Saturday, July 19, 2014

Catching up with Robina Grant

Robina Grant Gets Here

In the Grant blog I mentioned I had not traced the eldest daughter Robina further. Well someone else did and forwarded me some data (thanks J). So since the Grant family of Badbea are already missing a brother, a father and a sister, all by misadventure, it will be good to include Robina and find out just a little about her.

Marriage 1896

The first document located for Robina is her marriage in 1896 to William Sutherland (yes another one!) of West Garty – near Helmsdale. Several interesting extra bits of information can be picked up from this marriage certificate.

Edinburgh Evening News 12 Dec 1896
Her name on the marriage record has the variation of Robertina. It is extremely common in tracing Scottish family members to find variations of a name. This may be to do with the census taker or the minister. The minister for this marriage was Thomas Grant. I wonder if he was a relative. Of course Robina may have supplied the name Robertina herself. The newspaper notice uses Robina so she was probably known by both names. I will stay with Robina. 

Robina had been living at 45 Heriot Row, Edinburgh, working as a Domestic Servant. Heriot Row was and is an extremely desirable location in Edinburgh and the house a posh terraced building. I was wondering if she had any regrets about moving to a farm dwelling at West Garty until I read the following about Heriot Row houses:
The house with the green door is 45 Heriot Row, Edinburgh.
The house to the right is No 43 as described in the extract.
"No 43 Heriot Row, Edinburgh Heriot Row is an elegant south-facing terrace overlooking the wooded gardens of Queen Street. Designed by Robert Reid in 1802-3 as two sections, divided by Howe Street, it was the first street to be built in the northern New Town. The first-floor drawing room is lit from the south by three elongated windows with elegant balconets. The street floor is rusticated, and the basement, below pavement level, is distinguished by the 'rock-faced' appearance of the stonework. In New Town houses, the dining room was on the street floor, the drawing room on the first floor, and bedrooms over the drawing room. As there was limited sleeping accommodation, servants had to sleep in odd rooms and closets, or even under the staircase".

On her marriage certificate Robina gives her age as 41 which may be accurate but going by the first census record we have of her in 1861 as an 8 year old (making her birth date 1853) she just may have dropped her age a couple of years. I wonder if William did the same.

Mother Hannah Grant had died in 1894. It is possible that Robina had spent time with her mother in her unmarried years. 

Father Joseph Grant is said to be a ‘Wright’ hinting I guess at a shipwright. This may be Robina elevating her father’s occupation, as elsewhere he is said to be a fisherman, or it could be a clue that he was a craftsman, who did actually make boats and perhaps made the very fishing boat he lost his life in trying to save.

Caledonian Hotel Dingwall

The Caledonian Hotel, Dingwall
The part I really like about this marriage record is that the ceremony was conducted at the Caledonian Hotel, Dingwall. I don’t know why they went to Dingwall. There were church buildings nearer home. There are several possibilities. The minister was Thomas Grant of the Free Church in Tain. He may have been a relative of Robina's and pleased to travel to facilitate at this wedding. But it also stands to reason that since both Robina and William were in their forties and thus perhaps not totally penniless, they may have decided to celebrate and go for a little trip. Dingwall, well serviced by train from Helmsdale, was a busy market town and had at least one interesting castle to visit. The Caledonian Hotel was a genteel early 19th century building (now a listed historic building) and without doubt they would not have had to sleep in an odd room, a closet or under the staircase the night they got married! Good choice. I hope they had a fine time. They had a couple of friends as witnesses and may well have had more come for a wedding party.
The railway line from Helmsdale runs right past the West Garty farm.

1901 Census

The next record of these two I have located is the 1901 census. William and Robina are living and working in what the census calls Mid Garty (although the next dwelling is called West Garty).  William and his unmarried brother Donald are farming together and employing some labour. The size of the land they are farming is not given. There is a female ‘General Serv. Domestic’. I guess Robina enjoyed that after her years as a domestic servant especially as she has taken over a house that seems to have had two middle aged bachelors living in it. I reckon their quality of life will have impoved.  There is no record of any children for Robina and William who are now in their mid forties. 


