Saturday, 26 October 2013

Industrial Accidents

Having lots of miners among both my and my husband's ancestors it was no great surprise to find a few had perished in mining accidents.  Other occupations were equally hazardous. This is in memory of those whose struggle to earn a living cost them their lives.

To find out the cause of death you need to get the death certificate. All of those included in this post are from Scotland since it is inexpensive to get death certificates from the Scottish national records at

Andrew McMeekin, uncle of my  husband, was killed by a fall of stone in Garallan Colliery in Cumnock in 1916. He was only 18. I found a report of his funeral in the Cumnock Chronicle, on microfilm in the Burns Centre, Kilmarnock. His brother kept this memoriam card.

2 generations further back, his namesake and great uncle, Andrew McMeekin, was killed in a mine accident in 1864 in Cumnock, also from a fall of stone. He was 26 and had a wife. Their infant daughter had died the previous month.

(This next para added 14 Dec 2013)
Robert Fleming my husband's great uncle was a mine roadsman and was still working at the age of 73 when he was killed by a runaway hutch in 1954. He lived in Ochiltree.

In 1959 2 distant cousins of mine, Aaron Price, 50, and his brother Robert Price, 47, of Kirkintilloch, were among the 47 miners who perished in the Auchengeich pit disater in Lanarkshire.

Blair Dunsmuir married to my second cousin Margaret Price of Ayr Road, Cumnock died of injuries sustained in Whitehill Colliery in 1927.

Andrew Rae, father-in-law of second cousin Ellen Yates, was injured in a fall of of coal in Lanemark no 1 in New Cumnock in 1873. His leg was amputated but he succumbed 9 days later.

Thomas Woods, a distant cousin via the Prices again, lost both his legs in an accident in Barony Colliery in 1930. He was caught in coal cutting machine. He at least survived.

Not only miners had a dangerous job. Harry Clark was a rivetter's heater in a shipyard in Aberdeen.  He fell 19 feet through an open hatch on deck and fractured his skull. He was 14 when he died in 1904. He was my granny's younger brother.

Farm work was not free of danger. Janet McCartney, 47, fell off a grass cart and broke her neck in Auchinleck one afternoon in August, 1867.  She was the mother of John Ross who married Agnes McMeekin, my husband's great grand aunt. 

A cousin of my husband, Andrew Cook Fleming, died when a tractor overturned on him in 1956. He was 15.

(This para added on 7 Nov. 2013)
Matthew Hislop, a wood sawyer, died instantly when caught in a sawing machine. He was 39 when he died in 1870 and left a wife and several children. In the 1881 census I found his wife in prison. I don't know what happened to her after that.  His nephew also Matthew Hislop was married to Augusta Wilson. It was his death I was looking for when I found the uncle's.

I haven't included those who died serving their country as they already have a post of their own.
The Scottish Mining website records mining accidents and will accept submissions. I have added the two Andrew McMeekins.  You can look up your ancestors here on the same site if you know the date of death.

We moan about health and safety regulations, but as a consequence the workplace is a lot safer nowadays.

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