M, #8030, b. circa 1782, d. 22 April 1855
- (Witness) Note for Web: Henry Grubb and William Johnston, Christina Grubb, Janet Forgan, Lewis Johnston, Helen Grubb, Euphemia Stewart, Jessie Johnston, Agnes Barrie Johnston, Margaret Woods Johnston, Christina Johnston, Euphemia Stewart Johnston, Isabella Thomson Black Johnston, Georgina Keir Paterson Johnston, Andrew McGlashan, Henry McGlashan, Janet McGlashan and Robert McGlashan was mentioned with William Johnston. Facts and Hypothesis re William Johnston born about 1848 who says his parents are William Johnston, shipwright, and Christina Grubb:
From various records one could assume that William is born about 1848 in either Fife – maybe Crail, maybe St Andrews – or Dundee. All these possibilities have been explored in the name of Johnson, Jonsen, Johnston(e) and variants; and Grubb without finding a birth/baptism that fits.
On the 30th March 1851 census there is a 4-year-old child recorded as William Normand living in St Andrews with Henry Grubb and his wife Janet Forgan and who is described as ‘Grandson’ and born in Crail, Fife. No marriage between a Grubb and Normand can be found, and no William Normand was recorded as born/baptised in Scotland in the time frame. So a query exists that this might be William Johnston. But there are likely to be other grandsons who could fit this description. But no other William Johnson or Grubb that fits the profile.
On the 7th April 1861 census William is declared as 'nephew' aged 13 with Lewis Johnston as head and Helen Grubb as wife, who are living in Fish Street Dundee. William is described as a mill worker born in St Andrews Fife. So William is nephew to whom? It should be stated as relative to the head of the house - Lewis Johnston. Or is it his wife, Helen? Christina Grubb is Helen’s younger sister. Is she William’s mother? Does Lewis Johnston have a brother named William? – Not found.
On the 2nd April 1871 census William Johnston is found boarding at 7 Keys Close (which is at 18 Nethergate) Dundee, with Elizabeth Morrison as head of the household. William states he is born Dundee, aged 22 and working as a brewer.
On his marriage three weeks after the census night, on 24 April 1871, William Johnston signs his name and states his parents as William Johnston, shipwright & Christina Grubb, his address as 18 Nethergate Dundee (see census above), his age as 22 and his occupation as bottler.
On informing of Lewis Johnston's death in 1878, William states he is nephew and his address is 27 Overgate, Dundee. William also states Lewis’ parents as Ormond Johnston, a ploughman, and Euphemia Pratt – no information about this couple or any other similar Johnston family can be found.
When his 4th daughter (of 7) is born in March 1881, she is named Christina – but this is not an uncommon name of the time.
On the April 1881 census William states he is 34, and iron work labourer and born Dundee.
In 1886, on birth of twin daughters, William is living at 27 Overgate, states his occupation as marine stoker and his marriage date as 24 April 1871.
On the April 1891 census William states he is 46, born Dundee and occupied as a fireman.
But on his death in 1899, William's wife Euphemia Stewart states his occupation as builder’s donkey engineman, his age as 51 and his parents are Lewis Johnston, seaman, and Helen Grubb. (Because they raised him?)
On his wife’s death in 1913, his eldest daughter Jessie, says that he was a merchant seaman – but she also records her mother’s age as 49, when she was probably about 62.
So who to believe?
If Christina Grubb was Wiiliam’s mother – how would that look?
Christina Grubb was born about 1828 (no birth/bapt found, but other records suggest this)
If William is born about 1847/8, then Christina would be aged about 19/20.
Christina marries Andrew McGlashan in January 1849 in Liverpool. Christina is probably aged 21.
Christina and Andrew have a son, Robert McGlashan, who is born in Dundee in August 1950.
The family are recorded in March 1851 in Fish Street Dundee. Christina’s age is stated as 22, Robert as under 1 year.
Christina and Andrew have a daughter, Janet, in November 1852 in Dundee.
When both Christina’s parents die within months of each other in 1855, Christina’s age is recorded on both occasions as 27.
The next time this family is found is in Australia when a headstone in Geelong Eastern Cemetery records Christina’s death in May 1885, aged 57, along with Andrew McGlashan, aged 74, in 1891 and a son, Henry, aged 28, in February 1886. In the absence of records, it is presumed that the family emigrated about 1853.
It could be hypothesised that Christina Grubb, sister of Helen Grubb, and William Johnson, brother of Lewis, are the parents of William Johnston born about 1848 and that he was probably born in Dundee, probably whilst Christina was staying with her sister Helen and brother-in-law Lewis.
Further – Christina marries far away from home in Liverpool, but returns to Dundee to live and have her family – at least for a while. In 1851 Christina is living close by to her sister Helen in Fish Street Dundee. Helen has only one surviving child at this time – Jessie – three others have died in infancy, followed by another two who do not survive after 1851. It would make sense for Helen to take in her sister’s child – William Johnston – especially when Christina and her husband emigrate to Australia.
Extensive research has produced nothing to support any of this suppostition.