The Emigrants Statue in Helmsdale with the Gartymore hills
in the background.
The small crofting township of Gartymore near Helmsdale, Loth (aka Kildonan) was created in the early 19th century at the time of the clearances.  The people allocated ground there had mostly been cleared from the Straths.  They were given very small pieces of land in the hope that would take up fishing but they did not.  They continued to live as crofters.  With her early links to Badbea I don’t doubt that Robina knew how to manage in a Clearance settlement. 

Crofter’s struggled for fair rents and land rights in a period of Highland history known as the Crofter’s War. This turbulent episode was no more evident than in Gartymore, where a number of courageous individuals lit the torch for political change and established the inaugural branch of the Land League Movement. Their victory was hard won and resulted in the Crofting Act of 1886.
Today at Gartymore there are over 50 ruined crofts.

The Timespan Museum website has a lot of fascinating information about Gartymore including these photos of items used by Gartymore crofters.



Robina lived at West Garty for 28 years. Sadly on 4 Feb 1924 she died at home on the West Garty farm, Loth. Robina (aka Robertina) was 71 years old. The cause of death given is: Intracapsular Fracture of the Left Femur Cardiac Failure. From the little research I have done it seems that neck of femur fractures are considered intracapsular fractures (or hip fractures) and in elderly women are often due to osteoporosis. They can cause disruption to the blood supply and death. William her husband was with Robina when she died. 

Helmsdale Cemetery

Source: Chris Stokes
Robina was buried in the Helmsdale Cemetery. William arranged for an elegant pure white marble headstone to be placed in memory of his wife. Robina Grant’s first home at Badbea is a ten minute drive by car from the Helmsdale Cemetery. 
William lived for another decade before he died on 5 October 1935. He is buried in Helmsdale alongside his wife Robina Grant. 
Helmsdale Cemetery looking toward the old bridge

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dry Stone Wall - Achnacraig, Badbea to Langwell

Dry Stone Wall at Badbea

The Badbea Dry Stone Wall

Dry Stone Walls aka Dry Stane Dykes are seen all over Scotland. In the Highlands where trees and hedges don’t grow so well, stones are plentiful, so a stone wall is a logical way to build a barrier or enclosure. Dry stone walls are not held together with mortar but built with stones carefully chosen and placed. They can last for hundreds of years. It’s pretty amazing when one thinks that every single stone in a wall has been selected and put in place by hand and there it stays.

Stone walls fascinate because they prompt reflection on the way the land has been used and why the wall was built in the first place. Like others the stone wall at Badbea is a story teller. The Badbea wall marches along from the ruins of Achnacraig near Ousdale through Badbea to Langwell and almost to Berriedale. The road distance from Ousdale to Berriedale is 4.7 miles so the wall must be a bit less. In many places the wall was originally five feet high. That’s a very substantial wall and an amazing amount of stone work in a place that now looks deserted and unproductive. So what’s the story?
Red line shows the wall. The line behind it is the road now the A9.
OS one inch to the mile Maps of Scotland, 2nd edition 1885-1900

The Story

At the turn of the nineteenth century, big changes were happening on estates in terms of farming and land use. Plans by large landowners to make more money and adapt their farming practices were developing fast. But these changes were not compatible with the old ways of crofting. In short, crofting families were being moved to new localities so that large scale sheep farms could be established. Hence the old hamlet of Badbea on the Langwell estate was turned into a Clearance village. Despite the plans of proprietors to make more money farming sheep, the Langwell estate changed owners several times because the current owner had financial problems. One owner Sir John Sinclair was very enthusiastic about the good prospects of sheep being farmed on the Langwell estate and moved a lot of crofters as he converted his land use. But Sir John ran out of money and sold Langwell to James Horne whose ruthlessness in eviction was matched only by his successor and nephew Donald Horne. The story of the Badbea dry stone wall is not a nice one.

