The Perthshire Raitts
This page is thus far about only one family. They did not originate in Perthshire, but several of them were born and did reside in Perthsire for much of their lives and so it seems appropriate to consider them here.
William Raitt (1839-1889)
William Raitt was the son of William Rait (see below) and Elizabeth Gibb and was born at Forgan, Fife on 26 June 1839 and christened on 16 July the same year. He died on 8 January 1889, aged 49, of heart failure at Beecroft, Blairgowrie, Perthshire - the informant was his son Alexander S. Raitt living in Errol. The death extract notes he was a retired schoolmaster and widower of Grace McGregor. It gives his parents as William Raitt, seaman, deceased; and Betsy Raitt (maiden name Gibb), also deceased.
William Raitt had married Grace McGregor in St Clement, Dundee, Angus on 27 December 1869 and the couple must have left for Nairn shortly afterwards. The marriage extract reveals that William was a school teacher, aged 30, with a usual place of residence in Nairn. Grace was also 30, a lady’s maid, with a usual residence of Helensburgh. How the couple met when they lived at opposite ends of Scotland and why they married in Dundee is not known. The extract names William’s parents as William Raitt, seaman, deceased, and Elizabeth Gibb, also deceased, while Grace’s were Alexander MacGregor, colporteur, and Ann Reid. The extract also reveals that William was the widower of Helen Seaton. Thus when William married Grace he had three small children in tow: William, born 23 March 1863; Elizabeth, born 18 December 1864; and Alexander Seaton, born 4 January 1867 - all in Renfrew. William Raitt married Ellen (Helen) Seaton on 24 April 1862 in Dunbarney, Perth. He was a teacher aged 22, with a usual residence in Renfrew and she was 21 and from Dunbarney. Helen died on 23 January 1867 in Renfrew, aged 25, of acute enteritis, probably as a result of childbirth complications. Her father was named as Alexander Seaton, farmer, and her mother as Elizabeth Duff.
William had a further four children with his second wife, Grace MacGregor: Oswald, born 25 January 1871 in Highbury Cottage, Nairn; twins David and Rudolph, born 29 January 1873 in Seacraig House, Nairn; and Robert MacGregor Raitt, born 4 April 1874 in the Schoolhouse, Liff, Benvie and Invergowrie, Angus. The birth extract for Robert notes that his mother was deceased. In fact, she died post partum of a haemorrhage a couple of hours after Robert was born. She was 34. Her parents were named as Alexander MacGregor, retired colporteur, and Ann Reid.
An item in the Dundee Courier for 2 July 1873 headed Public School, Liff reveals that "The School Board, at a meeting on Monday evening, appointed Mr William Raitt, Free Church School, Nairn, to be teacher in the public school, Liff, vacant in consequence of the resignation of Mr James Dickson. We have heard that there were about 200 candidates for the appointment."
William Raitt, born 23 March 1863 in Renfrew was the eldest son of William Raitt and born to his first wife Helen Seaton. Nothing is yet definitively found on him, though it looks as if he may also have emigrated like his brothers.
At home with his parents and siblings in the 1871 census and in Liff & Benvie in 1881, he is likely to be the William Raitt whose marriage to Elizabeth Mary Billinghurst in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire was registered in the third quarter of 1884. The reason for assuming this is him is that in the 1891 census for 73, Bold Street, Blackburn, Lancashire we have William Raitt, 28, a paper maker, born Scotland (unfortunately no town given); wife Elizabeth M, 30, born Hedsor, Buckinghamshire; and children: William C., 5; Helen S. R., 3 and Winifred E., 1 - all born Wooburn, Bucks. Also in the household is Clara A. Billinghurst, sister-in-law, 29, living on own means, also born Wooburn. Now, the birth of daughter Helen S. Raitt was actually registered in Wycombe in the fourth quarter of 1887 as Helen Seaton Raitt - the name of William’s mother. Son William Charles’s birth was registered in the second quarter of 1885 in Wycombe, and daughter Winfred Ethel’s was registered in the fourth quarter of 1889 also in Wycombe.
In the 1901 census for 4, Linden Gardens, Broadwater Down, Kent we have Elizabeth M. Raitt, head, married, 49, born Bourne End, Bucks; children William C., 16; Helen S., 13; and Winifred, 11 - all born Wooburn Green, Bucks; and sister Clara A. Billinghurst, single, 38, also born Wooburn Green. Husband William is not yet found in the census.
