Category Archives: Letters

Where there’s a Will ……or…… What have you been up to Grizel ?

Grace Pender - Glaud's wifeThe starting point is Grace Pender , my great-great grandmother , wife of Glaud Pender from previous posts.

She was born in Scotland in 1824 as Grace Muir Taylor in Whitburn, Linlithgowshire, the daughter of Robert Taylor, a baker, and Mary Ann Young.

So far, so good.

Living with young Grace Muir Taylor at the time of  the 1841 Census was a Grace Muir of Independent Means , aged 70, but there is no sign of the parents, Mary and  Robert  Taylor, just their children.  Sounds as though it could be my Grace’s grandmother born about 1770, who had  married a Mr Young or a Mr Taylor.  But that was where I came to the legendary brick wall.

Fortunately Grace Muir Taylor, later Pender,  was a letter writer and one of her  great-grandchildren is now the guardian of some of those letters  Progress started again when I was shown a couple of these letters   When living in Kangaroo in Victoria in 1887 she wrote  to a niece Mary Ann Borland and appears to be answering a question by explaining that her mother’s grandfather was Mr Mure of Green Hall at Blantyre.  Previously money owing had been mentioned.

Another clue at last; Mr Mure of Greenhall, Blantyre

Move from Linlithgowshire to Lanarkshire.

GreenhallGreenhall was a handsome house in Blantyre,  built about 1760, and set in an estate of 332 acres.  It is believed that it replaced a previous farmhouse.

From here it wasn’t hard to trace the birth of the possible grandfather John Muir in 1725 who died at Greenhall in 1821.  He had twelve children, the seventh being Grizel Muir, born 1762.  Was this Grizel the mother of our Grace’s mother ?    Did this Grizel have a child Mary Ann Young ?  Prior to this I had an approximate birth date of 1770 for Grizel,  not  the 1762 from Scotland’s People.  Is that  the same person in the Taylor household in 1841.  Possible but not proven.  And there it sat for a while.

Until ……. I took the plunge and  bought a copy of the Will of John Muir from Blantyre  who began by stating that he was  “of  Greenhall”

Mary Ann Young in John Muir's Will

This will confirms that this John Muir was indeed the grandfather of Mary Ann Young.  It also provides us with a mystery as he insists that Mary Ann is to get her share of the money  “notwithstanding any legal impediment or imputation to the contrary” to which I merely ask

“Grizel what have you been up to ?”

This is just the bare bones of Grace Pender’s link to her great grandfather –  the Grace, Mary Ann, Grisel and John Muir story.  There is much that I can’t find in the way of records of births, marriages and deaths.  One wonders with John Muir dying in 1821 why there was still the possibility of money being left to distribute in 1887 when Grace Pender wrote her letter.

Along the way I found that Grizel, Grizzel, Grissel and Grace were interchangeable as were Muir, Mure and Moore.  Interesting bits  on the  Muir’s of Greenhall  are easiy to find. John Muir is reportedly descended from the Muirs of  Rowallan –  King Robert II’s first wife before he was King was Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan,  daughter of Sir Adam Mure and Janer Mure.  And John Muir’s wife Janet  was from the Wardrop family, early owners of the Greenhall estate, once known as Greinhall

This week I couldn’t find a family connection to a group of boys playing a game as in the Sepia Saturday prompt but you will find plenty of others who did on Sepia Saturday

 

 

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Andrew Pender and the Tinker’s Tent

 

This is a group of tinkers photographed in Fife early in the 20th Century.

The dictionary tells us that a tinker is

1.  A travelling mender of metal household utensils

2. Chiefly British    A member of any of various traditionally itinerant groups of people living especially in Scotland and Ireland; a traveller

And as itinerant is the key word for this week’s Sepia Sautrday the definition of tinker allows me to segue into a letter written by William Pender to his son Glaud in Australia in 1855.

We met Glaud Pender when he was proposing a toast to the Duke of Edinburgh  But Glaud had been in Australia since 1852.  Many years ago a distant cousin allowed me to transcribe this letter  from Glaud’s father which  at times is  difficult to follow as you will see.

William Pender lived at Knowes Farm near Fauldhouse in Linlithgow  (West Lothian) which is south of the road from Edinburgh to Glascow.  The letter  begins with a description of an accident involving a tinker suffered by Glaud’s younger brother, Andrew.

