Sudden Death In The City!

Mr. John Chambers, William Street, Derry…

An article published in the Derry Journal – Monday 19 November 1906 stated:   “On Friday Mr. John Chambers, William Street, Derry, died under painfully sudden circumstances.  He and some other men were standing at the junction of Fountain Street and Hawkin Street waiting to attend the funeral of Mr. John Alexander, Fountain Street, when his companions noticed him staggering, and he would have fallen had he not been caught by a man named George Laverty.  Robert Archibald, James Jackson, and M’Intyre, who also lent assistance, had him carried into the Fire Brigade Station.  Drs. M’Curdy and Brown were quickly summoned, but on arrival they pronounced life to be extinct.  The police then had the remains conveyed in the ambulance to the deceased’s residence.  Deceased was employed in Mr. Lynn’s coach-building factory in Great James Street for many years, where he was well-respected among his fellow employees as a decent, obliging man.”  


John was born in Glasgow, Scotland about 1840; his father was Daniel Chambers a printer.  On 19 May 1848 in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal Daniel, a widower and resident of Letterkenny, was united in a civil marriage with Mary Kelly of Letterkenny in the presence of Robert Strain & John Carson.  It would seem that John’s mother, whose name remains unknown to me, had died shortly after his birth.  John is my 2nd great grandfather.


On 13 September 1870 John Chambers and Catherine Johnston were joined in marriage.  Their marriage was solemnized at St. Columb’s Cathedral, in the Parish of Templemore in Co. Londonderry; John Barr and Alicia Doherty witnessed their union.  The marriage certificate revealed that the couple resided in the City.  Their first daughter, and my great grandmother, Isabella was born on 26 Dec 1871 in Arnableask, Lough Eske, Co. Donegal.  It would seem that Catherine chose to go back to her birth place to give birth to her daughter.  By 1871 Isabella’s “Certificate of Successful Vaccination” divulged that the family was living at 9 Lower Road, Londonderry and John was a “Driver of Her Majesties Mail.”


As most families do, John and Catherine’s family grew.  Twin daughters, Catherine and Mary Ann, were born on 15 March 1874 in the Lower Road.  Family history indicates that John and Catherine had a son whom they adopted – another member of my family waiting to be found.

The 1901 Census of Ireland finds the family living at 64 William Street.  By then their daughter Catherine was married and living in Milltown, Tawnawully with her husband, Adam Bustard, and their young daughter Mary Jane.  On 5 October 1903, from their family home at 113 William Street, their eldest daughter and my great grandmother, Isabella married Johnston Alexander Love in the “Wee Church on the Walls” – St. Augustine’s.  Records confirm that John was working for Mr. Lynn’s Coach-building Factory in Great James Street in the City.


John’s death record disclosed that he “died from heart disease” and stated that “he died on the street at New Gate”.  It also revealed that his son in law, Mary Ann’s husband, “William Walker, was present at his death”.

“Chambers – November 16, suddenly, John Chambers, William Street, for over thirty years in the employment of Lynn & Co., coachbuilders.  Interment in the City Cemetery to-day (Monday), the 19th inst, at half-past two o’clock.  Friends will please accept this the only intimation.”  Published in the Derry Journal – Monday 19 November 1906.

My 2nd great grandfather leaves me with many questions – which currently remain unanswered!  My research on this particular Twisted Limb continues!

“In the end, we all become stories” – Margaret Attwood.

About CJ Murdoch

Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of them, both maternal and paternal lines, originally hailed from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was during the summer of 2019! Looking forward to August of 2020 when I will return. If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
This entry was posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Glasgow, Ireland, Scotland and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sudden Death In The City!

  1. Amy says:

    How sad. I can’t help but wonder whether modern medicine could have saved him–even just CPR.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      It is sad Amy – there are so many sad stories! 😦 I’ve often wondered if he would have lived longer if he had access to our medical care today. However, it sounds like he passed away very quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great research so far. Good luck with answering all those unanswered questions! “In the end, we all become stories” —indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy says:

    Lovely to read this. My family tree too. Welcome to the family. Looking forward to exchanging information. Your web page is beautifully done.
    Cathy Pidgeon (Dundonald, N. Ireland)


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