton to work as a coal Miner. When he moved to Hamilton he worked at Earnock Colliery and he and the family moved to 37 Argyle Buildings. Your 2 x Great Grandmother Margaret Baird died on the 7th of June 1914 at Bothwell and your 2 x Great Grandfather died at Shotts on the 5th of May 1920.
Capture.JPG2
Harry, I went back to have a look at your Grandmothers side of the family, Your Grandmother as you told me was called Elizabeth Cunningham Kerr. Now she was born on the 5th of August 1894 at Motherwell. The address that was registered at the time was 25 New Camp? I am unable to find anything on this address, so maybe you could fill me in on this?
 
Elizabeth’s parents and your Great Grandparents were called John Kerr & Agnes Cunningham and when your grandmother was born, her mum was the person who registered the birth, perhaps your great Grandfather was still down at the pub celebrating the birth.
 
Your 2 x great grandparents were married at Bellshill on the 31st of December 1883 and like your other great Grandparents, they were a coal mining family.
 
Your Great, Great grandmother Agnes Cunning died at the family home of 32 George Street in Burnbank on the 29th of February 1920. The cause of her death was Influenza & Bronchitis.
Paton FTWM
Once again Harry, thank you for sharing your picture of your grandparents and if you do not already know about your family history, then I hope that you find this interesting.
George and Harry paton, father and son 1940s
 
Researched by Garry McCallum
Historic Hamilton.

Townhead Street 1997.

Odeon WM1

In this picture, we have Townhead Street and the old Oden cinema and former Park Lane night club. The picture was taken in 1997 and was sent to us by Lucy Mackinnon. If you have an old picture that you would like to share with us, then please send it straight to the page or by Private Message.

Guess the Location?

HA2

Now and then we like to publish pictures of various places and landmarks around Hamilton to test your knowledge of the town.
 
Janette McCallum from Burnbank thought that she could have us guessing when she sent us this picture of somewhere in Hamilton.
 
We thought it was quite easy and guessed the location straight away, but do you know where you can see this landmark?
 
10 Historic Hamilton points to the first person who can tell us in what street including the name of this historic building you would see this fancy chimney stack?

Lightbody’s 1997

Image may contain: outdoor

On Tuesday the 5th of September we posted a 1997 picture of Lightbody’s the bakers which were situated on Quarry Street. This picture got you all talking and we had a great response with 17,265 views, 661 Facebook reactions and 94 comments.

What are your memories of Lightbody’s the Bakers?