Loudoun Kirk

Copyright Friends of Loudoun Kirk © 2015






Times were often hard and with no welfare state behind them, people had to find employment to survive.  Born in Fenwick, the Shields family moved from Fenwick to Galston and Loudoun and even further afield. Bruce Shields of Vermont, USA inherited a number of letters, sent from Ayrshire to his ancestors in America and we are pleased that he is allowing us to share them with you.







 Use the scroll bars at the side of each letter to read it in its entirety.

Robert Shields,  Galston,  to  Alexander Shields, per  William Woodburn

dated  GalstonApril 14, 1830

Dear Brother,

          I received your letter dated the 18 August and I am very happy to hear that you are all in good health and spirits.   We are both well with all the rest of your friends in this place as far as I know.   I do not know whither you have got any word of  Mary Shields  Dath or not.   She died I think about the latter end of June or beginen of July.   Your Brother  John  has got a nother dawghter about two months ago and is still working aboutLoudon  yet they have got aneu forister at  Lowdon  nou and  Robert Young  is paid off with a nomber of the men that wrought with him.   Our BrotherHugh  has got no work all winter and I do not supos he has mutch prospick of work as yet.   Things as fare as I can desarn are making no better.

         We had a very dull season last year.   The whole of our winning did not amount to fiftin pounds each and if it is not better this year we canot leave by our trad.   With respect to me coming to  Amarica, there are diffrant obsticals in the way.    Betty  is backward to com, and I wuld not draw much money for my hous oing to the times being so dull, but what way I may do I canot posibuly say.    Betty  is at home with me and asWilliam Houat  has had no lass this som time past she has to asest him at times.   She speaks often about you all and wold be very fond to see the Childrean.

                        Marion  is still stoping with me and  John and James  are Still in  Glasgow  and I supos are douing ordnary well and  William  is our servisman but works very actwardly.   I have not heard any thing about our Brother  James  this long time.   Litel  William Houat  speaks very often about  Alex and Jannat  and says that  Jannet  is to be his wife.    The Weavers heare are in a very poore state and the rents of houses are badly paid.  Alexander Aird  has sold his hous nou for 120 pounds and he has paid me all that he oied me.   Yow did not mention in your last letter if you had heard any thing about  Anderson Wilson's freand, if you have got any information about him yow may let os know in your nixt.

                       I need not say much mor at this time as  William Woodburn  will be able to give you a fuller account how matters are going heare than I can do by writing.   Dear Brother, you and I have great reason of thankfulness that we are hitheto sparied and are in some misour of health and strenth, but let us alyes bear in miend that troble and ar dath will come and it will be very afaul to os if we are not prepared for it.   Let os not set owr afexons to much apon things of a worldly nature as it will tend to owr disadventage at the last.   Let os hear from you as soon as you can and informe os how yow are all getting on and hou  Hugh Woodburn  and Wife are coming on.   I remain your loving Brother,  Robert Shields.


Robert Shields  to  Alexander, at  Glover County of Orleans State of Vermont

Care of  Captain James TrumbulCraftsbury  (with parcel)

                                               Dated at  Galston  4 April, 1832.

Dear Brother,

      I received yours dated the 26 Oct. and am very happie to hear that you and the rest of our friends in America are still enjoying good health for which you owght to be thankful.   We are all in our ordinary State of health at the time with the rest of your freands heare as far as I know.   I do not know whether you have got any notice of our Brother  Williams  dath or not; according to the information I got, he Died in the month of March last year by falling off a hay stacke: his back was broken and I think his son  John  was with him when he died.   With respect to  Andrew Young, he with all his famlie went off to  America  in the month of June last year.   They had a very tiedous passage and got scarce of provisions.   He writes that he likes the place and that he has £100 per year. 

                       Our Brother  Hugh  has rowgt very few days last year for want to work.   We had a visit of Brother  James  and his wife last sommer.   They had not ben well for som time befor that.   They apear to be scarce able to mentain themselves, ther being so littel for Weaving now.   We had plenty of work last Somer but not very well paied for it.   The appearance this year is not so good.    William Houat  has now got Married to  Elizabeth Wardrop  and little  William  is now left and stoping with his father.

                       With respect to ar coming to  America, I do not know what to say about it.   We canot come this year at any reat, as I am inhibited from selling the hous by the Marchants who dealt with the old Society; they intend to bring in all the gone owt members to asist in paying the Society debts.   They appear to be near 1000 pounds.   We are defending at law, but we are afraied that we will be brought in as the law is very uncertain, but as I expect that it will be got settled this year in some form or other, we will come to be resolved the one way or the other.

                       You may when you write give us all the information you think nasceray for our coming.   Tread in this contrie is in a very bad state at prasent.   The reform bill is not passed as yet but we expect it son will, but whether it will do much good or not we cannot tell.    Ther has also been a deal of noise abowt that troble caled Cholrea Morbus, the news papers are evrie week thronged with the progress that it is making but whether such a dicess is in the countrie or not I cant tell but I think ther are more than the double cut off with  the typhous fiver  and littel notice taken of it.

                       I think you will be a littel surprised to see the bearer  Charles Barber  come to  America; he, I think, is as unfit for immigration as any man in  Galston.   He says that he is going stright to you and he expects that you will help him to purchase a peas of land.   If you can do any thing for him and not hurt yowrself, you may do it, for I think he puts a great dail of confidance in you.   I need not say anything respecting the news of the vilage as  Charles  will inform you in a fular maner than I can do.   We have had a very fine sommer and an exalant crop last year and likewise a modrat winter.   The plowing is mostly over at the latter end of March, but not a great deal of the seed in, as the wither has rather inclined to be wet towards the end of the month.

