[From Manx Quarterly #18, 1917]
Died January 14th, 1917.,
In the death of Miss Sophia Morrison, of Peel, which took place on January 14th, the Isle of Man sustains loss well nigh irreparable. Miss Morrison had been in ill-health for several weeks, but the news of her passing came as a surprise; it not being known generally that her condition was at all dangerous. The deceased lady was born in Peel, and was one of the most Manx of the natives of the most Manx of Manx towns. Her father, the late Mr Charles Morrison, was the owner of many fishing boats, and carried on an extensive business as a provision merchant. From childhood upwards, she was brought into constant contact with Manx people of the old school, and she early developed a passionate love of Manx folklore, Manx tradition, and Manx customs. Her main interest through life was the conservation of the Manx language, and indeed of all things good in connection with the history and the family and communal life of the Island. With this object in view, she gave unsparingly of her ability, her time, and her money, and she had her reward-her only reward-in the knowledge that her efforts were in high degree successful. Retiring of disposition almost to a fault, she worked quietly, and in fact went out of her way to avoid the credit which she richly deserved. She was one of the original members of the Manx Society (which was for some time known as the Manx Language Society), and she remained faithful to the society to her death. It was in large measure due to her initiative that many publications designed to assist persons desirous of learning Manx were brought out. including Mr Edmund Goodwin's Manx Grammar. She was herself an accomplished Manx scholar, and took a great interest in the comparative philology of the Celtic languages. In this connection she was in frequent correspondence with many eminent Celtic scholars, among these the late Professor Rhys, Professor Quiggin, and Mr E. Fournier. She, too, encouraged Mr J. J. Kneen, who has probably a more profound knowledge of Manx than any other living person, to engage in literary and teaching work of high educational value. In truth, she left no stone unturned to keep alive the tongue of her forefathers and to encourage its wider use. As has been stated, she was passionately devoted to Manx folklore, and was without doubt the ablest authority on this very interesting subject. Some years ago she wrote a work on Manx folklore, which was published in London at 3s 6d and which still circulates. The book displays painstaking effort and intelligent appreciation of a delightful theme; and so far as the Isle of Main is concerned, it is bound to remain as a standard work. Another interesting book by Miss Morrison was an anthology of Manx Proverbs, which attained considerable popularity. '` The Manx Cookery Book," compiled by her from recipes preserved in Manx families either traditionally or in writing, had very considerable success, and them only edition printed was quickly sold out. Of the Manx Society she was certainly the leading spirit. For several years she filled the post of honorary secretary, and in the discharge of the duties of her office she displayed whole-hearted devotion. She was mainly instrumental in bringing about the issue by the society of " Mannin," a periodical fascinating and interesting both from the literary and artistic points of view. From the first number to the last she was editress, and displayed rare discretion and capacity in her selection of matter. Eight numbers have been published, and sufficient matter has been left by Miss Morrison for another number. Of her latter years "Mannin" was the hobby. With her, financial considerations were of no moment all she was concerned with was that the periodical should be worthy of the Isle of :Man. To ensure this, she became responsible for the cost of production, and the responsibility made considerable drafts upon her means-drafts which she cheerfully met. Whatever the fate of Mannin may be, there can be no doubt that the numbers already issued will rank with "The Manx Note Book" the late Arthur Moore's periodical as affording a beautiful and convincing insight into things Manx. It is largely due to Miss Morrison's encouragement and application that something in the nature of a Manx drama has been created, for she stood by Mr Christopher R. Shimmin in the production and publication of his admirable Manx plays, and gave prominence in the last published number of "Mannin" to a comedy, "Ellie's Stranger," from the pen of Mr W. Clucas Kinley. This last-named play should, by the way, find a hearty reception in the Island in the event of production, for it is cleverly constructed, it accurately and humorously pourtrays many interesting phases of Manx character, it has the Manx atmosphere undiluted, and it is of uncommon, literary merit. A member of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, Miss Morrison filled the office of President for a year with much acceptance.
