This page is an attempt to outline what I know about my Adam ancestry in as "readable" format as possible. Please note whereas I try to ensure that what I publish is correct, and to differentiate between what is supported by documentation etc, and what is, in my opinion, a reasonable assumption, everything should be treated with caution. IF you have come across information that you believe is relevant to your own research please either verify it independently or drop me a line to confirm its validity. Equally if believe something is incorrect, or if you wish to add any details or discuss please get in touch using the Contact Form.

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I reckon the furthest back that the Adam branch can be traced with a modicum of confidence is to the birth on 25 April 1781 of a William Adam to James Adam in Bargany in the Parish of Dailly. The event is recorded in the OPR of Dailly - "William, son lawful to James Adam, smith at Bargeny was born April 25, baptized the 27th." Unfortunately no mother's name is given. There are the births\baptisms of a further 9 children recorded to James Adam in the Old Parish Register of Dailly, but again in all cases no mothers name is recorded. (For further details of this William's parent(s) and siblings - See Appendix A)

The assumption that the aforementioned William Adam is "our" William Adam is based on the following -

On 7 May 1801 William Adam married Elizabeth Nesbit and this was recorded in the Dailly Old Parish Register - "William Adam & Elisabeth Nisbot, both in this parish were booked in order to marriage May 2nd were three proclaimed and married the 7th". Elisabeth Nesbit was probably the same Elisabeth Nisbet whose birth was recorded in the Dailly Old Parish Register on 19 March 1776 - "Elisabeth Daughter lawful to John Nisbit Servant at Killochan was born March 14th & baptized the 19th" (For further details of this Elizabeth's parent(s) and siblings - See Appendix B). The births of William and Elisabeth's first two children, Jane born\baptised 24\25 February 1802, and Margaret born\baptised 19 January 1804 are also recorded in the Old Parish Register of Dailly. Jane's OPR entry confirms William as a "shoemaker".

Sometime shortly after the birth of Margaret the family seem to have moved to Newton on Ayr, as the birth of all William and Elizabeths subsequent 5 children were recorded in the OPR of Newton on Ayr, (latterly St. Quivox and Newton). The children were - James born\baptised on 3\5 January 1806, (next step in our family history), John born\baptised on 6 March 1808, Elizabeth born\baptised on 7 April 1811, Matthew born\baptised on 8 August 1813 and Mary born\baptised on 26 July 1818. The baptisms of James, John, Elizabeth and Matthew were recorded in the OPR of Newton on Ayr, and the baptism of Mary in the Old Parish Register of St. Quivox and Newton. (For further details of the children of William Adam and Elisabeth Nesbit - See Appendix C.)

The fact that James Adam born\baptised on 3\5 January 1806 to William and Elizabeth is actually the next generation in our family tree is not immediately obvious as the records of "our" James's second marriage in 1868 and his later death certificate list his parents as "William Adam, a master shoemaker, and Margaret Kemp". That this is an error seems to be proved by the appearance of "our" James as the informant on the death certificate of a Mary Adam (married John Cuthbert) who died on 14 March 1866 in 45 King St., Glasgow. In this certificate Mary is identified as the daughter of William Adam, shoemaker, and Elisabeth Nisbet ie. the aforementioned Mary baptised 26 July 1818, recorded in the OPR of Newton on Ayr. James Adam, the informant, gives an address of 108 Hospital Street, Hutchesontown, which confirms him as "our" James as "our" James had been living at this address at least from the census of 1861 and was to get married four months later on 17 July 1866 whilst still resident at this address. Most importantly however the informant as signed the register as "James Adam - brother". This signature also matches as far as I can see the signature of "our" Janes Adam where he appears as informant on his sons later death certificates. Q.E.D!! (For thoughts as to this anomaly - See Appendix D.)

