Murdoch Family Genealogy web site

Rae family

Margaret Cumming is my Great, Great grandmother's sister.

Margaret Cumming was born on the 03 of May 1814 at Kippford, Scotland and died aged 58, on the 13th of June 1872 from Cancer of the stomach at St Cuthbert Cottage, Colvend, her husband was the informant.
She married Captain and ship-owner Alexander Rae on the 21st of July 1840 at Colvend. Alexander was born at Kirkcudbrightshire on the 5th of Feb 1815 and his parents are Captain Samuel and Jane Halliday.

On the 1851 and 1871 census Margaret Cumming and Alexander Rae were living at St Cuthbert Cottage, Colvend. Some time after his wife's death Alexander got married again and she was a Scottish lady called Mary who was 10 years younger than him.

On the 1881 census Alexander was living with his new wife at 19 Berkeley Street, Toxteth, Liverpool, and his nephew Alexander Rae who was a master mariner was at his home too.
On the 1891 census he is still living with his wife at 19 Berkeley Street and his grandson John Maxwell who was aged 17 and a student was at his home.
Alexander died not so long after the census was done at his home in Liverpool on the 6th of December 1891 aged 76. He is interred in Colvend.

Alexander owned a number of ships and his company was called A. & J. Rae and also A. Rae & others.
He owned quite a few ships-three being the first "Bengairn" "The Annie Fletcher" and "St. Cuthbert" and on his death his sons inherited them.
Liverpool-based shipping firm of Alexander Rae (later J&J Rae)
The Annie Fletcher was an iron barque built in March 1868 by the Lune Shipbuilding Company at Lancaster. Originally named Gressingham, by 1885 her name had been changed and she was registered in Liverpool and was owned by A. Rae & others (1887) and by J. & J. Rae & Co. from 1891-4.

Margaret and Alexander had 8 children.
(1) Samuel Rae was born in 1841 at Colvend and died at Calcutta aged 19 on the 20th of May 1860.

Captain John (b.1842) and James (b.1847) were the founder's of the shipping company J & J RAE & Co, 14 Water Street Liverpool. They later moved to Chapel Street, Liverpool.
The Bengairn was the 2nd Rae ship to bear than name.
They had two 4 masted barques named 'Ben Lee' and 'Bengairn.' Both were sunk during the Great War. They also owned, 'Annie Fletcher,' 'Mayfield,' 'Antilles,' 'Ardvar,' 'Ardendee, 'Craignair' and 'St Cuthbert.' 'St Cuthbert was only a short way from her destination, on the 20 October 1897 when she was caught in a severe gale and sank when her load shifted. The Bengairn was Rae's last ship.
J & J RAE were in demand by other ship-owners who sought their advice on matters concerning their own ships, especially matters involving insurance, charters and possible costs in ports.

(2) Captain and ship-owner John Rae was born in 1842 at Colvend and died aged 81 at Colvend on the 27th of July 1924 from cardiac failure and valvular disease of heart, his death certificate also says his usual residence is Craignair, Blundell sands, Liverpool. Craignair is a lovely big house and is now a nursing home. On the 1881 and 1901 census he was living with his family at 14 Violet Street, Toxteth, Liverpool. He married Mary Elizabeth Wilson on the 22nd of May 1869 at Liverpool and they had four children. (1) Margaret Rae was born on the 25th of Feb 1870 at Colvend. (2) Christina Rae born 23rd Sep 1872 at Colvend. (3) Jane Rae born 30th of March 1874 at Colvend and (4) John Rae born 1887 at Liverpool. Jean Cameron is a family member and she told me that Christina Rae went to her wedding and she lived at Craignair, Blundell sands and died about 1954.

In 1915 Captain J. Murray Lindsay, was aged 15 and was an apprentice on the Bengairn, and he wrote a book called "By the wind" and it's about his adventures on the ship. The following short bits are from his well documented book.
Captain Lindsay says- At ten thirty that morning my uncle was to take me to meet Captain John Rae, senior partner in the firm of J. & J. Rae & Co-Chapel Street, Liverpool. The owners of my future ship, the Bengairn-and to sign my indentures. Captain John Rae had been retired from active command for a number of years, yet he still looked every inch the shipmaster. He politely waved us to chairs, and chatted easily with Uncle John for a few minutes, summing me up, I felt, meanwhile. Then he turned towards me, clasping his hands together on the table. "Well, young man -it's over forty years since I first chose to go to sea, and although the life has been hard at times I've never regretted that choice.