                       I have sent you a Speach and our Sister  Marion  a frock to  Jannat and Betty  one to young  Agness.   When you write let us know how the children are coming on and if the bois are strong and good workers and if you are still working hard youself and also let us know if you have much hivey wood on your land and if ther is much brush wood on it and also how many bols a Acker will produce of the different cinds of grain that you sow;   also let us know how you think that  William  andHugh Woodburns  are getting on and if they are industrous.   If you are wishing to write to  Andrew Young, you may direct  Andrew YoungSt. Andrews, New Brunswick.   There are a great number hear that are wishing to go to  America  but canot go for want of money.    William Earsking  is working this year in  Gawkland Qwarie.   Having nothing further worthie of notice that I remember, I remain your afexonat Brother,  Robert Shields.

NB.   Also you will recive a bonnet for littel  Robert  and a rwffel from  Margrat Findlay  for  Crastian.


Robert Shields  to  Alex  Care of  Capt. James TrumbelCraftsbury.

                        GalstonMay 16, 1836    Postmark  New York  Jul 6.

Dear Brother,

           I now write yow a few lines after a long silance.   I wold have rot you last year but as I was working in  Darvel  in the spring building a house for our friend  Hugh Woodburn  who is now stoping there -- he left  the Glen  a year ago and he is now getting very weak.   The rest of your freands in this place is in ther ordnary state of health as far as I know.    Betty  has got another chield abowt 8 months ago; his name is  Robert. Shie has ben very weakly throu the winter; our Brother  Hugh  stops nou in the mid room above os and Brother  John  is moved from the Coatage into  the Byre of Loudon  and is working in the gardien.   I do not remember if I mentoned in my last letter that our sister  Marion  was gon into  Glasgow  to stop and  William  is now stoping with a farmer some wheare of  Dombarton  and  John and James  have each of them got a shop for them selvs and I expect before this reaches you that  James  will be Married on a Daughter of  Meadowfoot; our Brother  James  has ben very pourlie this long time past with a gravel complant and is unfit to work.   I am stil very much trubled with a pain in my head and am often unfit to work.   Mason work is very lo now about one pound eigt per rood and to all human appearance I will not be able to do a great deal that way as my streanth and sight are greatly diminished.

                       Whe have not got the Society buisness settled yet; it has ben a very troblsom concern but I think it will soon be over.   I have nou little thought of ever seeing yow in  America, but if  William  or any of you were to come heare and pay os a visit, we wold be very happy.   We recived your letter dated the 8 of March and wer very glad to hear that you wer all in good health for which feavour we owght allgays to be thankful.    Mr. Nelson  in  Kilmarnock  has heard no word of his Brother for som years past and he wishes if you know any thing about him you wold let os know and we wil inform him.   I have very few neus to inform you of the Church has been in a great butle about Vulantrisem.   The Vulantries are for having all conecton betwen Church and Sate desolved and all made vulantrie Churches, but I think this will not be so easlie don as they imagin.   We have stil a Days preaching now and then from  Mr. Reid, but he is nou getting verie weak and will not be able to continou long.   There was a new Mettinghouse built in  Darvel  last year for  Mr. Rodgerson  and the year befor ther was a Mittinghows built in  Neumilns  for  Mr. Brus and Mr. Laurie  expects a new Church this year.   We have had a very wet winter and spring til about thrie weeks ago.   Since that time we hav had a strong drought but I most stop for want of time.   I therfor wish you all wel whiel in this world and happie in the world to come.   I remain your Brother as formerlie,  Robert Shields. 

 


William Hamilton  to  Alex Shields  State of  New York{of Vermont, America

                        HairshawMay 21, 1839  per  David Anderson.

Dear Friends,

          You are at a great distance from us and by any human probability unable to understand each others circumstances to rejoice in eithers prosperity or weep for each others Woes..., but by the agency of the Divine being the great parent of the Universe and the architect of nature has enabled mankind to Sail upon the surface of the water with rapidity and as it is expressed to fly upon the wings of the whirlwind and search for all Mysteries in the utmost corners of our Land.   From the same source I am enabled to sit down and write you our circumstance at this present moment or as we may term it the news of Ald Scotland. 

                       We have got a new Queen as you will see stamped Victoria on the head of this sheet, but what good she may do in her reign is unknown for prophets is forbidden to enter our Land...   But I have no doubt to say that there will be some events in her reign that will fill up the pages of History and be a blessing to one class in this realm and a scourge unto another.     This generation is stirring and enterprising, Seeking after hidden things, and finding out wonderful things that God has hid from our fathers.   Consult for a mot the Great Western that has already brought America and Briten within fifteen days sailing of each other and can carry intelligence in as short a time as sixty years ago it took betwixt Glasgow and London by the quickest expectation.   Steam navigation and railroads shows to me to be a peace making Agent betwixt all kingdoms for from the highest to the lowest all wishes to be shareholders and every one has an interest and you see where personal interest is, there is peace and safety if possible...   And besides this intelligence can be carried and recarried to and from the utmost corner of this world so that the great family of mankind will at last come to unite together and search after the wonderful Works of God.   We must ascribe this to the Wisdom of Him that fills Heaven and earth.   We see by these things that you and we although placed perhaps 3000 miles distant can talk to each other with as great ease as if there was no more distance than the mere breadth of Galston Hill.   Let us conclude this page by concluding that there is nothing that we see but reminds us of its Creator.

                       I now begin the task I promised the news of Ald Scotland.   There is a very great emigration from Scotland to America, to Australia and VanDeimon's Land   [Australia & New Zealand].    William Alison, second son to  James Alison  Coldwakning [in Drumclog district near Rylands]  is gone away on Saturday the 27 of April toAustralia;   two sons and one daughter of  Alexander Lauries  in  Lanfine  is likewise gone to  Australia  and many more from  Straven  and other places unecessary to mention.    Francis Lambie  you friend from    Straven  with a wife and nine children to  America, Almont [?]  Michigan.    James Millar  Hasside [Highside?  above  Meikle Glen]  has a daughter in  Canada.    Elizabeth and William  her brother has rouped [sold at public auction] all his effects and going away too.   Our  Alexander  has two brothers in law in the  States.    William Leisser  of  Drumboy  has two brothers in law in  the State of Ohio.   There is a numberless concourse of people traveling to, and from  America  to this country so that it has almost made us door neighbours.   I wonder often that there is so seldom communication betwixt us: it is not the lenth of the way, neither is it the cost, but it is the carelessness of us all.   We cannot think to write a few lines to a friend because it lies heavy upon our Spirits.

