Cuthbert – Samuel (1855-1900)

Life Events :

  • Born : 1855 Paisley, Renfrew
  • Married : 28 December 1877, Gorbals, Glasgow
  • Died : 29 August 1900, Glasgow. Cause of death, gastritis, vomiting.

Parents : Samuel Culbert and Isabella Robertson

Children :
  • Mary – 1878
  • Samuel – 1879
  • James – 1881
  • William – 1884 -1886
  • George – 1885
  • Annie – 1887
  • Peter – 1889 (My Grandfather)
  • Janet – 1890
  • John – 1895

I know Samuel was born in Paisley around 1855 from various records but have been unable to find his birth or baptism. On the 1861 census he is 6 years old, a scholar living at 37 New Street, Paisley with his parents and elder brother George and younger sister Isabella. I must point out that scholar meant a child of school age, not necessarily a child at school! Although I do believe that these children were educated, as both Samuel and George in later records are found to be literate and as their father worked as a letterpress printer, we must assume he also could read and write well. As we know from his father’s story, young Samuel was orphaned at age 10. I have been unable to find out what happened to the siblings in the years following their parents’ deaths up until they become adults. It has been very frustrating not to be able to fill this gap in the story and I will continue to try.

My next ‘sighting’ of Samuel is twelve years later in Glasgow in 1877, when he married Janet Bunten in Gorbals Parish Church, his name on the marriage certificate is Samuel Cuthbert, I don’t know when or why it changed from Culbert to Cuthbert. One of the witnesses at the marriage was George Cuthbert, it seems likely that this is Samuel’s elder brother, also now in Glasgow.

The Gorbals neighbourhood on the south bank of the river Clyde that Samuel and Janet lived in had developed from the village of Gorbals, which had become swallowed up by Glasgow in 1846. In the 1870s, most of the original village was cleared in an improvement scheme and the warren of closes frequented by beggars and robbers was replaced with the Gorbals Cross and the grid system of tenement housing built for workers. The area being very industrial attracted many immigrants seeking work and cheap accommodation, the Irish and Italians as well as Russian Jews seeking refuge from persecution all flocked to this area. Living conditions were overcrowded and insanitary. Samuel and Janet would raise eight out of nine children born to them between the years 1878 and 1895 in these tenements. The map below shows marked in yellow some of the streets in which they lived. Florence Street, Mathieson Street, Naburn Street, Braehead Street, Wolseley Street and Hallside Street. The area to the south of these streets being the Southern Necroplis cemetery and the Govan Iron Works.

The Gorbals 1876

The pictures below appear all over the internet on various websites and blogs. I have no idea where they originate or who holds the copyright if any but if anyone raises an objection to my use of them here then I will remove them. The first one of Florence Street is the street name on Samuel and Janet’s marriage certificate, both lived here in 1877, possibly even this very building, who knows?

The Ironmoulders by Stephen Adam 1878. Image used with kind permission of Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust. Please visit their website to read about the rest of these beautiful stained glass panels honouring ordinary working people of Maryhill.

At the time of his marriage, Samuel was an Iron moulder’s apprentice a job he qualified in and worked as for the next 10 years.

Ironmoulders made cast iron objects by pouring the molten iron into a hollow mould made by a mould maker. It would have been hot and dangerous work as we can see in the image to the left, these guys are pouring molten metal into a mould with no regard to health and safety issues, no PPE in those days!

Glasgow became the centre for iron moulding or casting in the 19th century due to the invention and patenting of the Hot Blast system and the rise of the ship building industry. Glasgow foundries provided the engines, boilers, brass and other fixtures and fittings for the ships being built on the Clyde. There were many foundries in Glasgow and Samuel could have been apprenticed in any of them but it looks likely from the map above that he would have worked at the Govan Ironworks.

After 10 years in the iron foundry, Samuel became a fruit dealer as noted on the birth certificates of daughter Annie in 1887 and son Peter in 1889. I think it likely he just had a barrow rather than trading from premises as he isn’t listed in any of the trade directories that I have searched. However, this was to be his occupation until his early death at the age of 45 in 1900. He died of sudden gastritis causing vomiting.

Death registration of Samuel

Samuel’s death was investigated by the Procurator Fiscal and his findings are on the RCE document image on the right. All deaths must be reported within 8 days but if a death is sudden or unexpected the cause of death may not have been established by then. The death is therefore reported by the police to the Procurator Fiscal for investigation and his findings are recorded in the RCE or Register of Corrected Entries and cross referenced to the original death registration by a notation in the margin as seen on the image above. Samuel’s sudden death caused by vomiting would be cause for suspicion and the body was examined by the police surgeon. I assume this meant that a post mortem had been done but unfortunately the records are not kept permanently but just referred to in the Register of Corrected Entries so I am unable to find out anything further.

RCE entry of Samuel’s death

You can read about Samuel’s father HERE and the stories of his siblings George and Jessie HERE