[red circular postmark reading]
23 May 35 [written in black ink at its centre]
District of Gore Upper Canada America
Mr. Robert Bryden–
Township of Guelph
District of Gore Upper Canada
Mr. Robert Bryden
Township of Guelph
Dear Son and Daughter, Stonedge 11th March 1835
Your letter dated Sep. came here on the 14 0ct. We was all very glad to hear of your health and prosperity. This leaves us all in good health at present for which we ought to be thankfull as it is the greatest Blessing we can enjoy on this side of the Grave. I am sorry to inform you that your Uncle James Turnbull of Yetholm died about a year ago and also your Aunt Margaret Douglas of Jedburg died only a Week ago and her daughter Janet Grey was Married about a Month before her Mother’s Death to Wm. Renwick a Mason son to Mr. Renwick lately of Gillestongues. – Your Mother and Sister and Brother would all come to America, and would be very glad to See you all myself but I am afraid that at my advanced age such a Journey would be more than I could accomplish.
Therefore I am now resolved to Stay at Stonedge for another year if my life be spared so long a period. Your Brother John is at Mt. Hoolie with his old Master, but whether he will stay on or not this year we cannot say as yet. Your Sister is at Home at present You may tell John Cleghorn that Mr. John Laidlaw was Married about a Month since to Janet Heart, Sister to James Elliot’s wife that was shepherd at Get Housecote when we lived there. – I gave Mr and Mrs Oliver of Longraw your letter to read and they were very much pleased to hear that you was doing well and desires me to give you their best compliments. -All our friends are in their ordinary way at present and has their best respects to you all.
Dear Friends I must bid you adieu. wishing you much Joy in your New World and Joy and Rejoicing in the world to come sincerely,
— Robert Bryden
I must now inform you that last summer was one of the finest seasons that I ever saw in Scotland it was very warm and growing and therefore produced an abundant crop of every thing both for man and beast, and I believe poor or labouring people has not had a better time for a great many years, regular employment good wages and cheap Bread. -Oats have been sold through this season for from 12 to 15 shillings per Boll of six imperial bushels and Barley and peas from 18 to 21 per Boll same measure and Wheat item 25 to 30 shillings per Boll it was never seen so low for a long time as you can buy wheat at present at 27/ will weigh 27 stone which is only 1 shilling per Stone for good wheat. You can buy 20 stone of flour for 25 shillings and the Quarter loaf for 5 pence & HalfQuarter for 2 1/2 pence a Stone of Oatmeal for 1/6 and a Stone of Barley or peas for 1 shilling and an imperial Bushel of potatoes for 1 shilling.
Butter 7d and 8d per pound imperial of 16 ounces. Cheese 4d to 8d according to quality Good Beef and Mutton at 5 pence per pound and Pork from 3/6 to 4 shillings per Stone -Good Sugar 5d to 7d per pound -Tae from 4/to 6 shillings per pound – Soap from 5d to 6d per pound – Good pigs 6 weeks old from 5 to 6 shillings a piece all the commodities in conformity to the above-You may say to John Cleghorn
that Wooll was very high here last Summer such as Falnash would give 30 shillings laid or 40 white I sold mine at 36 shillings laid with Turpentine and Butter you know our Stone of Wool is 24 pounds imperial Since that time it is now come so low as 20 for laid and 30 for white and a dull sale. Crock Ewes sold very high in the end of summer they were from 18/ to 22 shillings a piece generally and about a penny moon fair they got as high as from 22 to 26 for Cheviot Ewes. Lambs was also very high Cheviots sold from 10 shillings to 14 according to quality and all other kinds in proportion at Hawick tup fair you could have got 7 and 8 shillings for small lambs that you could have put in your pocket Cheviot Tups sold from 50 shillings to L10. at Hawick winter fair Stirks sold from 5 pounds to 8 Calving Cows from 10 pounds to 15 according to quality Horses much the same as last year but good demand at Dumfries fair from 15 to 25 generally and inferior from 10 to 15. Mr. Laidlaw of Falnash still aliveThere is very little talk of coming to America this year as yet We have had a fine winter till Candlemas but an uncommon Tough Spring this far No great Storms but very much snow since Candlemas almost constantly coming on there is very much at present our stone walls are nearly all out of sight with drifting We are now afraid of a late seed time and generally a Bad Crop follows The state of trade of all kinds in this country does not look so well at present as it was last year the Country being in an unsettled state places no confidence in each other as the Country is much divided in Election Affairs The King thinking proper to dissolve parliament about Martinmas last we had another Election at Hawick in the middle of January and Lord John Scott the Torry candidate got in this time and bred a great disturbance there was not one window left in the Tower Inn. A party of Grey Horse was sent for to Edinbugh to keep the Hawick weavers in order So that by these news you will see that the old Country has not a good prospect this year as the Whigs & the Torries is fighting as keen as ever they were but the Whigs still keeps the up hand Your father had a very good crop of potatoes last year and lives as Happy as ever he did. He has only been out of Jedburgh market 2 days for 3 years. I almost forgot to say that he had a fine Bull before Martinrmass and left him about 4 pounds sterling there was a great gathering and I cannot express the noise for it was like thunder but no mischief done. Excuse my incorrectness both writing and inditing as I am Hurried at present and hope to have more time next time I writeReturn a letter as soon as convenient to John Thorburn R[obert]B[ryden].