- Birth*: Henry Grubb was born circa 1782 at Crail, Fife, Scotland.1
- (Groom) Marriage*: He married Janet Forgan, daughter of Andrew Forgan and Helen Ramsay, circa 1808.1
- (Informant) Death: Henry Grubb registered the death of Janet Forgan on 26 January 1855 at Market Street, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland; 1855 deaths in the burgh of St Andrews in the county of Fife registered by John Sorley regsitrar, ref 13; Forgan, Janet or Grubb, female aged 72 years, born Crail Fifeshire 45 years in St Andrews, parents Andrew Forgan wheelwright (dec) & Forgan maiden name Agnes Honeyman (dec), married to Henry Grubb shoemaker, issue 1 George 45 dec, 2 Jess 43, 3 Helen 35, 4 Henry 33, 5 Andrew 31, 6 Christian 27, Allison 24; died January Twenty Sixth 7h 50m am, died at Market Street St Andrews, cause pleurisy for 4 days as certified by Thomas Malcolm surgeon who saw deceased January 25th 1855, buried in the Burial Ground of St Andrews as certified by David Scott sexton, signed Henry Grubb + his mark husband, signed John Ba...ry, Catherine W ... witnesses, regsitered 1855 January 29th at St Andrews signed John Sorley registrar.2
- (Deceased) Death*: Henry Grubb died on 22 April 1855 at Market Street, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, 1855 deaths in the burgh of St Andrews in the county of Fife registered by John Sorley registrar, ref 35; Grubb, Henry, shoemaker, male aged 72 years, born parish of Crail county of Fife, 45 years in St Andrews, parents William Grubb gardener (dec) and Helen Grubb maiden name Ramsay (dec), wife Janet Grubb maiden names Forgan (dec), issue 1. George dec at 40 in 1850, 2. Jess aged 43, 3. Helen 35, 4. Henry 33, 5. Andrew 31, 6. Christina 27, 7. Allison 24; died 1855 April Twenty first (scored out & 'second' inserted) 8h pm at Market Street St Andrews, cause confusion of the brain preceeded by a fall backwards down his stairs, 1 day, as certified by Thomas Malcolm surgeon who saw deceased April 22nd 1855, buried Burial Ground of St Andrews as certified by David Scott sexton, informant John Ramsay Inspector of Poor, registered 1855 April 24th at St Andrews John Sorley regsitrar.1
- Newspaper Article*: He and Janet Forgan were mentioned in a newspaper article 1855 May 3, The Fife Herald, and Kinross, Strathearn, and Clackmannan Advertiser.
Melancholy Death - One of our city characters here met his end in a tragic manner, during the last ten days. Henry Grubb, aged 72, while in a state of intoxication, in endeavouring to climb the stair leading to his house in Market Street, on Saturday Week, fell and knocked in a portion of his scull. Every effort to alleviate his sufferings was made, but he died in 26 hours thereafter. Harry was, we believe, bred a shoemaker. In his younger days he was remarkably fond of rambling with his gun. One day in winter, about four years ago, hearing that a large covey of ducks were on the Eden, he ran home for his gun; his wife had lent it to a neighbour, but to appease her angry spouse, she set off and borrowed another gun for him - unfortunate borrow! The gun had been foul, and on the first discharge burst, and mangled poor Harry's left hand, and amputation was necessary. Friends got him in to keep our Shore Bridge Toll, which at that time was a public-house; here he learned tippling habits, and in course had to resign his charge. For many years he carried the mail bags betwixt St Andrews and Guard Bridge, where he met a mail gig that exchanged with him, and thus at that time was all out communication received and sent. Many stories are extant as to this branch of his business. On one occasion, after a heavy night's drinking, he started, but fell asleep at Seafield hedges. On awaking he returned to the city with the veritable bags he took away, and on the postmaster calling him drunk, gravely told him that it was himself who was drunk! Watching the clothes at the Swilcan Burn was another of the posts given him, and he has continued it up to the present season. Even this season, through some mistake, it was called through the town that he was to sit up as formerly; for which, however, he was in body quite unfit. Mrs Grubb died a few months ago. Poor Harry lived alone. His family are all married and in other places residing; some of them are sailors. For some years he has been a pauper to a small extent on the Parochial Board. on 3 May 1855.3
Last Edited: 18 Oct 2016
- [S50] Unknown subject, International Genealogical Index (IGI) (New Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland: General Record Office of Scotland), GROS Statutory Death 1855 St Andrews Fife 452/01 0035 image held [Oct 2011].
- [S50] International Genealogical Index (IGI), GROS Statutory Death 1855 St Andrews ref 453/01 0013 image held [Mar 2015].
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) The Fife Herald, and Kinross, Strathearn, and Clackmannan Advertiser [Oct 2016].
- [S9] Website Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk) Source Citation: Parish: St Andrews; ED: 4; Page: 7; Line: 1020; Roll: ; Year: 1841. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1841 Scotland Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: 1841 Scotland Census. Edinburgh, Scotland: General Register Office for Scotland. Reels 1-151. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. [Oct 2011]
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) 1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription URL of this page: http://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0018274066 [Sep 2016].
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS Census 1851 St Andrews Fife 1851 453/00 003/00 017 image held [Oct 2011].
- [S9] Website Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk) Source Citation: Parish: St Andrews; ED: 3; Page: 12; Line: 17; Roll: 994; Year: 1851. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1851 Scotland Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: Scotland. 1851 Scotland Census. Reels 1-217. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. [Oct 2011]