Generation: C

George Buchanan, I

Ann Mackay

Born: 1853 Died: 1936
Father: William Mackay
Mother: Janet Murray


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RLM 25/3/71:

Ann Mackay. 1853-1936. Married George Buchanan of Kilberry, Argyll.

Ann, the third child in the family of ten born at Easdale, was not known to me although we both lived in Glasgow. I was once in her house as a very small boy but remember only that the house was a very busy one in a very wide street, Pollock Street, on the south side of the River.

She had left Bonar Bridge by the age of 18, for her name was missing from the 1871 census there. In the 1880s she married Mr. George Buchanan, for whom she produced seven children. Her daughter, Helen, wrote about her thus: "My mother was head and shoulders above all her sisters and some at least of her brothers. She was a Free Church communicant but very sane about religion, and I think her parents (William and Janet) were also. 'Do unto others is the best guide for life' she'd say to me.

[Margin note: Dr. John Buchanan said his mother Ann came to Glasgow at age 11. She had been sent to a minister's house before then, where she was fed on porridge without milk, so she ran off home.]

She was a chronic Jam and Jelly maker (and Johnnie her instigator and assistant). We never let pass a summer - July was the best time - without indulging in that juicy pastime. Hence I had frequent opportunities of 'keeking' through Malcolm Campbell's fruit shop window while awaiting my parent.

Did I say that my mother once waited all day with her father (William Mackay) - daft couple - to see Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) who hated Scotland and especially the Highlands, cross to Bonar Bridge with Danish Alexandra en route to Dunrobin Castle. They could have been better employed. This was my mother's first and last fall from her innate radical outlook. Even old Gladstone's lithograph she removed before my time, because she thought he was an old humbug. I don't suppose any of her sisters knew whether he was a Whig or a Tory.

[Margin note: Ann was well up in the Scottish poets - e.g. Burns, Ferguson, the Ettick Shepherd. Liked biography, e.g. Lady Hester Stanhope, Sir John Moore.]

She was an ardent Suffragist and knew quite a lot about Charles Darwin. She read the Glasgow Herald whenever she could get it, tho' our evening paper was the Glasgow Citizen."

RLM asked Helen about children's prayers. She replied: "We said almost the same as your one. We sang, although not musically talented (a Buchanan inheritance) right through Moody and Sankey every Sunday night. My father preferred the New Testament, and he disliked the Tory Anti-Trade Union movement.

Dr. John Buchanan wrote to me, 4/10/1967: "I really don't know anything about my relatives. I know that my mother, Ann, had eight children. Jessie who died when she was 22 years of age, and William who died when he was probably less than a year. We had two Williams. I rather fancy that the one who lived was brought in to replace the one who died. The death of Jessie was the greatest blow that any family could have. Even after 60 years I can hear the ambulance on the cobbles, and walking through the night to Ruchill Hospital. I had a very brave mother. Somehow or other I have grown more attached to the memory of my father - as an individual - not as a member of the family, but as a man. Of course, he should never have married - he was too proud - more than Heiland pride in his work. He was entirely without ambition. Born at Kilberry Castle, he had a most extravagant upbringing - no money but a good house and a full larder. His father was grieve and companion to old Neil Campbell of Kilberry - the roof was festooned with sides of pork - after a year in arrears of salary they lived like lords."

Mary Black wrote: "I remember Aunt Ann Buchanan as a very active and ambitious person. She seemed active in the Co-operative Movement, and at one time tried to get me employment of some kind in that line."

Frank Macdonald told me that his parents used to have visits in turn from three of Ann's children. This also applied to my parents. Ann appears to have been on good terms with most if not all her sisters and brothers, except Ben Reay. She was helpful to the sad Andrew.

Her children were:

Kathleen (Kate). Born 1895. Mrs. Grant, whom we have met at Reading.

William. A Sewage Engineer. A bright bachelor, who died at age 61.

Helen. M.A. of Glasgow. A writer, who has been a very fine source of information about the family.

George. A pattern maker. He met us at Wolverhampton, a most pleasant meeting.

Jessie. Died at age 22 of Fever.

John. A doctor in Gorbals for many years. He may write to us soon, and he may not!

Neil. A postman. I remember him well, pleasurably.

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