Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Kindness of Alexander Duff

Not all of the life of my 8th great grandmother, Jane O’Laggan, was perfect.  Born near the Glenlivet River in Laggan, Morayshire, Scotland to James O’Laggan, she married David MacWilliam of the Stewart Clan when she was eighteen.   The young couple were not rich, but David was able to make their lives Pittyvaich Morayshire Scotland Mapcomfortable with the earnings from his mill and a home at Pittyvaich, Morayshire

The land produced few crops but there was enough feed for the family to own some sheep and several cows.  Winters were especially hard but the residents of Dufftown were resilient and hundreds of generations had passed down the skills to survive in the ofttimes difficult climate.

The MacWilliam’s had a growing family of young children when disaster struck.  David became ill and died, leaving Jane with little income and in debt.

After struggling for a short time, David’s cousin, Alexander Duff, turned his eye to the family.  

Cousin Alexander was a rotter, according to a rare document that I found on a shelf in the basement of the Banffshire Field Club, titled “The Gordon’s of Laggan” written by John Malcolm Bulloch.

The document covers my Gordon ancestry and associated lineages.  The ancestral research was commissioned by my 5th great granduncle, Cosmo Gordon.  The MacWilliam branch of our family notes that there were two David MacWilliam’s in succession.  Reading from the entry for David MacWilliam Sr., a sad commentary spills off the page.

“David, his son, married Jane, daughter of James O'Laggan, and died while a young man, leaving her a widow with several children.  She was prevailed upon to dispose of Pittyvaich and the mill to Alexander Duff of Braco, her husband's cousin, in terms as little creditable to him as disreputable to herself, it being constantly reported in that part of the country that she sat down in the mill dam to stop the mill that he might take infeftment of it, the miller refusing to do it.  Be this as it may, her children were reduced to great distress, for which Braco appeared perfectly indifferent, being a man callous to humanity, as well as natural affection, if he could by any means gratify his thirst for the acquirement of lands.  The daughter (Jane O’Laggan) then married John Forbes of Keithack, son to Gordon Arthur Forbes, and left several children.”

With no thanks to Alexander Duff, the MacWilliam children survived these deep impacts on their lives.  One of the daughters, Anne MacWilliam, is my seventh great grandmother.  Anne married James Gordon of the Gordon family in about 1712.   James was born in Achlochrach, Morayshire and the couple were the grandparents the above mentioned Cosmo Gordon and my fifth great grandmother, Elizabeth Gordon.

Once again, history has recorded the bad deeds and avarice of man.  He couldn’t take any of his lands and properties with him when he passed but in their place left a sad story that will ne’r be forgotten.



Friday, April 3, 2009

Hard Work Don't Agree Wid Me Now ~ 11 Apr 1901

Early April 1901 found Charles Logie struggling to work and bring cash into the family.   His cancer had become a constant problem and he noted it in his letter to daughter, Beatrice:  “I am kind of tired .. hard work don’t agree wid me now”.

Apparently, Rosa Logie had ordered and watched over the making of a dress for Beatrice.  It had been shipped to her with hopes that it fit and that she liked it. 

Mormon Pioneer Money fullsmAs usual, Charles injected another “Logieism” into his letter calling the money spent on the dress, “$htah”.  In the early days of Utah, Scrip was printed by various banks and other entities rather than there being one common currency.  Some of it was referred to as “Utah’s”, hence his mongolization of the term to $htah.

Charles had a fairly large investment in the Co-op store in American Fork, Utah and that contact probably initiated the work opportunity.  However, the time at work and resultant illness severely reduced his time and energy to put many words on paper.

Once again, we read one of the nicknames he assigned to family and friends.  In this case, he refers to his daughter, Elenor Logie Gaisford as “Joe”.

We enter Charles letter with his comment of shipping Celery to Beatrice….


American Fork Apr 11/01 (1901)

Miss Beatrice Logie

Mother sent your dress to day by J. Greenwood hope you will get it all safe.  It took more $htah than Let thought it wold so she had to buy more stuf.   Mother incloses the bills so that you can see what the cash is .. all but the two & a half for makeing.  Let says if there is any alterations wanted she will fix it for you.  Mother says she hopes you will like the dress.  She allso sent you some Celley.  Please send word how you like the dress.

Walter started out for Mercur last Monday I went to work at the Co-op new building laying floor with Thos Thornton so I have not had any time at home this week or I should have and wined your letter before this time.  I don't know of any thing Strange.  I suppose Lawra B. writes to you.

I am kind of tired .. hard work don't agree wid me now.  Haw!  I have been sort of poorley the last few days but feel some better to night.  I did not go to Salt Lake last Sunday.  It was too stormey to suit me.

I got a letter from our Joe.  She Said She went to the depot expecting to go to meeting & there were to go & have dinner with her & Will

I will close hopeing you are well

we send kind love

Chas Logie