John Thorburn Mr. Robert Dryden
Stonedge Newhouse Paisley Block
by Hawick Township of Guelph ~ District of Gore
Scotland Upper Canada North America
Dear, Sir, Stonedge 22d March 1836
– I am quite happy to inform you that your Father & Mother, Sister & Brother, and all other Friends are in a very good state of health at present, for which they are very thankful, and earnestly hopes that this will find you, and your Sister
, with her family and all other relations in the same state.I must inform you that your Aunt Betty Bryden
and your Uncle John Bryden
are both dead since last year, and that your Cousin Betty Douglas in Jedbro’ was Married at Martinmas last to a man in the name of William Archbald a Steward at Ancrumwoodhead Your Brother John is with William Henderson Kirkstile
this winter & Betty is at home. – Your Father is now resolved to Stop here with us another year, He Just carries on in the old way as when you left Him, goes to Jedburgh
every week – when he is able, gets a Dram and returns home again as happy as a King. But both He and your Mother is very sore failed this year, they have been several times, but poorly, such as severe colds and I may add the failings of Nature. – Your Father still lives content, is a good Tennant and a good neighbour and I believe lives as happy as you do, considering his situation and circumstances in life. We had a fine Ball in the fall of the year as usual. .[turn over] Your Father says he has no desire to come to America if it were not to see you & your Sister, and was afraid that he would not have had enough Money to have brought him over to you, and such like excuses I may be mistaken but it is my opinion He will never come to America. I believe your Mother would come altho’ she was ever so weak in body. You must say to John Cleghorn
that his good old Master Mr. Laidlaw Falanash Died this winter and that Mr. Turnbull of Hassendean gets the Farm at Whitsunday There is nothing else worth Notice about Teviothead I must also say to you that Mr Elliot of Doorpool‚ loses his Farm this year. no doubt a great loss to your Father. Mr Riddell of Honeyburn has taken it – Mr Elliot has got no place as yet -We had a very dry summer here and a good winter, but since Candlemas it has been very stormy & Changeable and in the first week of March we had a great Storm of Snow more than has been for a great number of years so much that many of our Hills still remain perfectly white and several people is still giving Hay to their Flocks of Sheep &c. There is no corn sown here as yet upon that account and it is probable that it will be a very backward seed time this year.- Corn has been very low in price here this year as we had a good average Crop. Potatoes rather a failing crop Turnips good, lots from 4 pence to 6d per week for sheep plenty of finest flour at 1 shilling per Stone imperial Barley and peas meal the same Oatmeal 1/ 6d per Stone. Hay scarce 8d per stone imperial.Wool sold here last summer at one pound per Stone of 24 lbs imperial laid and white at 30
shillings Lambs sold nearly the same as last year. Crock Ewes was very low and could not be sold at no price Many thousands came back from Yorkshire unsold. good Cheviots from 12/ to 15 per head Lean Cattle also was about 2 pounds per head lower than last year, and Swine pigs so low as 2/ 6 and 3 shillings per head but things are a good deal better now. great demand for Wool now and is expected to be a great deal higher than last year. Beef & Hutton 6d per pound Butter 9d Cheese 4d to 8d. Eggs 4d per Doz. Potatoes 1/ 6d per Bushel Pork 3 & 3/ 6d per Stone. Manufactories goes all brightly on and plenty of labour for every one altho’ the wages are much the same as when you left us. So you see that people can live in this country at present, in short no person living ever saw the old country in a more prosperous situation in general for all mankind.
