Thursday, 4 February 2016

Revisionism: the First mention of East Stirlingshire

In History revisionism has a bad name, as if the crusty Victorians were right and anyone with new ideas were wrong. However, luckily football history never really started until the 1920s so we do not have to put up with the same stigma as the new wave of 19th Century social historians did.

I was recently reading a thirty year odd old book about East Stirlingshire, which claimed that the first mention of the club in the press was of a friendly against Dunipace on the 19th of November 1881 [and I will gloss over the fact that the author had missed a report of Armadale v East Stirlingshire in the midweek Falkirk Herald dated 3rd November], but this entire mistruth comes from the fact that the author had clearly only used the Falkirk Herald as a source.

Every football match takes two teams, and so it was that there was an earlier report of an East Stirlingshire match which exists not reported in the Falkirk Herald. Nearly a month before any mention of East Stirlingshire in the Falkirk Herald the West Lothian Courier of the 15th October 1881 carried this:

Armadale v East Stirlingshire

Played at Falkirk, and after a very pleasant and well contested game, resulted in favour of Armadale by two goals to nothing.


I am not saying this is the earliest mention of ESFC in the press, I am simply saying that this is the earliest I have found, and I welcome anybody who revises it to an even earlier date.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Joshua Cochrane 1894

I recently found a drawing of Joshua Cochrane, the former Falkirk & Grahamston centre-half in the St Paul Daily Globe [24/5/1894]. The drawing is of him playing "McStuart, traitorous scot" in Rob Roy, which was held at the Grand Opera House, St Paul on Saturday 19th May 1894




Falkirk Herald 28th September 1889




Joshua Cochrane 

b 15th January 1869, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

d 20th April 1955, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Debut – Saturday January 5th 1889 v Clydesdale Harriers (H) Friendly

Competitive Debut – Saturday September 7th 1889 v Tillicoultry (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd

Positions – Centre-Half
Known Career – Grahamston [1887/88-1888/89], Falkirk [1888/89-1889/90], Minneapolis Rangers FC [1890], Minneapolis FC [1892-1897]

Notes
Emigrated to Minneapolis, USA sailing from Glasgow to Boston arriving on the 9th October 1889 on the S.S.Nestorian.

Brother of Peter Cochrane [Falkirk 1887/88]


Stirlingshire's Pioneer Clubs

Lenzie? WTF? Since when has Lenzie ever been in Stirlingshire?

FH 27th Dec 1933


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

No bloggage

Sorry, I have been reading a lot of newspapers and although some points of interest have come up nothing too interesting, unless you think that Jimmy Henderson playing for Falkirk, Falkirk Amateurs & East Stirlingshire in the same season was that interesting! No! I did not think so! What was interesting was that Jimmy Henderson lived at the same adress as the current councilor David Alexander, grandson of the East Stirlingshire & Scotland player of the same name.

Like I say, not very interesting: I am currently trying to put together a proper list of Falkirk Amateurs matches, and the Stirlingshire Junior League for http://www.scottish-football-historical-archive.com/

I'll be back to irrelevant stuff soon.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

In Search of the Founders of Falkirk FC : William Gentleman

For a good number of years I have been looking out for traces of the founders of my favourite club Falkirk FC [and I can tell you it has been arduous and they have been elusive], but where is that to start?

The origins of Falkirk are murky at best! Ignore the badge: that is wishfull thinking, the first mention of the club was in December of 1877, but even then it is without fanfare, after all it was just another football team playing this new-fangled sport. Many other teams were doing the same thing!

It is not until 1902, and the Club's Semi-Jubilee celebrations that anything is reported in the local press on the origins of Falkirk, when Murdoch McIntyre Club Secretary stated:

He did not see many of the old members present that evening who were at the institution of the club. He had expected another gentleman [damaged] who was one of the three who held a meeting about the Cross in the High Street, when there was some talk of the club being formed. A meeeting [sic] was held in the Newmarket Inn, which used to be the club headquarters, and they decided to advertise the matter. They did so, and the result was that a large meeting of the young men of the town was held and the club formed.” (Falkirk Mail, 15 March 1902)

This puts it down to three 'founder' members of Falkirk, without giving much else away, and so it remains until March of 1909 when the Falkirk Herald reported on a meeting of Falkirk Bairns in Jacobsen's Hall, Chicago:


Of course it could be bluster on the part of Mr Gentleman, but there is no doubt that he was there at the time, for that you simply have to return to the earliest report of a Falkirk FC match in the Falkirk Herald published on the 30th of March of 1878:


What can I say? Maybe he got to play Centre-Forward because he had paid up the money, maybe he was just very good ;). So, he was there at the start but who was this William Gentleman? Through reading the other columns of the Falkirk Herald, and other research it would seem that at one time the Gentleman family were quite big about the district at one time.  - There are fully ten people called William Gentleman in the Falkirk District Census of 1881!

