Thursday, October 6, 2011

William Piper 1851-1914

William Piper 1851-1914

Son of
James Piper and Jane Wilson

Brother of
James 1853-1891
John 1855-1902
Jane 1858-1933
Archibald 1860-1930
Janet 1862-1888

Husband of
Janet Crawford

Father of
James 1873-1949
John 1875-1950
William 1877-1941
Thomas 1879-1951
Jane 1881-1885
Catherine 1884-1956
Archibald 1887-1964
Janet 1889-1953
Martha 1892-1893

On the 8th of September 1851, at Grimmet which is located 1.5 kilometers east of Maybole, Scotland, James Piper a servant at Grimmet and Jane Wilson had a son born, They named him William and baptised him on the 29th.  Queen Victoria was reigning at this time

The 8th April 1861 Census tells us he lived in Auchmillan just 2 miles north of Mauchline attending school, which he did for only a few years before it was necessary for him to look for work. By 1871 he was working as a farm servant for Robert Wallace family in Auchmillan.

William later moved to Sorn to work in the mines and met Janet Crawford and on the 11th of April 1873 at Dalgain in Sorn Parish after banns according to the form of the Church of Scotland William Piper and Janet Crawford were married. William of Common Auchinleck, was a 21 year old bachelor working at the mine as a Pithead Runner. Janet of Dalgain Sorn was a 19 year old spinster working as a farm servant. Janet was the daughter of John and Martha Crawford

William started his mining career in Sorn, Ayrshire, which is situated in a pleasant rural setting nestled between the hills, the village is comparatively unchanged over the last 200 years. It was originally called Dalgain after the Squire of Dalgain, a local noble – but the name Sorn was slowly adopted because of the nearby Sorn castle which dates from the 14th Century.
Shortly after 1871 he began working at the Sorn Mine and held various positions over the years. Up to 1889 he was a Pit Headman, the man in charge of the unloading of the cages and weighing of the coal at the pit head. In 1889 he is listed as a Pit Bottomer, a person who loads and unloads cages at the bottom of the shaft. By 1891 he held the position of Pit Roadman, a person responsible for the making and maintenance of haulage roads and by 1911 he back to being a Bottomer, wasn't this the worst job in the mine and did he get this because his health was failing and this was all he was capable of doing, or was it because the Glen Logan mine closed in 1888 and he had to look for work at another mine, taken any position available.

Underground miners faced great danger, although explosion risks were reduced with the invention of the Davy lamp which meant a miner could have light underground without the exposed flame of a candle, still one spark from a pick axe could lignite the already harmful gas. The weight of the ground above was great and only held up with wooden beams called props. Miners worked long hours and sometimes an all night shift. It's reported that in 1861 a miner received 3 shillings a day and from these sums about 3 pence a day would be deducted for light and sharpening tools. By 1912 they were receiving about 6 shillings a day. The daily lunch would have to be light meal as walking in a crouch all day often caused heartburn if the stomach was full. So no fried foods, usually just water and bread.

On 20 January 1914 William would write a letter to his son Archibald in Canada. It was the last letter grandpa had from his father.

William died 2 months later at the age of 62, from emphysema of the lungs, and was buried in the Sorn Kirkyard beside his two infant daughters. William was in regular attendance at the church and lived his live accordingly.

Death Record information
William Piper, retired Pit Bottomer, married to Janet Crawford
Died 1914 March 18th at 4am in Sorn Village
He was a 62 year old male
His father was James Piper, Blacksmith (deceased)
His mother was Jane Piper M.S.Wilson (deceased)
He died of Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema of lungs .
Informant was his son William Piper
Funeral Card

The "Sorn Parish Magazine"
dated March 1914
The Minister's Return
On Sunday 22nd March the Minister at the conclusion of a suitable sermon said:.......

"The third person for whom we grieve was not so prominent, but well known in the village and the Church, viz. Mr. William Piper. Mr. Piper had a long connection with Sorn Church, and I attended his father at Auchmillan during his illnesses. I was glad to be back to see him before his death. He was a quiet man, highly respected.

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