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James Rae (1825 - 1890) - Photographer
Possible photo of James Rae
James Rae was born on the 17th July
1825 at Holywood, Scotland, a village three and a half miles NW
of Dumfries. In 1848 at the age of 23, he was employed as a
policeman on the new Caledonian Railway, the year they opened the
route between Edinburgh and Glasgow. With the security of his new
job he was able to marry Miss Margaret Blackstock of Old
Monkland, Lanark, Scotland, on the 28th May 1848. His
son James was born the following year (1849), then Peter (1851),
and Rachel (1856).
Rae seems to have been involved in photography
from about the beginning of the Cartes de visite (CDV's) boom,
probably starting in business in 1859 or 1860. He was already
describing himself as a photographic artist in the census of 1861
and was living with his wife and his three children at 45
Shakespeare St, Dumfries.
Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot,
And Never Brought to Mind,
While I've an Album to Contain,
The Friends of 'Auld Lang Syne'
Then Cie's ye're 'Carte'
My Trusty Friend
And Here's a 'Carte' O'Mine,
We'll Fill Our Albums to the End
Wi the Friends of Auld Lang Syne
By the time of the next census, 1881, Rae had left Dumfries to live in Jersey, he took with him his niece Jane Aitchison, where he would have taken a lease on a house. His wife Margaret, now lived alone in the High Street, Dumfries. Rae probably gave up the running of the photographic business at this time and may have taken early retirement - he was 56, or he may have had health problems and gone to a better climate. Rea died aged 64 on the 23rd of February 1890, at Nithsdale House, Jersey. He was described as a 'retired photographer'. His Scottish estate went to his niece Jane Aitchison , it was valued at over £2000, a considerable sum at the time. There was no mention of any property in Jersey. His son James Rae (b.1849) followed his father's railway interest and became the Manager of the Drypool and Marfleet Steam Tramways Company in Hull. * Many of the photographs shown on the advertising "carte" are published in a book of historical scenes of Dumfries and still obtainable at the tourist office (see the carte on the previous page). Constructed by Roger Vaughan using information from James Rae's descendant James Dent - many thanks.
Addition 2012 by contributor Ian Moonie - thanks
James Rae is listed in Hudson Scott's 1858 Directory of Carlisle as, photographic artist, Normans Place, Stanwix [now in Carlisle, but before 1912 a village outside the city]. As Rachel Rae was born, in the Carlisle registration district, in the March qtr. 1856 it is evident that the James Rae, living in Stanwix, was the same person as the person described in your biography.