The Story Gets Ugly

According to Alexander Gunn, born and raised in Badbea, the building of the stone dyke was part of an eviction policy by the Laird Donald Horne. Donald Horne evicted a number of well-established tenants from Achnacraig a thriving fishing village near Ousdale. Here is an ugly part of the story:

‘The inhabitants of the villages were driven to the four winds of heaven, and their once comfortable habitations were demolished and used in building a five feet stone dyke around the place, which was of course converted to a sheep walk.’
Source: Dundee and Perth Saturday Post, September 1855, Evictions on the Estate of Langwell From 1830-31 To 1855, A Native of Badbea

So the southern part of the wall, at least, was built from the long established and comfortable homes of the evicted.

Donald Horne Threatens

From Ousdale looking toward Achnacraig where the wall begins.
The remains of the school master's house are visible. This was
 built later.
So confident was Alexander Gunn in his facts that in September 1855 he wrote a letter to the editor of the Dundee and Perth Saturday Post publicly castigating Horne and denouncing the evictions in the estate of Langwell from 1830-31 to 1855. Donald Horne was alive and still the Laird of Langwell. He was furious and had an Edinburgh lawyer threaten Gunn with legal action if he did not retract his accusations. Gunn refused and hit back saying that if the matter went to court Horne would come out a blacker man than when he entered the court.  ‘I said Mr Horne might have the power to hang me, but no power on earth would make me retract.’ Horne never dared follow with the court threat knowing full well that Gunn’s accusations were true.
 Source: Northern Ensign, 23 June 1892, Land Reform in Caithness – How the Agitation Began, A Native of Badbea
Wall from Badbea looking back toward Achnacraig


Under Donald Horne’s instructions the wall grew and before long was running along behind the Badbea houses. This had a very serious effect on the Badbea residents:
Ewes and lambs at Badbea grazing on heather
‘Badbea proper had a good space of hill pasture at one time that was very useful, and enabled the people to rear a few cattle, which, when sold, helped to pay their rents, and supply them with other necessaries; but the laird set his eye upon it, and seized fully one - fourth of it, separating it from the rest by a deep ditch and high paling. There was no proportionate reduction made in the poor people's rents for this. Then a few years later there was a five feet stone dyke run along the face of the hill behind the houses, only a few hundred feet distant, enclosing them as in a pen. The rocks and the sea on one side and this dyke on the other deprived them of three- fourths of their hill pasture, and yet there was no reduction in the rents. By this state of matters the poor people were driven to a state of perfect desperation, but there was no redress. They dare not remonstrate, however respectfully, unless they wished to be turned out altogether. Latterly, so palpable was it that the poor people could not exist in this miserable state that the usual way was taken of dealing with what was considered superfluous population. One half of them were turned out of their lots which they had cultivated, some for forty years, and others for thirty years..’
Source: Northern Ensign, No Date, Rambling Recollections of Berriedale, Badbea and Neighbourhood, A Native of Badbea.

Cyclopean Dimensions

Another description of the wall was published in 1893 after members of the Royal Commission in Sutherlandshire visited Badbea.

The Northern Ensign reported:  
Today the Commissioners began the work of inspection…