Under Captain Rae you'll sail on a happy ship, provided you do your duty smartly-and above all learn the meaning of instant obedience. On the conclusion of the last words his eyelids narrowed and his jaw set. I murmured, "Yes, sir," and wished we could get on with things. Formalities however were soon over. A linen-backed, official-looking document marked "Ordinary Apprentices Indenture, was handed to me to read-a document which I found myself described as bound for the period of four years to the firm of J. & J. Rae & Co.

When the Bengairn was sunk by the Germans, J Murray Lindsay said the following;
"I was given a short audience and a pound note-my fare home-by Captain John Rae. He told me during this interview that arrangements would be finalized between his firm and my family regarding both my career and finance. He had no more ships; indeed, he had been heavily hit by the loss of his last two Bens at a time when freights were so high. With a final word of commendation over my conduct and ability during the voyage, a full report of which he had received from the little Captain, we shook hands, and I went out, shutting the door behind me. Then, with my train-fare in my pocket, I walked down the stairs-leaving the old Captain among his half models of ships that were all at the bottom of the sea.

Margaret Cumming and Alexander Rae's other children are.

(3) Jane Rae was born in 1845 at Colvend and died aged 83 on the 19th of Jan 1929 at Withington, Manchester, she is interned in Colvend. She married School Master James Maxwell at Colvend on the 7th of July 1868 and they went to live in Manchester. James died aged 57 at Lochside, Colvend on the 3rd of August 1894 of Nephritis which he had for 1 month and 14 days and cerebral apoplexy; he is buried with his wife and son John in Colvend churchyard.
Their 4 children are (1) Alexander Rae Maxwell was born in Manchester in 1872 and on the 1901 census he was working as a bank clerk in Manchester.
(2) John Maxwell was born in Manchester in 1874, on the 1891 census he was at his grandfather's house ship-owner Alexander Rae at Liverpool and was aged 17 and a student. John died aged 27 on the 27th April 1901 at Patna, Bengal, India.
(3) Margaret W Maxwell was born in Manchester 1877 and (4) James W Maxwell was born in Manchester in 1879.
On the 1901 census Jane was living at Lord Street, Manchester and it says she is living on her own means.

(4) Alexander Rae was born in Colvend in 1849 and died aged 5 on the 18th of September 1854. He is buried at Colvend.

(5) Mary Cumming Rae died aged 4 months on the 25th of May 1852 and is buried at Colvend.

(6) Margaret Rae was born on the 16th of May 1855 at St Cuthbert Cottage, Colvend. She married Percy L Gardner on the 11th of Jan 1877 at St Michael's-Hamlet Church Toxteth, Liverpool.

The other children of Margaret Cumming and Alexander Rae are.

(7) Captain and ship-owner Henry Rae, who is a twin to James, was born at St Cuthbert Cottage on the 1st of April 1847, Colvend. In 1884 he was captain of the St. Cuthbert. On the 1891 census aged 44 he was living with his family at Anchordale cottage-Sandy Hills and states he is retired. On the official Dalbeattie history website the Town Council Public Meeting was held on the 20th August 1912 and Henry was on the committee in taking steps to raise a memorial to his 2nd cousin Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch, who was lost on the Titanic.

Henry died aged 69 at his lovely home called Raeville, Sandy hills, Colvend on the 8th March 1917 of chronic bright disease. A 1894 map only shows Anchordale and a later map printed in 1909 shows Raeville right next to Anchordale. I think Henry might have paid to get Raeville built, hence the name. He married Elizabeth Wilson at Colvend on the 20th of June 1881 and she died at Raeville aged 77 on the 24th April 1928 of senility cardiac valvular disease (aortic)
They are buried in Colvend. They had 4 children.

(1) Janet Halliday Rae was born at Colvend in 1886 and died aged 27 of TB on the 10th July 1914 at Raeville also.
(2) Ex Lieut. Royal Navy Reserve John Rae was born in Colvend 21/06/1884 and died suddenly at Moreton, Cheshire, aged 42 on the 14th October 1926. He is Interred at Rake Lane, Wallasey.
(3) Margaret Cumming Rae, was born at Colvend in 1888, she never married and died aged 51 of heart failure at Castle Douglas Hospital, on the 19th Jan 1940, her brother Alex was the informant. Her death certificate says her usual residence was Raeville.
(4) Alexander Rae their elder son, was born at Colvend in 1882, he never married and died aged 69 on the 24th July 1952 at an infirmary from coronary thrombosis, his certificate also says his usual residents is Raeville. Jean Cameron who was raised in Kippford told me that Alexander would come to visit her mother and they would talk about the old days. Alex was very wealthy and was a director of Barclay Curle & Co Ltd, shipyard-Glasgow, he was also an engineer. He owned 5 houses: Raeville-his parent's home, which is now called St Ninians and is a beautiful holiday home, Anchordale, Oaklea and Janelea, all situated in Sandy Hills and Whitehill Cottage is in Portling.