It looks as though the family - or at least some members - went to India well before the 1911 census - though travel details are not always forthcoming. Daughter Winifred Ethel married George Frederick Fischer Foulkes on 1 January 1911 in Bangalore, Madras. He was 43 and working in the Forest Service, resident in Bangalore - his father was Thomas Foulkes. Winifred was 21, resident in Bangalore and her father was given as William Raitt. Witnesses to the marriage were sister Helen S. Raitt and brother Charles Raitt.
Daughter Helen left London for Madras, India on 3 October 1914 aboard the Egypt. She was named simply as Miss H. Raitt, aged 27 and unemployed. She was accompanied by her mother Mrs E. M. Raitt, aged 50. Their country of last permanent residence was England and their country of future permanent residence was India. It would appear that the purpose of Helen’s trip was to get married. Helen Seaton Raitt, aged 27, married Hugh Jones on 26 October 1914 in Bangalore, Madras. He was aged 36 and his occupation was Chaplain [in a] Madras Ecclesiastical Establishment. His residence at the time was Calicut, Malabar and his father was named as Thomas Reullwyn Jones. Helen’s place of residence at the time of marriage was Tenterden, Kent, England and her father was given as William Raitt. The marriage was witnessed by E. M. Raitt, William Raitt and W. C. Raitt. Clearly William and probably his son had arrived in India before his wife and daughter - possibly even before daughter Winifred.
They may have returned the following year. The manifest for the Arabia, arriving from Bombay in London on 5 July 1915, lists Mr W. Raitt, aged 52, a chemist; Mrs E. Raitt, aged 56; and Mr W. E. Raitt, aged 20, coffee planter. The husband and wife seemed to be going to Mrs Blair at an address in Richmond, while their son was going to W. McCorquodale at Rose Cottage, Dundee.
A Mr and Mrs W. Raitt departed Liverpool for Bombay on 10 November 1920 aboard the Frederich Wilhelm - he was an engineer aged 56 and his wife was 57 (aged is misread as 37). I am thinking this is William and Elizabeth.
Son William Raitt is found travelling from London to Bombay, India on 24 November 1933 aboard the Rajputana. He was aged 48 and was a planter. His last address in the UK was Woodend, St Pauls, Dorking (Surrey), however his last permananet residence was given as Other Parts of the British Empire (presumably India) and his intended future country of residence was India. Like his sisters, this was a wedding trip, for, as William Charles Raitt, aged 50, he married Florence Louisa Rayward, aged 41, in Madras in 1934. No other details are given.
Alexander Seaton Raitt
Alexander Seaton Raitt was the third child of William Raitt and Helen Seaton, born 4 January 1867 in Renfrew, Scotland. Although at home in Blairgowrie, Perthshire - a scholar aged 14 - in the 1881 census, he is not found in the 1891 census, indicating he may have been travelling. An A. S. Raitt, aged 32, merchant, arrived in London from New Zealand aboard the Ionic on 29 October 1896. A year later, he was bound for Cape Town on 30 September 1897 on the Raglan Castle from London. The ship’s manifest lists an A. S. Raitt, aged 31, merchant (with Irish ethnicity!). Alexander stayed on in South Africa it seems, fought in the Boer War like his brother Oswald, and subsequently became a trade unionist there.
Alexander fought in the Boer War with Bethune’s Mounted Infantry, Civil Arm Telegraph, as a mechanic, though he achieved the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant. Bethune’s Mounted Infantry was an irregular corps raised in Durban in October 1899 and commanded by Major C. E. Bethune of the 16th Lancers. It saw action at Willow Grange, Colenso, Potgieter’s Drift, Greytown and elsewhere. For much of 1900 the corps was involved in patrol work, protecting command posts, communications and railway lines in the Transvaal. Like his brother Oswald, he was entitled to the Queen’s South Africa Medal clasps. Like many others in this unit, the length of his service was fairly short - from 30 October 1899 until he was discharged on 13 September 1900. A handwritten record of the members of the unit spells his name as Raitt, though a printed record gives it as Rait. The record shows that his next of kin was Mrs Shanks, Umgeni Rd, Durban - who she was is not known.
A communique from Downing Street on 17 June 1903 as announced in the Edinburgh Gazette noted that “The King has been pleased to give direction for the appointment of the following Gentlemen to be members of the Legislative Council of the Colony of the Transvaal” and among the names is that of Alexander Seaton Raitt, Esq.
