1873-May-13: Lanemark No. 1

1.Andrew Rae35Fall of coal

Andrew Rae was born in 1838 at Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, son of James Rae and Grace Halliday. Fairly soon, the family was on the move with his father finding work in the coal-mines of Lanarkshire at Carluke (1841) and from there to Ayrshire at Craigmark, Dalmellington (1851).

By the 1860’s the family had moved to Old Cumnock, living at Garallan Row. It was here in 1860 that Andrew met and married Margaret Rae, then working as a dairymaid at nearby Garlaff farm. The couple lodged with Andrew’s brother Thomas and his family at Garlaff Row and it was here their first two children were born, James (b. 1862) and Mary (b.1863).

The Rae brothers moved their families to Craigbank, New Cumnock where their parents and other siblings had also settled at Peesweep Row, houses own by the Bank Coal Company.

Map 1 Craigbank | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Andrew and Margaret Rae later moved to Coalburn, New Cumnock, where they lived at No. 15. in the single row. Here sadly daughter Mary died in infancy as did their next two children, George (b.1865) and Grace (b.1866) from a condition known as Tabes Mesenterica.

As late as the early 1900’s there was a deep rooted belief that this condition was caused by the ingestion of tubercle bacillis in cow’s milk and there were calls for developing schemes for providing reasonably clean milk at a moderate price, certified for use in infant feeding. Other arguments were put forward that “Tabes Mesenterica occurrs chiefly, if not wholly amongst children of the poor and indigent who scarcely ever get milk as an article of their food” [British Medical Journey]

Andrew and Margaret had three more children Hebron (b. 1868), Agnes (b. 1870) and Andrew (b. 1872), all of whom lived beyond infancy. Although Coalburn was on lands owned by the Marquis of Bute the Lanemark Coal Company held the lease to work the minerals there and to rent out the houses.

Map 2 Coalburn | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Andrew worked at Lanemark No. 1 pit and according to the Scottish Mining Website fatality entry he was killed there on 14th May 1873, the cause categorised under “fall of coal & roof” with the details recorded as “Leg was injured by a fall, and amputated. Died from the effects of the injuries”.

However, his death certificate records the date of death as 13th May 1873 and that the 35-year-old miner died in his home at 15 Coalburn, 9 days after enduring the effects of the amputation of his leg.

Andrew’s death was recorded by interim registrar William Guthrie, who was probably the young teacher that had recently arrived from Cronberry in November 1872 to briefly take up the position of assistant to Mr Johnston, head teacher of the newly established New Cumnock Public School (August 1872). The school was temporarily set up in the former New Cumnock Parish School on the south side of the Dumfries road on the west bank of the Afton Water. Four years would pass before the new New Cumnock Public School would be built on the opposite site of the road (now New Cumnock Primary School) along with the Bank School at the Bank Glen between the miners rows of Connel Park and Craigbank.

Andrew Rae’s widow Margaret moved to live in the Burnfoot Row with her younger children. In 1880 she married widower William McLaughlin, coal miner living at Coalburn. The following year the couple and six of their children from their previous marriages settled at Benston Cottages, Old Cumnock.

Map 3 Burnfoot Row| Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland


Scottish Mining Website
Fatal Accidents
National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Craigbank
Map 2 | Coalburn
Map 3 | Burnfoot Row
Scotland’s People
Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments
British Medical Journal | Article