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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (S)
Stevenson, William

William Boyd Stevenson was born 2nd April 1870 at Brigend, Kilbirnie, Ayr the son of Peter Stevenson a Pit Stone Miner and Elizabeth Bridget. William's first wife was believed to be Agnes MacFarlane and together they had 6 children, William, Mary Daphne, John, Agnes, Christina and a stillborn child before Agnes passed away leaving William with his young family to raise. On 1 September 1911 William was living at 81 Crossburn St Glasgow when he married Margaret Andrew Paterson/Patterson. They were married at 8 Crossburn St according to the Union of the Church of Scotland. The witness at their wedding were William and Elizabeth Reid. Margaert's occupation was given as a Dairy Maid.

William served in the Armed Forces during the 1st World War and was gassed whilst in France. After the war he worked as a Postman in Scotland and fathered a further 7 children with his wife Margaret. They were Peter Ferguson, Margaret Paterson, Andrew Boyd, Elizabeth Bridget, George, Duncan Love and Neil Davidson.

In 1926 William's health led to his decision to immigrate to Australia where he was advised that the climate would be better for his health.

With his son from his first marriage William, he and his family left Britain on the ship OSTERLY and arrived in Perth Western Australia as part of a Government Grant Settlers Scheme. (some of the other children from his 1st marriage also later emmigrated to Australia) William and his family were in the first group of Settlers at Black Snake, Western Australia. There was an Overseer in charge of the Settlers and they were given 1 cow and 2 chickens (if the cow gave birth the resulting calf had to be bought back for the sum of 10 shillings).

The families lived tin sheds and log huts with dirt floors while clearing the land. It was much more primitive than they had been led to believe and no doubt the hard and arduous work contributed to William's early death a few years later. The family moved to Narrogin and William passed away in 1928. William and Margaret's son's all served in the Armed Forces during WW 2.

Peter, Andrew and George saw service in the Middle East as members of the Royal Australian Army with George also serving in the Far East where he was captured by the Japanese during the fall of Singapore and spent some time as a POW on the Burma Railway. Their youngest brother Neil also joined the Army before the end of the war.

Duncan was the only son to join the Royal Australian Navy where he also served in the Middle East on H.M.A.S YARRA and was a member of her crew when she was later sunk near Singapore in 1942. He was fortunately one of her 13 survivors. Remarkably all the brother's survived the war and later married and settled with their families in various States around Australia.

Although William had fathered 13 children his wife Maggie went on to marry several times and could lay claim to at least 24 children and step children. A remarkable feat for a young Dairy Maid from Scotland.

Thanks to Mel Stevenson for this information

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