His name crops up in various books about the troubles and strifes in South Africa after the Boer War. In one snippet, we learn that “The defenders of unskilled white labour included middle class professionals, such as the mining manager…and the Transvaal Commissioner for Mines…. as well as trade union leaders such as Whiteside and Alexander Seaton Raitt, the latter the branch president of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers…….Most of the advocates of unskilled white labour were imperialists of some sort….. Whiteside and Raitt, rather exceptionally among trade union leaders, had supported the British war effort and served in the British army.”
In another snippet concerning losses sustained because of the war (due to looting and damage), we read “A. S. Raitt (the jingoist trade unionist and a member of the Uitlander Council) suggested….that a separate category for ‘indirect claims’ be created by the commission to help people without property making bids for compensation for losses resulting from the war.”
It seems that some Scots in South Africa brought with them their ideas of trade unionism and the organization of labour and became heavily involved in the South African labour movement, as well as the syndicalist movement. Some were never concerned with the rights of black labour, but there was a strong representation of Scots among a non-racialist movement, including Alexander Seaton Raitt.
In the Anglo-African Who’s Who and Biographical Sketchbook for 1907 there is a short entry which reads: "Raitt, Alexander Seaton, M.L.C. is member for the Witwatersrand Labour Community in the Transvaal Legislative Council. He is a fluent speaker, and has the gift of being capable of putting forward every point for the party whom he represents."
Alexander Seaton Raitt died on 23 November 1907 and is buried in the main cemetery at Braamfontein, Gauteng, Johannesburg.
Oswald was the third son of William Raitt and the first born with his new wife Grace MacGregor on 25 February 1871 in Nairn, Nairnshire. He was a military doctor in South Africa during the Boer War and later moved to Nicaragua where he married and had family. His story is told on a separate page - the Nicaraguan Raitts.
Rudolph Raitt and his twin David were born on 29 January 1873 in Nairn to William Raitt and Grace MacGregor and like his elder brothers he too emigrated - at least for a while. Rudolph married Catherine Ann Morgan in Blairgowrie on 16 September 1898 - he was 25, a tea planter, living at Beecroft, Blairgowrie. His father was William Raitt, retired head teacher and his mother was Grace McGregor, both deceased. Catherine was 21 (born 1977 in Clunie, Perthshire - died in 1960 in Perth) and her parents were Thomas Morgan, fruit grocer, and Jessie Douglas. A Mr and Mrs R. Raitt departed Liverpool on 29 October 1898 bound for Calcutta, India aboard the City of Calcutta. I am assuming this is them because there were three children born to Rudolph Raitt and wife Catherine Ann in India - Ethel Evelyn, born 12 August 1899 and christened 17 December 1899 in Assam, Bengal; Grace Jeannette, born 6 December 19091 in Assam and christened 26 March 1902 in Sibsagar, Bengal; and Oswald Alexander, born 12 December 1903 in Assam and christened in Sibsagar on 10 January 1904. Oswald Alexander was presumably named for Rudolph’s brothers and is probably why Oswald returned the compliment later by naming one of his own sons Rudolph. Rudolph and Catherine Ann had another son when they returned to Scotland after their stint in India.
Son Rudolph Morgan Raitt was born on 15 November 1911 in Blairgowrie. The birth extract gives his father as Rudolph Raitt, a motor engineer, and his mother as Catherine Ann Morgan. A Roderick Morgan Raitt married Elizabeth C. Morrin in 1947 in St Giles, Edinburgh. This is probably Rudolph - though since the record is not online, then his parentage is not checked (though see below for name changes). Rudolph Morgan Raitt died in 2007 in Perth aged 95.
[Interestingly an Eric Morgan Raitt also died in Perth in 2007 aged 95 with his mother’s name given as Morgan. I thought at first he and Rudolph Morgan Raitt must be twins, but I cannot find his birth and their records are not yet online. However, it looks as though he may have been born in 1912 - thus it is entirely possible that he was a later son of Rudolph and Catherine Raitt after they returned from India. If so, then he married a woman named Elizabeth and had two children: Ian, born 1954 in Perth and Fiona, born 1956 also in Perth. Wife Elizabeth died in 1992 in Perth aged 76 and her middle name was Craig and her mother's maiden name was Lees - see Raitt Anecdotes.]
