District News 1924

Tolsta District News 1924 as reported in the Stornoway Gazette



On Thursday, 20th December, Mr. John MacMillan, (Donald), Glen Tolsta, was married to Christina, eldest daughter of Mr. Murdo MacKay, 42 North Tolsta. The Rev. Roderick MacKenzie, Back, officiated. During the past two years, there have not been so many local weddings as there used to be in previous years, but altogether over forty local couples have been married since the end of the War.


About a score of the village men have been engaged in metal breaking during the past three weeks. Several of these men had previous experience of this kind of work, but the remuneration received for the work finished, has been so poor, that the men ceased operations last week. It worked out at only three pence an hour. The stones obtainable in the neighbourhood of the quarries, where the men worked, were somewhat difficult to break. Reports from the Back district show, that the pay was equally poor there. It is to be hoped, that work of a more remunerative kind will be provided for the needy people, of whom there are thousands today in Lewis. If the men were allowed to start resurfacing the roads, where such is required, they would certainly make a living wage. Those here have a good deal of experience in road-making.


We hear that some young men are thinking of emigrating to the Colonies, particularly to Canada, if they could get some assistance from the Canadian Government for their passage. In this connection, it is worth giving the names of local young people, who have emigrated to Canada and to the United States, during the past year:- Misses Annabella and Catherine Murray, 49 North Tolsta; Mr. John MacLeod, 45; Misses Christina and Dolina MacLennan, 35; Miss Christina MacLeod, 34; Messrs. Murdo and Alexander MacLean, 63;Mr. and Mrs. Walker, 31; Mr. Donald MacLeod, 53; Miss Kate Mary MacLeod, 14; Miss Margaret MacDonald, 61; Miss Annie MacIver, 82; Mr. Donald Murray, 27; Messrs. Kenneth and Donald Smith, 24, both of whom have been residents in Glasgow. We are glad to hear, that they are all getting on very well in the Far West.



Rev. M. McKerracher, of Oban, gave on 10th January, in the local School, a Lecture on Canada, illustrated by lime-light views. There was a crowded audience and Mr. D. Cameron, J.P., presided. Mr. McKerracher, in an interesting speech, told of his own experiences of the Far West and of the adaptability of Lewismen, to the conditions prevailing in the Dominions. The more of them who emigrated there, the better for themselves and for the prosperity of Canada. The Lecturer was cordially thanked for his address.



A second consignment of venison has been delivered here and a Committee of men, selected by the two local
congregations, have distributed this among the needy people in the district. This consignment, being smaller than the former one, could not be shared among so many families. Those gifts of venison are highly appreciated by the people.


On Wednesday night, 16th January, while the steam drifter, "Primrose", was fishing off Tiumpan Head, the Skipper, Mr. Alexander MacIver, 4 North Tolsta, fell overboard. It appears that when the accident happened, MacIver, with other members of the crew, was fishing for coalfish. The sea was very choppy at the time and he lost his footing and fell backward, into the sea. He was slightly stunned at first and being clad in seaboots and oilskins, he was almost powerless. One of the members of the crew, by cleverly utilising the means at his disposal, managed to get a hold of MacIver, who, we understand, now feels none the worse of his experience.


There is very much sickness in the district. By order of Dr. Miller, M.O.H., the School is closed for one week and reopens on 3rd March. This is owing to an outbreak of influenza, there being almost one case in every household. There have been four cases of pneumonia and two have succombed.

Bella MacIver, a little girl of 2 years 3 months, residing at 26 North Tolsta, died last week and Margaret MacLeod, another little girl, residing at 59 North Tolsta, died on the 26th February. Much sympathy is felt for the parents.



An epidemic of influenza is raging in this district, with dreadful severity. Whole families are striken down. This epidemic has assumed such proportions, that it seemed to be more in the nature of a plague than anything else. There have been eight deaths in three weeks.



Captain F. H. Stewart, the Ontario Govenment's Travelling Emigration Representative, was at the School on Wednesday, 12th March, to interview prospective farm workers for Ontario farms. We undersrtand eight young men were accepted for the sailing of s.s. "Marloch", from Stornoway, on 28th April.


Another case of two deaths in one home has just occurred. A young woman of about 40 years of age and her child of five years died within a few minutes of each other. Their names are, Mrs. Torquil Campbell and her daughter, Angusina, residing at New Tolsta. The husband was unable to attend the funeral, as he and other members of the family are suffering from influenza.



£1 anonymous gift received with thanks. The local Committee for the relief of distress meets weekly, every Wednesday evening, from 8 to 10pm., in the Public School. All persons wishing relief are requested to be in attendance at the School on Wednesday, from 8 to 10pm., (Summer time), in order that their case may be considered by the Committee.


