Letter from a Friend

I have written about letters in general terms but today and next week I will mention some specific ones. In 1864, my paternal great grandmother Maggie Wilson and her brother Robert left Scotland for New Zealand. She wrote back to her family and friends and they answered her.

The following letter is from a friend who worked in the same Glasgow silk factory as Maggie and at least 2 of her sisters. I was amused by the letter although it wasn’t the writer’s intention. I see her as a person who liked to broadcast news and especially bad news rather like my uncle. His mother said that Vick was always first with the worst. After some news about the factory shutting down and the workers finding other jobs, the friend continues like this. I have copied the words exactly as she wrote them.

Dear Maggie there have been many changes since you went away both in Deaths and Marriages. Mr. McGill has got married to Miss Agnes Boyd. They had a grand wedding and went to paris for their marriage jaunt and after they came back they had a fine tea meeting and they presented Mr McGill with a fine timepiece and Miss Agnes Boyd with a beautiful writing desk. She got 63 presents and she did not get a writing desk among them. All in all she was very pleased with the one we gave her. Margaret Begs has got married to a Mr Jamieson.

Dear Maggie about three weeks before the new year Flora Mcintire died with Typhus also Margaret Bagal died of fever. Peter Mcintire died and his wife got fever. She recovered and he died. Maggie Begs good brother died with fever. Peter Taylor died and his wife had fever. Isabella Turnbulls good brother died with inflammation in the Chust and Miss Mills drowned herself in the Canal and the old man in the warping flat went to bed at night and was found dead in his bed the next morning. Also Willie Hendersons brother is dead. He got a nail in his foot and was taken to the infirmary and he got his leg cut of and shortly after that he died. Bob Grahams daughter has got her leg cut of. Isabella Maitland died with dropsy and Dirty Rosie that stayed at Caithness Street poisoned herself. Dear Maggie there have been many changes in the time since you went away.

I am not sure why the brothers mentioned were GOOD. Maybe they were eligible young men. It is rather scary to read about all the deaths and I feel grateful for antibiotics, tetanus shots and good sanitation. Next time I will write about condolence letters and some older ones announcing deaths.