                       There is an ironwork begun at your old home  Galston.   It is just preparing with the  burnas [Burnhouse?]  Ann Burn  about 2 gunshots above the utmost house and is doing a great deal of work in building furnaces and other preparations.   As some of your connections will likely be sending some accounts of their circumstances with  David Anderson  as I am doing, I will leave it to them only.

                       Things is going on in their old usual way and no deaths amongst any of our nearest relatives this long time but  George Paterson's wife  in  Priestland  about a year ago.   As for our own family your  Sister Helen  is turned like her Brother  James  very fat, not unhealthy according to her age but sometimes complaining a little...and I am something like her.   I sometimes complain of a pain in my back, but they sometimes laugh at me and say that it is a natural disorder.   The rest of our family is all in health at present.   How long it may continue we cannot tell, but Health is a blessing we can never repay.   We have  Robert John and Anny  at home.  William  in  Stobbieside  has five children and one dead.   They are all in health and your Sister  Christina  and her Family is all alive and good health.   You will find it recorded by the wisest of men that as iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the face of a friend a friend.   Although we cannot see other face to face and talk to each other as we have frequently done, yet still is not this a glorious substitute invented by the contriver of all things to teach me to sit down by my own fire side and talk with you in  America in the State of Vermont  and besides all this we have cause to rejoice that we was born of Christian parents that had the means and the will to teach us the education which we have got.   Let us all study to imitate their virtues but avoid their vices.

                       It is said that trouble Springeth not out of the ground but I have to tell you that we have had the year  1837  and  39  exceedingly bad years, neither of these years was their any meal or seed corn in places such as ours, but the year 38 was not as bad.   Although not an avourich year, but we have had an exceedingly good dry seed time this year and we have got potatoes set and all in good order in the month of April.   We scarcely ever saw as good a time for putting in the seed.   Seed corn has been exceedingly high from 30 to 37 shillings per boll of Edinburgh corn.

                        David Anderson  will describe the situation of old Scotland better than I can write you, for if I were to begin on any lenthened detail this sheet would not contain the half that I could say.   I ask if any of you has ever been up or over and paid  Alexanders  people a visit.   No doubt you will have heard of  Christina's death on the 10 of March last year.   We all see that no age nor no circumstances no place nor no distance can exempt us from death.   Let us all be in a prepared State that when we close our eyes in mortal death we may be enabled to open them in immortal Life that we all may meet together in that land where no paid nor sin sorrow or death shall ever enter.   One word more:   Let not distance change the feelings as climate does the collour, but write frequently and take a delight in communication your minds to your acquaintance and us also.   Although we be like some born out of due time we wish you all Gods benediction.  WH H.Young Robt.John & Ann H.

                                               Our deceased friends:

                                               They have seen what I have seen,

                                               Endured all that troubles me.

                                               They were whatever I have been

                                               And is what I shall always be.

                                               Before his uncreated beam the sun himself is lost in shade;

                                               but he that draws his light from him enjoys a day that cannot                                                          fade.

Dear friends since I wrote this letter your Sister  Hellen  has had a sore turn of the rheumatism fever, but at this moment she has got clear of this fever but not altogether well although in a better growing way the rest of us is all well and carting peets and going on in our usual way.   Tuesday 21 of May 1839.   Wm. Hamilton.

     


Back Hearshaw, Strathaven, AyrShire, North Britain.   

Wm.Erskine  to  Alex. Shields  %  Cap.n James TrumbelCraftsbury

                       Postmarked  Athens, PA  Jun.14   183/4      GalstonApril 1841

Dear Friend,

           We received your letter of the 8th February.   We were happy to be informed that you were all well and getting on prosperously. We were likewise hapy to hear from our friends and acquaintances.   But was a little dissapointed to hear nothing of  Charles Barber  [not in 1850 census],  John Nisbet  [Greensboro  1850 had 8 Vt. born children, m. to  Janett], nor  John Cuthbertson  [Greensboro  1850 had 4 Vt. born children, m. to  Ann].   We are in our ordinary state of health.   My Father in Law  Robt. Shields  is very much failed, he has wrought none at his trade since May last, and comparitively little this two years.   He is scarce able to go to  Darvel Church  and home in one day.   He amuses himself when able at fishing.    Hugh  is still healthful and strong at his advanced age but not able to do much.

             With regard to news I am at a loss to know what may be most interesting to you.   My wife  Betty  has had a son about three weeks since, his name is  Hugh.   We have 4 sons and 1 Daughter, 5 in all of a family.   You may not have heard of  Hugh Woodburn's Death in January last, and of your Brother  James Shields  nearly two years since.    John and James Dow  for a number of years after their father's Death continued his business till about 5 years since  James  left  John  and took a shop for himself and lately after got married to  Hellen Young  of  Meadowfoot  but falling in to drink and loose habits he failed in business in about 18 months after his commencement.   He and his wife then went and lived with  John  and his mother for some time and in  May 1838  John  gave up his business and they all went toCampbleton  and there rented a farm and did not succeed.   They left it in about a year after, having lost all and something in debt.    John  and his mother came toGlasgow  and  James  and his wife came to this place and wrought for some time, but behaving still badly he and his wife parted.       He went again to  Glasgow  and she is at present living at  Loudon Kirk.    John  is engaged in a shop at 1 Pound per week, and  James  likewise at 10/ a week.

                        There is an iron work lately erected near Galston.   It has brought a number of strangers to the town, but has made no improvement in the morals of the people, as drinking, swearing, and Sabbath profanation is carried on to an alarming degree.   There is likewise a tile work beside the town; tile draining is become very general through Ayrshire since you left Scotland and I think is the greatest improvement ever came into it.   Their method of doing is to level the land and put a drain in each fur of 18 foot rigs.   The most part of the land is so done.

