Lived in Coleraine and Buried in Ballymoney…
He was the eldest son of William Murdock and Jane McDougall, one of ten; and the only one born in Scotland. Alexander was my great grand uncle, brother of Thomas Murdock, my great grandfather.
Alexander was born on 24 June 1873 in 14 Inverskip Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland; a small village on the banks of the Clyde. In the 1500’s Greenock mainly focused on fishing; later becoming largely involved in shipbuilding. In the very early 1700’s it was a main port; and by the year 1850 there were over 400 sugar ships docking at Greenock, which had set up over fourteen sugar refineries. It was in one of these sugar refineries that his father William worked as a labourer in 1873.
By May 1875 William, Jane and Alexander had left Scotland and returned to live in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim. Records from the First Ballymoney Presbyterian Church in 1891 show the family living on John Street; with Alexander working at Kennedy’s and his father working as a Railway Porter.
On 16 November 1894, at the Drumreagh Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney; Alexander married Sarah Anne Crawford. Rev. S. Wallace joined the two in holy matrimony; their union was witnessed by the bride’s sister Ellen Crawford and Frank Bouthart. The record reveals at the time the couple were married Alexander was a Railway Porter and his father William a Labourer. Sarah Anne’s father, Robert, was a weaver by trade.
It is unclear where the couple lived immediately after their marriage. The 1901 Census of Ireland finds Sarah (married) living at 2 Seacon Moore, Seacon, Co. Antrim. She was living with her children at the home of her sister Martha J. Crawford along with two more of her siblings; Lizzie & Ellen. Strangely, Alexander is nowhere to be found!
Once again, the 1911 Census of Ireland revealed that the couple wasn’t living in the same home. Sarah, along with her children; was living at the home of her sister Elizabeth Crawford and two of her siblings Martha Jane and Ellen. The record also revealed she had been married for “16 years”; indicating the couple was still married. I then discovered Alexander, working as a carter; listed at the home of his father in Mount Street, Coleraine. Was Alexander just visiting or was he living with his parents and extended family? Alexander signed the Ulster Covenant on 28 Sep 1912 and once again his address was recorded as Coleraine.
No further records for Alexander were to be found until 28 Feb 1924! Alexander Murdock of Coleraine passed away in the “Asylum in Derry” from “Enteric Fever”; better known as Typhoid Fever. In an article by Professor W. James Wilson, M.D., D.Sc. entitled “Typhoid Fever in Northern Ireland” it states: “Ireland in the past century suffered severely from typhus fever and relapsing fever, and in many parts enteric fever claimed a large number of victims.”
Sadly, it would seem that my great grand uncle Alexander was one of its unfortunate victims. Once again he returned to Ballymoney; he is interred at the Knock Road Cemetery along with his parents.