Resurrection Man John McLean

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Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby quests » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:29 pm

I thought you might like to know about my Great, Great, Great Grandfather John McLean, from Campbeltown known as the Resurrection Man (body snatcher) who was tried at Inverarary court house in 1832. Before the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts. However, the demand was so great for bodies of all ages for dissection that the only way to meet this was to snatch the bodies of the recently buried, (the fresher, the better) and John McLean and his accomplices, Clark and Donnelly, kept the college in Glasgow supplied. This case is mentioned in the Inveraray Jail House Records http://www.inverarayjail.co.uk because this case brought in the Anatomy Law 1832. Whereas Burke and Hare were hanged for their killing of people to order, John McLean only robbed the graves of the bodies, so was given just one years imprisonment.
John McLean was born in 1808 and married Isabella McIntyre and then Catherine Carnegie and is known to have fathered at least 17 children that we know of. (How did he find the time?) His story makes very interesting reading and I have one A4 sheet Prison Record which gives some mention of the case, but a cousin, many times removed has sent me all the details. (8 pages of the complete trial)
John McLean B: 1808-D: 1873 married Isabella McIntyre; one of their sons was Neil McLean B: 1827 who married Elizabeth Morrison who had a daughter Agnes McLean B: 1858
She married Neil McMillan who had a son Charles McLean McMillan who married Agnes Taylor Campbell who had a daughter, Elizabeth McMillan, my mum. That is my link to John McLean. :wink:
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Iain » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:00 pm

You lucky so-'n-so ! :D I'd love to stumble over someone in my family like that…, for as long as it's 18th century ! :lol:

While on my Pipe Major's course at Edinburgh Castle…, nine months is a long time to spend "alone" with a friend. We were the only two unmarried pipers at the time, and as such, after the castle closing time, we'd share the castle with only the guard. The others on the course lived at Redford Barracks with their families.

As a consequence, we'd often throw a coin to decide whether we'd spend the evening on the Royal Mile, or, eventually, the Grass Market. Writing this…, it's suddenly dawned on me how we left the castle of an evening…, passing through a tiny door in the port-cullis. (and the door was at least 30 centimeters thick) Anyway…, looking out of my bedroom window, the Grass Market looked like a bottomless pit…, and more often than not, it's there where we'd spend a couple of evenings a week with our pipes, or a glass.

Now, for those who don't already know…, when you walk around the Grass Market of an evening, you'll find dozens of up-market cars from Rolls Royce's to Ferrari's parked outside the clubs and restaurants. But you'll also find drunks and junkies propping themselves up against the tyres with the smell of urine and garlic spewing from the pubs and care-centers.

On the other side of the Grass Market is the medical museum. And that's where Burke and Hare sold their dead.

McLean…, with a record like that, you'll obviously find him mentioned somewhere here !
http://blacksheepancestors.com/
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby quests » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:34 pm

The Inveraray jail has informed me that they have had an increase in the number of enquiries about John McLean in the last couple of weeks with people trying to see the actual transcript of the case. For those of you who could not find the details, I have added the transcript for you to read.

PRISONER RECORD
Name JOHN MCLEAN
Age 25
Occupation Labourer
Marital Status Married
Resident Campbeltown, Kintyre
Crime Raising bodies from the grave
Conviction The Court record gives the less descriptive charge of Violating Sepulchres.
Trial Date 30 April 1832
Tried by Lord Medwyn
Sentence 12 months imprisonment

Admitted: 28 April 1832 Removed to Campbeltown: 2 May 1832

On Wednesday 30th November 1831, the recently buried Mary McKinver, wife of Robert Munro, was dug up and removed from her grave at Bellochchantuy in the Parish of Killean and Kilkenzie. At the same time, a still-born baby was taken from a nearby grave and put where the woman had lain. Apparently this was only one incident in a spate of such happenings in Kintyre. When apprehended, McLean came up with a story of hiring a horse and cart to move potatoes and also becoming involved with a smuggler of whisky. He did not know the name of the smuggler, nor had he seen the man before or since. Denied any knowledge of the grave violations.

