- (Witness) Residence: Agnes Fisher Conway lived at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland; Kilwinning is described in a directory published by Pigot & Co in 1837 as … an ancient and thriving little manufacturing town … 24 miles from Glasgow, 3 nw of Irvine, 4 ne of Saltcoats, the like distance s of Dalry, 10 nw of Kilmarnock and 5 from Ardrossan; situate on rising ground about 2 miles from the sea; stretching westward from the right bank of the Garnock, and approached through long ambrageous paths, skirted by beautiful fields. It consists chiefly of one street and bye-lanes, with a few rows of modern houses. The weaving and manufacture of gauzes, muslins, shawls, etc are carried on, to an important extent, for the Glasgow and Paisley markets, to which they are conveyed by the local agents. The agricultural produce of the parish is likewise considerable; and coals, which are obtained in abundance, are conveyed by a railway passing from east to west across the parish. …
Kilwinning was the first place in Scotland where free masonry was established; it is said to have been introduced by the foreign architect who was employed in erecting the monastery here. The abbey is thought to have been built about 1140. Briefly, free masonry is accepted as having been born out of the guilds of craftsmen of the middle ages, in particular the masons. A mason often had to travel the length of the county to seek work. He had to prove his rank and ability to his prospective employer. This he did by showing that he was in possession of certain secrets that he had learnt from his guild.
The Statistical Account written by the Rev. Archibald Blair Campbell in April 1842 describes Kilwinning in great ecclesiastical detail, but includes gems such as (describing the population of around 630 families in the town): There are three individuals deaf and dumb in the parish, two fatuous, and two blind. … There is no smuggling. Poaching is carried on to a small extent. He continues: The male inhabitants of Kilwinning are chiefly employed in weaving and mining; the females in sewing. The only individuals found necessary for keeping the peace are one of the county police and a sheriff-officer. … Formerly there were several stagecoaches, which passed through Kilwinning to Glasgow and other places, but they have all given up since the opening of the Glasgow and Ayr Railway, about two years ago, which affords the greatest facilities, both for travelling and the conveyance of goods, and farm produce.
He is highly critical of the 27 licensed Inns or Alehouses in the parish – Their effect on the morals of the people, especially the miners and inhabitants of the town, is of the most pernicious description. In his conclusion he observes The inhabitants are, we believe, more industrious than they were towards the end of last century; but they are more extravagant both in regard to their clothing and mode of living, and it is to be feared, less contented with their circumstances. … The desire for luxuries is, in many instances, too prevalent, and a want of prudence, foresight, and economy, often appears. The inhabitants of the parish, in general, are intelligent and well informed, and many of them are exemplary in the discharge of all the duties of their station.1,2
- Birth*: She was born on 4 September 1872 at Station Cottage, Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland; 1872 births in the parish of Kilwinning in the county of Ayr; ref 212; Agnes Fisher Conway; 1872 September Fourth 11h 0m am, Station Coittage Kilwinning; f; James Conway railway porter, Agnes Conway ms Fisher, 1861 June 7th Troon; James Conway father present; 1870 September 14th at Kilwinning John Service registrar.3
- She was the daughter of James Conway and Agnes McKenzie Fisher.
- (Witness) Event-Misc: Agnes Fisher Conway was present when James Conway and Agnes McKenzie Fisher were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 7 June 1911 at Mathers Hotel, Dundee, Angus, Scotland.4
- (Witness) Event-Misc: Agnes Fisher Conway was present when James Conway and Agnes McKenzie Fisher were celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on 8 June 1921 at Masonic Hall, Cupar, Fife, Scotland.4
- Newspaper Article*: Agnes Fisher Conway and James Conway were mentioned in a newspaper article A DIAMOND WEDDING.
