Friday, 6 August 2010

David Shearer, a man of many parts

The village of Hightae and the War Memorial. Picture is the copyright of Lynne Kirton, Creative Commons Licence and originally posted on the wonderful geograph site

My great grandfather, David Shearer was born in 1854 in Maxwellton, Dumfries to John Shearer and Janet Ewart. His father was a shoemaker and the family lived in Glasgow Street in the 1851 and 1861 censuses. I pick them up in Dumfries in 1881 and 1891 but no sign of them in 1881. A search on ancestry suggested a family of Sheerer in Toxteth Park, Lancashire and I was very doubtful but, lo and behold, granny Ewart was with them. Bingo!

Back to David. On his marriage certificate he is described as a carter, but on various other censuses and birth and marriage certificates of his children he is a wood forester, farmer, van driver, fishmonger, market gardener and finishes up as a master grocer In the village of Hightae near Lockerbie.

He married Nicholas Hyslop Corbett, the daughter of a stocking maker in 1877. Nicholas at that time was often a girl's name. I have also come across a female Stewart and a Gordon and a female Garden!

David and Nicholas had 10 children. The youngest Richard Ewart Shearer was in the Royal Flying Corps based in Ayr and died there in 1917. He is remembered on the war memorial in Ayr Cemetery, in Hightae (pictured) and in Lockerbie.

Nicholas died about the time of Richard's birth in 1897 and in 1901 David has a new much younger wife Harriet born in England. This is typical of the situation when a partner is widowed with a squad of children to look after. It took a long time before I found the marriage in West Derby to Harriet Brown in 1898. It's a mystery how they got together. Unusually they don't appear to have had any children. Harriet died in 1953 in Brydekirk and her stepson Robert was the informant.

Link to David Shearer on my tree

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