                       There is a great cry got up among the lower class or what used to be radicals for their charter.   They hold chartist meetings; they form themselves into Chartist societies.   They have Chartist Preachers of common tradesmen among themselves and even profanes the ordinence of baptism by administering it [amongst themselves].

                       Trade is rather dull for the most part and living very high.   Potatoes 15 & 16 Pence per peck, meal 18 shillings per boll, Cheese 14 and 15 shillings per stone, fresh butter was from 18 pence to 2 shilling per trou Pound.

                       I have wrought in the  Gauchaland Quarrie  for 8 or 9 years, and the last 4 years I have been engaged as foreman.   My wages is twelve shillings in winter and 16 in summer per week.    Margaret Young  of  Meadowfoot  has been complaining this sometime.   I think she is consumptive.   The rest of your friends so far as I know is all well.   You ask our opinion of the Church of Scotland and the patronage question.   I can say but little on the subject for  Lord  Brougham  [crossed out]  Milbourneat the head of her Majesty's government has declared his intention of leaving her to the law of the land, but I think something must be done, for there is meetings in all most every Parish and headed by a number of the clergymen and petitions coming in from all quarters signed by thousands of all ranks.   [This agitation followed the "Great Disruption" of 1834 from which grew the Free Kirk.]

                        With regard to popery I think it is greatly on the encrease.   To give you some idea I will give you a statement of what was in a publication printed in1834.   In the year of  1793  the number of Roman Catholic chapels in England and Scotland did not amount to 20 and now in  1833  there are upwards five hundred.   What a prodigious increase in the space of 40 years! In  1792  there were only 2 Popish seminaries of Education in England in 1833 there are upwards of 50.   In 1792 there were no Popish Colleges in England, now there are 9 regular Colleges overflowing with students.   Even during the years 1831 and 1832 there was an increase of 10 Roman Catholic chapels in England and 7 in Scotland.   We have often heard of the superior education and intelligence of the lower orders of the people of Scotland, yet this would certainly seem to intimate that these are not sufficient to resist the progress of Popery.   Our new testimony in general gives satisfaction, indeed the new has little difference from the old one, the doctrinal part is shorter and in some things more plain, particularly anent the difference with  the Secession Church.

                       My Father in Law would feel very happy if you felt it convenient to come and see him as he will never be able to come and see you.   At all events we hope you will write us soon.   Letters here is carried cheap now.   Your last letter cost us only 8 pence; we can send a letter through the kingdom by paying 1 penny.

                       Let us know particularly if you can about  Mr. Neilson  as his Brother in  Kilmarnock  is very anxious to know what he is doing.   [name not is census records forEast Hill.]   I have made all the enquiry I can about  Andrew Young  but can get no word and so must conclude.   May the Peace of God the father and the good will of him who dwelt in the bush be with you and us.   Yours,  William Erskine.

 



Rob. Shields  &  William Erskine  to  Alex. Shields 1843

  % Cpn Jas. Trumbel postmarked L.26 JY43.D, dated  GalstonJuly 18th

Dear Friend;

           We received your letter of June the 1st and we are glad to hear you are all well: with regard to your Brother  Hugh, he was complaining a little of the cold the week before his death, but he said he was better.   He was at  Darvel  on Sabath and came home with me in a good spirit as usual.   On Monday he was complaing a little but was out on the street; he got rather worse towards night.   On Tuesday he kept his room but thought he was better.   On Wednesday he rose and took some breakfast and sat till after diner time but got that much worse that  Betty  and her father had to carry him to bed.   The brought the doctor, he said he could do nothing for him, as he was not sick and said he felt no pain, only a kind of giddyness and weakness.   After that he got into a kind of stupor and talked little all the afternoon.   When I came home at night we went up and laid him in what we thought a more easy posture.    Betty  then asked him if he wanted a drink; he said no.   That I think was the last word he spoke.   We saw that death was evidently approaching.   I went up and told the doctor.   He said he could do nothing for him, but he would go down to satisfy us.   When he came in he said he was much worse, but could do nothing for his relief.   I sat all night with him, but he apeared to be insensible that I was there.   When I weted his mouth he paid no atention to it.   Between 4 and 5 o'clock he got more distressed and continued till between 6 and 7 when he died, so I think he never thought he was dying; indeed for the last 8 hours of his life, I think he did not know he was in existence.   There is no doubt it would have been a great comfort to us had he been able to spoken to us, but is was other wise ordered and we must submit.

                       With regards to his worldly affairs, I am willing to give you a statement and I am hapy you have sought it as I mean to be reasonable and I hope you will be consistant and not be like the Farmer and Lawyer represented in the fable when you are willing to share in the  prophets  proffits.   I hope you will be ready to be your part in makeing up the defiecency: In the first place, he had a room for 10 years that he Paid us no rent for, which was regularly let for 2£ Per year, which amounts to 20 Pound, and it is 8 years past about new Years day since he came down to it and in that time I can possitively state that he neither bought A pound of meal nor A peck of Potatoes nor any other thing, only sometimes on a Saturday night he would buy a loave and that but seldom.   You may think that 10 years rent and 8 years meat is a seeming contradiction.   I shall endeavour to make that plain to you.

                       When my father in law [Robert] and us went together to live as one family, he [Hugh] engaged for the house, but delayed from time to time in comeing and would not give it up but kept Posession of it with Part of his Books.   We were informed that he was miserable and was Bakward to expose his bed clothes &cet.     We got a beding of clothes made up for and went for him when he came cherfully.      All this was knowne to a number o       Then after the funeral there was nothing said respecting his effects.   But when I was convoying our friends away I was a little struck when  Francis Young  told me that you told him before you went away toAmerica, that Hugh would have about a hundred Pounds worth of Books.   I said little at the time, but came home and told my father in law that it was possible there might be a misunderstanding and it would be best to make them an offer.   We then got in all the Books that was out and then we then offered you Brother John and your two sisters that if they or any of their familys either singly or together would pay us four fifths of what 2 neutral men would allow us for what we had done for him, we would ask nothing for our share.   We would give up every pins worth belonging to him.   But this the would not accept of as the said that the knew there was a great defiesency.   Your Brother  John  told me that we should be recompenced, but that was not in his power; all he could do was to thank us and your sister in  Darveltold your Brother  Robt  to the same effect.   To show that the forgoing statement is corect I will leave room for the names of some of our   friends if an opertunity ocur.   Signed:    John Shields,  Byres of LoudonJames WoodburnDarvel.

