Laying a ghost to rest

Notice of the death of William Macintosh

It has long been a source of frustration and embarrassment that I have been unable to determine one basic fact of Macintosh’s life: where and when he died. I knew that it had to have happened during a particular window of time, specifically between 18 October 1810, when he added a codicil to his will, and 13 April 1816, when his will was proved in London. From secondary sources I also had reason to believe that he had died in Eisenach in Saxony, where he had been living since at least 1807.

From time to time over the last eight years I have returned to the problem of the uncertain terminus of Macintosh’s life and have trawled newspaper records and genealogical databases without success. I realised today that I had taken things as far as I could and wrote to an Eisenach-based genealogist, Christian Andreas Hoske, to see if he might be able to help. To my delight, Christian wrote back within a few hours with an entry from a register of deaths held by the Landeskirchenarchiv Eisenach (reproduced above) which records Macintosh’s date of death as 13 January 1813. The full entry, in Christian’s transcription, reads:

William Macintosch, aus Glasgow gebürtig, ist den 13ten Januar an Schwäche, in einem Alter von einigen 70 Jahren und wurde den 15ten Januar beigesetzt

Notwithstanding the Teutonic rendering of Macintosh as Macintosch, and the mistaken statement that he was born in Glasgow (an easy mistake to make, perhaps, given his connections to that city via his brother George), it seems highly likely that this is, indeed, “my” William Macintosh. The statement that he died “in einem Alter von einigen 70 Jahren” (i.e., around the age of 70) would tie in with what I know; Macintosh would have been 74 in January 1813. At this stage, and after so long spent hunting down this information, I am happy to accept the ambiguity and signal my thanks to Christian for so swiftly solving this particular part of the puzzle. And there we have it: William Macintosh (August 1737–13 January 1813).

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