Miss Morrison's father and mother pre-deceased her many years ago. She leaves surviving four brothers and three sisters. The brothers are Dr Fred Morrison, who resides in England; and Messrs Charles Morrison, Thomas Morrison, and Stanley Morrison, of Peel. Her sisters are the Misses Mary, Matilda. and Louisa Morrison, of Peel. Another sister, the late Mrs W. Teare, of Peel, predeceased her. The funeral of the late Miss Sophia Morrison took place on Wednesday morning, when the large and representative attendance of Peel people demonstrated the great respect in, which the deceased lady was held by hot fellow townsfolk. A feature of the gathering was the presence of a deputation from the Manx Society, consisting of Mr H. P. Kelly (ex-president), Mr W. Cuibbon (hon. treas.), Mr W. A. Craine, Mr T. Dodd, Mr James N. Oates, and Mr P. W. Caine. Many other members of the society attended in their private capacity. From Miss Morrison's residence in Athol-street to the hearse, the coffin was borne by Messrs J. Joughin, C. R. Shimmin, C. Cashin, and C. H. Cowley. who had been intimately associated with her in her national work. The mourners consisted of members of her family. Interment was at Peel Cemetery, and the coffin was borne from the hearse to the mortuary chapel and from the chapel to the grave by the Peel Players-Messrs Joughin, Shimmin, Cashin, and Cowley. In the chapel and at the graveside, the service for the burial of the dead was conducted by the Rev N. V. Scorer. Vicar of German. At the graveside the hymn "Thy Will be done" was sung by those present. Though the funeral arrangements were simple of character, the ceremony throughout was a most impressive one. Although flowers were not desired, a beautiful wreath was sent by the Peel Players, with the inscription " A last tribute" ; and a large cross by members of the family. The mourners. included her sisters, Miss Mary and Miss Louisa. Morrison ; her brothers. Messrs Thomas, G. S., Fred, (of Manchester), and Charles Morrison, J.P., of Peel; and her nephew, Mr E. Teare.
Died January 14th, 1917.
Of all the master mariners, past or present, who have served in the old Steam Packet Company, and their number is now between forty and fifty, the case of Captain Woods, whose body was laid to rest on Wednesday, is the most peculiar.
Those who were present at his birth, had they been able to cast his horoscope, would have been compelled to arrive at the fact that the star above was pointing inevitably towards the unlucky, and those coming after must have watched it still so pointing till the day of his death. " It is better, to be burn lucky than rich," says the venerable proverb, but who is able to choose before his entrance into the world:?
As a sailorman, for he had a profound knowledge of the Channel, William Woods stood equal with many of the best. His rigid care and punctuality were bywords, and the harmlessness of his character, for he would not have injured a fly, were admitted by all. Furthermore, he had that great possession, a glint of humour, and could appreciate the point of a joke with the bast. Here is an instance. After the longest wait of any mate in the Company, he was at last appointed to the command of the Ellan Vannin, and accordingly proceeded to the examining body in Liverpool to sit for his pilot's "ticket" into the Mersey. " They were a number of old fogeys at that time," said he to me afterwards. " And they began at Point Lynas, the nor' west ship and the Constable Buoy before reaching the Bar, and at last we got as far as the landing Stage. I happened to be pretty well up in them all, and one of the examiners said. 'Well, Captain, you have passed a very good examination'; then, just as I was getting up, another added. 'But what about Garston ?' I replied that our steamers never went to Garston -but it was no go. They told me that I would have to come up again a month later, which I accordingly did, and before other men the whole thing was gone over again, and almost the same remark made at the finish. I then said, 'But. gentlemen, what about Garston ?' and they replied asking what use Garston was to me?
I said, 'Well, I was sent back a month ago for not knowing Garston, and since then, at low water, I put on my sea-boots and walked it!' On this there was roar of laughter, and I came out with my ticket all right."
From first to last he was a good sailor man, as those of his old comrades who sailed with him will admit. Far all that the finger of mischance and bad luck forever kept pointing. He was mate of the Mona when she was lost. He advised the master not to anchor, and would not had anchored himself had he been in charge and his loyalty to his superior turned bitterly against himself in the result.