With regard to his property he had in money I think 6/7hapeny when he dyied, and as for his Bookes I had plenty of catalogues to guide me so that I knew the value of them.   The price of them that we sold after deducting the expence of cariage and so, is £19-0-2;   there is what we think about 6 Pounds worth yet; some of them we intend to keep and some we intend to sell.   There is indeed some manuscrips besides that is not valued.   I do not know if the would bring any thing, but I am fond to keep them for there antiquity,   and respecting his furniture and clothes I am at a loss to Put a value on them.   The are for no use to us, and there is no person will offer us money for them.   But we will say a pound for them, which is more than we will get for them, which in whole is about 26 Pound;   and there is several small debts we had to pay since his death.   We settled an account of £1-5-0 the other week that he had borrowed from  widow Young  hardware merchant ten years ago.   She said he often acknowledged it but could not Pay it, so if we cont up houserent, funeral expences and these small debts there will be nothing left for keeping.

                       There is also between 7 and 8 Pounds stands for rent to  Mr. Reid  befor he came down to us; we will not pay it if we can help it, but we will rather Pay it as risk a law suit.   Now you are aware that there is none of your friends that is able to do any thing in the way of help and as money is not so plenty with us as formerly B my father in law has wrought none for a number of years, and he lost £34-15-0 with  Bruce Cuthbertson's old master, wich was nearly all the money he had, so we hope you will candidly consider the matter and do as you would be done to in sending us what you think your share of his keeping.   We wrote to  Robert Young, but he said he was not owing him a farthing, so we will trouble ourselves no more with it, if any of our friends wishes to do it, the are welcome.   I am sorry I have no room for any Public news.   With regard to the church question, there is nere to 500 of them came out.   Your answer to this as soon as it comes to hand will oblige yours truely,  William Erskine.

Dear Brother,

                       I think the above statement is corect.   It is a long time since I wrote to you.   I am very unfit for writing.   I see so very bad, I can scarce get glasses that I can read with.   I walk about the water a good dail and fishies.   I have not much troble but am very weak.   We are all in our ordnary stat of health at the time with all the rest of your freands in thes place.   As far as wee know.   I have gaven up all hop of comming to  America, I expected to have com, but the time is gon past and now I am altoger unfote.   I expected that you or som of your Sons wold have come over and paid os a veaset, but I most stop in wishing you and all of os a metting in a better world.   I remain your Brother & welwisher,  Robert Shields.

 


William Erskine  to  Alex. ShieldsGlover, %  Capn James Trumbel,    Craftsbury  March 20.   P.M.  New York  May 18. Dated  Galston  Feb.28th 1844

Dear Friend,

                       We received your letter of the 18th October.   We feel for your son's (Wm's) loss but as we must all sooner or later pay the Debt of nature and as our time here is but short and uncertain may we be enabled through the Grace of God assisting us to improve it.   We were glad to hear of the rest of you being in good health.   Your Brother  Robert  is still getting sillier and his sight worse.   He is very ill at standing the cold although he is still walking about and fishing when the weather will allow.      Betty  is not very strong; she had a son on the 17th of Dec.r last.   He took the influenza on the 24th and Dyed on the 27th of the same month.   She never recovered compleatly although she is mostly going about.   The rest of our friends so far as I know are all well with the exception of  Francis Young  who I am sorry to state has for some weeks past been deprived of the use of his reason.   He was a little in arrears with his Laird and some other people and took much thought about lossing his farm.   That is thought to be the reason; however,  Alex.r Young  of  Meadowfoot  and  James Woodburn  got a settlement with the creditors and paid the compound and is going to keep them in the farm for some time and the last account I got he is more composed.

                       Before I forget, I will give you  Andrew Young's adress, I thought I had sent it long ago.   It is  Townshipe of Binbrook Gore, District Hamilton, Lake Ontario, Upper Cannada.   You may likewise state in your next if you know any thing of  Nelson  as his Brother in  Kilmarnock  is anxious to get some information about him. 

                       You wish me to state what your Brother  Hugh's Board was by the week:   that, I believe to be difficult, as none of us paid any atentien nor ever anticapated anything like half remuneration for what we were doing for him.   However, I shewed your lettir to your Brother  John  and some of our other friends, and the agreed with me in thinking that 3/ per week was far below value for meat washing and mending his Cloths, etc. but even at that for between 8 & 9 years amounts to between 60 and 70 Pounds besides house rent.   But I do not wish to be misunderstood; we never meant to ask any thing from our friends, neither do I demand-- I mean to say I make no demand of-- you to pay the fifth of that or any stated sume, only you are more able and as near related as any of us and I only make an Apeal to your own consideration (and I think with reference to your former lettir that I can do it with honour) To send a few pounds and if you think you are not able or not entitled to give as well as take I do not want it.   You like wise state what you thought was the value of his Books 25 years ago which for any thing I know may be correct as it is not above the half of that since I saw them.   He had indeed upwards of 300 vols. but there was above 100 of them that was either tracts bound together, odd vols. and magazines.

                         Now you are aware these brings very little when offered for sale and a number of the rare ones is republished since the church question was so much agitated; for instance Rutherford's Lex Rex about 2 years ago sold at 1 guinea, its now selling new at 6/.   Browns Apologetical relation 18/ is now at 5/6 and a number similar; besides, you know there is a difference between buying and selling books, and he had not a single large folio and only one large quarto: it was Durham on the Revelation, which can be got in the regular trade 5/ now.   Your Brother says he once had a number of them, and with regard to his ading yearly to them, I need only state to you as you are as well aquainted with what his nature was as well as me; if he had been enabled to do that he would not been owing  Mrs. Young  1 Pound 5 shillings for nearly 12 years that he borrowed from her, besides other small debts.   However, be that as it may, I am satisfied that I sold them all to the best advantage if I had got the price of them, but I was simple enough to entrust near to £10 worth to  James Dow, as he was again living with his wife  Helen Youngin  Glasgow, and making great proffessions of repentance.   He however about the time I wrote you last comenced drinking and keeping bad company and the wife was obliged to leave him and come to  Meadowfoot  and the last time I was in  Glasgow  he was in the Police Office.    John  is through all his mony and is so much adicted to drink that he can not keep a situation when he has it.   He is living with his mother in a small apartment in  Glasgow; she is in a very wretched condition.   The money I lost with  James  was included in my last letter.   Now I leave of this subject and I never mean to resume it, leaving you to think for yourself.