(Henry and James Rae) are twins and were baptised at Colvend Church on the 5th of May 1847.

(8) Margaret Cumming and Alexander Rae other child.
Captain and ship-owner of J & J RAE - James Rae was born at St Cuthbert Cottage, Colvend on the 1st of April 1847 and died aged 58 in 1906 at Liverpool. He was known as Bengairn Jamie. Aged 23 he had his certificate of competency as master, No. 85,834, dated 1st June 1870, and also held four shares in the first Bengairn. The Bengairn was the 2nd Rae ship to bear that name.

James married Jane Mckinnell Thomson at 18 Station Road Dalbeattie on the 30th of Jan 1872. Jane died aged 66 at Toxteth, Liverpool in 1913. On the 1881 census they were living at no 2 Craignair Street, Dalbeattie. On the 1901 census they were living at Toxteth, Liverpool.
They had 8 children.

(1) Margaret Rae was born in 1872 at Dalbeattie and died in England in 1962. She married Archibald Faill on the 6th of July 1903, at the Presbyterian St Margaret's Church, Princes Road, Toxteth Park, Liverpool.

(2) Ship's Officer Alexander Rae was born in 1875 at sea on the Ship Antilles O/N 02073, and he died in Kingston, Jamaica in 1897.

(3) Robert Rae was born at Dalbeattie in 1877 and died in 1913. In 1907 he married Alexa Bell at St. Matthew with St. James Church, in the parish of Mossley Hill, Liverpool. They had a daughter and son.

(4) Captain Samuel Rae was born at no 2 Craignair Street, Dalbeattie on the 4th of Feb 1883 and died at Liverpool in 1931. He married Edith Milburn in Liverpool in 1909 and they had three children all born in Liverpool. Master Mariner Norman Rae 1910-1969. Iris Rae 1914-1983 and Marjorie Rae 1921-1985.

(5) Thomas Joseph Rae was born at Dalbeattie in 1885 and died aged 30 in the district of West Derby, Liverpool in 1915. He married his third cousin Janet Murdoch in 1911 at Toxteth Park, Register Office, Liverpool, Janet died in 1947 in Scotland.

(6) John Rae was born at Dalbeattie in 1887 and died in 1970. He married Bertha M Hough in Liverpool in 1914 and they had one son, Kenneth Rae who was born in Liverpool in 1915 and he died in 1977.

(7) Jane Rae was born in Liverpool in 1892 and died there too in 1954. She married Franklin Percival Lanchberry in 1914 in Liverpool and they had two sons and a daughter, all born in Liverpool.

James Henry Rae 1915
Captain James Henry Rae
B.1880 D.1947

Photo from the book 'By the wind' by Captain J. Murray Lindsay.
(8) Captain James Henry Rae was born in Dalbeattie on the 18th of Oct 1880 and died aged 67 in Australia in 1947. He passed certificate number 552, Master, Foreign going ship, in Sydney on July 17, 1903. Passed certificate number 34960, Extra Master in London in 1904. Captain Rae was master of the Bengairn II, from December 1909 until the vessel was sunk on April 1, 1916, 165 miles W S W of Fastnet.

James married an Australian woman Beatrice Euphemia Anderson in Liverpool in 1908; and she died in Australia in 1970. The family lived at Woy Woy NSW-Australia. They had 4 children. (1) Christine Rae who was born in Liverpool on the 11th of Jan 1910 and died the 17th of Oct 1993. (2) Alexander Rae was born in the district of Toxteth Park, Liverpool on the 17th of Aug 1911 and died aged 78 on the 9th of Aug 1990. (3) Jane T Rae was born in the district of Toxteth Park, Liverpool in 1913 and (4) Lawrence Anderson Rae was born in 1916.

I found the following information from this website.

As we motor out passed Barrenjoey Heads we have a special ceremony to perform. Tony Hansen, a Sydney harbour pilot, has asked if we could scatter the ashes of the late seaman, Lawrence Rae, here, where Rae family ashes had previously been scattered. Lawrence had the sea in his blood. His father was master of the barque Bengairn and Lawrence spent the first eight years of his life at sea under sail with his parents and sisters. He then spent his working life at sea and was 91 years old when he passed away. Captain Ross spoke a few words and the ensign was lowered to half-mast as Lawrence's ashes were scattered and a replica four-pounder gun fired. With his family once more, may he rest in peace.

