He married 17 year old Ann Walker on 29th April 1881 in her home town of Muthill. Over the next ten years they had five children :
- Janet Kenndy Sandeman 1881 - her husband, Robert Russell, died in 1915 of his wounds.
- Mary Bell Sandeman 1884 - she had a son, Willie, in January 1901 despite being unmarried and only just 16.
- Ann Walker Sandeman 1886 - this was my great grandmother. She married John 'the ploughman' Spence and I wrote about them in week 15.
- Catherine Stewart Sandeman 1888
- Robert Learmouth Sandeman 1891 - he died on the Somme in 1916 and I wrote his story in week 8 'Shot by a German POW'.
On the 1891 census William and his young family have his widowed 66 year old mother-in-law living with them at Lochlane Cottage in Monzievaird just outside Crieff.
- James Walker Sandeman 1893 - he died in Palestine in 1917 and his story was told in week 13 'Another Sandeman dies for his Country'.
- William Sandeman 1895 - I wrote about him in week 95.
- Elizabeth Margaret Sandeman 1898 - she died aged 11 in 1910 after being in a coma for a day with albuminaria (the presence of albumin in the urine, typically as a symptom of kidney disease). This is apparently an indication that she was diabetic and until 1921 there was no effective treatment.
- John Walker Sandeman 1901 - he was born 11 days before daughter Janet had an illigitimate child, Ann Walker Sandeman.
The family are settled in Drummond Street by the time of the 1901 census. Living with William and Ann and six of their children was 3 month old Willie Sandeman, his daughter Mary's son. Having had five daughters, they then had their 5th son ...... Angus Bell Sandeman 1905
At least a year before the 1911 census they have moved to 2 Ramsay Street in Crieff.
On 7th February 1923 William, who was still living in Ramsay Street, was reported missing by his family who "became alarmed, and notified the police. It was reported that he was a ferry workmen and a lamplighter in the employment of Crieff Town Council. He failed to return home after going his usual nightly round of extinguishing the public lamps on Wednesday night. A fruitless search was then made for him. That evening a woman who was gathering firewood at a spot called White Island, beside the River Earn, found on the bank a man’s coat, which was afterwards identified as belonging to the missing man.
Over the next few days "dragging operations were conducted in the River Earn, which is fairly heavy in volume, as it is feared that he has met his death by drowning. Dragging operations were unsuccessful."
The mystery was resolved on Saturday 17th February, thirteen days later, "by the discovery of his body in the River Earn about half a mile below the burgh boundary between North Torr Farm and the railway bridge."
There are no further newspaper reports but it is believed that William may have committed suicide. However, nobody said anything to the authorities and the reason for his death is still a mystery. However, and I am only guessing a hundred years after the event, but perhaps the fact that two of his sons died in the Great War, which had only finished a few years before, and he had also lost his 11 year old daughter, must have had some impact on his state of mind.
(quotations in mauve are from the Dundee Courier)