Mr and Mrs James Conway, of Blebo Craigs, Cupar, in Scotland, are proud recipients of a congratulatory letter from the King on the occasion of their diamond wedding. The happy couple, who still enjoy the best of health, were married in Troon, Ayrshire, on June 7, 1861. Mr and Mrs Conway have a family of nine, one of whom, the Rev. John Conway, is the minister of Cranbrook Road Presyterian Church, Redland. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Mr and Mrs Conway number 29, and at a family gathering to mark the occasion on Wednesday last the parents were presented witha wallet of Treasury notes. on 14 June 1921.5
- (Deceased) Death*: Agnes Fisher Conway died on 12 February 1939 at Royal Infirmary, Dundee, Angus, Scotland, at age 66.
- Newspaper Article*: She was mentioned in a newspaper article CONWAY - Suddenly, on 12th February, Agnes Fisher Conway, daughter of the late James and Agnes Conway, Blebo Craigs, Cupar on 13 February 1939.6
- Newspaper Article: She was mentioned in a newspaper article CONWAY - Suddenly, on 12th February, Agnes Fisher Conway, daughter of the late James and Agnes Conway, Blebo Craigs, Cupar. on 15 February 1939.7
- (Witness) Note for Web: She and Agnes McKenzie Fisher, Marion McKenzie Conway, John Conway, William Fisher Conway, Jeannie Conway, Elizabeth Conway, James Conway, Janet Meney Conway, Samuel Meney Conway and Robert Fisher McKenzie Conway was mentioned with Mary Fisher Conway in 1983. From the pen of Marion C Miller (1983) :
Under the Rose
'Under the rose, Kate, under the rose', my great aunt Mary would frequently whisper to my mother. Many years were to elapse before I understood that information imparted subrosa (under the rose) was only intended for tried, tested and trustworthy ears. At the advance of avid young listeners, X-certificate conversation would come to an abrupt halt. My great aunt would suck her teeth back into their normal position with a sharp, resounding and final click. As age had withered her fuselage, the teeth no longer fitted snugly into the contours of her mouth. With the porcelain in position she was quite unable to chew. Always allocated prime position next to my father at the head of the table, she removed her teeth just after grace and before demolition commenced. She was not given to secreting her discarded treasures in the folds of her lavender-laced handkerchief. No ... she was a forthright sort of person. Her teeth, both sets, were planted on her side plate where they glared relentlessly at my father, assaulting his appetite and inducing temporary anorexia.
There was no wine at table in my childhood, and glasses for water or lemonade were only in evidence on high occasions. There was always a glass of water for great aunt Mary. No ... she didn't drink it ... but she liked to rinse her teeth before returning them to the ill fitting aperture, when the repast was over.
At that time we thought she must be very old, but she was in fact still in her lively seventies and had many a tale to tell. She had been an upper crust 'howdie' before trained midwives were commonplace. Entering the homes of the renowned and rich prior to the event, she supervised the birthing process, hurrying the event along with her own secret concoction of raspberry leaf tea. She would remain in residence for at least a month after delivery and often for much longer. If her departure was at all delayed there was every chance that there would be another child on the way soon to guarantee her continued employment.
Great aunt Mary liked to dress in black and indeed it showed off her pure white hair to greatest advantage. She also used her sombre dresses as a backcloth against which she could display her many swinging chains of beads, multi-coloured neckerchiefs, and large brooches set with precious or semi-precious stones, all donated by thankful parents.
'When I was with Sir Andrew and Lady X', she would commence and you knew you were about to have a glimpse of life in a society in which you were never likely to mingle. She had been accustomed to a life of refinement, but she was wiling to share her treasured memories with those in humbler circumstances. But she was not all prim and proper. She loved a party and she could jangle her beads in a neat-ankled Charleston which left mouth agape. Nowadays she would have been accorded the title of 'great old swinger'.
If we thought she was old, what of the ancient monument? Her mother was still alive and maintained in a state of semi preservation by another spinster daughter in a rambling house in the country. My great grandmotther was open for viewing between the hours of 3 and 4pm. The old lady was like a mechanical toy which had seen better days, there being residual movement in her head, one arm and those searching piercing eyes where ambition still flickered. She might be dessicated almost mummified, but when her hand beckoned from within the folds of her many shawls the recipient of the gesture approached with a degree of trepidiation and a touch of reverence.
