- James, born in Largs 1856 (my direct ancestor)
- Agnes 1857 born in Paisley
- Malcolm 1861 born in Largs
- Robert 1863 born in Paisley
- Alexander 1865 in Ardrossan
- Thomas 1868 in Paisley
- Walter 1871 in Largs
- John 1874 in Paisley
- Mary 1876 in Paisley
Elizabeth Grieve was born in 1835, so was quite a bit younger than Alexander. The 1861 census shows that Alexander was a coachman but by 1871 he was a gardener in the Paisley area, living at 2, Stock Street which still stands and is a street of sandstone tenements.
By the 1891 census, Alexander must had died and Elizabeth was living at 1, Union St. Paisley with her children, Agnes, John and Mary and also her nephew Thomas Grieve, who was visiting at the time of the census. Elizabeth is listed as a poultry keeper. The houses on Union Street are now all gone, replaced with high-rise flats.
Their son James Dickie, b. 1856 in Largs is my great, great grandfather. In 1875, when he was 19, he married Helen McFarlane, b. 1857 in Paisley. In 1871 when the family were living in Stock Street, James was 15 years old and his occupation is listed as a scourer, that means he washed raw wool by hand with either soap or urine before processing. This makes sense as Paisley was the heart of the weaving industry in Scotland at that time and a young lad would start working at the most menial task.
As James turned 25 years old in 1881 he was living at 8, Stevenson St., in Paisley with his young wife and his one month old baby daughter, Agnes Dickie, my great granny. James had now followed in his father's footsteps and was also a gardener.
By 1991, the family had moved to Beith. James was still employed as a gardener and he now had two more children, James and Elizabeth. By 1901 the family had grown again with the births of Ellen, John and Alexander. James senior died on 20th November 1913 at the age of 57.
I know that my great granny was a French polisher in Beith before her marriage to Robert Ballantyne in the Lesser Templer's Hall, Beith on 29th July 1904 and her move to Stewarton. Together they had had 5 children; 4 sons and one daughter.
Walter b. 1904 - my grandfather
James b. 1906
Thomas b. 1908
Robert b. 1910
What became of Agnes' siblings?
Alexander sailed off to New York in 1921 and by 1925, he and his wife Mary had two children, Barbara and James. By 1930 they had two more daughters, Muriel and Eleanor and Alexander is working as a furniture polisher.
In 1940, the family were living in Norwood, Bergen, New Jersey. Alexander was still a furniture polisher and Barbara, their eldest daughter, was a clerk at a drug company. In 1942 at the age of 47 years, Alexander signed up with the U.S. Army. His registration card gives interesting information about his appearance. He was 5'9" tall and 145lbs with brown hair, blue eyes and a ruddy complexion. Most interestingly he had a heart tattoo on both his right and left forearms.. The card also shows that his brother James was also living in Norwood, New Jersey.
James also received his draft papers to join the US Army even though he was 51 years old. His description shows that he was 5'10.5" and 175lbs. He had blue eyes, a light complexion and was bald. At this time, he was living at 55, Theodore St., Chicopee Falls, Hampden, Massachusetts.
James married Mary Simpson Barrie on 6th December 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He signed up, aged 24, for active service in WW1 in Canada on 23 September 1914. His registration papers state that he had already served in the 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers. His occupation at that time was listed as carpenter.
James and Mary had one son, Douglas Dickie, b. 1926 in Massachusetts. Douglas enlisted for one year in the US Army on 10 November 1945 in California and was given the rank of corporal. His civil occupation is listed as clergyman. In 1993 at the age of 68, he was living in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Somehow, John managed to sign up for the army again but sadly, he was killed in action on 30 July 1916 in Flanders, France. He fought with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusilliers and is buried at the Thiepval War Cemetry, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.