He was master of the Peveril when was sunk after collision. By the rules the concern be was in his room at the time and had nothing whatever to do with it-but there the fact remained; and he was, perhaps, not the greatest hero when the difficulty had happened, he would certainly never have got a vessel into the difficulty himself to have needed the, heroics afterwards. In this respect the mate who lost the boat was the exact opposite of Captain Woods.
A good many years of his working career were spent as chief officer of second Snaefell, under Captains Reid and Roberts. Those were the days of Chief Engineer Moore, Fireman Morrison (a real gentleman), old Keefe, " Charlie" Shimmin (still one of the best), Sailor Harry Taggart, the cleverest of all, except in getting a ticket; Purser Callender, and others off the "happy family" period or, at all events, the happy family crew.
When Chief Mate Torrance suddenly left the Queen Victoria to take common the "Slieve" steamer, in Belfast Captain McQueen sent to the Snaefell for Chief Officer Woods. Frankly, he didn't want to go-but he went, all the same. Said he to McQueen, "Well, sir, if you had wanted me that bad you could sent for me twenty years ago" ; but the old man, full of Scottish caution, knowing the right sailor when he saw one, was adamant.
From the Queen Victoria he received his first command, the Ellan Vannin, as already stated. He also had charge of Snaefell (2) for a while, and, for she was the most difficult boat in the fleet to manage, " steering like a herring box," as one of the old " hard shells" used to say, yet he handled her with great skill. She, unlike the others, had hand-stopping and starting gear down below, and engineers, when it comes to " pulling their arms out" (as they called it), will now and then make remarks. However they voted Captain Woods high upon the list, with Captain Corkill the best, but you will understand that I am giving you their opinion only, personally having had no experience of the matter.
I have said that Captain Woods had a sense of humour. He liked a story, especially when it told against himself.
He was a man extremely pleasant to look upon, having abnormally healthy red cheeks---the proper kind of red, which R. L. Stevenson called " that ornament of out-door men." He once overheard an old lady passenger admire his looks, but add " What a lot of rum he must have drunk."' As he happened to be an iron teetotaller, not tasting a, drop from one year's end to another, he enjoyed this joke immensely.
I have said that the finger of fate was always pointing-well, he had money in Dumbell's Bank which could quite as easily have been somewhere else. He was a careful, saving, righteous man from his boyhood.
Well, he has gone from its, and I write these few- lines in his memory, for I mourn the loss of a sterling old friend of twenty-four years standing.
T. E. E.
Died January 15th, 1917.
On Jan. 15th, Mr Thomas Fenelon, of Ivydene, Tennis-road, Douglas, passed away in his eighty-first year. For some years Mr Fenelon had been in failing health, but he was able to get about daily to the end, which came quite unexpectedly. He had a long and honourable connection with trade in Douglas. He first came to the town for the purpose of spending a holiday over forty-five years ago, and so taken up was he with the place that he decided to set up in business as a watchmaker and jeweller, to which trades he had been thoroughly trained. He took a shop an Market Hill, almost opposite the premises occupied by Mr Halton, chemist, and soon gained a considerable connection. When Victoria-street was constructed about 40 years ago, he removed to premises erected by the late Mr Daniel E. Gelling, on the South side of the street, in the block of buildings lying between Duke -street and Fort-street. Here he stayed during the remainder of his business career, retiring in favour of Mr Charles Wallace within the last few years. He had a well-deserved reputation for probity and for skill in craft, while in private life he was a very kindly and genial gentle-man. During his middle age he took considerable interest in the general business of the town, and was for some years a director of the Falcon, Cliff Hotel, and pleasure Grounds Company and the Regent Hotel Company. Mr Fenelon was one of the first people in the Isle of Man to take up cycling as a recreation, and he maintained his connection with the pastime for many years. He was also devoted to athletic sports, and took a very prominent part in the promotion and management of athletic and cycling meetings at the old racecourse (Strang), Falcon Cliff, Belle Vue, and Olympia. Passionately fond of the grand old game of howls, Mr Fenelon was an original member of the Douglas Bowling Club. and at the time of his death he was the oldest bowler in the Isle of Man.
Died February 3rd, 1917.
