McLaren family

In 1912 Maggie McLaren married my grandfather Peter Fisher. The McLaren family tree shows them in Easter Aberfeldy in the 18th century.

John McLaren

Maggie's great grandparents were John McLaren and Janet McGrigor. When they married in 1792 John was living in the Parish of Dull but Janet was in the Parish of Weem which at that time included farms on the Eastern edge of Aberfeldy to the east of the Pitilie burn. John's baptism record has proved elusive but Janet was born in Tomcalden, a farm immediately below Mains of Murthly where the Fisher family were tenants at the time. It is shown on McArthur's survey of the farms to the east of the Pitillie burn. The farm no longer exists but the Aberfeldy distillery now occupies part of its land.

John and Janet's second son, Donald , was born in 1797 in Tomcalden suggesting the family had either obtained another tenancy on the same farm or taken over the tenancy from the McGrigors (the McGrigors had 2 girls and no sons). The ground officer's report of 1836 shows John McLaren sharing the tenancy of 'Tomchaldane' with John McLean.

It appears that the McLarens were cleared from Tomcalden during the Breadalbane clearances of the late 1830s at the same time as Alexander Fisher lost the tenancy of Mains of Murthly. In 1836 the ground officer had deemed John to be a Class 1 tenant and as such might have survived the removals from Easter Aberfeldy but by 1841 the only McLaren left in Tomcalden was 65 year old Janet. John had presumably died. Her occupation was 'Independent' which really meant unemployed and without of land. The McLeans were still there and farming Tomcalden as an enlarged holding.

Donald McLaren born 1797

Donald became a journeyman saddler in Aberfeldy living in Bank Street and later in Kenmore Street.

He married Elizabeth McGregor in 1829. Unfortunately we know very little about Elizabeth. In 1841 Elizabeth was in Bank Street without the children - was Donald away learning his trade? In 1861 Donald was in Kenmore Street with the children but no Elizabeth - had she died? (there is no death cert.)

Peter McLaren born 1840

Peter was one of the six children born to Donald McLaren and Elizabeth MacGregor. He became a house joiner.

In 1871 he married Helen McDonald the daughter of a road-man / surface-man from Wester Ballinluig. They lived in The Factory, Chapel Street, Aberfeldy and together they had seven children the youngest being Maggie my grandmother.

The newspaper article below, taken from the Weekly News 10 January 1908, gives an interesting account of Peter's working life.

An Aberfeldy joiner's Jubilee. (Weekly News 10.1.08)

Peter McLarenAn interesting function took place in the Station Hotel, Aberfeldy, on Thursday night, when Mr. Peter McLaren, Chapel Street, was entertained by his fellow workmen, and presented with a marble timepiece to mark the occasion of his having attained his jubilee as a joiner. Bailie Reid occupied the chair, and there was a company of 30 joiners and other tradesmen.

Mr. Charles Cameron made the presentation and referred to Mr. McLaren's long and honourable career, and to the many young men he had had under him as apprentices who were now scattered all over the world, many of them successful businessmen. (Applause.)

The time piece was inscribed as follows: - Presented to Mr. Peter McLaren by his brother-tradesman on the occasion of his attaining his jubilee as a joiner. 5th December, 1857 - 1907. Although well on for 70 years of age, Mr. McLaren is still hale and hearty and actively engaged at his trade. A native of Aberfeldy he served his time with the late Mr. Alexander Cameron, Dunkeld Street, and during his life has increased his trade experience in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast. For over 20 years he was leading man with ex-provost Cameron, Aberfeldy.

Mr. McLaren has no hesitation in saying the British workman's conditions of labour are very much better today than they were half a century ago. When he started his trade a journeyman's wage were 16 shillings per week, and no half holiday on Saturday. Machinery was very little in use. His first experience with the mortising machine was in Glasgow, several years after his time was out. Flooring in these days was all hand dressed, and Mr. McLaren says it was a most laborious job. It was nearly all local timber that was used, and he can easily remember when the timber was "rafted" down the River Tay.

Mr. McLaren has spent the greater part of his life in Aberfeldy, and has been employed on nearly all the big "jobs" in the town and district.

Like so many other members of our family at that time, Peter died in 1913 of pulmonary tuberculosis but, unlike the others, Peter lived to the ripe old age of 73.

Maggie McLaren born 1888

Maggie, my much loved grandmother, is discussed elsewhere – see Peter Fisher and Fishers Laundry.

In this photo she is on the right with her sister Betsy (centre) and my mother (left).

Sadly she died age 69, nearly 20 years before my grandfather, from stomach cancer.

Page last updated - 19/3/15