Rudolph Raitt Snr served in the Royal Army Service Corp during the First Word War - enlisting at the age of 40 (See under Raitts in the 1st World War). He also ran his own cycle and car hire business in Blairgowrie - see under Ye olde Raitt Shoppes. Rudolph died on 3 December 1941 in Perth aged 68, a retired tea planter. For some reason on his death extract his name is given as Roderick (see below) - though the record states that he was married to Catherine Ann Morgan and his parents were William Raitt, school teacher, deceased and Grace McGregor, deceased. The informant was daughter Grace J. Jack. (Grace, aged 29, had married Francis Graham Jack, aged 42, on 27 April 1929 in Perth. Her father was named as Roderick Raitt, motor engineer, and sister Ethel was a witness.)
The family is found in the 1911 census living at 32, Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie. Rudolph Raitt is 38, a motor car and cycle agent, born Nairn, Morayshire; wife Catherine A., is 33, born Lethendy, Morayshire (sic - should be Perthshire); and children: Ethel E., 11; Grace J., 9; and Oswald A., 7 - all at school and born Assam, India. Catherine Ann had been married for 12 years and had born three children, all of whom were living.
Daughter Ethel Evelyn is found arriving at Liverpool from Karachi, Pakistan on 12 September 1924 on board the City of Cairo. E. E. Raitt, was aged 24 and a governess, with a last country of residence as India and her future country as Scotland. Her proposed address in the UK was Borsilla, Perth NB In fact she had gone to Bombay from Liverpool aboard the City of Poons on 3 November 1923 - aged 24 and a governess. Her last residence was given as Borsilla, Muirside Terrace, Perth.
Son Oswald Alexander Raitt married Gladys May Porter on 14 October 1933 in St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen. He was an insurance clerk aged 29 with a usual residence of 4, Williamwood Park West, Netherlee, Glasgow and she was 25 living at 364 George Street, Aberdeen. His father was named as Roderick Raitt, motor engineer, and is mother was Catherine Ann Morgan. Her parents were Barnard Joseph Porter, dentist, and Agnes Rachel Bending, deceased. A witness was R. M. Raitt - presumably Oswald's brother Rudolph Morgan. Oswald died in Martha St, Glasgow in 1994, aged 90.
[As we see Oswald's father was Roderick on his marriage extract, as it was on sister Grace's, and that is the same name given on Rudolph's death extract. A Roderick Morgan Raitt married Elizabeth C. Morrin in 1947 in St Giles, Edinburgh. This cannot be Rudolph/Roderick Snr, of course, since he died in 1941 - and is thus likely to be Rudolph Morgan. There seems to be no birth of a Roderick Raitt, in Scotland at least, so perhaps the father was called Roderick at some point to avoid confusion with his son (and it was a simple confusion when Rudolph/Roderick married in 1947). However, in his RAMC service record, although Rudolph is named so on most of the forms, on his Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity dated 16 February 1919 when leaving the Army his name is given as Roderick! Maybe this was simply a clerical error, or possibly he or the Army changed his name because Rudolph was perhaps considered to be too German-sounding in a time of tensions of war whilst serving in France.]
Rudolph Raitt’s twin brother David, born 29 January 1873 at Seacraig House, Nairn married Elizabeth Rough in Rattray, Perthshire on 28 November 1895. He was 22, a dealer in bee appliances. living at Bee Croft, Blairgowrie and his parents were William Raitt, dealer in bee appliances, deceased and Grace McGregor, deceased. Elizabeth was 25, a dressmaker. living at Birch Cottage, Rattray and her parents were James Rough, plate layer, and Elspeth Cameron. A witness was R. Raitt - presumably Rudolph, David’s twin. David Raitt, bee appliance manufacturer, married to Elizabeth Rough, died aged 30, on 8 October 1903 in Blairgowrie. He had chronic otitis of the middle ear and cerebral abscess. His parents were given as William Raitt, bee appliance manufacturer, deceased; and Grace McGregor, deceased. The informant was his cousin D. G. Monair.
David and Elizabeth had three children: William born 13 March 1897 at Beecroft, Blairgowrie; Elspeth Cameron, born 14 February 1888, also at Beecroft; and David, born 2 October 1900 in Rattray. In all cases their father's occupation was bee appliance manufacturer. Elspeth Cameron died aged 50 and presumably single in 1948 in Blairgowrie. William seems to have died in Newington, Edinburgh in 1976, aged 79 - whether he married and had children is not known yet. And David died in Dundee in 1985 aged 84 - a famous footballer, more will be told about him below.
