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James was born on 4 April 1864, and baptised in Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland. James was the first child of 4 found to be born to parents James Kidd 1843 from Ayrshire an engineer, crane driver and Helen, or Ellen Saxton, sometimes Sexton, born 1845, who was also from Ayrshire.  They were married on 16 July 1863 in Dalry, Ayrshire.  

We find the growing family in the 1871 Scottish Census in Darkemire or Drakemyre Street, Saltcoats, a coastal town in the district of Old Ardrossan, Ayrshire, just over 6 miles from Dalry.  James senior, aged 28 is an Engine Keeper, Helen aged 26, James junior aged 6. His siblings were Agnes aged 4 and John Saxton aged 1. 

Helen is in the early stage of pregnancy and William Sexton was born on the 23 November. Sadly, William dies the following year,  


Image Scottish People 

More tragedy strikes the family as Helen dies on 9 February 1873. The information from James’s reception order says she died in childbirth.  I cannot find the birth or death of a child.  Helen’s death certificate shows her cause of death was not certified. 


1881 Scottish Census was found on Findmypast.  

James senior says he is married. He was actually a widower. His age is slightly different 35 instead of 38, but this could be a transcription error. His occupation matches, as does the names and ages of the children. James junior aged 16 is working as an Engine Tenter, (tenter, someone who tends machinery). Agnes aged 14, is a field worker and John aged 12, is a scholar. The family have moved to Croftfoot, West Kilbride. This is now a residential area in the southeast of the city of Glasgow.  


Image Findmypast 

1891 Census 

I have found James junior in Cheshire transcribed as James Nudd, living with his sister Agnes, who has married James Jessiman/Jesseman of Scotland in the 1st Quarter 1887 in Birkenhead. 

James is a stationary engine driver and their daughters Helen aged 2 and Jane, aged 7 months. I would like to think Helen was named in honour of the mother Helen. James is 26 and is listed as a lodger and also a stationary engine driver. 

They are residing at 10, Sandy Lane, Weston, Cheshire. Situated close to the banks of the river Mersey. Inland from Liverpool.  


Image Ancestry 

A Move to Greenwich

Agnes and her family move to Wales, then to Greenwich London and that’s where we find them in the 1901 Census. This information comes from the registered births of their children. Helen in 1889, Jane in 1890 and Agnes in 1892 were all registered in Runcorn.  Jane Maud Born in 1896 registered in Cardiff. James in 1897, John Hector in 1901, Isabel Alexandra in 1903, Robert Donald in 1905, twins Elsie May and Lilian Grace in 1907 all registered in Greenwich.   

Whether James moves with them is yet to be established, as I have not been able to find him in the 1901 Census. 

1904 – James marries in London

James meets and marries a widow named Margaret McIntyre nee Coutts in Chelsea on 25 April 1904. Both parties give their address as 89, Edith Grove, Chelsea. Neither of them was living at this address in 1901.  


Margaret was born in Crathie, Aberdeenshire her father James and her mother unknown. 

A newspaper article from the Fulham Chronicle, dated 8 April 1904, just before the wedding, shows that Margaret was living at 89 Edith Grove with her son John McIntyre. 


British Newspaper Archives 


Image Scottish People 

Margaret had married John McIntyre in 1880. He was 14 years older than her, and I may have found his death in 1897, The Strand London.  

I found three children born to the couple. James Lamont 1879c, John Steward 2 September 1881, Jane Steward 1883-1884. All were born and registered in Crathie Aberdeenshire.  

Margaret’s son John was witness to his mother’s marriage to James. Margaret and John were recorded in 1881 Scottish Census, with her father James Coutts and the couple’s son James Lamont.


I assume this is a Public House. 


Image Findmypast 

Decline in James’s Health. 

On 7th Sept 1908 James was admitted to Kensington and Chelsea Workhouse, Britten Road Chelsea, into the infirmary observation ward. He was discharged on 17 September to Horton asylum. 


Reception Order. Signed by James Jeffery Esq JP.  

Medical notes and observations 

These were completed by William Henry Boyland, attendant from the observation ward Chelsea Workhouse:

James Kidd, 43, reg no 2265, C of E. 16 Sept 1908. 

