Thursday, April 19, 2012
Regular readers of the Letters from Sanquhar blog will know that "Aunt," Agnes Glencross Scott (1817-1902), was a cheesemaker near Sanquhar, apparently a woman of some skill in that field. So I was interested to see that a young woman from Sanquhar named Grace Smith was recently the first woman to win the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers’ Dairy Crest Student of the Year Award. I'm sure the industry has changed a great deal since Aunt Agnes's time, but I'm also thinking she might recognize a bit of her own love for dairy work in young Grace.
Monday, April 2, 2012
This is one of my favorite letters by Marion Brown. Why? Well, it's quite detailed about her physical health (or lack of health, speech, and mobility) in the first section; and it mentions bigger events (hard times in America), which is rare for Marion Brown; but mainly, I love this letter because she mentions sending a photo.... and we have that photo (left). Seated is Marion Brown, with her cousin Nellie Glencross (standing), in Thornhill, 1877, on Marion's way back from visiting an aunt in Carronbridge. It's unusual to ever find Marion outside of Sanquhar in the correspondence, so this letter is also interesting for that fact. She also mentions that she and Aunt will be moving at the end of their lease, to a house near the Castle at the townfoot of Sanquhar--significantly closer to town than Tower Cottages.
The unquiet that Marion Brown refers to in America might be the general poor economy in 1877; but it might more likely refer to the Shamokin Uprising, which could well have affected James Bryden and John Glencross's work as Pennsylvania miners in the summer of that year.
The quarries where Tam has gone to work in Gatelawbridge were red sandstone--much of what was quarried there in the 1870s would have been shipped to New York to make the famous "brownstones" there.
Novr 5th 1877
It is now a long time since I got your very welcome letter but you must excuse me this time I was not at home when it came and it is just a week since I came home. I went away to CarronBridge to see my Aunt and turned ill there and was away for three months before I could come back I cannot speak a word I have to do all my talking by writting and I am very bad at walking it is all I can do to walk across the floor my back is so sore and my right leg is sometimes quite powerless. Human nature is hard to mend and sometimes I think my lot is very hard but there is no doubt but it is all for my good in some way that I have been afflicted and we have no right to grumble at our heavenly Fathers dealings with us.
I hope when this reaches you that it will find you all in good health I see by your last letter that you have had very bad times in America this sometime but I hope by this time you are started to work again and has more quiteness around you as when you wrote. I may let you know that we are going to leave Tower Cottages at the term and is going to the Castle at Sanquhar town foot Aunt is not going to have any cows but she has to see if the woman gives the cows their meat right Mr. Colvin does not mean her to work any but I know she will always be at some thing if she is able to crawl.
Tam went away this morning to work at Gatelawbridge quarry and will not be home till the term he means to work there all winter if spared and well. There is no work going on about Sanquhar that he could have come home at night. Aunt and me will feel it very lonely if spared to go to the Castle in a house by ourselves and nobody near us it is not so bad here my brother and his family is just next door. However we must cheer up there is no use looking at the dark side of the cloud
Aunt is wonderful she had a turn with her stomach but she says she is beginning to feel about her useal again. you told me in your letter [damage here prevents reading full sentence] you was thinking [more damage here] your little boy's cards taken you must be sure and send me one to let us see what he is like many a time Aunt says she would like to see him
Uncle William's eldest daughter came to CarronBridge to bring me home and when we was at Thornhill she would have our cards taken so I will send one and I think it is like me but they have made me squinting and I am sure I do not squint I tell Nelly that she tries to make herself to prim when she gets her card taken you may ask uncle John if he thinks I am anything like what I was when he made me walk through the house with a prim mouth now I must stop all friends here is well as far as I know give my kind love to all friends and execpt of the same to yourselves in which Aunt joins I remain your affectionate cousin Marion Brown
I mean to write to uncle Joseph next week