David obviously inherited his father, William’s, love of bees. In the British Bee Journal dated 15 May 1902 (shortly before David died) under the caption Homes of the Honey Bee: The Apiaries of our Readers there is an article about “The apiary at Blairgowrie, part of which is shown on the next page, [which] recalls the only time we saw it, on a very sad occasion, when we made the long journey northward to accompany to his last home all that remained of our dear friend the late William Raitt, whose sudden death some dozen or more years ago will be remembered by our older readers. We are glad to find his son David still in the bee-trade, and the hives on the old ground at ‘Beecroft’ and have no doubt our bee garden picture this week will recall pleasant memories of one who was in his day one of the ablest and most worthy among the been-men among us at the time.” The article goes on to give some words from David who feared he could not wield the pen as did his late lamented father. He noted that part of the hives in the photo came down from ‘Beecroft’ days as far back as thirteen years ago [i.e. around 1889], since their late master [William] bade adieu to this mundane sphere.”
David's obituary in the Dundee Courier for 9 October 1903 notes that "he was a hard-working man, and introduced a number of valuable improvements in apiary fittings, his uncle [father?] being the first in this country to manufacture foundation combs for bees." See more under Ye olde Raitt Shoppes.
It seems that a petition was presented to the Sheriff of the County of Perth at Perth at the instigation of Edward Henry Taylor of Welwyn, Herts, manufacturer of bee-keeping appliances, for sequestration of the estates of the deceased David Raitt. As a result, on 16 October 1903, a warrant was granted citing Mrs Elizabeth Rough or Raitt, residing at Craig Roman, Ann Street, Blairgowrie, widow of David Raitt, and guardian of their three children (William, Ella and David) residing at the same address and the only children and successors of the deceased, and also Elizabeth for any right or interest she might have as the widow, to appear in Court to show why sequestration should not be awarded. Whether it was or not is not yet found.
At home in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, in the 1901 census for Rosebank Cottage, Rattray, Perthshire we have David Raitt, 28, manufacturer of bee and poultry appliances; born Nairn; wife Elizabeth, 30, born Lundie, Angus; and children: William, 4, born Blairgowrie; Elspeth, 3, born Blairgowrie; and David, 0, born Rattray.
In the 1911 census for Rowan Cottage, Perth Road, Blairgowrie we have Elizabeth Raitt, 40, widow, housewife, born Lundie; and children: William, 14; Elspeth Cameron, 13; and David, 10 - all at school and all born Blairgowrie.
William Raitt (abt 1801-abt 1845)
William Raitt and Elizabeth Gibb were married in Forgan, Fife on 2 February 1833. Elizabeth died 9 May 1865 at Newport, Forgan aged 58 and was the widow of William Raitt, seaman. Her father, David Gibb, was an inn keeper, deceased and her mother, Margaret Whyte, was also deceased. The informant was her son David Raitt, residing at Oswald School, Partick, Glasgow. Her exact birth is not yet found, but it is around 1807.
William and Elizabeth's daughter Margaret was born on 9 March 1837 and christened on 23 March 1837 in Forgan, Fife. Son William (see above) was born on 26 June 1839 and christened on 16 July. Son David Gibb Raitt was born on 25 December 1841 and christened on 10 January 1842 in Forgan, Fife. It looks as though he died in 1927 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, aged 85. Daughter Elizabeth, was born on 25 July 1843 and christened on 6 August the same year in Forgan. According to his namesake son’s death extract, William, his father was a seaman and presumably died between 1843-1851.
In the 1841 census for Marytown Village, Forgan, Fife there is Elizabeth Gibb, 30, born Scotland (presumably outside Fife); and children: Margaret Raitt, 4; and William Raitt, 2 - both born Fife. Husband William was likely away at sea on the night of the census.
In the 1851 census for Tay Cottage, Forgan, there is Elizabeth Rait, head, widow, 42, laundress, born Meigle, Perthshire; and children Margaret, 13, farm lab; William, 11, scholar; David, 9, scholar; and Elizabeth, 7, scholar - all born Forgan.
