Alexander and Charles Craig

By Morag T Fyfe

The local Glasgow newspapers are a fruitful source for interesting deaths which sometime result in burial in the Necropolis and the Glasgow Herald of 25 December 1857 provided the following interesting details.

Melancholy Affair – Suposed Suffocation.-Yesterday morning about half-past seven o’clock, James Hume, master of the schooner Catherine Campbell, of Belfast, presently lying at the South Quay [opposite the General Terminus Railway Depot], called his men to rise, from their berths in the forecastle and commence work. One of the hands, a young lad named Patrick M’Kinty, answered the call, after which the master went on shore to see the work begun. The other hands not making their appearance, he returned to the vessel and caused M’Kinty to light a candle and ascertain if all was right. The boy did so, and reported that he was afraid something was wrong. The master then immediately proceeded to the forecastle and found the two hands named, Alex. Craig and Charles Craig (cousins), lying dead. The master instantly reported the circumstance to the police. It appears that the unfortunate men, who were natives of Carlow, county Antrim, Ireland, had gone into the city the previous evening about six o’clock and returned to their vessel about eight, and went to bed. The boy remained on watch till relieved by the master at eleven o’clock, at which time he retired to bed in the same place with the Craigs. He did not speak to the men, and heard nothing of them until told by the master to call them. The case has been reported to the Fiscal, who has caused a post mortem examination to be made on the bodies.

James Hume, master of the Catherine Campbell, registered their deaths on the 28th December and the two cousins were buried that day by their shipmates in common ground in compartment Eta of the Necropolis. Alexander, son of Hugh Craig, farmer, was 20 and Charles, son of Alexander Craig, farmer was 18. In each case the cause of death given in the burial register was ‘supposed to be suffocated or poisoned’. Although it is reported that post mortems were carried out nothing further is reported in the newspapers so it looks as though the suggestion of poisoning was ruled out.

Catherine Campbell was a wooden sailing smack built by Scott & Son of Greenock for John Campbell of Glasgow in 1842. In 1852 she was sold to Wm Higgins and James Morrison of Grangemouth and in 1857 she was sold again to an unknown buyer in Belfast. She ran aground and was wrecked on 17th February 1874 near Amble on the East coast of England and was declared a total constructive loss.

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