The daughter of Mrs Munro suspected McLean because he had been seen in the vicinity of the graveyard on the night in question. He had a horse and cart and was in the company of two or three men.

Colin Graham, a labourer, declared that he had been approached several times by John McLean with the proposal that they dig up graves, remove the bodies and sell them to the college at Glasgow. Graham was horrified. "God forbid that I should be employed in any such work." McLean told him that a body was worth between five and seven pounds and that he thought no more of lifting and carrying a dead body than a piece of clay. Another witness, Neil McLellan, had the same story, though he had been shown the tools for digging up the grave and breaking open the coffin. He also refused to join the enterprise.

The steam boat, Duke of Lancaster, carried a large red painted chest, which later was found to have blood stains inside, from Campbeltown to Glasgow, where it was taken, no one knows where, only to turn up again empty. The chest was the property of Edward Currie, who left it in the house of Arthur Donally.

As a side-note, the Procurator Fiscal, Dan McTaggart, was admonished for not following the proper procedures in sending documents to Edinburgh. His colourful and imaginative reply revolved around a Jailer who could not be found and a ferry which was departing for Glasgow where it was to be laid up for repairs. Therefore, it was essential for documents that were to hand should be sent with the others to follow.

Regards. Bill.
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby CaliGal » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:58 pm

I am also descended from John McLean and Isabella McIntyre, through their daughter, Janet.
Janet also spent time in jail (1881 census). Living in California, I haven't had the opportunity to go to the Scottish Archives (West Register House in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh) to learn her details.
Shona sent me the information about the 1832 case. But John McLean appears to have been in the Campbeltown jail in 1841. So, I think there's much more information to find.
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby quests » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:19 pm

Hi there, like you, I have not visited the Scottish Archives in Edinburgh as I live just outside the city of Worcester, and do not visit Scotland as much as I should. It is great to hear from someone else who has a lineage back to John McLean as it would seem he was a bit of a rascal most of his life. I heard from Cathie Bryce a couple of years ago as she is also looking into this family (cbryce_1@yahoo.com) and like me, the more we can find out, the more we can share with each other.
Kindest regards from the UK. Bill.
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby LANDROVER ROGER » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:45 pm

What a wonderful slice of family history!Thank you for sharing it.
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Shona » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:56 pm

Just noticed this thread :D :D :D.

I'm also a descendent of John McLean - he was my great-great grandfather.

John McLean was born in 1808. He first married Isabella McIntyre. At the time of John's trial for raising bodies, Isabella was pregnant with the couple's third child. They had 10 children in total:

Neil (1827-1895): Fisherman. Died a pauper.
Janet (1829-1885): Born in Clachhan. In 1881, Catherine McLean McIntyre, housewife, 52, was a prisoner in Castlehill, Campbeltown. She died in Bolgam Street.
John (born 2 April 1832l).
Alexander (1834-1897): Fisherman. Resident of Bolgram Street.
Malcolm (1837-1925): Fisherman.
Catherine (born 1842).
Isabella (1844-1852).
Marion (born 1848).
Isabella (born 1852).
Unnamed child.

Isabella predeceased her husband.

On 15 January 1855, widower John McLean married again - to Catherine Carnegie. He was 46. She was 26. When the couple married, he was living in Bolgam Street. The record of the marriage states that of his 10 children, five were still living. Catherine had one child of her own - Mary Moffat. Alexander McLean and James Carnegie were witnesses to the marriage.

John's second marriage to Catherine Carnegie produced seven children:

James (born 1855).
Elizabeth Morrison McLean (1855-1859).
Elizabeth Morrrison McLean (born 1859).
Margaret or Mary (born 1860).
Catherine (1861-1865).
John (born 1863).
Catherine Scott McLean (born 26 July 1865).

Catherine Scott McLean - the youngest of his children was my great grandmother.

Kintyre's own Resurrection Man died from TB on the 21 January 1873 at Lochend Street. He was 66. At the time, his youngest daughter, Catherine Scott McLean, was eight while his oldest son, Neil, from his first marriage to Isabella McIntyre was 46 years old.