'...They drove through the large farm of Ausdale, which occupies that part of Caithness lying between the Duke of Portland's deer forest and the Sutherland boundary. Leaving the road at the northern boundary of the farm (Ausdale), they struck over the hill toward the sea, and there all at once, and suddenly, came upon a sight that took away their breath, namely, the wonderful settlement of Badbea. It was hard to say what thought passed through the minds of the Commissioners at the sight of this model settlement, though their feelings certainly could not be of admiration. This miserable place is on the Estate of the Duke of Portland; and to give an adequate description of its situation and amenities would simply baffle the resources of language. The township - so called by courtesy – is rigourously hemmed in to the dizzy sea-cliffs by a granite wall of Cyclopean dimensions. This is presumably to shut out the large farm of Ausdale from any chance of being profaned by the vulgar hoof. A possible explanation might certainly be that it was to prevent the flight of the people from such a situation. The wall would certainly have some show of reason and justification were it built along the edge of the fearful precipices to prevent the people from slipping off the barren inclined plane on which they live into the sea. Some years ago this place had ten families. It now has three. The greater and certainly the best part of the arable land which could only have been brought under cultivation by almost superhuman labour and industry, has now been thrown waste and into the apparently insatiable maw of the large farmer. Yet there exist people who talk about unscrupulous agitators! A scramble on all fours through the boulder paved and studded land of Badbea, down through the once township of Achnacraig, now a desolation, a stiff climb up the birch clad banks of the Ausdale burn, past the township of Borgie, also now a waste, and onto the road through the Ausdale parks - that was the course. Then back across the Ord, down through the farm of Navidale, and back by the shore to Helmsdale finished the day's work.
Source: The Northern Ensign, Tuesday, September 19, 1893, The Royal Commission in Sutherlandshire

Horne's Unintentional Monument to Greed

So what can one make of the story the Badbea dyke tells? These days with big gaps and sheep jumping over, the wall has fairly much lost its use value – it may give sheep some shelter, but it can never be encountered blankly as in, ‘Oh here is a sheep dyke’. The nearby farm at Ousdale is well-run and productive, but the land at Badbea where the sheep are grazing looks scruffy and marginal. It was never a good farming idea to try to establish a ‘sheep walk’ here on wind-blown heathery braes facing the Moray Firth. There is an irony that Donald Horne who doggedly thought himself a successful ‘improvement’ farmer and land developer has left such a public legacy of failed farming practice. But with this four mile long, dry stone wall, intentionally built by Horne he has created an immense unintentional monument to his own cruelty, greed and ruthlessness. And it will be there forever. As well, the remains of the crofters’ dwellings between the wall and the cliffs, also unintentionally reveal the true intent of the wall in hemming them in and the unspeakably harsh conditions it created for them.  

Intentional Monument to Remembrance

Inside a gap in the wall, the intentional stone monument – or ‘Cairn of Remembrance’ as it was called on the day it was unveiled in 1912 by descendants,’ built on the site of an early house tells its own story. As one’s breath is being taken away by the giddy location of the houses on the cliff side of the wall, the monument comes into view, raising an unintentional fist at Donald Horne and his predecessors with a symbolic message: ‘Despite your cruelty we helped and supported each other in this place for over a hundred years, and the sweet remembrance of the named members of our community will never go away.’

Speaking the Facts

The last word goes again the Alexander Gunn in his public fight to expose what had happened and what was still happening on the Estate of Langwell in Caithness:
Mr Editor, I have trespassed too much on your valuable time and space, but the well-merited castigation you dealt the Duke of Sutherland for his conduct towards his poor and oppressed people this year, encouraged me to trouble you with these few simple facts, and facts they are which I defy Mr Horne or any one who may take his part to controvert. I do not state them from hearsay; I state them from personal knowledge, and as one who has suffered by his conduct, and I only wonder that no one was bold enough to come forward and plead the cause of the poor. It may be said that what is past cannot be recalled. True, but there are other evictions to follow if public opinion does not avert the blow and shield them from the power and tyranny of the strong. Should you find a spare corner in your spirited journal for these remarks, you will confer a favour on your obedient servant.
Source: Dundee and Perth Saturday Post, Evictions on the Estate of Langwell From 1830-31 To 1855, A Native of Badbea, September 1855

Google Earth image showing the wall

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grief, Grog Grief and More Grief – the Grants of Badbea

Achnacraig to Badbea

Joseph Grant was a crofter of three acres and a fisherman, born in Achnacraig near Ousdale about 1815. His father Robert was said to be a tenant farmer and a tailor. His mother was named Margaret. The family were living in Achnacraig (aka Auchencraig) at the time of the 1841 Scotland  census. They had moved to Badbea by the next census in 1851. It is almost certain that the Grants suffered eviction at the whim of the Laird, Donald Horne, along with the other Achnacraig families that he kicked out.