Spring work on the crofts and peat cutting have now begun. There is also a gang of men resurfacing a half mile of road. On the completion of this work, it is understood that another portion of road is to be pegged out and work begun at once. The men are very grateful for getting this work. The two crates of cabbages received here were divided and among those with gardens. The plants were a private gift from Mr. Scarlett and this gentleman's generosity is much appreciated.



The women of the district are gratified to learn that Miss MacPherson, of the College of Agriculture, is coming to the district to give Lectures and practical instruction in butter and cheese making and in the handling of milk. The first Meeting will be held in the School on Monday, 11th August, at half past seven o'clock and all those interested are invited to attend. It is understood that Miss MacPherson will remain in the district till the end of August.



H.M. Inspector, Mr. Lang, visited the school on Friday, 26th September, when he reviewed the classwork and inspected the school premises.



We welcome the spirit of enterprise shown by Mr. Evander MacIver, 43 North Tolsta, who has placed a new Ford passenger van on the Tolsta-Stornoway route. It is the third vehicle of this type to be placed at the service of the public on that route.


The new Headmaster, Mr. Murdo MacLeod, M.A., took up duties on the opening day of the session, in succession to Mr. Donald MacIver, who was appointed to Duns, Berwickshire. Mr. MacLeod, acted as Geography Master on the Staff of Wick High School, before coming to Lewis.


We are pleased to observe, that Mr. Donald Cameron, youngest son of Mr. Donald Cameron, J.P., has completed his first Proffessional Examination in Medicine, at Glasgow University. Mr. Cameron, who entered the University a year ago, has enhanced his very successful record by taking a very high place in all his classes at Glasgow.



Each of the three Candidates for the Western Isles, addressed Meetings in the School during the week. They were not well attended by the Electors; but it is to be hoped that this is no indication of a poor turn-out next Wednesday.


Bha an t-side ro mhath air an Fhoghar so, agus tha surd air beag is mor a nis a buain a' bhuntata, an deigh an t-eorna 's an coirce chuir gu seasgair san iollain. Cha'n eil eagal am bliadhna gu'm biodh gainne mu Shamhuinn.


Not since 1913, has so many men and women left the village for the English fishing. A good number of them did fairly well during the Summer season at the Scottish ports and not the least successful of them were the crews of the two local motor-boats at Stornoway. The cereal crops have already been secured in good seasonable weather and the outlook for the Winter is at present comfortable and reassuring.



The Sacraments were conducted in both Churches here on Sunday, October 5th. In the Free Presbyterian Church, the Services were held in the hands of the Rev. Mr. MacDonald, Portree and the Rev. Mr. MacIntyre, Edinburgh and late of Stornoway. His many friends in the village were glad to see Mr. MacIntyre among them again and to learn that his health has greatly improved since his settlement in Edinburgh. the Rev. Mr. MacLeod, Ness and the Rev. Mr. MacIver, Crossbost, held Services in the Free Church during the week, when large Congregations testified to the ever-growing popularity of these gentlemen.



Miss MacLeod, Aird, Point, who has been appointed Infant Mistress, took up duties in the School on Monday. Miss MacLeod previously held an appointment at Valtos, Uig.


Now and again the postal authorities and others outwith the Island direct commiunications to us which are really meant for the district of Tolsta Chaolais. It should be noted that the full postal address of this area is North Tolsta, Stornoway.


The one or two small boats going after the haddock had no luck last week. Trawlers are too often in the offing or on the trail from here to Tiumpan Head to leave much behind for a small line.



Mr. Allan Cameron, eldest son of Mr. Donald Cameron, J.P., has left to join one of the Federal Boats as Fourth Officer. We are glad to know that Mr. Cameron, sails under another Lewis mariner, Captain Alex MacRae, Back.



An outbreak of this infectious disease is reported in the village, but we hope thast it wont become epidemic. It is at present confined to one family.


Considerable hardship is being caused to the holders at New Tolsta by the failure of the Board of Agriculture to provide a road leading to the peat bogs at the north end of the Farm. But we hope that this state of affairs will soon be remedied now that Mr. Livingstone is back to Westminster.


To gain the premier place in the highest Class in the Nicolson Institute has always been considered an achievement of destinction, yet this is the noteworthy performance of George Morrison, who went into Class Vl, at the beginning of this session. He is a son of Mr. John Morrison, 46 North Tolsta and we heartily congratulate them both on what is perhaps unique in the records of the higher Classes.