But our William Gentleman was but one of these, as far as I can find out the family were cattle merchants from around the Slamannan area, however it seems they had more than one business holding, as William [Falkirk FC] was born in Avonbridge [sometimes cited as Muiravonside] in January 1857, yet is registered as living in Slamannan in the 1861 Census. However by 1871 the family had moved to a house [I am not sure where exactly] in Parkfoot [long before the advent of High Flats this was seen as a rather nice area].

Then comes football, and inevitably for an eligible young batchelor: marriage. William married Eliza McGregor in 1879, and pretty soon had their first child, Catherine, the first and last of the siblings to be born in Falkirk [even Scotland]!

It is because of Cath [as she seems to have been known], that I managed to trace them across the water. In 1882 there is an entry in the US Immigration records for a Mrs William Gentleman & Cath Gentleman [aged 1 moving to cook County, Illinois, to meet up with William who had moved the year before.

In 1890 and 1900 he was listed in the US Censuses as being involved in the Cattle trade in Chicago, only to suddenly dissapear from the 1920 Census, this perturbed me greatly at in looking for William Gentleman in Chicago I had often come across the case of William Gentleman's murder in 1911! Now this through a spanner in the works, especially since the US papers seemed against the idea of putting any biographical details in print!

I did eventually find the family in 1920, in the San Diego Census! No explanation is forthcoming. However they were back for the 1930 Census in Chicago.

From 1909 it seems to have dropped from the scene that William Gentleman Cattle dealer of Chicago Cook County, Illinois was one of the founders of Falkirk FC, and it must be said his obituary [which stated his birthplace as Falkirk] in the Chicago Tribune of 2nd July 1938 missed that point completely:


And there it might have ended, me doubting whether this William Gentleman was the same person that was instrumental in the formation of the best Club in Stirlingshire, just due to the vagueness, and the lack of anything in the Falkirk Local press ... until out of the blue, and out of left field I came across a little thing in a Canadian paper a week or two later: From the Winnipeg Tribune


So it seems that more than sixty years later, and on another continent, 'somebody' had not forgotten William Gentleman's contribution to Scottish Football. I salute you fine person!

William is buried in Mt Hope Cemetery, Cook County, Illinois, if anyone reading this is ever in the area, please pop round and take some pictures for me, as it will save one helluva trip!

William Gentleman 

b 24th January 1857, Avonbridge, Stirlingshire
d 30th June 1938, Chicago, Illinois

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 v Grasshoppers (H) Friendly
Positions – Back, Half-Back, Centre-Forward

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [7/-]

Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79]

Played in Falkirk's first ever Senior Competitive Match v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup, 28th September1878
Played for Lenzie 2nd XI v Falkirk 2nd XI, Friendly at Randyford Grd, Falkirk, 27th September 1879

John

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Three Falkirk FC Players in one House

I spend a lot of time digging about the geneological records with the same gusto as some category-Z celebs on "Who do you think you are?", Except, I am not trying to prove I am related to royalty.

The opposite in fact, I know I am loosely related to the Meffen Brothers who played for Campsie in the early 1880s, and that is that.

But I do use the same tools to look up people from a long time ago, so we are just doing the same thing.

NB: In the 1870s, 1880s & 1890s we had to look up football players using other evidence [ie other than football], in the 1901 [and especially] the 1911 Census the profession "Professional Footballer" started becoming more prevalent in the Census.

And thus it was that I found at Bradford a singular boarding house that had not only two former Falkirk Footballers [Archie Devine and William Gildea] but at the same time a [yet to be] Falkirk FC player [David Taylor]



Of course, this is not magick, this is not a portent, it was three Scottish Footballers living together in England, I still like it.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Motherwell Thieves

Now I have never been a big fan of Motherwell, either as a town or a Football Club [and don't get me wrong this goes way further back than when that fat, ignorant get Cowan got on the BBC], and it seems there is precedent. Not only is there a dirty thief from Motherwell in the story, he is also a Motherwell player.

I found this doing my usual, looking through matches, to see if any had played for Falkirk.

The Falkirk Herald - 28th April 1900


Like I say, "Motherwell Thieves"