After the Napoleonic war a general downturn in trade spawned a countrywide radical movement mainly amongst artisan workers seeking action to reform an uncaring government. The gentry fearing revolutionary horrors recruited militia and the government deployed an apparatus of spies, informers and agents provocateurs to stamp out the movement. Ayr with its share of the general discontent and in common with all other Ayrshire towns had its own Radical Association. It would seem that William was involved in this movement and spoke at a major Radical meeting in Ayr in 1819. This is recounted in James Howie's "An Historical Account of the town of Ayr for the Last 50 Years, with Notable Occurrences during that time from personal recollection. Illustrated by numerous local anecdotes" on Chapter XI - Page 68. The full chapter is available for download here, or the book in its entirety can be found through Google books. The following extract from the chapter recounts the circumstances of William's involvement.

An Historical Account of the town of Ayr for the Last 50 Years, with Notable Occurrences during that time from personal recollection. Illustrated by numerous local anecdotes." by James Howie

Chapter XI - Page 68

A great County Radical Meeting had been appointed to take place at Ayr, in order to keep up the attention of the people to Reform, and forward the cause which many had thoroughly and earnestly at heart. The meeting was held in the Back Riggs, belonging to the Crosskeys Hostelry, between Wallace Street and Limmond's Wynd, bordering George Street and near to the Anti-Burgher place of meeting. Hustings had been erected, and every means adopted to give prominence to the speakers. Large bands of Radicals from Kilmarnock, Tarbolton, Mauchline, Stewarton, and other parts of the county, arrived at the place of meeting, in some instances considerably before the appointed hour. All the bands had banners and flags flying, on which strong revolutionary inscriptions had been placed. Their music generally consisted of drums and fifes. The party from Kilmarnock had a pole on which was elevated a cap, styled the cap of liberty,—a device borrowed probably from the French revolutionary mobs. This pole and cap was borne by a young woman, who was supported right and left by other two. The similitude between the agents employed in carrying this republican emblem consisted in nothing more than that they were females. The diabolical visages, coarse forms, vulgar speech, and brutal execrations of the continental viragos found no counterpart in the Ayrshire Radicalesses—to coin a word for the occasion ; there was nothing extraordinary in them or about them, if we except that they possessed a mind with a shade more of the masculine in it than is generally found in "Ayrshire lassies." When all had assembled on the ground, and had clustered as closely as possible round the hustings, the delegates from the various county associations took their places on the platform, and the business began. Various resolutions were proposed and speeches delivered in their favour, all of which had a revolutionary tendency; but it was remarked, that all the speakers kept on the safe side of the law. There was nothing very brilliant in the addresses, only the commonplace sentiments and platitudes about liberty and the people's rights ; good enough in their way, but hardly fitted to convince and convert antagonists.

During the time the meeting was being held, the militia staff were kept under arms, the yeomanry drawn out at a short distance prepared for action, and the other forces which were in the town kept in readiness lest there should be a demand made for their services, but nothing occurred to warrant their employment against the crowd. At the time the meeting was addressed by the Ayr delegate, a Mr William Adam, shoemaker, residing in George Street, Wallacetown, Sir Alexander Boswell and several of the officers of the yeomanry drew up close to the wall which divided the Riggs from George Street, and stood listening to the whole of Mr. Adam's address. On hearing some of the remarks made, Sir Alexander observed to his brother officers that the speaker, in his opinion, was a fit subject for hanging. The remark was overheard by some persons standing near, and afterwards conveyed to Mr. Adams. That individual thought it safest to leave home for some time, and remain concealed. His premises were strictly watched night and day, that he might be apprehended, should he attempt to revisit his family; but the fugitive wisely kept out of the way till the storm blew over, when he returned to his abode in peace. As soon as the business of the meeting was over, the different parties left the ground, and took their way homewards in a quiet, orderly, and peaceable manner. The military, though held in readiness to cut down the people should the least opportunity be given to attack them, were disappointed in their expectations, and Sir Alexander Boswell did not enjoy the pleasure he is said to have promised himself a day or two before the meeting was held, of riding in Radical blood up to his bridle reins.

It should be borne in mind that in this same year on 16 August, there occurred the infamous "Peterloo Massacre" when between 11 and 15 people were killed and hundreds injured when cavalry charged, sabres drawn, into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 in Manchester, where a similarly disaffected crowd had gathered in St Peter's Field. There must have been real risk being involved in such a meeting and even more so to have been one of the individuals addressing the meeting and declaring one's radical views so openly.

