Appeal for family info on Bute’s other Antarctic hero

John Morrison was the first Bute man to set foot on Antarctica in 1903.
John Morrison was the first Bute man to set foot on Antarctica in 1903.

THE grandsons of a sailor from Rothesay who was the first man from Bute to set foot on Antarctica more than a hundred years ago are seeking more information about their family links on the island.

John Donald Morrison, who was born in Columshill Street in 1873, sailed south on the steam yacht Morning, taking essential supplies to Captain Robert Scott and the other members of the Discovery expedition team between 1901 and 1904.

Extracts from John’s diaries are published in the new issue of The Buteman’s sister publication, Back in the Day,

Now John’s grandsons, Iain and Donald, have contacted The Buteman in the hope that someone on the island might be able to supply more information about the Morrison family, and tell them whether there are any descendants still living on Bute today.

The brothers’ great-grandfather Roderick Morrison, John’s father, was a ship’s master from Stornoway who moved to the parish of Row, Dunbartonshire, in the 1860s, where he met and became engaged to a Catherine Mary McCallum from Bute. The couple were married on July 15, 1869 at 8 Columshill Street in Rothesay.

The Morrisons later lived at 10 Columshill Street, where their son John was born in 1873, and then, according to street directories produced by the Post Office in 1883-84 and 1889-90, at 34 Crichton Road, before moving to Partick in Glasgow.

Catherine McCallum’s parents were John McCallum, a cow feeder on Bute, and Catherine Thomson.

Family papers in the possession of the Morrison family today include a letter dated September 1, 1842 from a William Jamieson, a fisherman in the north-west of Scotland, to his wife in Rothesay, Janet, which mentions a John Teith or Feith who William hoped would be “put to rights” and asks Janet to give his love to “Catherine, Daniel, Mary and Janet”.

Don Morrison writes: “Who were Catherine, Daniel, Mary and Janet? Who was John Teith or Feith, who was to be ‘put to rights’, and why? How are William and Janet Jamieson related (if at all) to either the MacCallums or the Morrisons?”

If you think you might be related to the Morrisons or the McCallums, or you know how the Jamiesons might be connected to either family, contact The Buteman on news@buteman.com or call us on (01700) 502503.

In the meantime, don’t miss John Morrison’s Antarctic diaries in the new issue of Back in the Day – on sale later this month.