About 10 months of searching --

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lynne smith
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:58 am

About 10 months of searching --

Post by lynne smith » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:40 pm

My husband's grandfather John Barclay Smith, was murdered by Joseph Hume who was convicted and hung in 1908.This was kept secret until my husbands father told members of the family on his deathbed that his father had been murdered when he was 4 yrs old, he had not even told his wife in all the years of their marriage. After months of research I was able to find the name of the killer, that he lived in Lhanbryd, as did the victim. I found that the execution took place only 3 weeks after the conviction, that Hume was sentenced to death by Lord Kincaid-Mackenzie at the High Court of Justiciary, Aberdeen. I found that grandfather John was a road contractor. Hume was executed at Inverness prison on March 5, 1909. The rope that was used was procured 19 years earlier for a person who's conviction was changed to life. The executioner was Pierpont, and the event took place at Inverness Prison. All this bit by bit, but what we all really wanted to know what happend. Last evening I was fooling around with the computer seeing if could find anything else, when I remembered reading someone's advise to focus on the name of the victim, it works better. So that I what I did. I keyed in John Barclay Smith, victim Lhanbryde and I got the following copy of words from what seems to be a monthly newspaper:

October 3, 1907. "Sunday it was learned that a murder had been committed in Lhanbryd with John B. Smith being the victim. Mr. Smith who worked at roadwork and came originally from Aberdeenshire lived in a ground-floor flat in a house near to the railway station in the village. It was the family upstairs who reported an odd smell coming from the downstairs flat to the police. They found the door locked and when they broke in they found the victim lying on his bed with his head smashed in by a heavy mash hammer found lying near to the bed. It is believed that the murder must have taken place either on Tuesday or Wednesday. A number of suspicious characters have been arrested in Keith, Elgin and elsewhere but the police are not sure that they have the assailant who could possibly have got a berth on a fishing boat as a fireman and sailed for the English fishing."

It was a strange feeling finally finding out what happened. It felt peaceful, I thought if I ever found what took place what great joy, but it just felt peaceful. Now the other mystery, grandfather's son was born in 1898, so does that mean he left the family in 1902 or so - because this paper is dateed 1907. Could he have just been renting a room while doing road construction? The other thing I learned was that he was a road contractor. Does this ever end?

Russell
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Location: Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire
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Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by Russell » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:28 pm

Hi Lynne
Although tragic the event was far enough removed from your generation to not have a severe emotional impact but there is a real satisfaction in piecing together a story. Sometimes with an event like this there is much more out there just waiting to be unearthed but stumbling on the right words to bring it to the surface may take quite a while. I hope you find more of the story and appreciate you sharing it with us.
We have some super sleuths on the board who will, I'm sure, take great pleasure in helping you ferret out more information.
I'm amazed that someone can keep a secret like that for a lifetime.

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

LesleyB
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Location: Scotland

Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by LesleyB » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Hi Lynne

I'd think that with a crime of this type and the following trial, there would be a reasonable amount of reporting of both events in local newspapers, where it may be possible to find a little more detail to fill in some of the background. You may already know, but if it were me, I'd be wanting to know WHY it happened...did the two men know each other? What were the circumstances leading up to the deed?

And no, it never ends. Every answer I find raises about six new questions... :roll:

Best wishes
Lesley

AndrewP
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Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by AndrewP » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:46 pm

Hi Lynne,

The murder, the search, the arrest, the trial and the execution made it to The Scotsman as 8 articles on 7 dates from 30 September 1907 to 05 March 1908. The main reports were as follows. Body found 29-Sep. Report of police having a photograph of the suspect 12-Oct. Arrested in Stirling 23-Oct. Report of court date set 11-Dec. Report of scaffold prepared 05-Mar.

The murderer looked like a vagrant and was a deserter from the HLI. The victim was living away from his wife and family and had been seen drunk on various occasions.