__________________________________________________________________Knowes  Janry 12th 1855

Dear Glaud,
I Embrace the opertunity of sending A letter with Euphimia Brown in hope of you Receiving it This is the 6 I have  sent    I am Sorry to inform you Andrew has met with an accident
but I am Glad to Say that he is geting better He went away to go to Airdrie on the 6th of Janry and the mare shyed at A tynkers tent west from leadloch Cntry  wheeled round and upset the Cart right on his throat The tinkers had Come and taking him from under it laid him down for dead ran off and left all    They met 2 Engineers and told them there was A man lying on the roadside nearby kiled to run and give the Alarm   They ran East to the den and A great many Came west but he was so disfigured they Could not know him til Wm Greenhorn came up with his Carts put him in one of his Carts and brought him home He lay About an hour in it Cold wet morning before any person Came to his Asistance the mare lying all the while under the Cart He has A Cut in one of his Cheeks 1 of his teeth brock and 2 loosed but had the tinkers not Come direct to his Asistance he could not  have lived 10 minutes.

***  Note :    Leadloch and Airdrie are to the west of Fauldhouse.  Andrew was sixteen years old and apparently still living at home.  Not all tinkers had the covered wagons to live in.  For some their tent was separate to their cart and this may have been the case in Andrew’s accident.   The cart referred to in the letter was Andrew’s cart which fell on him as his horse shied.

The letter then goes on to talk of Glaud’s other brothers and some local people.

David was here and went Away the day before Andw got hirt     he has been working at Muselburgh  this 4 months.      Robt has got married on Jane Forrest    he has got A daughter.  Yur cousin Wm Storry (of) Northfield died of fever in Septr last.   Sir W Bailee is dead .    John Bishops Son (at) halfway house  dropt down dead at his breakfast on Wednesday the 10th Janry       Mr Griffin is very poorly      he is not keeping the School      John Thomson has left him     he is keeping A School at Lesmahagow  he is geting A good School and Mr Griffin has A young man from Harthill  keeping the school for him

***  Note:  David and Robert as well as Andrew are also younger brothers of Glaud. David also migrated to Australia later on.    The letter mentions Sir W. Baillie and John Bishop.  John Bishop was farm overseer to the Baillie family on their nearby  Polkemmet estate     It is of  interest to the Pender family as John Bishop’s daughter Helen was married to Glaud’s cousin James Pender, and Helen’s mother was Elizabeth Burns, the eldest and illegitmate child of the poet Robert Burns.  Burns called Elizabeth his “dear bocht Bess “

 “Lord grant that thou may ay inherit
Thy mither’s looks an’ gracefu’ merit;
An’ thy poor, worthless daddy’s spirit,
Without his failins, “

William continues –

Trade has been very good this some time here and wages pretty high T   he farm has paid well this 2 years but I had the misfortune to lose A good horse last year of lockjaw I have not seen any of your friends in Whitburn this 2 weeks but they are all in good health Robert Bayton has been out of work this some time but he is back to Mrs Smith Again     Whitburn is A sturing place now there is a great deal of work going on About Capers       they have got A  Railway in to it from Bathgate    They have got an Exelint cheam of Ironston  East from Whitburn on Sir Wm’s land at Burnbrae and also plenty of good Coal.   James McCulloch is very poorly he has not wrought any this 10 months     Your mothers neck is A great deal more Swoln Since you left Scotland      We ar all very Anxious to hear from you      I think there has been 6 or 7 letters Sent away Since July last       Dr Mitchell is often Enquiring about you

I Supose you will hear as much about the  war in the East as we do here    T hey ar in A bad State It is reported here that word has Come to Edinburgh on the 11 that Nicoles had given in .   If you have the good fortune to Receive this be Sure and write Soon after I am still in the hope of Seeing you in Scotland yet         I had a letter from Jas lately.   They ar all well     our friends are all in health as far as I know.  Hoping this will find you all Enjoying the Same blessing.  Give our kind love to Grace and Mary Ann

I Remain Dear Glaud
Your Affectionate father
Wm Pender

*** Note :  Crimean War. This is about 6 weeks after the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. He is possibly refering to Nicholas I, emperor of Russia .  Grace is Glaud’s wife and Mary Ann his daughter.    Glaud’s father was to live for another 22 years but he never saw his son again.

William’s writing may lack punctuation and he has a creative way of placing capital letters,  In this transcript I have added a few more capitals for some of the place names.   He certainly manages to  touch on a wide range of topics – – Andrew’s accident, family and local news, economic and international news.  I doubt that I could do as well today even using a laptop in place of  a steel nib pen and a container of ink.  Thank you gggg grandpa William.

Further connections with the word itinerant can be found on Sepia Saturday

 
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