Forebears from Central Scotland

The Howiesons

Martha Howieson


Martha Howieson, known as Matt, was born on November 22nd 1895 at 792 Rutherglen Road, Glasgow, the eldest of a family of six.
James, one of her three brothers, became a well-known footballer. In 1926, he played for St Mirren in the Scottish Cup Final against Celtic. A crowd of 100,000 at Hamden Park saw St Mirren win 2-0. James scored the second goal after 25 minutes. Here he is in that winning team, sitting in the front row, second from the right.


Matt became a dressmaker, and at the age of 21 married Andrew Brown. Eventually they went to live at 11 Carlyle Terrace, Rutherglen. They were to remain happily married for 54 years.


Martha's father was

John Thomson Howieson

John was born in 1869. On leaving school, he was sent to learn to become a plumber. On his first day, he was told to clean out a toilet. He decided that was not for him. He left and never went back.

He took a job as a barman, and eventually owned the Crammond pub in Queen Street, Glasgow, and the private bar in the Trades House in Glassford Street.


The Crammond - bottom right

He called his pub "The Crammond" after his favourite place near Edinburgh - the village of Crammond.

(47k) (40k)

He was not simply a publican. He was a spirit merchant, which meant that he blended his own whisky.

People came from far and wide to buy bottles of John Howieson's blend.

He kept his accounts as meticulously as he blended his whisky. Many years after his death, his granddaughter, Effie, began work in the Clydesdale Bank in Glasgow. There she was told about "this publican who kept the most perfect books". It was her grandfather they were talking about. He died in 1926, and she began working in the bank in 1947!

On 25th February 1890, he married 19 year old Agnes Killin, a power loom weaver who was then, like John, living in Rutherglen.

John, with his waxed moustache, was said to be "crabbit" (ie bad-tempered) - due perhaps to stress. He had a breakdown with the worry of paying back the loan on the Trades house bar.


He started drinking, and died of gastric neoplasm at the age of 57, on 8th June, 1926, at 15 Dunard Road, Rutherglen. He left 6000, a considerable sum at that time, enough to buy 12 houses.

Agnes took over the pubs for a year, but made no money, due perhaps to dishonest employees.

John's father was

John Thomson Howieson

John was born in Dollar in 1843. By 18, he was a gardener there.

On 2nd December 1864, at Tillicoultry, he married Catherine Robertson McLachlan.

He got a job as a gentleman's gardener at South Blacket Place Lodge, Newington, Edinburgh.


To the left can be seen the gatepost at the entrance to Blacket, an estate of substantial early 19th century villas, now a conservation area. Here is a drawing of one of the fine villas.


John acted as both gatekeeper and gardener.

The "Architectural and Historical Guide", produced by the Blacket Association in 1992, quotes the 1864 "Copy of Instructions for the Gatekeeper":

The Gatekeeper will take charge of all the enclosed parts of the avenues within Blacket Place Gates, and keep the Grounds, Plants and Trees therein in a neat and tidy condition during the whole year. He will prune the Ivy and Trees, nail up the plants, turn up the soil at the proper seasons, and generally keep the whole in a neat and Gardener-like style.

He will see that the Scavenger does his duty. in keeping the Broadway clean, at the same time he will have to give it any extra sweeping and cleaning that it may occasionally require, such as on the Saturday afternoons, at removals, in keeping the footways clear of snow, and in picking the grass etc at least twice each Summer, along all the roadways....

He will endeavour to prevent suspicious-looking persons, Beggars and Hawkers, from prowling about the avenues and call the attention or appearance of the police-man to prevent any nuisance, mischief or annoyance being committed within the Gates....

The present wages are about 15 per annum which with a free house of about five pounds value is about Twenty Pounds a year....

The Gateposts - all that is left of former grandeur.


Later, he and Catherine moved to Rutherglen.By 1891 they were at 49 Bouverie Street. Their neighbours were a chemical works labourer, a coal miner, power loom weavers, and a mason.
Latterly, John was a railway timekeeper.

On 14th May 1908, he died at the Royal Infirmary of gastric ulcer perforation and internal haemorrage. His address then was 20 Farie Street, Rutherglen.

John's father was

David Howieson

David was born at Carnock, in Fife, on 4th June 1815. He became a bleachfield carter, and married Catherine Thomson, who was three years younger. They went to live in a two roomed house at 95 Upper Mains, Dollar.

On 24th January 1864, Catherine died there of pneumonia at the age of 52. She had been ill for 14 days.

Catherine's parents were John Thomson, a farmer, and Catherine Hunter.

David's parents were William Howieson and Christian Telford.

Catherine's parents were John Thomson, a farmer, and Catherine Hunter.