Paternity or aliment cases are only one type of case which were heard by the Scottish Sheriff Courts. As in the present day, there are many reasons why our ancestors may have used the Sheriff Court. These records can help us uncover our family history and add some interesting details about their lives.
While indexing paternity cases in Airdrie Sheriff court our volunteer, Margaret, came across this interesting and heart-wrenching story. While reading the following you may find it helpful to know that a fathom is equal to 6 feet or 1.83 metres.
What follows is a transcription of the entry found on pages 431-433 of the Airdrie Sheriff Court Register of Extracted Decrees (National Records of Scotland reference SC35/7/3).
“At Airdrie the second & Thirteenth day of December eighteen hundred and fifty nine years Sitting in judgment William Logie Esquire Substitute of Sir Archibald Alison Baronet Advocate Sheriff of the County of Lanark, in an action before the Sheriff-Court of the said County, at the instance of (Poor) Oliver Braiden a Miner residing at number Thirty five Bell Street Airdrie Pursuer against Thomas Russell Coalmaster at Greenhill in the parish of Shotts and County of Lanark Defender; The summons in which action concludes for the sum of Two hundred pounds Sterling being for damages sustained by the Pursuer as solatium in consequence of the Pursuer having on or about the Thirty first day of December 1858 years whilst in the employment of the Defender at number two pit Greenhill fallen down the shaft of said pit, - the same having no covering of any description whilst the Pursuer was engaged in oiling a hutch at the pit-head to take wood from the pithead to below ground, the occurrence having taken place betwixt the hours of three and four o'Clock of the morning of that day, whereby the Pursuer was precipitated down the said shaft and sustained severe personal injury, having fallen Twenty seven fathoms or thereby and has his right arm broken in two places his right shoulder dislocated, his left leg much bruised and his whole body so much injured that he was confined to bed under medical treatment for upwards of three months, and will never be able to work being disabled for life and in particular he has lost the use of this right arm and right hand entirely all in and through the culpable negligence and omission of the Defender or of those for whom he is legally responsible in having no covering on the mouth of said pit nor protection of any kind for the safety of the men and to prevent accident with Interest & expenses. The said Sheriff Substitute on the first date hereof after sundry steps of procedure and in respect the Pursuer had failed to lead evidence in the support of his averments in the libel Sustained & hereby Sustains the defences stated for the Defender & Dismissed and hereby Dismisses the action and Found and hereby Finds the Defender entitled to expenses, And on the second date hereof the said Sheriff Substitute Decerned & Ordained and hereby Decerns and Ordains the said (Poor) Oliver Braiden Pursuer to make payment to the said Thomas Russell Defender of the sum of Five pounds nineteen shillings and one penny Sterling of Expenses of Process Attour the sum of eight shillings Sterling as the expense of extracting this Decree & of recording the same (signed) John Laing Sh[erif]f Cl[er]k Dep[ute] Signed 2 March 1860
Written by Alex[ander] Forbes
Collated by John Laing [Sheriff Clerk] Dep[ute]
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