It is with very great regret that we record the death of Mr James McMillan, traffic superintendent of the Isle of Man Railway Co., Ltd. Mr McMillan, who was 63 years of age, had been in ill-health for some time, but in December he became worse, and his medical adviser, Dr Hamilton, called Dr Caird into consultation. About three weeks ago Mr McMillan went to Liverpool to consult two eminent specialists-Mr Warrington and Mr Thelwall Thomas. Their report was not unfavourable, but it appeared that Mr McMillan was suffering from an affection of the heart. His condition grow more serious, until towards the end of last week hope of his recovery was abandoned, and he died on Saturday, February 3rd.
By birth a Scotsman, Mr McMillan was a typical member of the very virile race to which he belonged. Shrewd, courageous, kindly, and humerous, he had most of the excellences of his countrymen, not the least of these being patriotism. He had a deep affection for the land of his birth, and one that grew with years. In early life he engaged in railway work in Scotland, and spent several years there filling various positions and acquiring a thorough knowledge of traffic working. Prior to coining to the Isle of Man he had charge of the train-working in a large area near Edinburgh on the Caledonian Railway. From that post he transferred to the Isle of Man, succeeding Mr McDowall as secretary and manager of the Manx Northern Railway Company in 1901. When the Manx Northern concern was acquired by the Isle of Man Railway Co. in 1904, Mr McMillan was appointed to the position of traffic superintendent over the whole of the latter company's system, and this position he occupied up to the time of his death. He also acted as liquidator of the Manx Northern Company's affairs. His intimate knowledge of railway work enabled him to deal with the demands on the company's lines, especially during the summer season, when the rush of tourist traffic and the huge increase in goods traffic to be dealt with simultaneously on a single line required careful and constant attention. The late Mr McMillan was well liked by his fellow-officials and servants in the employ of the Isle of Man Railway Co., his straightforward but genial manner gaining him the respect and regard of all who came into contact with him. He was a very enthusiastic hcmlcr, ::ncl while resident in Ramsey was one of the most prominent trundlers in the Ramsey Bowling Club. On coming to Douglas he joined the Finch Hill Bowling Club, and spent most of his leisure (hours playing his favourite game on the club's beautiful green. Though a religious man. he never made a parade of piety, and while he ways a staunch adherent of the Presbyterian Church, he was broad in his sympathies with other forms of Christianity. While he resided in Ramsey he attended the Presbyterian Church in Waterloo-road, and on removing to Douglas he became a member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Finch-road. He was a very well-read man, and he applied the knowledge he gained from his reading intelligently. Having a keen appreciation of the humorous, he delighted in a good story, and was himself one of the best of raconteurs. He had been twice married, and he leaves a, widow and several grown-up children.
There was a large gathering at the funeral of the late Mr McMillan, which took place from the deceased gentleman's residence in Selborne-road, on Tuesday morning. The chief mourners were: Mr. William Cunningham (son-in-law), and Mr Joseph- Cunningham, H.K. ; other mourners being Messrs A. B. Cuthhertson (Deputy Town Clerk), W. A. Fyffe (Public Analyst), Thos. Forrester (Port Soderick). and J. H. Aitken (ex-chief clerk, Government Office), intimate personal friends of Mr McMillan. Representing the I.O.M. Railway Co. were Messrs J. Leigh Goldie-Taubman, A. P. Penketh, and E. T. Kissack (directors), T. Stowell (secretary and manager), T. C. Hinds (accountant). A. J. Hogg (traffic inspector), J. Taggart (constable), J. Qualtrough (stationmaster Douglas), J. Bradshaw (locomotive supt.), M Quayle (stationmaster, Ramsey), M. Kelly (stationmaster, Port Erin), J. Matthews (parcels clerk, Douglas), W. Costain (stationmaster, Colby), H. Watterson (stationmaster, Port Soderick), W. Cowin (ex-guard, Ramsey), B. T. Haben (stationmaster, Ballasalla), A. Kinrade (Audit Office), and A. Faragher (station-master, Santon). Others present were Rev John Davidson, Rev F. Rawcliffe, Rev. H. Cooper, Rev. Vivian Davies. Messrs W. H. Skillicorn, E. Quaggin, J. Kewley, R. J. Grindley, W. L. Clague. D. Evans, E. Bell, W. McLaughlin, R. Forrest, E. Clague, A. L. Whyte, J. D. Clucas, W. A. Waid, J. Kissack, T. W. Kelly, H. Bamber, H. Cowin, G. A. Page, J. H. Toothill, W. H. Clarke, J. Todd (Ramsey Salt Works), C. T. Callister, C. T. Cowell, jun., F. W. Flanagan, D. Kelly, J. Harvey, W. J. Mason (Ramsey), G. Kay, D. Corrin, Alex. Robertson (Town Clerk), J. T. H. Cottier, J. Walker, C. L. Fraser, T. Longden, and T. Callow (Ramsey). On the coffin of polished oak with brass furniture were two beautiful wreaths, one of which was the tribute of Mrs McMillan, while the other had attached to it a card bearing the inscription, "A token of respect from the Ramsey Bowling Club."
