Generation: B

Robert Lindsay

Born: 1837 Died: 1922
Father: John Lindsay
Mother: Janet Scott

Mary Jack

Born: 1838 Died: 1897
Father: Jas. Jack
Mother: Isabella Coubrough


[Home] [Index] [Picture Index]

[Picture] Upholsterer-Journey man. [Picture] Mary was a Shopworker in muslin trade.


[Picture] Robert Lindsay. 19Feb1837 - 3Mar1922.

Robert Lindsay was born in Glasgow, address unknown, some 13 years after the marriage of his parents, John Lindsay and Janet Scott. This may account for the fact that he knew so little about his elder brothers and sister.

As a boy he delivered irregular instalments of a dictionary for John B Craig and Bell, printers to Anderson's College there. His job included collecting the money from the subscribers and handing it over to the compiler of the dictionary who was often under the influence of strong drink, and waiting eagerly for more money and more drink. At one time, Grandfather was engaged "in some scene-shifting in panorama", whatever that may have been.

During his youth he "used to go out by mail coach to where Crow Road, Anniesland now is, to visit an uncle who lived in the country". This was only four miles from the city centre. Then followed apprenticeship as a carpenter-upholsterer to the then leading firm of Nelson, Shaw and MacGregor in Buchanan Street, where in due course he became their leading and most trusted foreman. This gave him an entry and insight into the homes and lives of many of the gentry of the city and country around. With this firm he remained all his life until retiral around 1900, when he was not much over 60. I never heard of him receiving a pension from the firm, but it is possible he may have got one, perhaps ten shillings per week.

The Glasgow School of Art attracted him, for he was a regular student, and became an excellent drawer and designer, taking many prizes at the School. I have seen many specimens of his work. The subjects were usually drawings of classical figures or of flowers, the latter usually in sepia. All neat, clean-lined, attractive, with nothing slipshod about them. Robert was familiar with the work of the more famous artists of the School, and I have heard them mentioned by him from time to time, e.g. Sir D.Y.Cameron. As a young man he acquired a fine collection of books, often illustrated editions. These included Shakespeare, Dickens, Scott and the inevitable "Outline of World History", popular at that time. He had read Jane Austen and Thackeray, and was familiar with the songs and poems of Burns.

I remember quite well the neat little black bag of carpenter's tools in his house, a reminder of his working days. It gave me infinite pleasure to see lately some of these tools still in use in the hands of my cousin John Lindsay at Perth, where he is constructing violins, a more delicate and intricate task than the old chap ever attempted.

As a member of the Artillery Volunteers, and as a Serjeant, he was on parade at the Opening Ceremony of the New Buildings of Glasgow University, about 1868, by the Prince of Wales. He wore a busby, a huge fur hat with a short bag hanging down from the top on its right side, of the same colour as the facings of the Regiment. When he left the Regiment this became the property of his wife, who used it as a hand muff, very proudly. I presume that as a serjeant he rode a horse, but I never heard him speak of horses.

His marriage certificate ran thus: "On 15th February 1866, at 289 Parliamentary Road, Glasgow, after Proclamation of Banns, Robert Lindsay, Upholsterer (Journeyman), age 28, Bachelor, son of John Lindsay, Pattern Designer, decd. and Janet Lindsay (nee Scott) was married by the Rev. James Pullar, Presbyterian Minister, Glasgow, to Mary Jack, Shopwoman, Spinster, age 27 of 90 Great Hamilton Street, Glasgow, daughter of James Jack, tailor, decd. and Isabella Jack, (nee Coubrough) deceased." The witnesses who signed were William Lindsay and Mary Lindsay.

Great Hamilton Street was quite near the groom's home or lodgings. There is no name Coubrough in the London or Birmingham Telephone Directories, and the one person of that name in the Medical Directory is not related, but said the Coubroughs came from Stirlingshire!

I understand Mary Jack was in the muslin trade, with J.H. Young of Union Street, Glasgow. My only note about her, alas, is that she was a devout woman. I believe she had a happy life with my grandfather, for I often heard him sing his favourite song "Bonnie Mary of Argyll", while my mother was called after her. Mary Jack died when I was only a year old. Why no stories about her in the family? The Lindsays had no interest in genealogy or genetics then.

My earliest recollection of the Lindsays is of ascending a dark staircase to the top flat of a building in Dundas Street, Glasgow, and looking out of the kitchen window which faced straight down Buchanan Street towards Robert's place of employment, a very fine view.

In 1901 the Glasgow Exhibition was held in Kelvingrove Park, and for this, at age 5, I had a Season Ticket! Very frequently indeed I went there with Grandfather, and on each occasion collected samples of all kinds and had a drink of cocoa or lemonade. I would come home with pamphlets on all kinds of subjects. The old boy was very patient and let me roam widely. We paid great attention to the engineering side, to pictures and to the bands in the arenas set aside for them.

At this period Robert lived in a flat in Havelock Street, recently built and of red sandstone. With him were my Aunt Jessie and my Uncle John. I think my Uncle Robert would be about to go to South Africa then. There were evenings when all gathered round the piano and sang, especially the songs of Burns and of Harry Lauder, for Uncle John had bought a cylinder type gramophone so that we learnt the words and the tunes. Other songs were those Victorian sentimental ones, e.g. "Until", "Thora", "Silver Threads amongst the Gold", and of course, many hymns. Alexander Meiklejohn, Hon. Treasurer of the Oddfellows Benefit Society used to come more often than was strictly necessary with Grandfather's 1 per week Old Age Pension. He had his eye on my Aunt Jessie as a potential bride. Likewise Agnes Gemmell came to play the piano, for she was interested in Robert and followed him to South Africa where they married. I remember these evenings with pleasure.