                       I must try for some news now that will be more amusing to you.   In the first place, we have got  a neat little Gas work  in  Galston.   We have got the Gas into our house and likes the light well, and we are cheaper than with oil or candle.   We have likewise  got a Free Kirk built here, and minister Placed this day, but with regard to their progress in Reformation Principles I am at a loss to say much.   Every party of discenters is for claiming kindred with them and thinking the should join with them and likewise part of our church is of the same mind.   But for my part I think it is premature as the have published no manifesto to the world what the opinions the hold are, neither in civil or religious matters.   My opinion is the will come to a division among themselves as there was some of them went so far as to state at the last assembly when the were discussing the right of females voting for their minister, if that females got that privelege it would be a matter of consideration whether they would abide by it or not.   The likewise still continue Praying for the prosperity of the present government and the are silent on the binding obligations of the covenants, and a number of other things, so that I think before them and us can join we must either go back or the must advance considerably.   The is, however, a few but I fear it is only a few that are willing to go to the full length of  1638 & 49, but I may be enabled to give you a more full account of them by the next time I write.   There is also a sect and I believe a dangerous sect making very rapid progress here:   we stile them  Morrisonians.   The call themselves Believers or  Evangelical Society men, but in reality the hold the same doctrines as  James Arminius  taught.   The maintain that Christ died for all mankind alike, that man has a free will to save himself if he pleases, and that faith is just a simple assent of the mind, and if you just think Christ died for you it is enough to save you and all that is required.   The likewise boast much of their peace of mind and their readiness to meet death without fear and many such like high pretensions, but I fear if the be not hypocrites, they are the delusions of the Devel.   I likewise fear their last end will be worse than their begining: the have also a meeting house and a stated minister in this village. 

                       Trade in this Place is much plentier than for some time past, and provisions moderate:   oat meal in particular is cheap.   The last we got was £1-4 Per bol, cheese and beef from 7/6 to 9/- per stone and other things in proportion.   But I must shortly conclude with regard to my coming to America, in present circumstances I cannot say a word.   I once had a strong desire to come, when we were all younger and more able, but under present circumstances I think it would be unatural and ungratful to leave grandfather here alone or to insist on him to undertake a voyage that would probably stand hard with him, but should we never meet on this earth may we meet in that haven of rest where all sorrow and sighing shall flee away, is the desire of your friend and servant,  Wm. Erskine.

                     


Wm.Hamilton  to  A. Shields 1853     dated at  Browncastle.

Dear Friends,

           I am just set down to write you another Letter, perhaps the Last that ever I may address to you, yet we know not.   I am able to write a little yet, though I have seen the snows of 72 years and my head white with Age.   Can there be either honowr or profit in a long live?   This lies upon circumstances.   If yow or I pass owr lives in this world unimproved and leave no Memento behind us, of owr pious Walk and holy deportment and nothing left to charachterize owr conduct, then all will be burried with owr bodies & nothing left to Memoralize our names to after generations.   Then our lives must have been a nonentity good for nothing and our very names is burried in oblivion.   Qwit different from the name of the reighteous, for they shall be had in Everlasting rememberance.

          I have now to tell yow what we are doing and what is our concern.   Yowr sister  Hillen  and my partner in Life is just with me toddling over the hill of time, only one year youngor than I am but healthy.   Althowgh not very Strong, rather breathless and lossing her sight considerably.   I have just thowght that I need not speak any thing abowt owr circumstances and the events that is happening in our locality, for  James Anderson  and wife [Mary, dau. of  Thomas Morton] will tell you more than I can write.   Althowgh I did not wish to let this opportunity pass unimproved.   Yet I cannot tell yow the news as expressly as you shall have them, however I do not wish to send you a blank sheet, for white paper we never pay the carriage.

                       What a wonderfull blessing is it for yow and me that we can sit at the cheek of our ingle and talk with each other four thousand miles distant and communicate our minds to each other in a profitable manner.   It raises a lively Emotion in my heart to talk with you at so great a distance by Writting.

                       I have often thought that we may be separated from our friends and relations on earth for a while but death to Christians will bring about a wonderful aera in passing throwgh the Shaddow of death and our Spirits owr thinking parts enrolled among the living in Jerwsalem.   And become the inhabitants of that Mansion that is prepared for us.   There will be no division of sentiments there.   We will see the Glory of the lowely and meek Galilean shining with Splendor throwgh all that land.   There we will meet to part no more.   No tears there to bedimn the Eye.   No Sorrow to overcloud the heart; no Sin to defile the Soul, nor death to separate friends: but where sin shall cease and death shall rage no more.   And we shall know even as we are known: we shall be made compleatly happy in knowledge, and will be amongst that number who rejoices over a repenting sinner.   A repenting world: a knowledge of the state of the church is realized in heaven!   Yes, to an individual one sinner that repenteth… .   When yow and I here is joining in the Melody of Angels and Saints.   Will the reporting Angel not carry the tidings to the Mansions in Heaven?   O, Yes! Our voices will be heard on high; we are now waiting owr appointed time when God shall call us hence.   And meeting around clad with garments of celestial bwty, and our feet no longer deliled with Sin, we shall tread its radiant courts, making the arches of heaven to sing with the songs of the redeemed.   The Golden Gates will be shining bright; the Christal pavement, the Sea of Glass, and the tree of Life, and the Living Waters Springing from the throne of God will be displayed unto us, and all the faithful followers of Jesus.   Many has entered in since the first old testament Saint, and many will enter in before the Last of the new; what will hinder you and me?

