Appeal launched to find family of mystery Wishaw woman who left £190k in will for Motherwell Library

Motherwell Library search for the family of a Wishaw woman whose generous donation allowed for an expansion of their space
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An appeal has gone out to find friends and family of a Wishaw woman who left almost £190,000 to Motherwell Library in her will.

Letitia McKell left her hometown and moved to America in 1945 but never forgot the area she grew up in. Now, as the refurbishment of the library nears completion, friends and family of Mrs McKell (nee Milligan) are being invited to the opening to share in her memory. 

Russell Brown, Communities Library Manager with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Thanks to Mrs McKell's generous contribution we have been able to create a new creative and craft space within the facility. 

“The Letitia McKell MakerSpace is the final part of a five-year redevelopment project at Motherwell Library, which also included a complete reroofing and rendering of the building, a full rewire and total redesign of both the ground and first floor.” 

Councillor Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We cannot thank Letitia enough for her kindness and generosity; it’s remarkable that someone who moved away from North Lanarkshire more than half a century ago never forgot where she came from and her love of Motherwell Library. “We feel it’s important to that anyone related to her or who remembers her should attend the opening and share memories of her.” 

Wishaw-born Letitia Milligan, later married to Frank McKell, bequeathed £188,000 to the library, who were honoured to receive the kind donation. 

The MakerSpace, and redeveloped library spaces, will officially open later this month and the team are reaching out to Letitia’s family and friends to be part of the celebration. 

Letitia (Milligan) McKell, born to James and Christina Milligan on 5 December in Wishaw in 1919, passed away on 29 September 2001 at the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle. Letitia was married to Frank McKell before moving to America in 1945. 

Letitia was survived by two sisters, Jessamine Miller and Winnie Mosier, who are now believed to have passed away – Jessamine lived her life in Scotland, while Winnie moved to Canada.

Motherwell Library search for the family of a Wishaw woman whose generous donation allowed for an expansion of their spaceMotherwell Library search for the family of a Wishaw woman whose generous donation allowed for an expansion of their space
Motherwell Library search for the family of a Wishaw woman whose generous donation allowed for an expansion of their space

The Motherwell Library team would like to hear from anyone who may be related to or knew Letitia or her family and can give some more information about Letitia’s life, particularly her earlier years in Wishaw, which may have inspired the generous donation. 

Contact the team by calling 01698 332626 or emailing [email protected].