Angus Fleming

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Angus Fleming was born on 7 August 1831 in the Parish of Cambuslang in Lanarkshire, Scotland. His parents were Angus Fleming and Margaret Lawson who had been married for five years. Angus had at least one brother and two sisters. One of his sisters died when Angus was about three years old.

The Angus Fleming 1831-1883? map shows the key places in the life of Angus Fleming. Click on any coloured marker to see detailed text.

Angus' father died when he was nearly six years old. His widowed mother was left to provide for Angus and the other children as best she could. Unfortunately Angus' brother died one month after Angus turned 7 and his sister died six weeks later. It had been a terrible year for Angus and his mother.

By the time he was 19 years old, Angus was living at 143 North Square, Gartsherrie, as one of two lodgers in the house of James Landles and his wife Janet. This was a few miles away from Angus' birthplace in Cambuslang. Angus may have been apprenticed to Mr Landles and both were wagon drivers (as was James Landles' son Hendry).

Later in the same year, a few months after he turned 20, the banns of marriage were announced for his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor. The banns were read on 7 December 1851 in the nearby parish of Old Monkland. His profession was still a waggoner and they both lived at Clyde Works in that parish. It appears that the marriage itself took place on New Year's Day 1852.

The couple had six children. The eldest, Angus was born at Tollcross on 17 November 1852. A little over a year later, Charles was born at nearby Coatbridge (17 February 1854). Angus was still a "carter". When a third son, William, was born on 2 June 1856 the family was at nearby Old Monkland.

Soon afterwards, Angus decided to learn a trade. He chose to become a sawyer, a notoriously hard and dirty job involving the manufacture of timber by manually sawing logs into beams and planks. Sawyers worked in teams, with one in a pit below the log and the other on the top. As this team pushed and pulled the saw through the log, the bottom man was inevitably showered in sawdust. It must have been very difficult to both saw straight and avoid getting grit in the eye. It says a lot about his strength and perseverance that he seems to have maintained this trade throughout the rest of his working life.

On 22 June 1859, Angus and Elizabeth had their first daughter, Jane, who was born at 12 Wesleyan Street Glasgow. It seems that the family moved house regularly, as all four children had been born at different addresses. This pattern of itinerancy is often a result of an inability to pay the rent. It is likely that each subsequent address was less desirable in it appointments than its predecessors. Perhaps it was a desire to break this cycle that led to the decision to leave Glasgow.

When the 1861 census was taken the family had moved to Edinburgh. It appears that the eldest son, Angus, had died because he is not recorded on this census. The remaining five members of the family lived at 15 Ashley Court along with their lodger, John France.

By the time the next child was born, the family had returned to Glasgow. The child, born on 4 June 1862 at 49 Turrern Street Calton, was named Angus in honour of his dead brother.

Prior to the birth of their final child on 22 April 1865, there seems to have been an estrangement between Angus and his family. The birth of Matthew Taylor Fleming was registered not by his father but by his uncle, Matthew Taylor (a miner from nearby Tollcross). The child was born at 3:30 pm at Clyde Ironworks; presumably his mother's place of employment.

No further records of Angus' life or his death have yet been found. In particular, he was not recorded in either the 1871 or the 1881 census in Scotland even though, on the basis of other evidence, he lived until at least 1881. His family is recorded on both censuses without Angus. There is no separate record of Angus in these censuses. The reason for Angus' absence from his family during this period is still unclear. Perhaps he became a seaman; perhaps he went to gaol or some other institution.

At least three of his children emigrated to Australia in the 1880s. His son Angus latter died of a cerebral embolism on 15 March 1887, aged 25, and is buried in Rookwood Cemetery (Sydney, NSW). Charles lived in Australia from 1883 until about 1900 when he emigrated again, this time to New Zealand. Jane married Adam Hood Philip in 1887 in NSW.

When Angus' wife, Elizabeth, died on 12 January 1881, her death certificate recorded that she was "married to Angus Fleming". Since she was not recorded as a widow, it is likely that Angus was still alive and this fact was known to his family. Angus definitely died before 1884, however, as he is recorded as 'deceased' on the marriage certificate of his son Angus to Martha Duncan. No death certificate has yet been found.