In the 1861 census for King Street, Forgan, there is Betsy Raitt, widow, 54, born Meigle; and daughter Elizabeth, 17, born Newport, Fife. And at Murraygate Dyers Close, Dundee, we find David Raitt, 19, born Forgan as a boarder in the large household of David Gibb, 51, ship carpenter, born Meigle, Perthshire. This will be surely the brother of his mother Elizabeth Gibb.
Son David Raitt married Ann Gillespie on 4 December 1868 at her home in Dundee. He was 27 and a ship wright journeyman, residing at Cowgate, Ferry Port-on-Craig - his parents, both deceased, were William Raitt, seaman (master) and Betsy Gibb. Ann was 28, a domestic servant, residing at 104 Princes St, Dundee - her parents were named as Joseph Gillespie, ironmoulder journeyman, and Isabella Thomson. A witness was Elizabeth Raitt, David's sister. Ann was born on 20 September 1840 in Abbotshall, Fife.
In the 1871 census living in Byker Street, Longbenton, Tynemouth, Northumberland we have David Raitt, 29, shipwright; wife Ann, 30; and daughter Isabella T., 1 - all born Scotland.
In 1881, still in Longbenton, but now living at 50, Mitchell Street there is David Raitt, 39, timber stock keeper and timber dealer, born Scotland; wife Annie, 40, born Scotland; and daughters Isabella Thompson, 11, scholar, born Scotland; Annie, 7, scholar, born Longbenton; and Elizabeth, 5, scolar, born Longbenton.
In the 1891 census the family had moved 84, Maugham Street, Benwell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne - David Raitt, 49, was a shipwright again; wife Anne, 50; and children; Isabella Thompson, 21, drapers machinist; Elizabeth, 15, domestic servant; and William, 8, scholar, born Longbenton.
The family is not yet found in 1901, however, I assume that since they were at the same address in 1911 as they were in 1891, then they were there in 1901.
In 1911 at 84, Maugham Street, Benwell, there is David Raitt, 69, retired shipwright, born Parish of Forgan, Fife; wife Annie, 70, born Parish of Abbotsham, Fife (should be Abbotshall?); and daughter Isabella Thomson, 41, single, born Parish of St Andrew, Dundee. Wife Ann had been married for 42 years and born five children, four of whom were still living. The child who died may have been Annie, not found in the 1891 census. Son William Raitt had married in the meantime and in 1911 is living at 39 Countess Avenue, Whitley Bay, Northumberland. He was 28, assistant schoolmaster employed by Northumberland County Council, born Longbenton with wife Annie Aitchison, 28, born Coldingham, Berwickshire. They had been married for under one year and had no children. The marriage between William Raitt and Annie A. Wilson was registered in the third quarter of 1910 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It seems as though William died in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1968, aged 85.
In the absence of census information for William Raitt, Elizabeth Gibb’s husband, his date and place of birth is unknown; however, since his wife was born around 1807 and they married in 1833, then one can assume he was born about the same date. There are several possibilities, but I thought initially he may very well be the one born 22 July 1810 in Ferry Port on Craig, Fife to David Raitt and Margaret Sykes (supposition based on location and parental names carried down.) However, I have found a William Raitt, born on 12 August 1805 in Newport, Fife (baptized on 16 August 1805 and registered in Forgan) to William Raitt, boatman, and Mary Gilchrist resident there, who was a seaman. His Register Ticket was 74844, issued on 18 August 1845 at Newcastle, and he was ticketed at age 40 in the capacity of Mate, having first gone to sea as Apprentice in 1825. He was 5ft 10in tall, had a swarthy complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes. He had not served in the Royal Navy nor been in Foreign Service. When unemployed he resided at Newport. The parish of Forgan and Newport are just across the River Tay from Dundee, Angus - so William Raitt may well have been related to other sea-faring Raitts nearby. See Raitt Master Mariners, Arbroath Mariners and Other Raitt Mariners. William Rait (sic) married Mary Gilchrist, both of the parish of Forgan, on 15 August 1800 in Forgan.