The eyes below the lace-capped head would search for evidence of her genetic contribution. These eyes had seen a lot of life. The offshoot of an immigrant Irish family fleeing from the potato famine she had been fortunate to find work as a "tweenie" in an Ayrshire mansion. Crossed with my great grandfather of similar peasant origin she was to produce a brood of thirteen children of whom nine survived. The unashamed ambition which hovered behind her eyelids had seen three of her sons launched into the ordained ministry. In her lifetime she had seen the strength of her genetic contribution raise her descendants from menial tasks in the dusty mills to solid middle class. As she started to fadde into insignificance heer off shoots embraced the church, the law, medicine and commerce. She missed her hundredth birthday and her royal telegram only by a short head. If she knew her great great grandson whilst still a schoolboy had been selected because of his inate talent in communication to sit next to a royal prince at a private dinner ... she would have been pleased, but not I think surprised. I doubt whether she would have subscribed to the theory that the stars govern your fate ... I think she knew that she handed something on ... and if it's the blarney ... it's genetically dominant.
What was it that reminded me of great aunt Mary ... it was a word association! It's quite a popular party game but the technique is also used by psychiatrists to probe the mysteries of the mind. You may reveal too much by a straight swift answer, so I always allow the word to linger in my cerebral pathways until multiple cross connections have suitably disguised my tortuous mental process.
I know ... I was in the kitchen waiting for the beans to heat. Lovely to think that the good old 57s are enjoying a comeback in the high fibre diet. The radio was muttering away in the background, but I heard only one word 'ROOTS'. My first thought was teeth, because that canine has been knawing away for months, then followed swiftly the thought of origins and ancestors ... finally there was the closing snap reminiscent of gnashing dentures and my brain had solved the equation Roots + Teeth = Great Aunt Mary.
Sometime I must sweep some more of the dust from my cerebral computer and write more of my forebears ... or is it all too confidential? Could I perhaps just whisper it to a few of my friends ... 'Under the rose' of course.8
- [S49] Website Web Site online (www.) http://www.ayrshireroots.com/Towns/Kilwinning/Kilwinning%201837.htm
- [S49] Website Web Site online (www.) http://stat-acc-scot.edina.ac.uk/sas/sas.asp/?monospace=&twoup=&nohighlight=&account=2&transcript=&session-id=0e6ad3fbea8061a21f0cb372871b1e9b&naecache=5&accountrec=4685&navbar=&action=publicdisplay&parish=Kilwinning&county=Ayrshire&pagesize=
- [S14] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS statutory births 599/00 0212 [Jul 2010].
- [S4] James Conway - Agnes McKenzie Fisher, Autograph Book, 7 Jun 1911 & 1921, PC Carson, 2 Gillburn Road, Dundee, Scotland, Golden Wedding & Diamond Wedding Autograph Book.
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) Newspaper & Periodicals 1921-06-14 Western Daily Press, Bristol [Oct 2015].
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) Newspaper & Periodicals 1939-02-13 Dundee Courier [Oct 2015].
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) Newspaper & Periodicals 1939-02-15 Fife Herald [Oct 2015].
- [S33] Interview , MCM Copyright 1983.
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), FHL Film 0203484 GRO ref vol 282-3 EnumDist 20 page 45.
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS census 1891 Civil Parish of Dundee, Parish of Rosebank, 6th Burgh Ward of Dundee; 11 Dons Road; [Jun 2004].
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS census 1901 [Jun 2004].
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS census 1911 282/01 017/00 007 [Apr 2011].
Agnes Fisher Conway
Mother*: Agnes McKenzie Fisher b. 14 Mar 1842, d. 14 Dec 1938
Carson, Jane c 1790 descendants
Conway, Hugh c 1780 descendants
Fisher, Charles c1765 descendants
Maitland, Agnes c1766 descendants
McConnell, Helen c1765 descendants
McKenzie, Robert c1770 descendants
McWilliam, William c1765 descendants
Pollock, Marion c1770 descendants
Waugh, James c1790 descendants