Alexander Gunn states:
D. Horne was to turn out two thriving villages on his estate, containing twelve families each, and who paid a rental of from £7 to £10, and possessed on an average ten head of cattle. One of these villages, Auchencraig, had a creek for fishing connected with it, where I have seen 14 boats engaged for seven weeks in the season at the herring fishing and landed and cured thousands of barrels of herring, and who carried on a considerable trade with the Moray Firth for the various commodities used in the herring trade. There were hundreds of pounds spent from time to time on the port for curing and harbour accommodation. Alas, where is it today?
Source: Alex Gunn, Northern Ensign, 28 June 1892, Land Reforms in Caithness

Following eviction to Badbea life was extremely difficult for everyone, with insufficient land to bring in a living and nearly impossible housing and seasonal weather conditions.

According to Alex Gunn:
There was some trifling work to be got occasionally on the estate, but the rate of wages was very low. One shilling per day was the rate for the best worker till within the last 25 years or so. It was no uncommon thing for a person to have to travel two or three miles to his work and only be paid 1s. There was no such thing as weekly or fortnightly pays - not even monthly - not even payment once in six months. Twelve months was the shortest time, and frequently two years elapsed before a penny could be got. If any young man had the courage to go and work beyond the bounds of the estate, where he would be better remunerated and regularly paid, his parents would suffer for it by being turned out of their house and lot at the next term. There was a system of tyranny and oppression practiced long ago by lairds that could scarcely be believed in our times.
Source: Alex Gunn, Rambling Recollections of Berriedale, Article II No Date


Badbea Census 1851
While providing for his now widowed mother and unmarried sister, Joseph Grant did the only thing he could do to bring in extra money to live on. He went fishing. Often the fish in the Moray Firth were plentiful but the hazards of the unpredictable and often severe weather, changeable currents, and lack of safety equipment frequently resulted in drowning for local fishermen.

Joseph married Hannah

Badbea Census 1861

In 1851 Joseph Grant married Hannah Bannerman from Loth, a village on the other side of the Ord, the precarious pass between Sutherland and Caithness. Soon there were new mouths to be fed. The 1861 census shows Robina 8, John 6, William 4, Joseph 4, and Donald 11 months. By 1871 there was also daughter Margaret. Six children to be somehow fed clothed and the older children got to school - a long walk each day to Berriedale School.
Fisher Laddies, Newhaven  David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson.

Living on the Edge

Cliffs of The Ord the treacherous pass between Navidale and Ousdale
The dangers of living near the cliffs at Badbea are well documented. It is said that Angus Sutherland the weaver whose house was near the edge of the cliff tethered his children to keep them from falling off the edge or being blown away. 

Alex Gunn gives a different version:
The young folks, in my time, could run along the face of these dangerous rocks like rabbits. The traffic to and fro from the shore, both summer and winter, by those engaged at the fishing was very considerable, and those giddy tracks, which did duty for roads, were used in the darkest nights with as little concern as if they were turnpike roads. Sometimes an unfortunate cow or stirk slipped their feet when they ventured too far to get a mouthful of the sweet grass which grew luxuriantly on the cliffs, and, of course, were dashed to pieces on the rocks below, to the great grief and loss of the owner, who could ill afford to lose one of his herd.
Source: Alex Gunn, Rambling Recollections of Berriedale, Article II No Date