After he retired from teaching, William became an expert on bees (evidenced by calling his home Beecroft!). He was a regular contributor to the British Bee Journal and was Secretary of the East of Scotland Bee Society. His comments on two queens in the same of one of his hives attracted correspondence in the pages of the Journal and he was mentioned for having an observatory hive. When not judging honey at various events, he won prizes for his own honey as well as the silver medal for the best sample of English Comb Foundation (worker cells) made of pure bees’ wax, not less than 10 lbs in weight. He also was the author of a new series of papers on bees and beekeeping which appeared weekly in the Dundee Courier from 14 February 1882. In the entry on bees in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 11th edition, it is noted that "the first roller press [for producing comb foundation in sheets] was made by the A.I. Root Co. in Ohio and imported by Mr William Raitt, a Scottish bee-keeper of repute in Perthshire, N.B." His occupation given on his son David’s death extract was dealer in bee appliances - and his son obviously had followed his father’s apiary hobby (see below and also Ye olde Raitt Shoppes).
In the 1841 census for Marytown Village, Forgan, Fife there is Elizabeth Gibb, 30, born Scotland (presumably outside Fife); and children: Margaret Raitt, 4; and William Raitt, 2 - both born Fife.
In the 1851 census for Tay Cottage, Forgan, there is Elizabeth Rait, head, widow, 42, laundress, born Meigle, Perthshire; and children Margaret, 13, farm lab; William, 11, scholar; David, 9, scholar; and Elizabeth, 7, scholar - all born Forgan.
In the 1861 census for Brae Head, Benholm, Kincardineshire, William Raitt, 21, Free Church schoolmaster, born Forgan, Fife, is a lodger.
In the 1871 census for Highbury Cottage, Nairn we find William Raitt, 31, school teacher, born Forgan, Fife; wife Grace, 31, teacher of needlework, born Kirkmichael, Perthshire; children: William, 8, scholar, born Renfrew, Renfrewshire; Elizabeth, 6, scholar, born Renfrew; Alexander, 4, scholar; Oswald, 0, born Nairn. Also in the household is Jessie McGregor, sister-in-law, 20, lady’s maid, born Logierait, Perthshire.
In the 1881 census for Muir of Blair, Beecroft, Blairgowrie, Perthshire we find that William Raitt has given up teaching and moved from Angus to Perthshire to become a strawberry grower (4 acres) - he was 41, now a widower. With him are children Alexander S., 14, scholar, born Renfrew; Oswald, 10, scholar, born Nairn; Rudolph, 8, scholar, born Nairn; David, 8, scholar, born Nairn; and Robert McGregor, 7, scholar, born Liff & Benvie, Angus. Also the the household is Margaret Monair, sister, widow, 43, housekeeper, born Forgan; and her two sons William, 11, and David, 10, - both scholars, born Sligo, Perthshire (sic) - it should be Sligo, Ireland. William’s namesake son will be the William Raitt, 18, clerk, born Hillhead, Renfrew lodging in the Hutchison household at Den Head of Gray, Liff & Benvie, Angus.
In the 1891 census, living in Perth Road, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, we find that the head of the household seems now to be Margaret Monair, 54, housekeeper, born Fife (though it gives her relationship as wife, but does not give an marital condition); with her are her two sons, William K. Monair, 21, comb maker, born Ireland; and David G. Monair, 20, newspaper reporter, born Ireland; and her two nephews David Raitt, 18, ironmonger, born Nairn; and Robert Raitt, 17, born Angus. Their brother Rudolph Raitt, 18, apprentice engineer (fitter), born Nairn is a lodger nearby at Cowgate, Errol, Perthshire. Brothers William and Alexander Raitt are not found in the census yet.
Regarding the sons of William Raitt and his two wives, the details so far discovered are given below in order of birth.
Robert MacGregor Raitt
Robert MacGregor Raitt was born 4 April 1874 in the Schoolhouse, Liff, Benvie and Invergowrie, Angus - the last son of William Raitt and Grace MacGregor. It would seem like most of his siblings, he too emigrated. The next name on the ship’s list of the Raglan Castle, going to Cape Town on 30 September 1897 from London, after the afore-mentioned A. S. Raitt was R. Raitt, aged 29, also a merchant (and English ethnicity!) - despite the age this will presumably be Alexander’s brother Robert MacGregor. He also seems to have stayed in South Africa since he was discharged (as a Corporal with pension) from the 12th South African Infantry on 18 June 1917 after being found unfit for further war service. He had a condition known as Dupuytren’s contracture in his left hand, which originated about 1912, though the disability started three or four months before enlistment, and was aggravated by active service hauling guns over difficult country. The condition gradually deteriorated and led to two fingers being amputated as well as injury to the right hand. A carpenter by trade, he had enlisted for the duration of the war at Port Elizabeth on 10 January 1916 aged 41 and single.