The cortege proceeded to the Douglas Borough Cemetery, where the interment took place with the simple yet impressive service prescribed by the Presbyterian Church. In the mortuary chapel the lessons wens read by the Rev. Hy. Cooper (Baptist minister), and the Rev. John Davidson, minister of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Douglas, offered beautiful and appropriate prayer. At the grave-side, the Rev, J. Davidson recited the committal portion of the service.
Died April 2nd, 1917.
The death occurred on April 2nd, at 49 King's-road, Willesden Green, London, N., of Mr David Pollock Cuthbertson, for any years a respected citizen of Douglas
He and Mrs Cuthbertson (who survives him) came from Edinburgh to Douglas some 40 years ago. He was a prominent member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, and a member of the Central Relief Committee which preceeded the Board of Guardians. and took a great interest in Temperance and Sons of Temperance work. For about ten years he has lived with his son-in-law (Mr Corlett) in London. His eldest son is Mr A. B. Cuthbertson, Deputy Town Clerk of Douglas. In his early manhood the late Mr Cuthbertson nerved his country as a soldier in a Scottish regiment. He fought gallantly through the Crimean War in this capacity, and experienced the hard-ships which the mis-managed campaign entailed on the British forces. Mr Cuthbertson was among the first half-dozen soldiers to enter Sebastopol on the fall of that important fortress-town.
Died March 3rd, 1917.
The death took place, on March 3rd, of Mrs Margaret Johns, of 37 Hawarden-avenue, Douglas. Mrs Johns, who was in her 88th year, was the widow of the late Capt. Henry Johns, of Liverpool, a master mariner in the Mercantile Marine. On his death, over 50 years ago, she came to reside in Douglas, she having Manx connections. For several years she lived in the Hills Cottage, Circular-road, and afterwards in Woodside-terrace; but for several years past her residence has been in Hawarden-avenue. The deceased lady was well-known and highly respected in Douglas. She was formerly an enthusiastic worker in connection with St. George's Church, and was extremely helpful to the town charities, the proceeds of sales from her " charity basket" adding materially to the funds of local institutions. She leaves a son, Mr F. P. Johns, of Cleveland Lodge, Douglas; and a daughter, Miss C. Johns, of Hawarden-avenue. The funeral took place on Tuesday, interment being at the Borough Cemetery.
Died February 16th, 1917.
