Patrick Brawley – 1873-1876 & Matthew Brawley 1875-1876

Patrick and Matthew Brawley were the 7th and 8th children of my great great grandparents, James Brawley and Sarah McLauglan.  Both boys were born in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Patrick was born on 31 May 1873 and Matthew on 23 January 1875.  Tragically both little boys died within days of each other in 1876. The cause of death was scarlet fever.  They are buried in St Peter’s Cemetery in Glasgow.

Matthew and Patrick Death

The reason that their story strikes close to home is that exactly 100 years later in 1976  I had scarlet fever.  The summer of 1976 is remembered in Scotland as particularly hot and sunny.  My only memories of having this illness is of being stuck at home while my sisters were out playing in the sunshine.  I don’t remember being particularly ill and I don’t know how long it lasted but the point is that after a short spell of treatment I was absolutely fine and ready to go back to school after the summer holidays.

Sarah was pregnant when her babies died.  She gave birth to another son, Matthew in January 1877.  In May 1884 her 10th and final child Patrick was born.  It seemed strange to me that she gave them the names of her other children and in a way replace them but that was the tradition then it seems.  Patrick and Matthew were so young when they died that they don’t really feature in any records.  I can’t know what little personalities they had or how their deaths impacted on the family.

There are many times when researching my family tree when I am grateful for the lives we have nowadays but none more so than when I found out about these two wee souls.  I do get quite emotional thinking about them.

4 thoughts on “Patrick Brawley – 1873-1876 & Matthew Brawley 1875-1876

  1. Great post! I found the part of using the names of the dead children for the siblings very interesting because the same tradition occurred in my great grandmother’s family. My great grandmother was named Elizabeth McGowan. She actually had an elder sibling also named Elizabeth. Their mother was pregnant with my great grandmother, when the first Elizabeth, died at the age of 3. I had always imagined that my great, great grandmother must have been very devastated by the loss, and then named her newborn daughter after the deceased child. This family had also lived in Greenock Scotland for several years before immigrating to the United States and settling in Philadelphia, PA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Patricia. Initially the names caused great confusion as I had a Patrick Brawley born in 1873 appearing in later census records with age details that didn’t match. Maybe using the same names was a way of honouring their memory but it does seem like the two wee boys were replaced. From what you say this may just be a Scottish thing.


  2. That’s quite a coincidence that you had scarlet fever 100 years after your great great grandmother’s two little boys died from it. Poor little things. I had scarlet fever when I was 4 or 5 years old–about 1956 or 1957. It was the one time I remember our pediatrician making a house call. I clearly remember feeling terrible. My mother put me on the couch in the living room because I didn’t want to let her out of my sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: James Brawley 1866-1955 – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #16 | Shaking The Branches

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