All the best,

AndrewP

lynne smith
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:58 am

Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by lynne smith » Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:03 am

Thankyou Russell, I am glad we are far enough removed, but I have learned how difficult this type of thing must be for immediate families. I am amazed also that this was kept so quiet. I could not keep quiet for five minutes, but perhaps that was grandfather John's way of dealing with it all.
Thank you to you also Leslie, we do want to know more detail of the circumstances, and it looks like I will get a head start on what will be the last phase of this search because Andrew has already given some very detailed advise and information. Thank you Andrew, I had some information from three local type papers in and around the area of the murder, but could not figure what other papers there would be. It was confusing to me that more involved information was not given in those papers, so thank you for your experience, I'll go into The Scotsman as advised, thank you thank you, thank you!!
I have also ordered a book from the library called Scottish executions that I was advised about the other day, so that will be interesting.


Now if I can just figure out who the father of James Smith b. 1774 !!!!

Lynne Smith

andy yule
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by andy yule » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:05 pm

Hi Lynne,

What a surprise I got the other day when I googled John Barclay Smith and your story came up. It seems we are family, JBS would have been my Great Grandfather. I believe my dad is your husbands cousin.
Dad told me this story a few years ago as he'd heard it from his mother Agnes Isabella Smith. She too had kept it to herself until the latter days of her life. At the time we did some digging on the net and found a few articles about it. Also have information about a precognition against Joseph Hume held by the Scottish National Archive. (Possibly the case report itself).
Don't know how far you got with your research but would be very interested to hear.

For you information, Agnes Isabella married Alexander Yule (died 1965) and had seven children of whom six are surviving.

Francis
Alexander (Died 2010?)
Margaret
Bertha
Rosemary
Dorothy
Alan (Dad)

Hope to hear from you,

Andy Yule

SarahND
Site Admin
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Location: USA

Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by SarahND » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:46 pm

Hello Andy and Welcome to Talking Scot!
Lynne was last on the forum in September, but she should get a notification that her topic has had a new post, so let's hope she gets back to you soon! Wonderful that you have found a "new" connection :D

All the best,
Sarah

lynne smith
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:58 am

Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by lynne smith » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:52 am

Oh, my goodness ! I am so excited, never, ever, did I think I would hear from family. I have all the court documents, birth certificates, etc. and much more regarding the murder of ggrandfather John Barclay Smith. I have a photograph of his gravestone, and everything. I also found the information on James Smith, and that was quite the doing. We lost our son last February, and I have just not been doing much of anything. Bob, my husband, your cousin read your note, and said to me "you had better not lose this, I want to be in touch". Let me settle down and think. I am so grateful to Frances who sent the email ! What a special thing for us. This is the other half of the family...and as those who are reading this, Bob's father was not the only one that kept this tradgedy a secret, so did his sister. I also traced grandmother Smith's background, and she had been married previous and had 2 children, a boy and a girl. Their father died of a lung ailment, was a farmer. I just have a lot of history that is very interesting. We have an email address, but I don't know if I can give you that, but trust me, I will figure out a way to be in touch. I will look into how to send you a private message through Talking Scot.

Lynne

Russell
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Location: Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire
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Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by Russell » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:21 am

Hi Lynne

Sending a confidential message through TalkingScot is dead easy. Just click on the PM button on Andy's post and you can send what is, in effect a totally confidential e-mail so that you and Andy can exchange e-mail addresses which will allow you to swap files, photos and any larger files.

This is the kind of situation that TalkingScot is all about. Linking families. We get almost as much of a buzz as you have had :D

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

Alan SHARP
Posts: 610
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:41 pm
Location: Waikato, New Zealand

Re: About 10 months of searching --

Post by Alan SHARP » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:44 pm

Hi Lynne.

Great to see you on the board again. Great that you have even more info to share with those two boys. Sincerely hope that they and their Mother, are doing just fine, and that getting out and about again, was the right thing to do. [25/8/10]

Alan SHARP

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