Matthew Brawley 1877-1937

Matthew Brawley was a good man.  He didn’t go off seeking adventure like some of his brothers.  He stayed at home and put others first and held things together. He deserves to be remembered.

Matthew was born on 15 January 1877 in the village of Clyde Ironworks in Lanarkshire.  He was the 9th child of my great great grandparents James Brawley and Sarah McLaughlan. By the 1891 census he was living in Newmains, Lanarkshire. By this time only sister, Elizabeth (born 1861) and younger brother, Patrick  (born 1884) were still at home with their parents.  Elizabeth’s husband, Charles McCafferty was also living in the house.  Three of the older brother’s, James, Daniel and Hugh had left Scotland seeking their fortune in America. At the age of 14 Matthew was employed as a coal miner.  Staying at school was clearly a luxury the family could not afford.

In 1898 Matthew married neighbour, Mary Hagan at the Roman Catholic School in Newmains.  This was shortly before St Brigid’s Church was built in the village.  I don’t know what Mary’s occupation was at the time of her marriage but the story goes that she was the village midwife  She was also, according to my mother, a lovely, kind lady.   It would seem then that she and Matthew were well matched.

Matthew and Mary had no children of their own but when younger brother, Patrick left a girl pregnant in 1903 it was Matthew and Mary who stepped in to look after the child whom they raised as their own.  I do not know if their adopted daughter ever knew the truth about her parents.  Patrick also left Scotland for America.  I do not know what happened to her biological mother. In March 1907 travelled to New York and then on to Wyoming.  The ships manifest states that he was visiting his brother, James.  Could he have been planning a new life in America or was he out looking for Patrick who had gone out the previous year?  Whatever the case he did not stay in America.

On 20 August 1917 Edith Constance Cran was born.  I do not know who her parents were or where she came from but on 12 September she was baptised in St Brigid’s Church, Newmains.  The Parish Baptismal register states that she was born in London and that both parent were Protestant. She was adopted by Matthew and Mary.

I know that Matthew and Mary had an adopted son, Matthew but I do not know his year of birth or where he came from.  I don’t know if he was adopted before or after Edith.

** I have now discovered that Matthew was Edith’s brother and was slightly older.   Their mother is recorded as Edith Cran  There is no information on the father. **

I have spoken to people who remember Matthew and Mary and they were known as good people.  I can’t say that about all the people on my tree.

Matthew died in 1937.  The death register was signed by son, Matthew.  He is buried in Cambusnethan Cemetery along with his beloved wife and daughters.

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