The address given in the previous account for William is confirmed in the 1821 census where there is a record of William Adam, a shoemaker, living in George Street, Content, St Quivox parish. In common with the majority of these 1821 census records there was no family detail recorded.

On 28 June 1834 in Ayr, William's son, James Adam, a shoemaker like his father, married Jane Burns, the daughter of Andrew Burns, a clothier, and Margaret Blackwood. Her parents marriage was recorded in the Ayr parish register on 7 November 1797, as was the fact of Jane's baptism on 6 August 1809, although the actual birth and baptism took place in Blechingdon, Oxford where her father, a soldier with the Ayrshire Militia, was stationed at the time. (For further details of Jane Burns, her parents, her siblings and ancestry - click here)

In the May of 1840 William Adam's wife passed away as there is a record of the interment in Newton Green cemetery, on 5th May 1840, of "the wife of William Adam, shoemaker,". Unfortunately as a result of the omission of the wife's name we cannot be certain if this was his wife Elizsabeth Nisbet. It could for example be a second wife, (perhaps Margaret Kemp)?

The following year for the census of 1841 the widowed William Adam was living in York Lane, Newton on Ayr, with an apprentice shoemaker, John McMillan, also living in the household.

1841 Census (7th June) Newtown-on-Ayr (612) Book 4. Page 8.

York Lane, Newtown-on-Ayr.


Age Occupation Where Born
William Adam 60 Shoemaker Yes
John McMillian 15 Shoemaker Journeyman Yes

Meanwhile up the coast in Largs, James and Jane were living with their three children, Janet born 12 September 1835 and baptised 20 September 1835, Cathcart Street, Ayr, William, the next step in our family tree, born 7 December 1837 and baptised 17 December 1837, Cathcart Street, Ayr, and Andrew, baptised 19 Apr 1840 in Largs.

1841 Census (7th June) Largs (602) Folio 4 Book 5 Page 19.

Nelson Street, Largs.


Age Occupation Where Born
James Adam 30 Shoemaker Yes
Jane Adam 25   No
Janet Adam 5   Yes
William Adam 3   Yes
Andrew Adam 1   Yes

Three years later the parish record of Newton on Ayr records the interment in Newton Green cemetery of a William Adam, labourer, aged 61, on 22 August 1844. Although the occupation is wrong and the age is not correct, it seems likely that this record does refers to the death of our William Adam. Certainly a search of the 1841 census produced only one William Adam of an appropriate age in or around Ayr (our William) and a similar search of the 1851 census failed to find any William Adam at all of an appropriate age in or around Ayr. Note - There is a stone in Newton Green Cemetery raised by William's son Mathew Adam. It would seem to have been raised at the time of the death of Mathew's first wife Margaret but also to commemorate parents William Adam and Elisabeth Nisbett. Unfortunately the stone is illegible in part and whether is marks the burial place of William and Elizabeth is unknown.

Adam Headstone - Newton Green Cemetry, Ayr - Lair 252 - (Page 36 of M.I. Transcription)

Erected by MATTHEW ADAM …. …….. MARGARET ………
his son MATTHEW ………..
his son MATTHEW d 26 Aug 1844 aged 1 ½
his daughter Jane, wife of JOHN FARQUHAR merchant Glasgow d 
20 Jan 1856 aged 23
…… gra…..
Also in memory of his mother ELIZABETH NIS…
his father WILLIAM ……
… mother-in-law Mrs ANDREW……

James Adam and Jane Burns are still recorded as living in Largs, in the Main Street, for the census of 31 March 1851.  Two further children of James Adam and Jane Burns are recorded in this census, James, baptised 26 March 1843, and John, baptised 25 July 1847, both baptisms recorded in the OPR of Largs.  Also recorded is the fact that James Adam was employing two men, suggesting that his shoemaking business was prospering.  As already mentioned Jane Burns is recorded as born in England, Silverhill being close by Blechingdon. (For further details of the children of James Adam and Jane Burns – See Appendix G.)

