Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Children of James and Margaret (Semple) Muir

Margaret Semple had eleven children over the course of her life but only six lived to adulthood. Like many young Scottish women of her class, she had a daughter out of wedlock in 1871. No father was included on the civil birth registration, which was not unusual as the father had to be present in order to be identified as the father of an illegitimate child. However, to this day, we do not know who the father was. She named her Janet after her mother, Janet (Torrance) Semple, which was the custom at the time. Her daughter was called Jessie throughout her life and my grandmother called her Aunt Jessie. Margaret left her job as a dairymaid before she delivered Jessie and returned to Dalserf to live with her parents.

Dalserf countryside; photograph used with the permission of Andrew

After she married James Muir in 1873, Margaret had ten more children, the youngest two being born in Illinois. These are Margaret's children who did not survive their infancy:

Robert Muir (1873-1874)
Robert Muir was born on 4 October 1873, three months after his parents married. He was born at Swinhill, home of his maternal grandparents, Peter and Janet (Torrance) Semple. Swinhill is in Dalserf, Scotland. His mother registered his birth by marking her mark. Little Robert died on 25 January 1874 at Swinhill of hydrocephalus and convulsions, which is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. His father registered his death. Robert Muir was three months old when he died.

Peter Semple Muir (1877-1877)
Peter Semple Muir was born on 14 February 1877 at Swinhill in Dalserf, Scotland. He was James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's third child. He was named for his maternal grandfather. Peter died at the age of 5 weeks in his grandparents' home of coryza, from which he had suffered for one month, and bronchitis with which he was afflicted two days before his death. Coryza is an acute inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose.

Peter Semple Muir (1878-1878)
Peter Semple Muir was born on 5 July 1878 at Swinhill in Dalserf, Scotland. He was James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's fourth child and the second son they named for Margaret's father, Peter Semple. He died on 8 September 1878 at the age of two months in Coalburn, which was a small railway and coal mining village in Lesmahagow parish. Peter died of enteritis, a disease most commonly contracted by eating or drinking things contaminated by bacteria.

Peter Muir (1879-1879)
Peter Muir was born on 12 July 1879 in Coalburn in Lesmahagow parish. He was James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's fifth child and the third son they named for Margaret's father, Peter Semple. He died 10 days after his birth on 23 July 1879 of marasma, which is severe malnutrition. It may be caused by a extreme deficiency in one's diet of calories and protein or by diseases such as dysentery.

Henrietta Brown Muir (1882-1884)
Henrietta Brown Muir was born on 29 July 1882 at Birkenshaw in Dalserf. She was the sixth child of James and Margaret (Semple) Muir and was named after her paternal grandmother. She, her mother and living siblings moved to her maternal grandparents farm at Swinhill some time before her death, which was on 9 January 1884. She died of measles and bronchitis and was a year and five months old.

The lives six children -- Janet ("Jessie"), Robert, Margaret ("Maggie"), Peter, Alexander, and Jane ("Janie") -- who lived to adulthood will be covered in the coming weeks.

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