Married, a Steam Engine Driver. 

Present attack was for one week. No previous attacks or treatment. Cause unknown. He has no Epilepsy, not suicidal and not a danger to others. It is not known of any close family afflicted.  

Home address, 12 College Road Chelsea. Chargeable to Chelsea, wife Margaret of the same address.  

He does not appear to know where he is or how he got into this institution. His answers to questions are quite irrelevant. He is restless and does not sleep, unless under the influence of a …… (drug?) 

On admission to the observation ward,  he was noisy and somewhat violent. He made several attempts to escape, getting out of bed and making rushes for the door. 

Signed by William Henry Boyland.  

History obtained from his wife, Margaret

He was quick to learn as a child. He has always been able to earn a living. Margaret does not know if he had any convulsions as a child. He did have a head injury 12 or 14 years ago. He has syphilis. Untreated for 9 years. Other illnesses unknown. He is losing his sight.  

They have been married 4 years, no children.  His mother died in childbirth and a brother was born deaf and dumb. (John Sexton Kidd) 

Condition on Admission to Horton

His general body condition is good, height 5ft 6ins, weight 10st.  

He has scars on both his eyebrows and discolouration of the right eye. 8 small bruises on his forearms and 8 on his thighs and legs. Abrasion on his left elbow and varicose veins. 

He has fine brown hair turning grey, facial hair and grey eyes. There seems to be a problem with his pupils being uneven. 

He has quiet, repetitive, slurred speech and stutters, his coordination is not good, and he has a slight tremor. 

Mental state:- by R C Turnball 

“Patient has a great clouding of consciousness, quite disorientated. Comprehension much at fault. Unable to interpret sensations he receives. Looks at watch and names it but cannot read the time. He is typically maniacal and shows great divertibility. 

Great lack of power of attention. Marked uncontrolled flights of ideas whilst there is much increased psycho-motor activity. He is never still but little purpose in his movements which seems simply the result of pressure of activity. He evidently has hallucinations of touch, complains of electricity under the bed clothes when affected by them but seems to forget all about it. 

He is cheerful, garrulous, not impulsive but sleepless, wet and dirty and destructive. Evidently a General Paralytic with history of Syphilis.” 

James seems to think he is in Horton to work, although he is unable. By the 22 September is recorded as being very excited and is now in the padded room. He has been put on Paraldehyde at night.  This is a medication to suppress the nervous system to reduce seizures.  

  • 21 October he is transferred from AH. 
  • 17 November he was transferred wards again, for administrative reasons.   
  • 12 December he is becoming worse and on 20 December he is transferred again.  
  • 10 January 1909 he had a whitlow on the 2nd finger of his right hand.  
  • 14 February medical notes state, “he was put to bed on the 12 he was very restless and unsteady on his legs. He is going downhill fast. He has to get Chloral and Bromide frequently.” 
  • 17 February he is confined to bed in the advanced stage of General Paralysis. He has a small boil on his forehead. By 20 February, the boil has got worse with a great deal of oedema around his eyes. On the 26 February it was noted that “an incision was made into the inflammatory swelling on forehead yesterday. He is rapidly failing.”  

James dies

No other notes are made until 1 March, with the finding of the postmortem by John R Lord.  

James died at 1am on 28 February from General Paralysis. Herbert Smith night attendant was present at death.  

Noted:-contributory and associated factors, Syphilis and Arteriosclerosis.

He was buried in Horton cemetery on 4th March. Grave no 391a 


James was a highly skilled working man. How sad to have contacted syphilis and suffer such a terrible death. 


James’s wife Margaret in the 1911 Census was recorded as a widow, aged 51 and a dressmaker living with her single older sister Mary Ann Coutts 61, a housekeeper. 13, Anderson Street, Chelsea.  

I have not been able to find her in the 1921 Census or a positive Death.  

Sister Agnes lived in Greenwich with her husband and children. She died in 1935.  

Brother John Saxton was born deaf and dumb. Conformation of this is on the 1881 Scottish Census and noted on James’s Reception order. 

There is a speculative death I found just north of Glasgow in the Gartloch Asylum. It is possible John may have lived here, if his father had died or could no longer care for him. 

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