1851 Census (31st March) Largs (532) Book 6. Page 10.

Main Street, Largs.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James Adam Head 45 Shoemaker (Employing 2 men) Ayr, Ayrshire
Jane Adam Wife 42   Silverhill, England
Janet Adam Daughter 15   Ayr, Ayrshire
William Adam Son 13 Scholar Ayr, Ayrshire
Andrew Burns Adam Son 11 Scholar Largs, Ayrshire
James Adam Son 7 Scholar Largs, Ayrshire
John Adam Son 3   Largs, Ayrshire

William from the 1841 census is confirmed in this census as being the child of James Adam and Jane Burns. Also the fact that William was recorded as born 1837-1838 in Ayr (actually probably Newton on Ayr) and his brother Andrew was baptised 19 Apr 1840 in Largs suggests that James and Jane moved to Largs circa 1838\39. William is certainly not listed amongst the Boot and Shoemakers listed in the Pigot's Directory for Largs and Fairlie for 1837.

The supposition that James Adam's shoemaking business was flourishing is borne out to some degree by it's inclusion in the Largs section of "Slater's Directory of Scotland" for 1852.

By 1859 James Adam and Jane Burns had moved to Glasgow and are listed in the Glasgow Directory of 1859 as living at 77 Thistle Street, Hutchesontown. The following year the Directory lists them as living at 108 Hospital Street, Hutchesontown, and it is there that we find them for the census of 8th April 1861.

1861 Census (8th April) Glasgow (644/10) Book 70. Page 5.

108 Hospital Street, Hutchesontown, Glasgow.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James Adam Head 55 Church Officer & coal agent Newton on Ayr, Ayrshire
Jane Adam Wife 52   England
Janet Adam Daughter 25   Newton on Ayr, Ayrshire
William Adam Son 23 Engine fitter Newton on Ayr, Ayrshire
Andrew Burns Adam Son 21 Sewed muslin designer Largs, Ayrshire
James Adam Son 17 Woollen warehouseman Largs, Ayrshire
John Adam Son 13   Largs, Ayrshire


James Adam had retired from the shoemaking trade and is now listed as a Coal Agent and Church Officer. (At the United Presbyterian Church in Hutchesontown, whose minister at the time was Rev. J. S. Taylor). His three sons are all in employment, his eldest William, next step in our family tree, as an engine fitter. This was with Dubbs & Co., railway locomotive engineers, whose premises were just down the road from Hospital Street between Pollokshaws Road and Cathcart Road.

One year after this census, Jane Burns, James Adam's wife, died aged 53, on 3rd May 1862, at 108 Hospital Street, Hutchesontown.

Four years later, on 17 June 1866, James Adam (senior) remarried. His second wife was Anne Hossack, nee Young, who was living at the time of the marriage at 137 Cumberland Street, Hutchesontown. The marriage record lists Ann as resident at 137 Cumberland Street, Hutchesontown, aged 53, the daughter of William Young, a master mason, and Margaret Patterson. As previously mentioned James's parents were given as William Adam, shoe maker, and (erronoeouly I believe) Margaret Kemp, and the witnesses were William Adam (son of the groom?) and Margaret Hossack (daughter of the bride.?). Ann had originally been married to William Hossack on 6 June 1835 in Gorbals, Glasgow. (For further details of Anne Adam/Hossack - See Appendix H.)

Inscription from front page of now

disappeared Family Bible

The following month his eldest son, William, who was still living at 108 Hospital St., Hutchesontown, married Agnes Stewart, a domestic servant, residing at 25 Clyde Place, Glasgow at the time of the marriage. This was the address of her Uncle Robert Beith. Agnes was born circa 1844/45 in the parish of Lochwinnoch, and was the daughter of Robert Stewart, a cotton bleacher, and Janet Beith. William and Agnes's marriage took place on 31 August 1866 at the Herriet St. Church in Eastwood parish, just up the road from Agnes's parents house at 26 Herriet St., (now Harriet St.), Pollokshaws. The witnesses were James Good and Janet Stewart (sister of the bride?) (SEE ONLINE STEWART FAMILY HISTORY). We still have a page from their family bible inscribed with their names and date of marriage. Unfortunately the actual bible has not survived.

