John and Elizabeth Morrison, Kippen, from school to work, 1903 – 1908

John and Elizabeth were orphaned when their mother Jane died on 27th March 1903.

Jane was previously claiming for assistance and her entry in the register of the poor indicates that she was debilitated with chronic bronchitis and says ‘she is not strong’.

Jane and her eldest child, John, previously lived with Jane’s mother Elizabeth who is also recorded in the register. The record gives details of all of Elizabeth’s children, which is significant as John and Elizabeth were sent to board with aunts after their mother died.

John and Elizabeth have entries in the register of the poor and the children’s separate register. The children’s separate register records that the children were sent to board with Mrs John Wilson in Bonhill, Dunbartonshire in July 1903. We know from the list of Elizabeth Morrison’s children that this is the children’s Aunt, Catherine Wilson, who will have been 54 in 1903. She was married to John Wilson who is given in Elizabeth Morrison’s record as ‘in Asylum’. It was common for orphaned children to be cared for by relatives at this time and Kippen parish pay Catherine 3 shillings and 6 pence for each child per week for their board and lodgings.

On the 15th February 1904, John left his aunt’s in Bonhill ‘without notice’ according to the children’s separate register, to go to work for William McQueen who is a butcher in Kippen. It is possible that this was because he was not happy with his aunt in Bonhill. Mr McQueen previously employed his mother Jane and this is noted in her entry in the register of the poor. John had probably known Mr McQueen from when he was a small boy.

Elizabeth's entrry in the Kippen register of the poor
Elizabeth’s entrry in the Kippen register of the poor

On 2nd January 1906, Elizabeth Morrison left her Aunt Catherine in Bonhill and went to live with another aunt, Mrs Graham. This may be Catherine’s sister, Elizabeth, who was a widow and would have been 53 in 1906. Perhaps Elizabeth wasn’t happy at her Aunt Catherine’s either. She attended school in Stirling between 1906 and 12th September 1908 when her aunt applied ‘for leave to get her removed from school to enter the service of Mr Paterson, Inspector of Poor, Stirling’. On the 17th of September it is noted that ‘heard from W. Paterson that the School Board had allowed her to leave school and I wrote to him authorising him to spend 50 shillings on an outfit’. Elizabeth would have been 13 years old at this date. It is possible that her aunt wanted her to start earning her keep and this was why her education was cut short.