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John Fea: Lock Keeper

John Fea and Catherine Thomson

John Fea remarried on 21st February 1821 in Stirlingshire. His second wife was Catherine Thomson, born about 1800 and the daughter of David Thomson and Catherine Thomson. At the time of the 1841 and 1851 census, they were living at Canal Lock No 6. According to the obituary, they had eight children:

  • Margaret Fea b. 17th November 1821, Falkirk
  • Simon Fea b. 20th October 1824, Falkirk
  • Alexander Fea b. 8th February 1827, Falkirk who married Agnes Ronald Parker
  • Catherine Fea c. 25th February 1827, Falkirk (likely twin of Alexander)
  • Catherine Fea c. 21st February 1830, Falkirk who married Alexander Riddoch
  • Helen Fea b. 16th April 1831 who married Alexander Winton
  • Simon Fea b. circa 1833/35, Falkirk who married Ann Nicol
  • David Fea b. circa 1833/35, Falkirk

Five of these are documented on the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

Canal Lock by Falkirk

Age Occupation Born
John Fea 50 years Lock keeper Scotland
Catherine Fea 42 years Scotland
Alexander Fea 14 years Stirlingshire
Catherine Fea 12 years Stirlingshire
Helen Fea 12 years Stirlingshire
Simon Fea 8 years Stirlingshire
David Fea 8 years Stirlingshire

Lock No 6, Falkirk

Relation Age Occupation Born
John Fea Head 61 years Canal lock keeper Cross Kirk, Isle of Sanday
Catherine Fea Wife 51 years Whitburn, Linlithgowshire
Catherine Fea Dau 20 years Falkirk, Stirlinghshire
Simon Fea Son 16 years Iron-moulder Falkirk, Stirlinghshire
David Fea Son 16 years Canal lock keeper's assistant Falkirk, Stirlinghshire

John Fea died on 12th February 1862.

Allan Fea in "The Real Captain Cleveland", which was published in 1912 writes:

"Old John" is still remembered as a locksman, and a daughter is said to be still living in Cleveland, Ohio. Her brother Alexander, who migrated to America in 1849, died there two years ago at the same age as his father. The sons of another brother who went to America, it is said, are now cow-boys.

The Real Captain Cleveland, Allan Fea - p202

The daughter living in Ohio is thought to be Helen Fea, a daughter by John's second marriage, who married Alexander Winton. She followed her family to the US as a widow. Her brother, Alexander Fea, went much earlier as did Thomas Brown Fea, a son by John's first marriage.

Catherine died on 4th January 1869 at Blackhill Locks, Springburn Glasgow. The informant was her son in law, Alexander Winton.

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