By the census of 3 April 1871 we find both father and son settled down with their respective wives. William, now a foreman engineer with Dubbs & Co., was living at the time at 51 Florence Street, Hutchesontown, with his wife, Agnes, and two sons, James born 25th August 1867, and William born 11 February 1871. A daughter, Janet Beith, born 10 July 1869, is not listed in this census and is presumed to have died in infancy.

1871 Census (3rd April) Glasgow (644/10) Book 31. Page 4.

151 Florence Street, Hutchesontown, Glasgow.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
William Adam Head 32 Foreman engineer Prestwick, Ayrshire
Agnes Adam Wife 27   Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire
James Adam Son 3   Glasgow, Lanarkshire
John Adam Son 1 month   Glasgow, Lanarkshire

His father, James Adam, now aged 65, was still living at 108 Hospital Street, not only with his second wife Anne Hossack, and two of his own children, James and John, but also three stepchildren, Margaret, George, and Thomas. Adam. I am not convinced that the Thomas and George listed as step-sons were actually children of Ann.

1871 Census (3rd April) Glasgow (644/10) Book 83. Page 5.

108 Hospital Street, Hutchesontown, Glasgow.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James Adam Head 65 Church Officer & coal agent Newton on Ayr, Ayrshire
Anne Adam Wife 58   Cathcart, Renfrewshire
James Adam Son 28 Commission agent (chemical) Largs, Ayrshire
John Adam Son 23 Shopman (spirits) Largs, Ayrshire
Margaret Hossack Step-daughter 27 Saleswoman (boot & shoe) Glasgow, Lanarkshire
George Hossack Step-son 20 Ships steward (unemployed) Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Thomas Hossack Step-son 18 Commercial clerk (unemployed) Glasgow, Lanarkshire

The year follwing this census James lost two of his sons, James on the 9 April, aged 29 and John on 3 October, aged 25. Both were single and died of "Phthisis" which would have probably meant Tb or some such wasting diseasee. An announcement of both deaths was carried in the Glasgow Herald.

James Adam
Glasgow Herald 10 April 1872

John Adam
Glasgow Herald 4 October 1872

Sometime between the 1871 census and October 1872, William and Agnes Adam and their family moved to 3 Govanhill Street, as it was there that their next child, a son, Stewart, was born on 25 October 1872. A further two children, Jane Burns, born 29 October 1874, and Andrew Burns, born 7 August 1876 were also born at this address. Sadly Andrew died only 14 months later on 1 November 1877 at 17 Linnhall Terrace, Govanhill. Cause of death was given as "Debilty from Birth".

James Adam (senior) died on 5 December 1877, at 162 Hospital Street, Hutchesontown. He was recoded as a Coal Agent and Church Officer of the UP Church. The informant was William his son whose address was given as 17 Linnhall Terrace, Govanhill, and the cause of death was "obstruction of the bowel by a fibrous band - 5 days at least". (Bowel Cancer?). James was survived by his second wife Anne Hossack. An announcement of his passing was carried in the Glasgow Herald the following day.

James Adam
Glasgow Herald 6 December 1877

By the birth of William and Agnes's seventh child, a son David Saddler, (named after an Uncle), born on 5 September 1878, the family had moved again, and were living at 123 Cathcart Street, Govanhill. Their next child, a son, Beith Stewart, was also born at this address, on 8 August 1880. Sometime over the following months the family moved again, this time to 36 Annette Street, Govanhill, and it is there that they are recorded as living for the census of 4 April 1881.

1881 Census (4th April) Glasgow (644/12) Book 88. Page 5.

36 Annette Street, Govanhill, Glasgow.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
William Adam Head 43 Locomotive engineering fitter foreman Prestwick, Ayrshire
Agnes Adam Wife 36   Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire
James Adam Son 13 Scholar Glasgow, Lanarkshire
John Adam Son 10 Scholar  Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Stewart Adam Son 8 Scholar Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Jane Adam Daughter 6   Glasgow, Lanarkshire
David Adam Son 2   Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Beith Adam Son 10 months   Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Christina Miller Servant  17 General servant Glasgow, Lanarkshire

The inclusion in the household for this census of Christine Miller, a maid, suggests a moderately comfortable life-style and was no doubt a boon to Agnes with six young children.

