Born 23 July, 1871 in Glasgow
Married 14 Jun 1895 in Clydebank
Died 31 Mar 1937 in Detroit, Michigan
Written by Barbara McClelland Lewis, granddaughter of Charles Gillon
My grandfather, Charles Gillon worked in a bakery and that is where he met his wife Agnes Hay. However, he wasn't very happy with the hours, because he had to work at night and sleep during the day. This wasn't easy in a large family, so he quit his job and went to work for Singer Sewing Machine Company, located in Clydebank.
When Charles was young, his father was the custodian in a church, so he would accompany his father to work and practice on the piano and organ while his dad worked. He became a self-made musician. When he got married, he saved up enough money to buy his own piano and became a very good musician.
Charles had his own orchestra that became very popular in Clydebank, because people liked to dance to his music. Dancing was a very popular pastime, and people would gather together to dance the special Scottish dances. These "dance halls" were well-respected places to go. Charles and his orchestra also played for weddings and other community functions.
Grandpa had friends that played in his orchestra that were very talented musicians. It was these friends that taught his sons how to play. Then grandpa would teach his friends' children how to play. Below is a picture of Grandpa with a group of these children playing in his little orchestra. He was a very kind person and loved children.
Charlie Gillon and his little Clydebank Children's Orchestra
When the Gillon boys were old enough and had developed their music skills, they joined their father's orchestra. They would play aboard the holiday boats that went up and down the Clyde and among the small islands nearby. People would get on these boats for the day and stop in different places along the trip. There would also be a boat that went out in the evening for the young people who liked to dance and meet one another.
When Charlie's two young sons got to be teenagers, he decided to take his family to America. Charlie's oldest son John had passed away, and his second son Robert was married and had already married settled down with a family. A daughter was also married and another had passed away. So Charlie and his two youngest sons emigrated to America, sailing on the "Orca," coming into Ellis Island. His wife Agnes and daughter Margaret came two years later.
Charles, Agnes, and Charlie Gillon
The Family of Charles Gillon and Agnes Hay:
John GILLON, born 4 Apr, 1896 in Clydebank. Died 21 August 1918 in Argyleshire, Scotland Find a Grave
Agnes Hay GILLON, born 11 Aug 1897 in Clydebank, died 7 November 1955 in Clydebank. Married John Stewart MOORE Find a Grave
Elizabeth Kernachan GILLON, born 22 December 1900 in Clydebank. Died December 1903 in Clydebank Find a Grave