David Russell Dickson 1864-1941

David Russell Dickson was my 2nd great uncle. His brother, Livingston was my paternal grandmother’s father.

I am writing about him today having stumbled over his obituary which gives me way more information about the man than I would find in the usual birth, death and marriage records.

Starting from the beginning though, David was born in Bothwell, Lanarkshire on 28 March 1864. He was the fourth of six sons born to Thomas Adams Dickson and Ann Shaw Russell.

A coal mining family, the Dicksons lived for a number of years in the Old Monkland area where boys started their time in the mines as young as 11. By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved to Wishaw and David was working as a pit labourer.

On 31 October 1885 David married Janet Naismith Reid and the couple went on to have 9 children between 1886 and 1899.

The 1891 census shows the family living at 33 Scotts Row, Berryhill, Wishaw and David is recorded as an Engineman (Stationary).

By 1901 he is an engineer living at Muir House, Moore’s Land. Eldest son Thomas is also bringing in a wage as a crane driver despite being only 15 years old.

Janet died in 1906. David went on to remarry in 1915. His second wife, Wilhelmina Ritchie died in 1934.

That is as much as I could find from the records. There are some war records showing that his sons (or at least some) went to war.

On his death record we can see that he died in Motherwell of a tumour and that his occupation is recorded as electrician.

Finding his obituary tells me about how he lived his life.

He was heavily involved in football and was a respected referee. Refereeing at Hibs and Hearts games would’ve been a pretty big deal.

He was an electrician for the local authority for 26 years and his obituary speaks to his “faithful service “.

I like too that it speaks to his character as a kind and decent man and to his service at the Old Mens Club where he held the office of secretary.

I’m particular interested in his involvement with Freemasonry which is something I know very little about. I wonder if this was a family thing and if my great grandfather might also have been involved. I have passed the Lodge St Mary many times without really having noticed it but I now wonder if it was a significant place in my family history.

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