Hugh Brawley was born on 3 March 1869 in the village of Calderbank, Old Monkland Parish Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was the fifth child of my great, great grandparents James and Sarah Brawley. Hugh’s birth was registered by his father who put his mark in lieu of a signature.
James Brawley was employed as a blast furnaceman and as a child Hugh moved home as work required between the Old Monkland area and the village of Newmains in Cambusnethan Parish where the family finally settled. By 1885 they were resident at 12 Brown Street, Newmains in a house owned by Coltness Ironworks. The conditions within the home were poor. A large family cramped into one room. The children were required to work from a young age. In the 1881 census Hugh was recorded as a scholar but this would have been the last year of his education. Young Hugh would have witnessed the deaths of two of his siblings, Patrick and Matthew who died in 1876 of Scarlet Fever. Both boys died within days of each other. Both less than four years old. Small wonder then that Hugh had dreams of leaving Lanarkshire for a fresh start in America. Two of his brothers had already headed across the Atlantic to start new lives. In 1888 Hugh did the same. He boarded the SS Manitoban bound for Pennsylvania arriving in December of that year. It was in Avoca, Pennsylvania where he had found work as a labourer that Hugh met domestic servant, Alice Shannon. The couple were married in October 1893 in Lackawanna County. Their twin daughters Sarah and Ellen were born in February 1894. In 1895 they were living in Starks Park, a mining settlement in Moosic. Sadly there was no happy ending for Hugh and Alice. In December 1895 Hugh was involved in a mining accident at the Old Forge Colliery, Avoca and was hit by falling rocks. He later died of his injuries. He was 26 years old.