John ThorburnI had forgot to say that your last letter came safe to hand about a month from your date. I hope you will not neglect to write constantly as it greatly services the Spirits of your parents to hear of your welfare in a foreign land. Give my respects to Mr Cleghorn and family – I must now bid you farewell at present wishing everything that’s good to Hand you
while I remainyour obet sert John Thorburn for
& Christian Douglas
Direct to me at Stonedge by Hawick
[two red circular postmarks, one reading]
NEW YORK DEC 6
Forward by Mr. Oliver
Mr. Robert Dryden Newhouse Paisley Block Township of Guelph District of Gore
Dear. Robert, Stonedge 3rd October 1837
As Mr. Oliver of Longraw intends coming out to your Country in a few days from this date we embrace the opportunity by sending a few lines with Him to let you know what we are all in good Health at present, for which we ought to be thankful to God who is the Giver of all that we enjoy – Your Brother John is hired still with Mr Miller of Belses Mill for another year, and your Sister Betty has been with Mr. Scott of Boughtsigg for a year past and still remains with Him at present and both are very well -John Laidlaw is gone from the Tower lnn about two years ago and is Married to Janet Heart who was one of neighbours with Him when in the Tower Inn He is now Chaise driver to Mr Laing Spread Eagle Inn and has a house in Jedburgh where he lives with His wife. Old William Burton is still herding at Howpaslow and His son William Burton was a year in lrelend and brought Home a young lrish wife with him, He has a House in Langholm town and they have 3 or 4 children. William is turned a Drainer of Sheep Land and is one ofthe first in Scotland at present.
He has a job in the North Hilands at present and 10 Men workng below Him – John Roger is still at Howpaslow and works on in the old way that He used to do, He was Here the other day in passing with a drove of Sheep and informed us that Both their Families were all well -Old Robert Sewel Blacksmith died last Spring and one of his Sons carries on the work as usual – Mr. Turnbull of Falanash is counted a very good Master all the old shepherds and Cottagers still remain with Him as they were with the late Mr. Laidlaw -Mrs. Laidlaw the Widow resides in the Town of Kelso in Summer and Ednburgh in Winter- Miss Pott of the Rigg was married this may day to Rowland Elliot eldest son Mr. Elliot Limeycleugh and the Estate of Rigg was sold last Thursday by public roup in the Tower Inn Hawick for 7000 pounds purchased by Mr. Grieve of Braes, but thought to be for the Duke of Buccleugh -Mr. Thomson went away from Gatehouse Cote at Whitsunday last and has got a good farm which they call Lilestone three miles north of Lauder and Henry Elliot of Fodderlie has got GetHouse cote your Uncle at Abbot Rule and family are all well and all other Friends –
Harvest is now nearly over in this country except a few fields in the Waterheads; has been good weather and we may say a Good Crop generally, Potatoes and Turnips are a good deal better than last year and our Markets is lookng down at present I would have given you a full account of every thing but shall forbear at this time as I Expect your old Master Mr. Oliver of Longraw may likely deliver this in person and He is very well enabled to give you an account of any thing that you wish regarding Markets or otherwise –
If it be in His power He will co[me] a good deal out of His way to see [you] In regard to coming to American a [text damaged] [text damaged possibly promise at present as we are both to[o] feeble and does not know what [text damaged] may bring forth. It is probable that I will not can travel about very much longer but to set any period when is not for us
to know – if Mr. Oliver be at your place you will write a Letter and Send with Him Whether He return imm[ed]iately or not -Give our kindest compliments to Mr. Jno. Cleghorn and all his family and all Friends or acquaintances that any enquire for us —
We are your affectionate
Father & Mother
Robert & Christian