Mr William Proctor, J.P., a veteran and highly respected citizen of Douglas, died at his residence, Westbrook, Quarter Bridge-road, on Thursday, Feb. 15th. The long spell of cold weather recently experienced was very trying to people advanced in years, and as Mr Proctor was verging upon four score and ten, he must have been seriously prejudiced by the inclement conditions. He, however, bore up well until Saturday last, when a bronchial attack compelled him to take to his bed. Almost immediately he began to sink under the influence of his malady, and, as stated, the end carne on Thursday in very peaceful fashion. Some years ago, Mr Proctor had a rather severe illness, but he made a wonderful recovery, and up to within about two months of his death he was able to get cut and about and to take a very keen interest in happenings of importance and public matters. By his death is closed a long and honourable and very useful career. Born in Douglas in 1828, he completed his eighty-eighth year last December. By birth Manx, his paternal origin was English. His father, as a young man, came from Kirkby Lonsdale, on the borders of Yorkshire and Lancashire, to Douglas during the early years of the last century and married a Manx lady a, Miss Simpson, of Baldromma, Lonan. There were several children of the marriage, of whom but one now survives Mrs White, of Douglas. The eldest son died two or three years ago at the age of 94, and generally speaking the family has been a long-lived one. Another son, Mr Leonard Proctor, cabinetmaker, Douglas, passed away a few years since, being well over 70 at the time of his death. Mr William Proctor received his early education at a school conducted in Fort-street, but being of studious habits, and a great reader, he was constantly adding to his store of knowledge. He served apprenticeship as a shoemaker, and then worked for a period first in Douglas, and subsequently in Liverpool as a journeyman. While still a young man he set up in business on his own account, and for about forty years he made and dealt in boots and shoes in premises at the corner of Castle-street and Senna-road. With a view to the establishment of a permanent industry in Douglas, Mr Proctor just about the time of his retirement made a brave effort to set a boot and shoe factory going in Douglas, but the conditions were adverse, and the experiment was not a success.
In political, municipal, and social matters Mr Proctor ever displayed a very active interest. He was elected a member of the old Board of Douglas Town Commissioners in 1883, and remained in office until May, 1896, when he retired for a period. He was again elected to the board in 1887, and served up to 1892, when he once more retired. In 1895 the ratepayers sent him to the board for a third period, and he remained a member, until the Board of Commissioners was dissolved upon Douglas becoming incorporated in 1896. He was returned as member of the Town Council at the first election held under the Douglas Municipal Corporation Act, 1895, and his election was chosen by his confreres as Alderman of Douglas, which position held until his final retirement in 1904. In 1902 he was preferred by his fellows on the Council to the Mayoral chair. During his year of office, his daughter Mrs W. J. Corlett, acted as Mayoress and ably aided her father in his effort to commemorate in material fashion visit of the late King Edward the Seventh and Queen Alexandra to the Island in the summer of 1902. The effort succeeded, and took form in the pretty fountain which stands in Villa Marina grounds. As Mayor, Mr Proctor made his mark. He ruled from the chair in firm yet genial fashion, and the conduct of business at meetings of the Town Council was marked by efficiency and despatch. He was one of the ablest who ever sat on the municipal ruling body. Progressive of view, he took a leading part in securing the widening of the Promenade, the streets improvement scheme, the provision of the public toilets, the re-ordering of the sewerage system, the construction of Kerroo Dhoo and West Baldwin reservoirs, the acquisition and laying out of the Borough Cemetery, and the passing of building bye-laws. A ready debater, he could more than hold his own in discussion of matters which caused difference of opinion in the Town Commission and the Town Council. While he was always courteous of speech, he never failed to give hold and effective utterance to his views. Mr Proctor was well read, and being the fortunate possessor of a tenacious memory, he had at command a more than ordinary fund of information on most matters of interest.
Of British political movements during the early Victorian period, such as the Chartist agitation, he had vivid recollections, which he imparted in convincing fashion. A sincere Christian, Mr Proctor had a life-long association with the Primitive Methodist body. Far the long period of 51 years he was a local preacher in connection with the Douglas circuit, and his sermons were marked by scholarly thought and close reasoning rather than by appeals to the emotions. For over 30 years he was superintendent of the Loch Parade Sunday-school, and simultaneously conducted a class for young women. It was mainly due to the efforts of Mr Proctor and the late Mr Thomas Keig (first Mayor of Douglas) that the Loch Parade Primitive Methodist Church was built, and to the very end of their days these gentlemen had the welfare of the church very close to their hearts. In his youth, and during the prime of his life, Mr Proctor was an ardent worker in the Temperance cause. At one time he was a very active Good Templar, and he was one of the keenest of controversialists in connection with the memorable disruption of the Order. In 1904, Mr Proctor was appointed to the Commission of the Peace. He made a most excellent magistrate, his conduct on the Bench being marked by strict impartiality and strong commonsense.