Grief of John's Death

Sea birds nesting on cliffs just north of Badbea
Sea birds came in large numbers and nested on the vertical cliffs all along the Caithness coast. Collecting eggs for food has probably been practiced on these cliffs for hundreds of years. One summer’s morning, Tuesday June 5, 1866 sometime between 11 and 11.30 am, John Grant, the eldest son of Joseph and Hannah, nearly twelve years old, was looking for bird’s eggs on the face of a cliff near Achnacraig. He may have been sure-footed but this was one of the highest and meanest of cliffs and John was venturing too near. Suddenly, missing his footing John slipped and fell more than 300 feet to the rocks below. John died instantaneously. One newspaper report said he ‘was dashed to pieces’. Who found him missing is not known. The recovery of John would have been a difficult and heart breaking mission whether down the cliff-face, or via boat and the sea. We can imagine mother Hannah grief-stricken, waiting at the top of the cliff for her dear boy, probably clinging to some hope that he would be still alive. Hannah would have tenderly taken John into the ben end of her stone house and laid him on a bed. No doctor was called to certify the death. There was nothing a doctor could have done.  Family and friends from the close-knit Badbea community would have come and stayed to talk and read the scriptures with the family. The children would have sat still and shocked, mourning their dead brother. His death would never leave them. In preparing his son for burial Joseph signed John's death certificate. What a heart breaking tragedy for this family who had no choice but to remain living in this perilous place.
John’s accidental death was widely reported in the newspapers.
John O Groat Journal 14 June 1866
Glasgow Herald 14 June 1866
Death of John Grant
Note: John’s death certificate also suggests the possibility that he could have been looking for rabbits, another popular pastime with the local lads.

According to the locality of the cliffs given by the various records these cliffs showing Ousdale and Achnacraig are the very cliffs that John would have fallen over. Ousdale farm is in the background.

Grog Grief!

The next year the Grant family were again in the news. It is an interesting thing that people who had an untimely death or broke the law are the ones who are the most likely to have a newspaper record for us to find. Mid-winter December 1867 at the popular Dunbeath market the Grants got into a spot of bother with the police and Exciseman and got taken to court.

John O Groat Journal 19 Dec 1867
Selling Drink Without A Licence. - A curious case of this kind came up at the last Justice of Peace Court. A complaint by Mr Mitchell, Procurator-Fiscal under the Public Houses Act, was brought before the Justices, setting forth that Joseph Grant and Hannah Grant, his wife, had been guilty of bartering or selling spirits at the Dunbeath market without having a licence in that behalf. From the evidence led, it appeared that the parties had had a tent at the market, for the purposes of selling spirits, and when asked by the police for their certificate, a line from Mr Mackay, Innkeeper, Helmsdale, was produced by the woman, setting forth that she was Mr Mackay’s servant. The policeman asked her if the profits were Mr Mackay’s and she said they were not, that they were for her own behalf. Some of the measures were Mr Mackay’s and the spirits were bought from him. On the second day of the market a board with Mr Mackay’s name was put up over the tent for a sign. One of the policeman deponed that he knew that the woman lived in Caithness, at Badbea, with her husband, and was not in Mr Mackay’s service as a domestic. Mr Nimmo, who appeared for the defence, craved an adjournment till court the next day, when he would be able to bring Mr Mackay as a witness for the defence. The Justices agreed to adjourn the case accordingly.
The topic of whisky making in the Highlands is one for another time but suffice to say making whisky was part of the fibre of every day existence for Scots. There were a number of parliamentary interventions to impose taxes and controls on whisky but these only served to make ‘smuggling’ or illicit distilling and selling of  whisky a matter for almost the entire country. Excisemen were appointed to collect whisky taxes and catch ‘smugglers’. In reality, magistrates often imposed moderate fines and reaped their own rewards in kind. Like everyone else, the residents of Badbea had their own browsts and sold whisky, that being one of the few ways they could get cash to meet the rent demands of the Laird.
In the above report the Grants were not too bothered by the attentions of the police one day and returned to the market the next to continue selling their spirits with the connivance of the Helmsdale Innkeeper. I have not been able to access the final outcome of this case but it seems very likely that Mr Nimmo, Mr Mackay and the Justices of the Peace were all sympathetic to letting the Grants off lightly.  

We'll mak our maut, and we'll brew our drink,
We'll laugh, sing, and rejoice, man,
And mony braw thanks to the meikle black deil,
That danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman.

The Deil's Awa Wi' The Exciseman - Robert Burns 1792

Census 1871

The 1871 Census for Badbea shows Joseph as a crofter and Hannah his wife with family William, Joseph, Donald and Margaret living at home. Robina has left home. I have not traced her further movements. 

