Sons of the Great McGonagall

ln Dundee Police Court yesterday — before Bailie Perrie — Andrew McGonagall and John McGonagall, ropers, Step Row, were charged with having quarrelled and fought with each other and committed a breach of the peace in Step Row at an early hour on Sunday morning. At first Andrew failed to appear, and a bail of 15s was declared forfeited. John pleaded guilty, and prayed for a chance, as he was about to go to Perth to join his illustrious father, who had removed to the Fair City. The Bailie imposed a fine of 10s 6d, with the option of seven days in prison. At a later stage of the Court business Andrew appeared and took his place at the bar. Mr Dewar said accused had allowed his pledge to be forfeited, but he had probably heard of the fate of his brother, and that had led him to turn up before the Court was over. Andrew denied the charge. The evidence was to the effect that “John and Andrew, his brother,” were fighting in the midst of a surging crowd, and that Andrew had an open pocket-knife in his hand flourishing it menacingly. He was found guilty, and fined 10s 6d, or seven days in prison.

Dundee Courier, 4th December 1894

Comments (7) »

  1. John Irvine
    In the year 2013, on the 16th day of May at 7:27 pm

    A correction – newspaper wrongly listed Andrew & John as brothers – John was Andrews uncle – Andrew was the illegitimate son of Johns eldest sister Margaret

  2. shirley mcgonegal
    In the year 2014, on the 6th day of February at 9:00 am

    We believe my husband is great grandson of william mcgonegal. His father was John Heenan Mcgonegal who’s twin siblings were the
    children of John Mcgonegal & Catherine Kidd.
    The twins were named Catherine & William. John Mcgonegal signed the birth certificate for them -but not for John who was born later.
    The Orkney Isles are significant with the Kidd family & the Mcgonegals.
    Can you help us solve this mystery -my husband is now 80 years old
    Faithfully S Mcgonegal

  3. Chris Hunt
    In the year 2014, on the 13th day of February at 12:22 am

    Hello Shirley, thanks for sharing your husband’s family history with us.

    John McGonagall was born on 7 September 1865, the eighth of the poet’s nine children. As you say, he is named as the father of twins William & Catherine born 10 March 1895. The twins’ mother was Catherine Kidd, who had been married to a James Heenan in 1890.

    Your father-in-law’s birth record (for 6 January 1897) names him “John Kidd or Heenan”, explicitly states that Catherine had declared that her husband was not the father of the child, and that they’d parted company about six years previously. There is no indication of who the father was.

    Maybe Catherine and John had fallen out at the time of her second son’s birth? But the baby was named after him, and subsequently bore his surname too, I think we can assume John was the father. I’ve yet to trace any information about John or Catherine beyond 1897.

    So it appears that your husband does, indeed, have the famous poet’s blood in his veins!

  4. shirley mcgonegal
    In the year 2014, on the 28th day of February at 8:54 am

    Chris,a little more info.About 4 years ago we spent time with Grant Law ,the registrar at Dundee.He was very helpful & by trawling the census -i believe it was 1901 at an area just outside Dundee named Newbeggin -he found John (my Father in law ) along with the twins William & Catherine-lodging at a farm .My late father in law would never speak of his past but once told my sister in law he had bee farmed out as a child & the farmer was very cruel to them.
    I had the copy of this that Grant did for us but at the moment cannot find it.
    Thanks for your intersest-by the way what happened to the McGonegal society?
    Regards Shirley Mcgonegal

  5. Audrey
    In the year 2015, on the 19th day of April at 7:38 pm

    I believe my grandmothers father was Charles McGonagall. If he married a Jesse Duffus then I am looking at the right family. Would you have any further information on his family?

  6. Chris Hunt
    In the year 2015, on the 27th day of April at 9:48 pm

    Audrey, you do indeed have the right family.

    Charles (1857-1926) was the fifth of the poet’s nine children. He married Jesse Duffus in 1883 and they had five children that I know of: William (born and died 1884), Charles (1886-1903), Jesse (1889-1920), Mary (1891-1982) and Jane (1894-??). Would one of the three girls be your grandmother?

  7. Rognvald Spence
    In the year 2022, on the 9th day of September at 11:34 am

    Charles is my wife’s first cousin three times removed.
    His Marriage Record states that he married Janet Duffus on 20 May 1881 at 41 Step Row, Dundee. It seems to be reasonably common in my part of the word (NE Scotland) to interchange Janet and Jessie. So this is probably correct.

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