George Story, Schoolmaster Yetholm

George Story

The article written by my Great grandfather, Alexander Sweet, in the Scottish Gardener and Northern Forester  makes this reference: it is said that the three families were so “sib” they never sat down to dinner a day but one or other of their cousins sat with them. This is referring to the Shirra, Story and Sweet families.

Principal Story was the local schoolmaster, George Story, born in 1747. He was schoolmaster in Yetholm for fifty years and was also a factor to the local landowner Captain John Wauchope of Niddrie.

The Yetholm chapter in the First Statistical Account, written by local minister, Rev. William Blackie in 1797 stated : “ The salary belonging to the parochial school is 100 merks Scots. The master is furnished with a good school-house  and dwelling-house”. While the second Statistical Account of 1791 to 1845, with the Yetholm section having been written by Rev. John Baird in 1820 and revised in 1835 has the following reference:

The parish school house, erected in 1833 is, without exception the handsomest building of the kind in the county. It is attended by 100 scholars; and the amount of the teacher’s fees may be £30 a-year; but he has also £6 as clerk to the heritors.

However, the house now known as Gladstone House, in Yetholm, was home to the Story family in the early 1800s, probably his growing family outgrew the school-house.

George was clearly involved in church matters; in the Kirk session minutes of 16 November 1783 it was recorded that The Session do make choice of Mr Story as elder to attend the Synod to meet at Kelso April next. Also on the 5th January, 1795, George Story, schoolmaster of Yetholm, received an augmentation to his salary as session clerk, which raised the amount to 15s a year.

George Story married Yetholm resident, Margaret Herbert (1747 to 1824) in 1777. Together they had eight children all born in Yetholm:

George Story  born 1778 and died 1805. His gravestone in Yetholm churchyard is inscribed in Latin with the following inscription: Here lies George Story, a diligent student of theology and medicine. The eldest son of George Story, schoolmaster of Yetholm. A youth of whom much was hoped and endowed with formidable gifts and a heart outstanding for liberality and goodwill. He was dear to the heart of all his family and truly precious above all things to his parents, who never suffered any pain like when, in the flower of his youth he was snatched away. He crossed the threshold of life 2:6:1778 and alas died 27:7:1805. George drowned in Yetholm Loch.

Robert Story born 1779 died in infancy.

Robina Story born in 1781 and married Robert Herbert, tenant at Newtown, Northumberland in 1835. Sadly she died in 1839 after only four years of marriage. Robert may have been related to his mother-in-law.

Andrew Story born in 1782 and no further trace of him.

William Story born in1784 married Unice Davey and had a child Eunice Davey Story (1811-1884). Eunice died unmarried.

Margaret Story born in 1786 and died in infancy.

Robert Story born in 1790 and married Helen Boyle Dunlop (1805-1882) in 1828 in Rosneath, Dunbartonshire. Robert was educated at University of Edinburgh he was tutor successively in the families of David Hume, Baron of Exchequer, Grant of Ballindoch, Burton Grieve of Fishwick Mains, and George, Earl of Dalhousie, at Coalstoun. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Haddington 27th June 1815, assistant to preceding minister. Presented by George William, Duke of Argyll, 12th November, 1817 and ordained (assistant and successor) 26th March, 1818 to Rosneath.  Robert and Helen had three boys and a girl. The last son, Robert Herbert Story (1835-1907) was educated at the universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews and Heidelberg. In 1859, he was assistant minister at St. Andrew’s Church, Montreal, and in February 1860 was inducted as Minister of Rosneath in succession to his father. In 1887, he removed to Glasgow as Professor of Church History. In 1898, he became Principal of the University, succeeding John Caird. He was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1894, and its Principal Clerk from that year until his death on 13 January 1907. He had been appointed in 1886 to a chaplaincy to Queen Victoria, and was appointed a Chaplain-in-Ordinary in Scotland to King Edward VII in October 1901. He married Janet Leith Maughan in 1863 and died in 1907.

Euphan Story born in 1792 and there is no further trace of her.

George Story died in 1822 two years before his wife of 45 years died in 1824. In the Yetholm churchyard there is a table stone with the inscription:

In hope of a Blessed Resurrection the Mortal Bodies of George Story late schoolmaster in this parish who died 31:3:1822 aged 75 years also Margaret Herbert his spouse who followed him 21:3:1824 aged 77 years also William their fourth son who died in faith before them 12:12:1815 aged 30 years also rest the precious remains of their daughter Robina Story wife to Robert Herbert tenant at Newtown Northumberland who died 4:10:1839 aged 59 and Eunice Davey Story daughter of William Story died at Yetholm  26:3:1884 aged 73 years.

The stone was obviously erected some time after 1884, possibly by his grandson, Rev. Robert Herbert Story.

Despite this research, I have been unable to find evidence of a family connection to Sweet. In the second Statistical Account for Yetholm of 1835, the Rev. John Baird records: the registration of baptisms having been much neglected, and no registry of deaths being kept at all and so I suspect the possibility of finding George’s ancestors and any possible link to Sweet may not exist.

Sources include: Border Memories Walter Riddell Carre; Bygone Yetholm; Early records of an old Glasgow family [Hill family, 1520-1901]; Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae; FindmyPast; Scotland’s People; Social Life in Scotland Rev Charles Rogers 1886; Yetholm Past and Present; Yetholm Monumental Inscriptions; Wikipedia

If you would like a family tree in diagram form, please contact me with the name of the family in which you are interested and I will send you the tree.

May 2020