Captain J. Murray Lindsay, at the age of 15 was an apprentice on the Bengairn, and he wrote a book called "By the wind" and it's about his adventures on the Bengairn.
The following short bits are from his well documented book.

Captain James Henry Rae always carried his wife and two children Chrissie and Sandy (Jane) with him. When in port they stayed at a hotel ashore. Chrissie was about 6 and Sandy was 4.
Many people today would be surprised at the comfortable quarters allotted to the Captain in some of those big sailing-ships. On the Bengairn, for instance, the Captains quarters consisted of three rooms and a bathroom. The spacious sitting-room had its own beautifully carved mantelpiece-with a proper fireplace, round which Captain Rae would sit in cold weather with his entire family. Owing to the presence of Mrs Rae on board, everything was beautifully furnished. There were lace curtains on the large portholes, and the floors were tastefully carpeted. The sitting-room opened out into the big officer's saloon through one door, while another led to the bedroom-a room which extended down the full length of the starboard side of the poop and boasted a fine double bedstead, a large couch and a set of arm-chairs.

Mrs Rae, an Australian, was fond of flowers, and her attempts at gardening were not without their reward. Creeping plants hung down in swinging festoons under the saloon skylight; bulbs flowered in bowls on the tables; and at times I even saw radishes growing in the ballast. The Captain and his wife and children dined in the saloon with the officers, with expensive maple panelling and cut-glass door-handles.

Sometimes the Captain would send me down into the saloon with a massage for his wife, who had perhaps not seen him for 24 hours.

The complete change of environment down there-combined with the picture of Mrs Rae, outwardly, at least, quite composed, sitting with her children on her knees-gave me renewed strength and hope and courage, and developed a great admiration for this woman who could still smile and say a few cheery words above the thunder of the dull green "greybeards" of waves that mounted against the portholes of her sitting room. In that first hour with my midshipmates, I learned a lot about my ship and her personnel.

Every week Mrs Rae baked a cake for the use of the cabin, and frequently she would cook some dainty, such as a batch of scones. Only a wooden partition divided the Captain's quarters from the half-deck, and often during one of the dog-watches we could hear the double knock which told of some titbit waiting for us boys.

On one of these occasions I went round in response to the usual signal, but instead of Mrs Rae answering my knock the Captain opened the door himself-assuming a look of surprise!

"What do you want, Lindsay?" Mrs Rae herself not having put in an appearance I both looked and felt embarrassed. "I -I thought that I heard a knock, sir."

"Did you" Can't the Master of this ship use a hammer without the whole half-deck running round to his door for cake?"

"Oh Jim, don't be so hard." Mrs Rae, coming up behind him, handed him a paper bag. "You know perfectly well that I did knock." I took the bag from the Captain with a profuse "Thank you, sir"-to which he responded with "Don't thank me-thank Mrs Rae," leaving no doubt in my mind that he spoke the truth. I was so glad to reach the security of the half-deck door-and next time we heard the signal it was little Chico who was sent to the Captain's quarters. Captain Rae, although at all times the martinet and the strict disciplinarian, could be very kind. On another occasion during this passage I had been sent with a bucket of Stockholm tar to sweeten up the scuppers that ran along the edge of the deck inside his quarters, and was busily employed when, apparently feeling in a conversational mood, he sat down beside me and had a real old yarn. (Talk) Being a native of Kirkcudbrightshire himself, he was interested in my border Country news, and among other things, told me he had seen my grandfather's barquentine, Margaret Murray, under sail.

Captain Rae was small and tough and thin, but his wife was tall and well built, and there were so many jokes in the forecastle about where the Captain's authority ended and that of his wife began.

It was while we were in berth at Hobart, that the Captain's wife left us to take her two children home to Melbourne, so that they could go to school. It was a great deal of sadness. I had been made night watchman on the Bengairn, and when, after seeing his wife safely abroad the Melbourne steamer and staying with her for a while, our Captain returned aboard at about midnight, he gave me orders to let him know when his wife's ship got under weigh. I watched her lights closely, and when, at about two o'clock, I saw her move, I slipped down to call him.

Although a distance of half a mile divided us from the passing steamer, we stood on the deck and watched together as she slipped by in the darkness. No words were spoken between us, yet I think we both knew that both the ship-master and the apprentice felt the loss, and felt it badly. When he had gone below again I had a real bout of self-pity. Never again would I hear the double knock on the bulkhead, no more would I see the cheery smile, or have the feeling that the Bengairn, although a ship, was also a home. That feeling had gone with the departure of the mother and children, and within the passing of a few days the hanging plants in the saloon were to droop.


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© Copyright Wendy Murdoch Roberts