Mr Proctor married a Miss McNeil, sister of the late Mr George McNeil, coal merchant, whose father had the Court Farm, Santon. Mrs Proctor, a much respected lady, died in 1898. Several children were born of the marriage. The eldest son, the late Mr William Proctor, died some years ago; but two sons and three daughters survive their father. Of the sons, Mr Manfred Proctor has been for many years resident in Australia, while his younger brother, Mr Alister M. Proctor, a singer of note .and a lay clerk of Hereford Cathedral, is. at present serving as a soldier in France. The daughters are Mrs A. B. Cuthbertson, Mrs Corlett, widow of the late Mr W. J. Corlett, J.P., H.K., and Mrs T. H. Royston.
Died January 14th, 1917.
Mr John Stephen, outdoor overseer in the employ of the Douglas Corporation, died on Jan. 14th. For some time Mr Stephen had been in bad health, but the news of his death came as a surprise to most people. He was born in Ballaugh 64 years :ago, but while still a, youth he came to live in Douglas, and spent the remainder of his life in the town. For many years he carried on business as a builder and contractor, and was responsible for the erection of the Douglas Town Market and the Isle of Man Prison, many of the houses in Metropole Mansions, and other well-known local buildings. Five or six. years ago, he accepted the appointment of outdoor overseer to the Corporation of Douglas, in succession to Mr T. Cowin. He was some years ago a Wesleyan local preacher in the Douglas Circuit. He was also a Past Chief Ruler of the Mona Union Rechabite Tent. He had been twice married, his second wife being a sister of Mr R. S. Sim, of Dou-glas. Deceased leaves three sons and five daughters-Messrs R. H. Stephen, in Douglas; John S. Stephen, who is teaching at Wrotham, Kent; and Lance-Corpl. N. S. Stephen, a teacher in the employ of the Douglas School Board, but now with the colours in Egypt; Mrs Isaac Quirk and Mrs W. B. Meyrick, in Douglas; Mrs E. Dale, in Liverpool; and Misses Hetta. and Eva Stephen, in Douglas. The funeral took place on Wednesday, and was largely attended.
Died February 20th, 1917,
In the death of Mr William Thomson, of Douglas, the famous auctioneer, there is no doubt that the best known man in the Isle of Man has gone over to the Great Majority. Mr Thomson had not been in good health for the last few years, and had had frequent spells of illness which confined him to the house. In the intervals he attended to business in his accustomed cheerful fashion, and quite recently he conducted the auction sale promoted by farmers in the Douglas district in aid of the Red Cross Fund. His last illness took the form of a bronchial attack, which was aggravated by the severity of the weather prevalent since the middle of January. At the end of last week it was recognised that his condition was serious, and the announcement of his death. which took place on Feb. 20th, occasioned no surprise. Mr Thomson was born in Castletown almost 79 years ago. His father, who was of Scottish extraction, was an auctioneer, and in early life the son went into business on similar lines; also serving for a few terms as Coroner of Rushen Sheading. About forty years ago Mr Thomson re-moved to Douglas and became assistant to the late Mr John Taggart, who in those days was the premier agricultural auctioneer of the Island. After Mr Taggart's death, Mr Thomson engaged in the practice of his profession in Douglas on his own account. and rapidly got together an extensive business. He specialised in auction shares of real property. agricultural stock, and shares in Insular Companies, but he frequently conducted public sales of household goods. As an auctioneer he was simply inimitable. His humour was a natural gift, and flowed constantly and under any conditions nothing could depress him, and indeed his own losses over business transactions formed the subject of his best sallies. Unrivalled in repartee. few ventured to engage in exchanges with him, and anyone venturesome enough to cross lingual swords with him invariably came out second best - his Roland was much more effective than his oppenent's Oliver. Yet his retorts and quips and Jokes were so ordered that while they provoked laughter, they never gave offence. He was a true philosopher, in that he always looked at the bright side of things and made the best of gloomy situations. A great asset to him in his business was his splendid knowledge of the Manx community both collectively and individually. There was scarcely an adult resident in the Island whom he was not intimately acquainted with, while the Manx character was to him as an open book. Many a time his appreciation of idiosyncrasies on the part of