                       What doth hinder us?   We may and will say it neither be life or death, angels, principalities, nor powers, things present nor things to come, nor height nor deep, nor any other creature shall be able to prevent us from entereing into that blest abode.   What eye hath not seen, nor ear heard or tongue or pen describe the happiness of the people and the Glory of that land, when there will be enough in our conuntenances to reflect the image of him who is seated on the throne of Glory which mortal eye cannot behold --Yes! from him who stilled the waves of Galilee.

                       Now let us speak upon another theme: the Resurrection Morning, when the whole world is gathered into one, and divided into two classes.   Which of them wowld you and I wish to join: solemn, indeed--clothed or naked, happy or Miserable -- when our bodies is decayed and Mouldered in the clay, owr prayer is, "O Sister spirit come and carry me away…   .   Answered.   "Glad will my Spirit be to Spend Eternity with thee… .

                       When our bodies is thus awakened and the Emotions of the heart begins to Swell then will this be heard from the Awakened body "Come, O Come thow Sister Spirit and Carry me away; come thow inhabiter of Holiness, thow citizen of heaven, thow, thow delight of Angels, thow rediemed of Jesus, thow who has realized blessedness; Come thow and Unite in holiness, in purity and love, and carry me to the new Jerusalem, to the abode of bliss.   Long ist it since we was separated by sin and death; wnite us again in love and peace."     We enjoy two component parts, sowl and body: owr bodies is called the temple of the Living God.   We owght to realize purity and holiness, althowgh we was created from the dwst of the earth, we owght to imitate every imitable perfection of our Glorious Rediemer -- Bwt owr Sowls comes from God… .   Our Souls is a part of the Divine Nature; owr very thowghts tells ws so.   How qwickly is owr thoughts transported from Earth to Heaven.   And from sea to sea; invisible idea: how Wonderful.   Deepest of Misteries, a living Sowl yet unperceived.   No chain can bind it, nor no tomb enclose it.   When the Angel of Death releases it, it retires from the world, for the World knows it no more.   It claims kindred in another land, perhaps with those whom death parted from us not long ago.   Will these be they who are attendants with the Saviour to administer to us, in owr entrance into the kingdom of heaven?   How Joyful will the Meeting be, unspeakable, beyond the idea of Man to conceive.

                       When the Meeting of friends is attended with Joy unspeakable…what will the Meeting of Sowl and body be?   Who have been coheirs of the Sufferings, troubles, trials and difficulties of the life that is past, and now to be united to the Life of Joy that is to come, of this we can have no idea, for an inhabitant of Heaven to become united with the rottenness of the grave… .   What can we say, it is the Lord's work… and it is Marvelous in owr eyes… were yow and I to stand disinterested and view the righteous rising from only one church yard, with the Joys and blessings that will be pronounced on the head of their great Redeemer, and the unity of Soul and body… what, think you, would be the feelings of owr hearts?   I think we would be lost in wonder, love, and praise;   I think we would be silent… .

                       You and I has seen many a death bed attended with sorrow, Grief and Woe, by those who were interested, And eye witnesses to the scene that is parting from their society in this world.   It is possible that we will be Witness to their Meeting of Love never to part more in the Land of Glory.   May you and I contrast the Grief with the Joy, if the grief was great, the Joy will be unspeakable… .

                       Dear Mother, Where you be, read these few Lines and Send them to yowr Neighbours, which I have collected for you.   O! Mothers, I must tell you, there is no Position in the world, accompanied with higher responsibilities than the one you occupy.   The Children under your care will in a very short time become the heirs of the Celestial world of Glory, or Denisons of the abodes of the Lost.   They are now entrusted to your care and keeping.   God is saying to yow at this moment, take this child and nurse it for me and I will give thee thy wages.     Not only to train them up for this temporal life, but to train them up in my fear; God has created them and given to them an Undying Existence, and Committed them to yow to train wp for immortality, because he has ransomed them by the precious blood of his well beloved Son. And now he calls yow, and throwgh yow to them, to hear and yowr souls shall live.   To yow he has commited the delightfull task of making known the finished work of Jesus, both for your selves and for your Children.   O, remember your little children and look upon their little hands that soon will wave the palms of Glory, or be wrung in unutterable Anguish where there worm dieth not.   Look on their little busy feet that soon they will either tread the Golden Streets of the new Jerusalem or walk the plains of burning pain of unending woe.   Look on the Soft expression of that Glorious Window, the Eye, and remember that those very Eyes shall either behold the King in his bewty, and that Glorious land that lieth a very far off, that Gloriows inheritance which is prepared for the Saints of the Most high God, or be lifted up in Woe where their is weeping and Wailing.

                       O! Mothers, this is your time to prepare their sowls for future Glory.   Can yow look and think and delay bwt another Moment of leading the way and engrafting into your children the knowledge of God and abrighter world beyond this…     O tell them the trwth concerning Jesus of Nazarath who was once a babe and was cradled in a manger like them in their craddle.   When you wash your Children in the Morning, Lead them to the fountain that is open for Sin and uncleaness.   When you cloth them in robes of cleanness, tell them of the robes of another world.   The long white robes of the redeemer's reighteousness that is without Spot, and when you feed them with our necessary food, tell them likewise of the bread of life that never perisheth nor decayeth.     Yea, God commands yow and entreats yow to come and bring all your children with yow to Jesus.   O, Mothers! remember their Eternall All depends in a great Measure upon yow.   O, Come to Jesus with them, for it is not left to yowr own option to bring them or leave them behind, for you are bound to do it at the peril of your own Souls, and yow cannot rob Jesus of tha deathless Spirit and be gwiltless.   Do not think it too soon to bring your Children to the Lord, bwt devote them to their creator from their infantile Moments, and then lead their minds to the knowledge of God, to the blessed hope of a glorious immortality.

