Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Deaths in the wild, 1840s

Many have perished in the seas around Islay, but the land has its own dangers, particularly in winter. These two tragedies both occurred in the 1840s:

'On Thursday, the 7th current, when Donald Mathieson, John M'Queen [modern spelling John McQueen], Alexander Currie and John Keith, were crossing the trackless waste which lies between Airdthallay and Kinagary, they lost their way and perished. Their friends and neighbours went out in search of them, but up to the 10th no tarce could be found. On Sabbath, the 10th, the Proaig shepherd discovered the horse, which they had along with them, buried below the snow in a wild and romantic valley called Gleann du'Phroaig, and the remains of the unfortunate men were found on the 12th in the same glen. Alexander Currie and John Keith were found together; but Donald Mathieson and John M'Queen were about a mile from each other. Currie. Keith and M'Queen were unmarried, but Donald Mathieson has left a widow and three young children, and also his aged parents, to lament his loss' (Times 21 January 1841)

[Airdthallay is presumably an alternate spelling of Ardtalla; likewise Kinagary=Kynagarry]

Towards Kynagarry in WInter- recent photo by Mary & Angus Hogg at Geograph
'On Thursday, the 24th [October 1844], being the "fast-day" in the parish of Kilchoman, Mr R. M'Laurin [modern spelling McLaurin, teacher, near Port Charlotte, at the request of Mr M'Nabb [modern spelling McNabb], minister, left the latter place early on that day, for the purpose of leading the music in the parish church in Kilchoman. He arrived at Kilchoman in due time, and precented at both the English and Gaelic services, and left there for a home a little after dark. He had to cross a muir of four or five miles, which lies between the above places, but before he got more than half-way on, he was either seized by a sudden illness or fainted from fatigue, and the place being very lonely he perished before any assistance came. He left a widow and an only child to lament his loss. Mr M'Laurin was for several years precentor in the Gaelic church, Duke Street, Glasgow' (Times 8 November 1844).

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