ladies and gentlemen enabled him to cajole a bid that would otherwise not have been forthcoming. Attendance at auctions conducted by him was always a most refreshing experience, and was the best possible remedy for the dumps. Mr Thomson never took any great part in public life, but he was keenly interested in Manx affairs-to, say truth he could always discover a humorous side in them, and made the most of his discoveries in the direction of amusing his friends. The deceased gentleman was a warm friend to the agricultural industry of the Island, and he was the very life and soul of the Isle of Man Agricultural Society, of which he was secretary for over thirty years. Among his many invaluable services to the society was the composing of differences which are of so frequent occasion among members. A few words from Mr Thomson never failed to restore amity and to convert the most violent of resentment into laughter. Of very kindly disposition, he unostentatiously helped hundreds of his fellow-countrymen, and many a young man who has "made good" over-seas could not have done so but for the assistance rendered by Mr Thomson in providing passage money, His readiness to do a good turn for other people frequently landed him in financial loss, but such misfortunes he always bore with philosophic resignation, and as was his wont he made them a subject for jest. He never forgot the aged poor of Castletown, and each Christmas these benefited from his bounty. Mr Thomson married Miss Boyd, a Castletown lady, who predeceased him, her death taking place a few years ago. Two children of the marriage survive-Mr Fred Thomson, seedsman, Douglas. and Mrs Douglas Evarard. Another daughter died in Castletown not so very long ago. The funeral of Mr Thomson took place on February 23rd, and was largely attended. Interment was at Malew Church-yard.
Died January 30th, 1917.
Capt. Thomas Gawne, of Victoria-terrace, Douglas, who died on Tuesday, Jan. 30th, was a master mariner of the old school, and while actively engaged in sea service he was rightly regarded as one of the most able commanders in the British Mercantile Marine. He was a son of the late Mr William Gawne, grain and provender dealer, King-street, Douglas, and was educated at St. Barnabas' School under the late Mr Thomas Green, who was famous for his skill in teaching the theory of navigation. Capt. Gawne was apprenticed to the sea with the well-known Liverpool-Manx firm of Karrans, the owners of many celebrated sailing ships. He rose rapidly in his profession. and in his early twenties he was given the command of a large sailing vessel. A most skilful navigator, he knew everything worth knowing concerning the practical part of his profession. Throughout his career on blue water he served on " wind-jammers," and to the end he retained something of the old, time mariner's contempt for steam. As master of a ship he was uniformly successful, and gained the respect and confidence of his employers and the esteem of his officers and crews. For a period he had charge of a large American craft, but he was mainly in command of British-owned vessels. Ill-health compelled his retirement some twenty years ago, when he was about 40 years old. By then he had amassed a competency which rendered him easy in financial circumstances for the remainder of his days.
Died March 10th, 1917.
Mr John Knox, proprietor of the Bridge Inn, Ramsey, died on March 10th, after a short illness. Before taking, over the Bridge Inn, Mr John Knox was a member of the well-known firm of William Knox and Sons, engineers, Douglas. He was a remarkably clever craftsman, and in private life was a, most estimable gentleman. Though retiring of disposition, he was most genial company to those people who had the pleasure of his intimate acquaintance, while he was always kindly and charitable in thought and deed. His father, the late Mr William Knox, who founded the business, and who was an engineer of fine parts, made a considerable name for himself in connection with net machinery and fishing-boat engines. Mr John Knox married Miss Holden, a daughter of the late Mr John Holden, Trafalgar Hotel, Douglas. Brothers of Mr John Knox are Mr Robert Knox, engineer, Douglas; Mr William Knox, engineer, who is a member of the Douglas Town Council; and Mr Archibald Knox, an artist of high repute, but who is at present engaged in the Censor's Department at Knockaloo Camp. Mr John Knox has two sisters, one of whom (Miss Annie Knox) is a nurse in connection with one of the hospital staffs in France. The funeral took place on Tuesday, interment being at Lezayre Churchyard. Reference was made to Mr Knox in St. Olave's on Sunday, he having been a sidesman in the church.