Sadly one month after this census, on 5 May 1881, David, their second youngest son, died of measles, although this loss must have been eased slightly by the birth the following year, on 14 June 1882, of William and Agnes's ninth child, a son, named David, no doubt in memory of their recent loss.

This second David's birth was recorded at 36 Annette Street, Govanhill, but some time between his birth in 1882 and 1887, the family moved to 42 Garturk Street, Govanhill, as it was at this address on 6 December 1887 that the birth of William and Agnes's tenth and final child, a daughter, Robina, (the next step in our family history), was recorded. (For further details of the children of William Adam and Agnes Stewart - See Appendix I.)

The family were still resident at 42 Garturk Street, Govanhill, at the time of the census in 1891.

1891 Census (5th April) Glasgow (644/12) Book 91. Page 12.

42 Garturk Street, Govanhill, Glasgow.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
William Adam Head 53 Locomotive engineer manager Prestwick, Ayrshire
Agnes Adam Wife 46   Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire
Stewart Adam Son 18 Warehouseman Govan, Lanarkshire
Jeannie Adam Daughter 16 Scholar Govan, Lanarkshire
Beith Adam Son 10 Scholar Govan, Lanarkshire
David Adam Son 8 Scholar Govan, Lanarkshire
Robina Adam Daughter 3   Govan, Lanarkshire

By 1892/3 William Adam and Agnes Stewart had moved again, renting a semi-detached house called "Netherby" at 98 Dixon Avenue. At the time this would have been a recently completed house, and in a fairly "up market" part of Govanhill. This may well be a reflection of William Adam's "job description" having changed from "foreman" in the 1881 census to "manager" in the 1891 census.

About this time part of William Adam's job with Dubbs & Co. seemed to involve the training of apprentices, and with Glasgow at this time being the centre of the world as far as railways and railway engineering was concerned, no doubt Dubbs trained engineers were to be found all over the globe. On completion of their apprenticeships, in true Victorian style, the apprentices would have their photographs taken along with their managers, one of whom was William Adam. The story is told that this fairly commonplace practice led to Stewart Adam, one of William Adam's sons, who had enlisted in the 18 (Lanarkshire) Company 6 Battalion Imperial Yeomanry on 4 January 1900 as part of the additional forces raised to take part in the Boer War, having the rather bizarre experience of walking into a deserted farm house in the middle of the African veldt, thousand of miles from home, to find his father staring down at him off the wall. The missing occupant had obviously been an apprentice at Dubbs & Co. back in Govanhill, and as such had his "graduation" photograph hung in pride of place over the fireplace!

Sadly on 3 April 1896 William Adam died, aged 58, at "Beechgrove" in Bridge of Allan. The cause of death was given as "Liver Disease", and the informant was Agnes Adam, his wife, of 98 Dixon Avenue, Glasgow. Why William was at this address at the time is unknown as the family address at the time was still 98 Dixon Avenue. William Adam left an estate worth £1598 6s 10d (For a copy of William Adam's will - See Appendix H). "The Engineer" of 17 April 1896 carried an obituary for William on Page 402.

