David Osler (1859-1937)
He was born in Forfar as David Lyalls Gibson, the illegitimate son of Agnes Gibson. A year later David was known as David Osler (see census 1861). In his marriage and death certificates his parents are listed as David Osler, farmer and Agnes Gibson.
Agnes Gibson (1828-1879) was a linen factory worker in Forfar until she died at 51 of pulmonary tuberculosis. According to all the records she was single all her life. Jessie Lyalls, the daughter of the family was also a linen factory worker and probably a close friend of Agnes – she was a witness to Agnes’s death certificate. Agnes certainly had a very hard and difficult life, but how proud she would have been of her son David’s achievements in life. Her Gibson family history is summarized in the Osler Chronology.
David had a twin brother (James Lyalls Gibson) born 20 minutes earlier, who was weak from birth and died after 13 weeks. Agnes and her surviving son boarded with James Lyalls family in Forfar (see Census 1861 & 1871). Agnes had another illegitimate son in 1867 named William Allardice Gibson (known later as William G. Dick – see 1871 census) who lived with them. A local family (Rae) adopted him after his mother’s death – see 1881 census).
It is not 100% certain which “David Osler, farmer” was his father. However the farmer (1831-87) from Dunnichen (whose Forfarshire farming parentage is set out in the Osler Chronology opposite) seems by far the most likely candidate for the following reasons.
- Agnes Gibson was born and lived all her life in Forfar.
- He was a farmer very near Forfar and probably visited Forfar very frequently (e.g. market days).
- The other candidates were from near Dundee and had no obvious Forfar connections.
- He was 29, 2-3 years younger than Agnes and single at the time she gave birth to her twin sons.
- His family origins (Eassie & Nevay, Rescobie & Tulloes) were all in the Forfar area.
- My father told me that my mother’s Osler family origins were local Forfar farmers.