The Grief of the Storm

Fishing Season at Wick on a calm day
28 January 1875 and once more the newspapers carried a story about the Grants of Badbea.

The Bradford Observer, Thursday, January 28, 1875
Further reports regarding the storm of Saturday represent it as having been the severest north-westerly gale on the Caithness coast for at least a generation. At the fishing village of Badbea the sea rose to a great height, threatening the destruction of the boats, in attempting to save one of which a fisherman, named Joseph Grant, aged sixty, was struck by the sea and washed away: Two men along with him had a narrow escape, and could do nothing to save him.
Joseph’s death certificate states that when he was engaged hauling a small boat in a storm he was washed away by a wave. Judging by the death certificate, William seems to have been one of the two men mentioned who had a lucky escape. What a shocking experience for William to see his father washed away and only just escaping himself.
The photo of the coast and beach below Badbea shows how very narrow the beach was. Huge waves in a storm would leave absolutely no place to run to. Poor Hannah was now widowed with not even her husband’s body to lay to rest alongside his son. Wretchedly, the drowning of fishermen was only too common an occurrence on the coast of the Moray Firth.

Black Sunday Wick

More Grief - Margaret's Death

There was a strong tradition that the sons of fishermen follow in their father’s footsteps but unsurprisingly the sons of Joseph Grant did not.
Source: Badbea in Retrospect
John O Groat Journal 22 July, 1977
There was not enough to live on at the tiny Badbea croft for the family growing up and rent still to be paid. One commentator gives some figures for the rent Joseph Grant was paying but does not give the source of these figures. Apparently this croft land was not made available for any other tenants but was taken into the land grazed by the Ausdale farm. Joseph Grant had lived at Badbea for about 30 years and Hannah not much less.
Shortly after the death of Joseph, Hannah gave up the croft, left Badbea and took the family to live in Edinburgh. How plucky of her.  But again this move was not without a terrible cost.  The perils of crowded city living where serious diseases easily spread were real. Margaret caught Typhoid Fever.  On Saturday night, 27 October 1877 at 9.30 p.m. 15 year old Margaret died.

Typhoid, also known as enteric fever, is a serious infectious bacterial disease. It spreads through contaminated food and water supplies and close contact with others who are infected. It is dreadful way to die.

 Margaret’s address was shown as 46 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh. Brother William was not present at her death but he signed his little sister’s death certificate. Yet again poor mother Hannah Grant has suffered an inconsolable loss.

Census 1881

The 1881 census shows things stabilising and looking better for the Grants. They are living in St Cuthberts, Edinburgh.  Hannah, shown as a widow and Formerly a Farmer’s Wife has her sons, all unmarried, with her. Happily the boys have got work. William is now a Police Constable, Joseph a Mason and Donald a Joiner. In true Caithness style they are all shown as Gaelic speakers.

Census 1891

The 1891 census, Hannah aged 68, has moved to St Andrews, Edinburgh with her son Donald. He is still single and is working as a shop fitter and joiner. Donald states he is an employer and the house has six rooms each with a window so his circumstances look quite comfortable for himself and his mother Hannah. They are both shown as Gaelic and English speakers.
Hannah would always have carried invisible weights with her from the heartbreaking accidental death of John her first born son, her husband Joseph being swept out to sea in a storm, his body never found and Margaret her youngest daughter dying of Typhoid in Edinburgh.

Hannah died in Edinburgh in 1894. The cause of death is given as Chronic Bronchitus, Age and Debility. Hannah was only 64 but must have aged with all the troubles that had beset her. It seems likely that either Robina, Joseph or Donald was looking after Hannah. Policeman William had moved to Galashiels in the Scottish Borders but was present with his mother when she died so must have been called to her bedside by one or more of his siblings. William who had witnessed his father Joseph's death, would have been present to bury his brother John and his sister Margaret also did the right thing for his mother Hannah when her time came. That speaks of family solidarity despite all. 
Joseph Grant and his family will always be remembered on the Badbea Monument.