Obituary of William Adam from "The Engineer" of 17 April 1896 - Page 402


    "We regret to announce the death of Mr. William Adam, locomotive engineer, Glasgow, who was connected in various capacities with the works Messrs. Dubs and Co., in that city for the long period of two-and-thirty years, during the last ten of which he was the general works manager. He died at Bridge of Allan on Friday, 3rd April. At his death Mr. Adam had almost completed his fifty-ninth year, and he had been for so long a period closely identified with locomotive engineers in its "head centre", so far as this country is concerned, that he had become well known in many countries abroad where railways have been established. He was as much esteemed as he was well-known.
Mr. Adam commenced his apprenticeship under the late James Reid, who was then the manager of the old Hyde park Locomotive Works, of Messrs. Neilson and Co. a famous nursery for locomotive engineers of mark: indeed, the deceased was Mr. Reid's first apprentice. Before he completed his time, however, he came under the influence of Mr. Henry Dubs, who eventually became a very notable locomotive engineer. That gentleman was successor to Mr. Reid, who had been induced to take service with Messrs. Sharp, Stewart, and Co., Manchester. Mr. Dubs also became partner with Mr. W. M. Neilson, as well as manager. He had formed a very high opinion of Mr. Adam, who had already earned a reputation.
For a time, however, he was away from Hyde park Works seeking professional insight "over the Border". He spent about two years at the Wolverton Locomotive Works of the London and North-Western Railway Company, where he considerably increased his skill as a workman. Returning to Glasgow, he spent about six months in the famous centre Street Works of Messrs. Randolph, Elder and Co. That was in the early sixties, when the compound marine engines of that firm were getting into very extensive use.
Having now seen something of the world, he was invited to return to the Hyde park Works - the "new" works at Springburn, in a totally different part of the city, and quite close by two of the leading railways of the Northern kingdom. These works had been designed and laid out by Mr. Dubs, but he did not long remain there, as proposals had been made to him by two or three city capitalists to form a new company, and build new works for the prosecution of the same branch of industry. Mr. Adam had begun to climb the ladder, for he was already an under-foreman. Mr. Dubs began to build his own works on the south side of the city in the year 1864, and he had no difficulty in persuading Mr. Adam to accompany him and become one of his trusted servants, bye-and-bye reaching the post of foreman of the fitting shop. The first engine - one of a small order for the Caledonian Railway Company - left the works on 1st may, 1865; and since then thousands of others have left the same works, many of them for the Colonies, India, and other foreign countries.
After the death of Mr. Dubs, Mr. Adam continued in the employment of the firm. Ten years ago, almost to a week, he was promoted to the highly responsible position of works' manager, on the death of Mr. Peter Andrew, who was also an able engineer. Mr. Adam knew the works from the very breaking of the ground, and as they became more and more permanently established, and from time to time extended, the army of workmen was greatly increased, but scarcely a single one of them who had been any time within the gates was unknown to him.
Mr. Adam did not set himself up as an innovator, nor did he desire to be regarded in that light; but he thoroughly knew every item in the structure of a locomotive engine. From time to time he made or suggested quite a number of minor improvements in the construction of the finished machine, and he was able to devise numerous ready methods of facilitating work.
His loss will be severely felt by the members of the firm, and also by many of his professional brethren.

Sometime after her husband's death, Agnes Stewart moved to 2 Maxwell Terrace in Leslie Street, Pollokshields, and it was there only three years later, on 20 June 1899, aged 54, that she also died, leaving Robina, aged 11, an orphan. An announcement of both deaths was carried in the Glasgow Herald.

William Adam
Glasgow Herald 6 April 1896

Agnes Adam, nee Stewart
Glasgow Herald 21 June 1899

At first Robina moved in with an elder brother, (possibly James), and his wife but she seems to have been treated badly and been unhappy, so latterly she went to live with her elder sister, Jane Burns Adam, and her husband James MacGregor Gordon, a cashier, (and later director), with the firm Caldwell, Young & Co., silk merchants. For the census of 1901 they were living at 10 Leven Street, Pollokshields, just up the road from their mother's old house in Leslie Street.

1901 Census (7th April) Glasgow (644/13) Book 31 Page 13

14 Leven Street, Govanhill, Glasgow.


Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James M. Gordon Head 29 Cashier in Silk Merchants (Worker) Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Jane B. Gordon Wife 26   Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Robina Adam Sister in law 13 Scholar Govan, Lanarkshire

Whilst living in Pollokshields, Robina would have attended Albert Road Academy, along with the younger Hendry daughters at least, the Hendrys having been resident at 256 Maxwell Road, Pollokshields, since 1893/4, when they left Stirling. It is also possible that Ebenezer Hendry (senior) and James MacGregor Gordon would have been acquainted through their common involvement in the silk trade, Ebenezer being a director of Gilmour & Co. during the 1890's. There was also a prior if somewhat convoluted link between the two families. (For a prior link between the families of John W. Hendry and Robina Adam - See Appendix P.)

