Generation: D

William Archibald Black

Born: 1879 Died: 1959
Father: Archibald Black
Mother: Margaret Mackay

Mary Chapman


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Engineer, Glasgow (after USA). Good singer: a comic! Was in War I.

William's dates are 24/1/1879 - 6/2/1959.

RLM knew nothing of William, and the following is the sole description of him, and it comes from his daughter, Mary Black, in a letter to RLM of 5/3/1968.

"I too, very much regret you did not meet my father. Apart from anything else I am sure he would have contributed quite a lot to the Mackay Saga. He was about 5 feet 7 inches in height, and broadly built. Although he left school at a very early age, he was an avid reader, and consequently was very knowledgeable. He was an engineer and I believe a very good workman. In 1907 an uncle of my mother's persuaded him to try his luck in Canada, and I believe helped him to go there. (Who would that be?) He was out in Canada and The States for about 2 1/2 years. My mother was a bit timid about leaving her native land, but we were all prepared to go out and join my father when three of us went down with scarlet fever. That was bad enough, but my younger brother and sister contracted diphtheria while in hospital and mother had to tell my father about them. He did not wait for further news but got the first boat back to Scotland, and we did not know a thing about it until her arrived on the doorstep. Well, they had to start from scratch again and get a home together as we were by that time staying with my maternal grandmother preparatory to going to Canada. I know my father was in Newark, New Jersey, and I remember him talking about Aunt Sarah and Aunt Kate, but I do not know if he managed to contact them when over there.

He had a wonderful sense of humour, and although as a young family we had very little of this world's goods we had a lot of happiness in our parents. He was in the Royal Field Artillery for part of the time in the First World War, but was sent back at the request of his previous employers for war work.

In the years of depression it was very difficult to obtain work of any kind, and impossible in his own particular trade. He worked at anything he could possibly get, and some very hard manual work was done by him at that time. He was extremely independent, and I remember my mother telling me he had deliverately avoided speaking to George Buchanan (the M.P.) if he ran into him in case he was thinking he was wanting any favours. He was very active and walked miles on end. He retired when he was nearly seventy, but after three years got another job and worked until October 1958. He got on very well with the young lads at work, and he really did enjoy their company. Many a morning, even at that age, he would walk four miles to his place of employment.

It was most regretable that he did not live to enjoy his retirement. He really was a most likeable character, generous and ready to help anybody in whatever way he could. What always amazed our younger friends was how tolerant he was of new trends, although he teased them plenty about it all.

I remember we had a rocking horse which George Buchanan had made (he was a pattern maker before becoming an M.P.) George and my father took turn about in carrying it through the streets of Glasgow to our house. That was from the South side to St. George's Cross."

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