Glass Remembered … The Family of James and Elizabeth Gartly

We are very grateful to Mr Roddy Millar who has kindly provided us with information – in his own words and photographs – about his family who lived in Glass. You can click on the images for larger versions.

James (28th, Nov. 1848 – 2nd, Aug. 1910) & Elizabeth (c. 1861 – 11th, DEC. 1945) Gartly who lived at Wrightstone

These are very small, tinted studio portraits, (about 7cms high).  I assume from the couples youthful appearance and the absence of children they would date from around 1880.
james gartly c1880eliz gartly c 1880_edited-1


James and Elizabeth Gartly Wrightstone circa 1900

james and elizabeth

james & eliz gartly & five children

James and Elizabeth Gartly with five children.
According to the birth dates I have the children would be as follows,
back row girl, Bella (b1883),
boy standing, James (b1885),
girl standing, Annie (b 1887),
girl on father’s knee, Lizzie (b1888),
girl on mothers knee, Ella (b 1891).
Given that the next child, Alexander, was born in 1893 this would date the photo to about 1892.






The youngest, William, known as “Beely”.  He was born in 1898 and died of wounds in World War One in 1918.

Pte William G Gartly



james gartly junioralec gartly shooting

In the middle is the oldest, James, who was born in 1885 and after a spell in the Liverpool police emigrated to America.  He returned to the Huntly area and died in the Scott’s hospital, Huntly, in 1973.
On our right is the middle brother, Alec, born 1893 and also dying in 1973. He had three different farms in Glass before establishing a very successful cafe in Keith.










Five Gartly sisters c1920sphoto taken around 1920’s it is thought.

From our left, first is Bella who did not enjoy the best of health, suffered badly from asthma and stayed at home to look after her mother, Elizabeth.  Although, ironically, she died in 1945, two years before her mother.

The three middle sisters,  again from our left, are my mother’s mother, Ella Cruikshank Gartley (change of spelling!), Lizzie Benzie Gartly and Margaret Barbara Gartly, always known as Barbara.  These three all went into nursing.
Ella (b. 17/3/1891) emigrated to Canada, became a Canadian citizen and spent all her working life, as a psychiatric nurse in Canada, although she returned to the UK latterly and died here in 1986.
Lizzie (b. 1888) nursed WW1 wounded in a military hospital in Canterbury, did more time in Ireland during the ‘troubles’ and became a theatre sister at the Western General in Glasgow.  By the mid 20s though she had left nursing to become a masseuse in Blackpool (yes! seems unlikely but that is what I was always told).  There she met her future husband James Edward Crabtree, who had a woollen blanket manufactory in West Yorkshire, of which more anon.  Enough to report, for the moment, that she lived to be 104, dying on the 3rd July 1992, in a nursing home near Blackpool.
Margaret Barbara, after nursing, spent some time as a nanny to a colonial family in Africa, either the then Rhodesia or Nyasaland.  When she returned to the UK she married Herbert Thompson who had a scrap metal business in Manchester and lived near a village called Poynton in Cheshire. She died 1969/70.
Finally, far right, Annie Gartly who became a primary school teacher.  In fact, on page 250 of James Godsman’s book ‘Glass, Aberdeenshire, The Story of a Parish’ there is a reference to her teaching at Beldorney School from 1902 till 1907.  She did the one year course at Aberdeen Training Centre 1909/10 and, later, up to the 1930s, taught at Madras College, St Andrews. She died in Aberdeen in 1971. All of them would have been raised at Wrightstone.
Wrightstone c1910
A view of Wrightstone, I guess around 1910.  It is a bit blurred but, as well as the girl or young woman feeding the hens, if you look closely, in the shadow of the house, you can make out another girl, who appears to be laughing at her sister (?).  By this second girl stands a young boy with a cap, also looking on. I am grateful to Ross Gartly for pointing out to me a second boy who appears to be sitting among the hens with a sheepdog.  I missed this completely when I first looked at the photo.  I think it is very likely that the women are Gartly sisters but which ones it is impossible to see.  Either of the young boys could be Beely since, if he was twenty in 1918 when he was killed, this would make him around twelve, which is right for their size circa. 1910.
wrightstone with horse
Another view of Wrightstone c1900.  I wonder if the horse is the one supposed to have kicked James Gartly in the head leading to his death in 1910.??
You can find more information about the Gartly family by clicking on the names of the people listed below:



2 thoughts on “Glass Remembered … The Family of James and Elizabeth Gartly

  1. Adrian Harvey

    Hi, I’m the Director of the Scottish Highlander Photo Archive in Inverness, which houses the studio portrait negative collection of the Andrew Paterson Studio (1895-1980). I was most interested in the Paterson portrait of your father and his siblings, and wonder if we could copy the image for our archives. (The negative collection is not complete, and although we are in the process of digitising them, some have been lost or destroyed over the years).

    I wonder if you have any other photographs taken by the Paterson Studio? Our online database can be found here: and the biography of Paterson here:

    kind regards

    Adrian Harvey


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