                       May we and ours meet with yow and yours in the Kingdom of God's dear Son, bwt while we are here and spared with our little ones, Let us show them the Lovingkindness of the Lord every Morning and his faithfulness every night.   Let your doctrine drop as the rain, and your speach be distilled as the dwe, as the small rain upon the herb, and as the Showers upon the grass; tell them daily of the God that made them and the saviour that redeems them.

                       And tell them how Glad the Saviowr is to receive Children for the is alwways Saying, Suffer Little Children to come unto me, and forbid them not for off such is the kingdom of heaven… .   And teach them daily the patern which the Lord gave of prayer: Our father which art in heaven… .   Is it not delightful to hear little children listening to this tale of love, whose compassion is beyond compare?   O, Parents!   teach them to cry, My Father, thow art the gwide of my yowth; thus bear up the minds of your Children in the light of the Everlasting Gospel, showing them all the promises given from the Mowth of the tender hearted Jehovah in the records of the Gospel of peace till the Light of love daun forth upon their Souls and enable them to Embrace the Everlasting Sunshine of Eternal day, and the reconciled countenance of Jehovah, where no clowd can intervene bwt sing and say in triwmph:

                       I know that my redeemer lives;

                       What Comfort this Sweet Sentence gives.

                       He lives again who once was dead,

                       He lives, my Everlasting head --

                       He lives, triumphant from the grave --

                       He lives, Eternally to Save.

Now may yow and I take the bible for owr gwide and Jesws for owr head, And in Unity of Minds may we sail throwgh this Sea of life with him at owr right hand that stilld the waves of Galilee till we arrive on that Land of rest when we shall have no more need to cross this land of tears, nor the Valey of the Shaddow of death.   No destructive winds nor restless waves, no scorching sun nor sweating brow but unto that rest that remaineth for the people of God… .

                       Now friends, I have only one page more to write

                       and mostly done by coal fire light;

                       May Jesus sweetly soothe, and gently dry

                       My throbbing heart and streaming Eye,

                       and still unchanging watch beside

                       my painfull hours, my dying bed,

                       and point to realm of cloudless day,

                       And wipe my latest tears away… .

After I had almost done with writting this letter, I thowght that it could produce nothing interesting, nor nothing new from owr locality but it is in this and such like that  Hellen  and I put by owr time reading and Writing till our change come.   We are taking no care for the world bwt just what pleases ourselves.   She sometimes spins a little and I weave a stocking, and reads the newspapers twice a week. 

                       Our brother  James & Christie  is in  Drumlock parish of Glasgow, and doing very well: they have a good farm, but they have lost two dawghters since yow left,Anna and Christie, and  Wm  the Oldest Son is very delicate.   And for us we have  Anny [Mair?]  in  Greenfield [at Lanfine]  with 5 children,  Johny  in  Hairshaw  with 3 and  Wm. in  Browncastle  with 6 and mostly reached manhood.   And we are stoping in a howse beside them, and  Alexander  in  Canada West, near  Brentford  not very far from  Torronto; and they have 6 children last time we heard from them bowt a year ago.   And  Meadowfoot  [John Young] he is just stepping abowt and diverting himself with  Alex'rs children, 5 of them, 4 dawghters and a son.   And  Meadowfoot  dawghters,  Betty  is in  The Hill, Lanfern [Lanfine];  Christie  is in  Parkhiston [Parkerstown]Jean's  in  Greenfield; and  Agness  in  The Thorn, KilbrydeMarrion  is in  Hesperlaw parish of Hamilton.   Compliments from all arownd ws.   Wishing yow Comforts here and Happiness hereafter,  Wm. Hamilton. 



Letters to America

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Robert Shields,  Galston,  to  Alexander Shields, per  William Woodburn

dated  GalstonApril 14, 1830

Dear Brother,

            I received your letter dated the 18 August and I am very happy to hear that you are all in good health and spirits.   We are both well with all the rest of your friends in this place as far as I know.   I do not know whither you have got any word of  Mary Shields  Dath or not.   She died I think about the latter end of June or beginen of July.   Your Brother  John  has got a nother dawghter about two months ago and is still working aboutLoudon  yet they have got aneu forister at  Lowdon  nou and  Robert Young  is paid off with a nomber of the men that wrought with him.   Our BrotherHugh  has got no work all winter and I do not supos he has mutch prospick of work as yet.   Things as fare as I can desarn are making no better.

            We had a very dull season last year.   The whole of our winning did not amount to fiftin pounds each and if it is not better this year we canot leave by our trad.   With respect to me coming to  Amarica, there are diffrant obsticals in the way.    Betty  is backward to com, and I wuld not draw much money for my hous oing to the times being so dull, but what way I may do I canot posibuly say.    Betty  is at home with me and asWilliam Houat  has had no lass this som time past she has to asest him at times.   She speaks often about you all and wold be very fond to see the Childrean.

                        Marion  is still stoping with me and  John and James  are Still in  Glasgow  and I supos are douing ordnary well and  William  is our servisman but works very actwardly.   I have not heard any thing about our Brother  James  this long time.   Litel  William Houat  speaks very often about  Alex and Jannat  and says that  Jannet  is to be his wife.    The Weavers heare are in a very poore state and the rents of houses are badly paid.  Alexander Aird  has sold his hous nou for 120 pounds and he has paid me all that he oied me.   Yow did not mention in your last letter if you had heard any thing about  Anderson Wilson's freand, if you have got any information about him yow may let os know in your nixt.

                       I need not say much mor at this time as  William Woodburn  will be able to give you a fuller account how matters are going heare than I can do by writing.   Dear Brother, you and I have great reason of thankfulness that we are hitheto sparied and are in some misour of health and strenth, but let us alyes bear in miend that troble and ar dath will come and it will be very afaul to os if we are not prepared for it.   Let os not set owr afexons to much apon things of a worldly nature as it will tend to owr disadventage at the last.   Let os hear from you as soon as you can and informe os how yow are all getting on and hou  Hugh Woodburn  and Wife are coming on.   I remain your loving Brother,  Robert Shields.

 


New Brunswick

Craftsbury