I've been to the archives in Edinburgh and have copies of all the relevant papers. I'm working away from home for a couple of months, so all I have with me are transcripts. I will try to upload copies of the orginal documents when I get home. In the meantime, would anyone be interested to read the transcripts?
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Iain » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:32 pm

Hi Shona ! Even if the McLeans are nothing to do with the majority of us, this thread and your research is, as usual, extremely interesting.
Wonder if the McLean’s were illicit whisky drinkers ? :wink:
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Shona » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:52 pm

Iain wrote:Hi Shona ! Even if the McLeans are nothing to do with the majority of us, this thread and your research is, as usual, extremely interesting.
Wonder if the McLean’s were illicit whisky drinkers ? :wink:


Oh yes! John McLean's defence involoved him bumping into a whisky smuggler.

'When the Declarant [John McLean] got the length of Taynamaol, which is seven miles from Campbeltown', he met a man with a horse and cart who had two casks of whisky and a jar in the cart. One of the wheels of the said cart had broke, and the said man was was trying to repair it when the Declarant met him. The said man mentioned that the casks contained smuggled whisky and he offered the Declarant five shillings to return and carry them in his cart to Campbeltown. The offer was accepted.

'On meeting the smuggler, he and the Declarant sat for about two hours on the roadside drinking whisky out of a flask the smuggler had in his pocket. The cause of their waiting so long upon the road was to give time to the Declarant's horse to eat a feed of corn which the smuggler gave to him. The horse didn't take two hours to eat the feed, but the Declarant and the smuggler were in no hurry.'
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Iain » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:09 pm

More, more, more ! Lol ! Great stuff !

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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby quests » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:28 pm

Hi Shona,
Many thanks for the contact. Someone did pass on to me some of the information that you have listed some time ago, but it's nice to see that this posting is still being read. My wife has my ancestors on the Ancestry Com website and she is going to check my side of it when she finds time to compare your findings to hers and then fill in the gaps, so thank you for taking the time to list all that you know about our intrepid ancestor

Bill.
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Shona » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:48 pm

Hi Bill - here's some more info.

John McLean's wife, Isabella (nee McIntyre) told the sheriff that her mother-in-law dealt in tea and sugar, tobacco and snuff, which she hawks through the country on a basket or a bag.

She also said that her husband had been in Glasgow about four weeks ago. He had no money going away except what paid for his passage, but he had some money coming home. He said he got this money in Glasgow to be given to his mother to purchase hens and eggs, but she did not know the name of the person who gave him the money.

Isabella's mother-in-law - the hawker referred to in the statement - was Mirren (or Marrion) McCallum who has married the coachman John McLean (the Resurrection Man's father). Mirren was born in Killean and Kilkenzie parish to Gilbert and Catherine McCallum (nee McFatair).
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby CaliGal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:07 pm

Hi Shona,

Did you find Marion/Mirren McLean's death record or John McLean's birth record? It feels like I've been looking for them forever.

Dena (we've communicated before, you sent me some of the transcripts you're quoting)
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby Shona » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm

CaliGal wrote:Hi Shona,

Did you find Marion/Mirren McLean's death record or John McLean's birth record? It feels like I've been looking for them forever.

Dena (we've communicated before, you sent me some of the transcripts you're quoting)


Oooh, hello again! Sorry we lost contact - a lot to do with me losing my job :(. I'm working away from home for a while, so will check through the reams of paperwork when I get back. Which John McLean, btw, father or son...or both?
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Re: Resurrection Man John McLean

Postby CaliGal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:08 pm

Shona wrote:
CaliGal wrote:Did you find Marion/Mirren McLean's death record or John McLean's birth record? )


I'm working away from home for a while, so will check through the reams of paperwork when I get back. Which John McLean, btw, father or son...or both?


I have son, John McLean's 1873 death record. But not a birth record. Although from his 1855 marriage record I have his birthdate. If he has siblings, I don't have them either.
For the earlier John McLean I have no direct documents.
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