Thursday, February 13, 2014

Townfoot, 5 November 1880

This letter seems to be addressed to a different "uncle" in Pennsylvania--not to John Glencross, but to his brother.  

Another pencilled letter, and a two-writer letter again--the first half is harder to read, by Tam Scott, mostly reporting on market prices and bad weather and his Irish horse.  I can't promise I've got all the words right in that section--his handwriting isn't as smooth or legible as Marion Brown's, and his spelling is especially non-standard.  But one certainly gets the sense that he's in good spirits for the cold winter, happy to be working and happy to have a fast, spirited horse.  Marion's half of the letter reports that her health is still poor, with gravel (kidney stones, usually), and that she has been unwell for seventeen years now (so that takes us back to 1863, when she was in an infirmary apparently). 

The winter 1880-81 was one of the most severe in North America also--with deep snows in October, just as Tam describes--interesting to consider now, in the middle of another severe winter with terrible weather affecting much of North America and also the British Isles.  "Heavy mortality among sheep stocks" related to the 1880-81 winter storms is mentioned in a Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland from the era.
Nov 5th 1880

Dear Uncle

I drop you a few lines to let you know that I am still to the fore hopping this will find you well and all the rest of my friends we have the affliction of a very sever winter hear we have had some very sever snows on the 27th of last month the snow was so heavy the Mennock house was Blocked up and out By Moffit the Pearnes[?] was so large that over one score of sheep was smothered and the continued casting for several dayes the Market is very high hear just now it is a real Extortion Sanquhar is Mad up at a lot of Bogues Butter her is 9s chese 10 cence per Pound and all the market is on advance I do not know what the men at all as the niver has been such good crops this year before I am still with William Slimmons It is steady but long hours and Wet and dry I have to be on the Road and from 5 in the morning till 7 and 9 at night and I have got the Best flinging horse that is in DumfriesShire a 'amserting' he is an Irish horse and has Irish Temper I do ashure you an Monday night he kicked himself out of the long cart with Tom on him he will kick for a day long and get leg in every side of the shaft and kick on and he is the best runer out of the cart I ever saw and when he hs mastered with the whip he squels and pushes you are not safe of your life with him there is scarce one in Sanquhar will cum near him and me the Laghear cumes Scotland Pady he can send his heels as high as the Shafts of the cart when he runs but we have had the largest potato crop that has been for 40 years I supose.  the are 3/per hunderwight I have not much more to say but that we have got a 3 year old horse and had him at Wanlockhead you might tell Tam to write to me I am yours T. G. Scott

PP hopping the Blessing of god will follow you and all your family and wife 

Dear uncle Tom has begun this letter but has left me to finish it so I will try to say what I can do I am still close confined to bed and the doctor has to be at me every day the gravel is a very painful complaint and other things connected with hit makes it worse I have very little power in my left arm but I ought to be very thankful as long as I have my senses but sometimes my head is very stupid.  Our heavenly Father is kind to us far above on asking and why should a living man complain but human nature is hard to bend and some times I think my lot has been a hard one somes ways it is now going on seventeen years since I was at the Infirmary and since then I have not been able to do much, now I have to tell you from Aunt that you are to tell Tom to write a long letter and tell her all the news for many a time she wonders what he is like now and he is to tell her what Willie and Samuel is like and all the rest of them.  Uncle William and his family are all well uncle is still working with Mr. Pearson at the woods my Brother James and his family are all well and still at Heucklands with Mr. [???], I was to send you McWhir's kind regards and say he was asking for you. Aunt joins me in kind regards to you and everyone John Marion & Bryden and may god be with you [?????pencil smudged] affectionate neice, Marion Brown

be sure and write soon

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