Charlie and the Bhoys: Two weddings and three funerals

Charlie and the Bhoys: A step back in time with two unsung Celtic heroes

Part 2: Two weddings and three funerals for the young Will Quinn

The 1901 Census was taken on 31 March 1901, as Willie Maley’s Celtic prepared for the Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Ibrox the following weekend, the Bould Bhoys seeking to win the prestigious trophy for the third successive season. It shows Michael (74, born in Ireland) and Rosina Quinn (54, born in Ayr) living at 89 South Harbour Street, Ayr with their four children, Bella Quinn (21, born in Ayr, a Carpet Weaver), Joseph Quinn (15, born in Ayr, a Collier), John Quinn (13, born in Ayr, a Message Boy) and Francis Quinn (10, born in Ayr).

By this time, Will Quinn had moved out of the family home to set up one of his own. He and Kate Dalton had fallen in love and on 29 July 1892 – as the finishing touches were being applied to a new Celtic Park ‘Paradise’ where Will would later serve with such distinction – their first child was born, a son William Dalton Quinn, at Glasgow’s Maternity hospital.

The new Paradise. The second Celtic Park opens in August 1892

The young family would initially move in with Will’s parents Michael and Rosina Quinn at 34 Wellington Street, Newton, Ayr. But at St Margaret’s RC Church, St Quivox, Ayr on 8 July 1893, with Celtic supporters still celebrating the Bould Bhoy’s first-ever Scottish League title success earned a few months earlier, 18-year-old Journeyman Joiner Will Quinn married Kate Dalton, a 28-year-old Lady’s Maid then residing at the same address.

Kate Dalton was born in Kilkenny, Ireland around 1865. On the marriage certificate, her parents are listed as John Dalton, a Farmer, and Margaret Dalton, nee Dohney or Dobney, both deceased.

The witnesses were Will’s brother James Quinn and his wife Minnie Quinn, nee Hoban. As mentioned in the first part of this article, they were married in that same church in June 1891.

Will and Kate Quinn were then blessed with a second child, a daughter Margaret Quinn, my friend Charlie Doherty’s grandmother. She was born on 12 July 1894 at 6 Taylor Street, Newton, Ayr but tragedy would strike the family within a matter of months, as Kate died at 6 Taylor Street, Newton, Ayr on 22 October 1894, aged 29 following a freak accident. Causes of her death are listed as impaction of a pin in her oesophagus – it had been lodged there for 12 days – pulmonary congestion and sheer exhaustion from her inability to take sufficient nourishment. Kate’s baby daughter Margaret would be just three months old at that time and her widowed husband Will – still a teenager – was then left to bring up two infant children.

As a curious aside, exactly one year after Kate Quinn’s death, on 22 October 1895, baby James Gribbin was born in Bailieston, a village on the eastern outskirts of Glasgow. Both Jimmy and Will Quinn would later provide outstanding service to Celtic Football Club over many years.

Jimmy with Jock Stein

Widower Will would grieve for Kate for more than three years before marrying again. On 18 February 1898, still one month short of his 23rd birthday, he wed milliner Johanna Gertrude Bertha Backhauser Hislop, a 32-year-old widow known as Bertha, at St Margaret’s RC Church, Wallacetown, Ayr, the place where he had married Kate back in 1893.

Will’s address is given as 32 Wellington Street, Newton, Ayr and Bertha’s as Silvercloud Cottage, 96 Allison Street, Newton, Ayr. The bride’s parents are listed as Andrew Backhauser, a Shoemaker Journeyman, and Johanna Backhauser, nee Shultz, both deceased.

The witnesses to the wedding were Michael Quinn (presumably Will’s brother) and Annie McAvoy. Annie – full name Anastatia – will also have another key role in this story soon!

Will and Bertha Quinn had two children of their own, the first – a son Stephen Quinn – being born at Silvercloud Cottage on 10 January 1899.

The Quinn family would then move from Ayr to live at 17 Fleming Street, Riccarton, in the shadow of the new Rugby Park, which Celtic had formally opened in a 2-2 League draw with newly promoted Kilmarnock on Saturday, 26 August 1899. A daughter Gertrude Quinn was born at their Riccarton home on 6 August 1900.

In addition to those new arrivals, the couple brought up two of Bertha’s children from her previous marriage to sailor James Hislop and, of course, William’s son and daughter from his marriage to Kate Dalton.

The 1901 Census shows William (27, a Joiner, born in Ayr) and Bertha Quinn (34, a British subject born in Germany) living at Fleming Street, Riccarton, Ayrshire with their combined six children; Johanna Elizabeth Hislop Quinn (10, born in Finnieston, Glasgow), William Dalton Quinn (8, born in Glasgow), James Aird Hislop Quinn (8, born in Finnieston, Glasgow), Margaret Quinn (6, born in Ayr), Stephen Quinn (2, born in Ayr) and Gertrude Quinn (7 months, born in Riccarton).

Note that back in the Census of 5 April 1891, Bertha Hislop is a lodger residing with the Urquhart family at 13 Elliot Street, Finnieston, Glasgow, where her daughter Johanna was born later that same month. Bertha is listed as being 25 years old and a Seaman’s wife – as Bertha Backhauser she had married James Hislop in Mile End, London on 15 September 1889 – and her place of birth is Heimingen, Germany. So, given the ages of his children in 1901, it would appear that her first husband James Hislop died between 1893 and 1898. He may be the Master Seaman James Hislop who died of Yellow Fever in Rio de Janeiro on 9 March 1894, aged 30. Coincidentally, exactly 130 years later, on 9 March 2024, I was in Rio de Janeiro on holiday! Hopefully, no Yellow Fever to follow though!

Matt in Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium

Will Quinn was then widowed for a second time on 26 March 1902, a few days after his 27th birthday, when wife Bertha died at 17 Fleming Street, Riccarton, aged 36. Cause of death is listed as sarcoma of leg and liver, which Bertha had been suffering from for eight months.

As the first anniversary of Bertha’s death approached, there was then further tragedy for Will, as the couple’s infant daughter Gertrude Quinn died of Diptheria at Kilmarnock Infirmary on 10 March 1903. The little girl had been ill for eight days and passed away five months short of her third birthday. God rest her.

To be continued…

Hail, hail!

Matt Corr

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About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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