Of smuggling and press-gangs

“A considerable degree of acuteness and shrewdness is observed among the population”, wrote the Rev Peter Jolly in 1840, describing his flock in the parish of Canisbay, Caithness. Walter Ross, my x 3 grandfather, had lately been one of them. Walter – in outline He was born on 17 August 1786, the son of Hugh  |  more…

There’s more to tinned fruit than meets the eye

“He was a charming man”, said Agnes Ross to her grand-daughter. Who was she taking about? None other than Al Capone! So how did Agnes (1891-1983 née MacKenzie), an island girl from Stornoway, Lewis, come to meet the famous gangster? The link is her husband, Andrew Ross, first cousin of my grandfather, John. Andrew Ross  |  more…

Colour blind

Hugh Ross. I only needed to mention that name and my father would say something along the lines of: “He was colour blind so he never passed out higher than bosun.” Hugh (1849-1927) was his great uncle, an older brother of his grandfather, John, both children of Upper Seatter, North Walls, Orkney. Documentary evidence With  |  more…

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