For the census of 1911 Robina was still living with her sister's family in in Keir Street, Pollokshields. Jane and James now had two daughters of their own, Anges and Elizabeth, although James was not listed as being in the household at the time of the census. Robina was listed as working as a typist with an Insurance company.

1911 Census (2 April) Govan - 644/18 Book 17, Page 13

43 Keir Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow (5 Rooms with 1 or more windows)




Duration of


No of

Children Born

No of Children



Where Born

Jane Gordon Wife 36 10 2 2   Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Agnes S. Gordon Daughter 9       Scholar Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Elizabeth McG. Gordon Daughter 6       Scholar Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Robina Adam Sister in law 23       Typist - Insurance Company - Worker Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Elizabeth Harkness Servant 18       General Servant - Worker ?Turnberry?, Ayrshire

Certainly one way or another Robina Adam and John Williamson Hendry, the second youngest of the Hendry family met, for six years after this census, on 3 July 1917 at the Central Hotel Glasgow they were married. The occupation of John Williamson Hendry was given as "writer" (solicitor) and also Cadet Officer in thr Cadet Brigade and at the time Robina was living at 47 Keir street, Pollokshields, and the witnesses on the marriage certificate were Helen Hendry, John W. Hendry's younger sister, and Alexander Anderson. An announcement of the marriage was carried in the Glasgow Herald the following day.

John W. Hendry marriage Robina Adam
Glasgow Herald 4 July 1917

At the time John W. Hendry was an officer at an officer cadet training school, training officers for the army. I am unsure whether he had joined the Glasgow Highlanders sometime after 1914 with the onset of World war 1 but it is possible that he had been part of the territorial force even prior to the outbreak of war.

By January 1918 John was a commissioned officer, 2nd Lieutenant, in the 9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Battalion H.L.I. and on 24th January 1918 he joined the regiment at Alnwick Camp, Potljze, near Passchendal , Belgium, on the Western front and was assigned to B Company. At this time the British army were increasingly short of officers as they suffered a higher casualty rate and this may be reflected in John W seeing active service despite being 36. Both he and his young bride would not have been unaware of the danger he was to face and it must have been a ghastly time.

After a fairly quite first few weeks the Battalion was moved back to the front near Passchendale where they remained seeing sporadic action throughout March. By the 7th April the Battalion was in billets at Izel-les-Hameau awaiting a move to the south in support of troops who had been hard pressed containing a German assault in the Vimy Ridge \ Amiens areas. On the 10th April they set of but had gone no more than a couple of miles when they were ordered back and re-directed to the north where the Germans had launched a fresh offensive on the northern front around the Bassee Canal. The battalion was moved north and took up positions in the Bailleul \ Neuve Eglise area.

Over the next few days the Highlanders took part in some fierce fighting and seems to have played a major role in stemming the German advance in that area. Unfortunately John W was wounded on the 13th April and it is assumed was taken to the rear. By the time this particular phase of operations was completed on 20th April 1918 with the battalion’s move to billets at Noordpeene the casualties list was - Killed: Officers 7, Other Ranks 60. Wounded: Officers 13, (including 2 at duty), Other Ranks 172. Missing: Other Ranks 154.

On his recovery and the cessation of hostilities he resumed his law practice, and hopefully life settled down to normal domesticity, and in 1919 John and Robina had their one and only child, my father, James MacGregor Gordon Hendry, born 21 March. He was named after the husband of Jane Burns, Robina's sister, as a mark of gratitude for taking Robina in as part of their family after Robina's mother's death, and the kindness shown to her. An announcement of his birth was carried in the Glasgow Herald.

James McGregor Gordon Hendry
Glasgow Herald 24 March 1919

John remained an officer in the Glasgow Highlanders after the war as is evinced by the photographs of himself with the B company 9th Battalion Glasgow Highlanders H.L.I. at Gailes Camp dated 1922. For more information regards the Glasgow Highlanders and the Hendry connection - click here

John W. Hendry
B company 9th Battalion Glasgow Highlanders H.L.I.Gailes Camp 1922