All Robert's four children were baptised members of Adelaide Place Church, Glasgow. I think, but am not sure, that Robert also had been baptised, but I never heard him talk about religion, nor do I remember him going to church. He had a bible and sometimes read it. I don't remember him lecturing me but I was sometimes belted for misbehaviour. I never saw him take alcohol, but my Uncle John told me that in his young days he was sometimes sent out by Grandfather to bring in a pint or half of beer, and the old boy used to wonder why there was so much variation in the amount of beer brought home. The answer, of course, was that young John was taking the top off, whiles!

I think that from around the time he retired from work, about age 63 or soon after, the old chap had breakfast in bed each morning, served to him by his too-devoted daughter, Jessie, who brought him his wire-rimmed specs and the morning paper. This would be followed by a short "shut-eye", then the hot shaving water, soap and towel would follow, still in bed! Then he would rise, put on his linen collar of "dickie" (a collar with linen shirt front attached), a black bow tie, and a cut-away black coat ready to go out, but not for housework. I never saw him wear a suit with jacket.

He would go shopping, walking stick in hand. He enjoyed looking in shop windows. He had a fine erect walk, was of good height, clean shaven except for a white moustache, had red cheeks and always looked the picture of health. He did not smoke. Only once did I hear him use the word "damn", that was when I asked him why he always read the descriptions of boxing fights in the newspapers. He replied it was good to read about one damned rogue bashing another damned rogue.

Later, Robert moved to Minard Road, Perth, followed by another address there, Bonavista, Glasgow Road. I stayed at both houses as a boy, and greatly enjoyed the unusual freedom, but Robert's routine continued as before. Still later, he returned to Glasgow with his daughter Jessie, now married to Alexander Meiklejohn at Queensborough, Hyndland (No. 92) where he died peacefully at the age of 85.

He had no interest in religious speculation. His faith was simple and for him, adequate. He depended on God and on the devotion of a daughter. Neither let him down. Politically he was a liberal. He disliked argument and controversy. He had no great ambitions in any direction. An ex-serjeant of the Volunteer Artillery he sought the arts of Peace. But he could tell me all about the battles of the South African War, and the names of the generals on each side!

It will be apparent to you that I knew very little about the psyche of my maternal grandfather. His disappointments in life lay in that his wife, his elder daughter, his younger son and two grandchildren all died before him. He was buried alongside his wife in Cathcart Cemetery, Glasgow, and a good granite stone marks the grave.

My cousin, John Lindsay (D) of 7, Miller Avenue, Perth wrote about him as follows:

"While at Glasgow School of Art he obtained a first class diploma for drawing a self-composed floral array, consisting of flowers picked around Dunkeld by himself. He also obtained a bronze medal for a drawing of Hercules. Later, when retired, he gave me valuable hints on drawing. Robert's wallet was stuffed with drawings of ships and birds.

I remember him well, with his erect military bearing. He was well turned-out, and always courteous. He sometime expressed strong views about the Glasgow Irish, especially Roman Catholic ones."

My other Lindsay cousin, Agnes Lindsay (D) born 1919, was too young to remember anything about her grandfather Robert Lindsay.

Myrna Coubrough (mcobro@mail.cgo.wave.ca>) wrote:

Hello again, Bob,

Just to let you know, I have my web page online already. It is not as nice as yours, but I am working on it. You can find it HERE.

One of my "shirt-tail relations" (a 3rd cousin, once removed), John Coubrough of Colorado also has a page under the Family Tree Maker site at: John Coubrough.

My page has the Coubroughs we have (from an 1881 genealogy we call the Ellrig document after the first person on it) that go back to about 1650. John's page has his tree and mine combined, if you care to look. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer, and good hunting.


and later wrote:

Hello, Mr. Mackay,

Greetings and Happy New Year. I have done quite a bit of research on my family tree since last year when I first contacted you reference the subject Isabella. I have since come across her a couple of times, though I still haven't found her parents. I thought you might like to know that she and James Jack were married March 9, 1834 in Glasgow. There was also a Mary Coubrough who was married to a William Jack in 1824 at Renfrew (in Renfrewshire, SE of Glasgow). Mary and William had four children: Issabella, 1835; James, 1838; Marion, 1840; and Elizabeth, 1843. This Mary and William were possibly cousins or siblings of Isabella or James. I know that these folks don't really belong in your family tree. I just included them to show that Isabella was not really a space alien. (As some of my family seem to be: they just appear out of thin air, with no ancestors, no siblings and no record of birth.)

I recall reading on your web page that there were no Coubroughs listed in the London or Birmingham directories but that the one owner of the name had said that the family was from Stirlingshire. It would seem that the Coubroughs did come from Stirlingshire (where, indeed, many still live), but they moved south to the Glasgow area quite some time ago. I have found records of the family in or near Glasgow as early as 1700. My own branch is from Pollokshaws, a village close enough to Glasgow to now be a suburb of that city, so it is likely that "our Isabella" was a local girl, as was her daughter Mary Jack. There are a few Coubroughs in England but I am not sure of the cities. There are also a few variations in the spelling (I have encountered no fewer than 39 spellings so far!), the most common of which seem to be Cowbrough and Couburgh.

Anyway, I have likely bored you silly, so I will sign off. If I find out any more about Madame Isabella, I will let you know, if you are interested.

Myrna J. Coubrough MacKay

[Home] [Index] [Picture Index]