In the decade before his death, Alexander and his wife Agnes, lost two daughters in infancy.
Four years after Alexander’s death, Isabella his 16 year old daughter, a ‘pupil teacher’, also succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis:
Six years later, another daughter died as a result of pulmonary tuberculosis. She was also aged just 16 years:
Four years later, in September 1886, Alexander, a son named after his father, died in Shanghai where he was working as an engineer. The cause of death has not been recorded but it is likely that he also had developed tuberculosis:
The following year, most unspeakably, Agnes, a further daughter died as a result of a sudden haemmorrhage from her lungs. She had been living with tuberculosis for over two years. She had not reached the age of 20:
In the space of two decades, Agnes had been widowed as a young woman and had been left on her own and powerless to ease the suffering and death of five daughters and one son.
No doubt, as a result of these awful circumstances, Agnes and her two surviving children – Christina and Robert – had to “remove” to a new shop further along Forres High Street . Here, at number 83, Robert [now the man of the family] opened a Chemists shop:
That chemist’s shop is still running more than a century later [but not by the Morrison family]:
It was through my interest in mortar and pestle signs [a fascination that I have had since childhood] that I came across this heartbreaking family story.
Mycoplasma tuberculosis, then known as the “tubercle bacillus”, was first described on 24 March 1882 by Robert Koch, who subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this discovery in 1905. However it was not until 1949 that effective treatment was to be availble.
FOOTNOTE [further sadness] :
A newspaper report, 8 May 1898, relating to Robert, the only surviving son of the Morrison family:
Robert’s death certificate was signed by his mother Agnes, who was still living in Forres:
[This, my remembrance of the Morrison family, is for Agnes, the mother of the family. It is also for progressive science]