"Geordie" Dewar

George "Geordie" Dewar seems to have been a complex character, another to have died relatively young, in Birmingham, not yet fifty, and in sad circumstances. He was born in 1867 in Dumbarton on Church St. but again to a family not without its troubles. Aged four/five he would lose his Dumbarton-born mother. At eight it would be his East-Lothian-born father. At thirteen he was living with English relatives in Shropshire. In 1891 at twenty-three he was a publican of the Swan Hotel in Blackburn, already in 1890 married to a Blackburn-girl, Mary Duckworth, and turning out for the Rovers at centre-half. In the meantime he had learned football somewhere, be it England or Scotland, quite possible the former, somehow come back North to Dumbarton, joined Dumbarton Athletic for two seasons from 1887, Dumbarton itself for two more and won two Scotland caps before in 1889 once more heading South.

And his early time at Blackburn seems to have been the steadiest of his early life. He would stay at the town club for eight seasons and one hundred and seventy-four appearances. Within a year of arrival he was an FA Cup winner and the following year made it two in a row. However, that was to be the best of it on and off the pitch. He ceased to be a publican in 1893, quite why is unclear. In 1895 he was taken to court for assaulting Mary and a judicial separation was granted. She had been pregnant on marriage and a second daughter had been born two years later but died as a baby. The elder daughter, Lily, was given up for adoption, although they would remain in touch.

In 1897 at the age of not quite thirty the footballing Geordie moved on. Stepping down several levels he joined New Brighton Tower on the Cheshire Wirral and with it won the Lancashire League. That was before it joined the Football League and no doubt for financial reasons, i.e. the League's wage cap, he now stepped sideways, joining Southampton in the Southern League. In fact he only made four appearances for The Saints and at the end of the 1898-9 season hung up his boots.     

And here once more it gets a little complicated. He is said on the one hand to have moved back to Scotland but on the other to have met, moved in with and, without ever marrying as he was still married, had three children, two girls and a boy, also named George, born and dying in 1905, with Southampton-girl. Phyllis Broomfield. In fact the former seems unlikely, at least not for long and not least because in early 1901 she the twenty-one year-old is recorded as living with her grandmother and their, Phyllis and Geordies's, first child with would be born in 1902. 

However, at some point after 1905 the family clearly moved north but only as far as Birmingham. It was in their home there in 1910 that Phillis died, aged just thirty, and in 1911 Dewar is recorded as a widower, not strictly true since Mary did not die until 1926, living alone with the children boarded-out locally and he working to his old pre-football trade of upholsterer. In fact both girls would to an extent remain local. Iris would live and die in and around Bromsgrove. Olive would live in the English Midlands but die in Scotland. And it would be still to that trade of upholsterer that in 1915 Geordie himself would pass; in Selly Oak hospital, a gastric ulcer turning out to be cancer, his death certificate notably signed off by Lily, who by then was staying in Bournemouth. He is buried in near-by Lodge Hill Cemetery.

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