Niven ‘Sandy’ McVicar, my husband’s great-great-grandfather , was born in Kames, Lochgair, to Archibald McVicar and Margaret Muir on 23 March 1838.
I found this report of a hurricane in the British Newspaper Archive. When he was just 8 years old, a terrible storm hit the west of Scotland, uprooting trees and damaging buildings, including part of the spire of St Andrews Church in Glasgow. In just-round-the-headland Ardrishaig it was particularly severe, with one poor boy having to be treated by leeches to help him recover from a head wound(!) so it must have been terrifying for the McVicar family, right on the shore. [I believe the Kames Bay the story refers to is a different one, on Bute.]
His future wife Jane was born on 11 December 1841 and christened on 19 January 1842. She was born in Taysiloan, North Knapdale and her parents were Donald Dewar and Janet MacCallum.
Sandy and Jane married at Bridgend, Glassery, on 18 January 1870 when he was a 30-year-old fisherman. She was working as a domestic maid, and was living in Dunamuck.
Like his father Sandy worked as a fisherman in the tiny fishing community of West Kames. They had a private house with one room with a window. His father was nearby at the castle at the Point of Lochgair, and there were many other McVicar families in East, and West Kames.
They had nine children: Janet, Margaret, Jane, Sarah, Archibald, Christina, Mary, John and Peter. By 1881 they had five schoolchildren at home.
In 1891 their second daughter Margaret and her baby daughter Elizabeth were living with them; Margaret was working as a general domestic servant.
In 1902 Sandy was still fishing, but very soon after that life as a fisherman must finally have proved too hard or unpredictable, for he started working as a road surfaceman, possibly for the Council.
Sandy died on 13 December 1905 from a bowel problem at home at East Kames. After Sandy died, Jane moved through to Greenock, possibly to be near their daughter Christina, and lived at 12 Chalmers Street, where she died of old age on 6 January 1926. I’m going to have to wait 7 years to find out where she was in 1921. In the 1911 census I have an entry for a Janet McVicar of the correct age in an asylum in Lochgilphead, but there are discrepancies in her name and the maiden surname provided so I suspect it may not be Janet. Something still to track down.
© Text and photos copyright Lynne Black 11 August 2014
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/sandy-mcvicar/