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Photo of William Francis McGlasson

William Francis McGlasson

Manager of salmon fishery and proprietor fishmongers
Birthplace 131 Central Avenue Dumfrieshire Gretna ScotlandPlace of Death Dumfrieshire Eastriggs Scotland


William Francis McGlasson 1870-1940 

William Francis McGlasson was born in Annan on 23rd November 1870 to John , an innkeeper and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ nee McDougal(l).  

 His parents married at Dryfesdale, Lockerbie on 11th April, 1864. John was 24 at the time and described as an innkeeper’ son, Elizabeth 23 described as a barmaid.  She is the daughter of a ploughman. At the time of John’s birth in St Cuthbert’s Lane, Carlisle, his father was an ostler. 

By the time of their marriage, it seems that John and Elizabeth  had a daughter born in 1860/61 , Elizabeth ( Betsy) and a son, John Thomas was born in 1864/5. Mary Ellen ( Helen) arrived in 1868 , William in 1870 being the 4th child. The final and 5th child, Agnes Jane being born in 1872.  

The 1871 census states that John , 33 is the innkeeper od Port Street Public House, Annan, Betsy his wife , 28 is the innkeeper’s wife. The ages of the children do not tally. Mary H is now 12, Elizabeth, 9, John Thomas 6,  and William F 4 months . John’s brother Francis, occupation ‘brother’ is resident as is a 22 year old female servant.  

On 2nd December 1876 when William was just 6 , his father died. The death registration lists the cause as hepatitis that he had suffered for over 12 months. He was 38.  

At the 1881 census, Betsy is head  aged 40, of 40 Port Street, Annan, innkeeper. Betsy junior now 20 is an innkeeper’s daughter, John T is a 17 year old law clerk, Mary Ellen 13, William F, 10 and Agnes Jane 8 are scholars. 

Some time between 1881 and the next census in 1891 Betsy moved to 94 High Street Annan, now 48 ( the age does not tally with the 1881 return), described as a hotel keeper. Mary E , 22 is a hotel keeper’s daughter. 

In 1891 on alternative returns, John Thomas, 26  can be found in Everton occupied as a fish merchant. 19 year old Agnes Jane is staying with him.  

It is unclear where William is at the time but there is a William F Mcglasson boarding in Marylebone, London as one of dozens of draper’s assistants. Betsy junior cannot be traced.  

On 17th April 1900, William married Jeannie Irvine Tweedie  at 43 Lady Street Annan. William , 29 the manager of a salmon fishery and Jeannie, 24 of 43 Lady Street Annan, the daughter of a Joiner and builder.  

Jeannie was born in 1876 in Annan, to Alexander Tweedie and Susan Rankine nee McKnight. She was the 3rd of 10 children.  

The 1901 census places Jeannie and William at Loch Fisheries House, Eastriggs, as manager and manager’s wide of the salmon fishery. They employ a 15 year old general servant.  

In 1902 their son, John Thomas is born followed by Alexander ( Alec) Tweedie McGlasson in 1906 and a daughter, Jeannie in 1909.  

The next census in 1911 finds the family at the same address, Loch Fishery with 40 year old William in the same role. The children are nor 9, 4 and 2. A 32 year old female visitor is staying and they employ as 65 year old housekeeper. 

Tragically when Jeannie was 5 years and 9 months old , she died of scarlet fever. The death was registered as 11th May 1914 at Annan hospital.  

This marked the beginning of an extended tragic period for William and family. It also coincided with the building in 1916 of the township of Gretna to serve the new munitions factory where he would become the proprietor of 131, Central Avenue and manage it as a fishmongers.  

30th March 1915 saw the death of his mother. Her probate leaves effects of £159 2s. bothe William and his brother John Thomas are cited in the probate and both are “ fishery managers”.  

An anecdotal letter to the Devil’s Porridge museum tells us that Mr McGlasson put a manager , Simon Clark , into his shop on Central Avenue. Simon was a local, Annan born man and an experienced fish dealer. 

As Gretna Township filled rapidly with individual, couples and families from all over the country and commonwealth, WW1 took its toll on Jeannie’s family.  

Her father died of natural causes on 3rd April 1917. Her brother Lt Alexander Tweedie, who was a twin, was wounded and died as a result of his wounds on 14th April and her youngest brother , Capt. Cunningham Tweedie was killed in action on 17th April.  

Dumfries and Galloway Standard Saturday 14th April 1917 

“ ANNAN OFFICER WOUNDED- Mrs Tweedie, 43, Lady Street, Annan, received a telegram from the War Office on Thursday announcing that her youngest son, Captain Cunningham Tweedie, 6th King’s Own Scottish Borderers, has received a severe gunshot wound in the knee, and is in hospital at Etaples. A letter was received early in the week stating that the Captain had sustained a broken rib by men falling in on top of him, but apparently he had not lain up with it. Captain Tweedie has been in France for the last eighteen months and won the military cross a short time ago for bravery in the field.” 

The Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Wednesday,25th April 1917  

“ Much sympathy is felt with Mrs A Tweedie of Lady Street, Annan in the loss in action of Lieutenant Alec Tweedie 1/5 K.O.S.B. Lieutenant Tweedie joined up shortly after the outbreak of war, and received his commission some time ago, He was serving with his regiment in Egypt. This family has also recently suffered severely, the death from wounds of a brother, Captain Cunningham Tweedie , only having been notified a week ago; and it was only the other week that their father, Mr Alexander Tweedie, builder, died suddenly.” 

Their older brother emigrated to Canada. 

It seems that  William’s son John Thomas became a doctor, but died in 1954 aged 52.  

William died on 20th August , 1940 aged 69, of oesophagal cancer that his death registration indicates he had suffered for 6 months.  

William, Jeannie, daughter Jeannie and son Alec are all buried in Annan Cemetery.  

Jeannie lived until October 1950. 


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