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William Robertson McGillivray in Ontatio, Canada from his
brother James McGillivrayin Egilsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland, 1857
July 26, 1857
Dear brother I take this pleasant opportunity of writing you this few
lines to let you know that this leaves me and my family in good health at
present thank god for all his mercies to us. Hoping and earnestly wishing
that this may find you in the same. William I have received you letter
the 24 and I am very glad to hear word from you again. I wrot an answer
to the last letter that I got from you and never got any word from you
again. That is three years and six months ago. I have word from you by
motherís letters and it was a long time that I never hard any word from
any of you all. I was thinking very long for word from some of you before
I got word of my fatherís death. Dear brother Mother sent very little
word about fatherís property whither he left it all to John or did he
wish any of us to get share with him, but I hope that he will be a kind
son to his mother as they are none of us along with har but himself. For
my own share I do not expect to get any of it for I am far from them. But
I would be glad if John would help me to.
Dear brother I am now to tell you about my family. We have eleven
children, you will think that is a great family and so it is. I will tell
you all there names now; Margaret and Mary and Douglas they are three
stout young women now they are as tall as there mother. The boyís is
James and William next. James is taller than me, he is been at the cod
fishing this year and he is done very well and now he is at the herring
fishing. William is growing fast to he is shopping with James Wood in
wire. The next is Jemima and John they are both shopping in wire to
keeping cattle and the next is Hugh and Archiable and Harriet and Edward.
Margaret is been home with us all summer and the four youngest ones is
not fit to do any thing for themselves yet. Mary is a cliver young girl
she is shopping in Kirkwall a servant now. John sent word for one of the
lasses and ___ to help in taking har out, but he did not send any help.
Mary was the one that was to go and she was very willing, but she was not
able to go harself and I was not fit to give har any thing to help har so
she was obliged to drop it. Douglas is shopping with Hugh Bews in Menas
his servant. Now William you have the names of all my children just as
they were born and what they are all doing.
Dear brother we are still shopping in old upper cornquay just doing the
same old way. We have had many hard ships in getting bread to our family,
but thanks be to god, we have had no affliction sent us by death. We have
had sickness in our family at different times, but thanks be to the
Almighty, we are all alive yet so far as I know. William I will tell the
I am turned grey headed now, my whiskerís is altogether white, thou would
not know me if thou saw me coming in to the house.
William I am very sorry to hear of your wife not being well. I would
rather hard word that she been in good health, but when you write me
again let me know how she is and if she is still alive. Let me know all
about William, let me know what Aleks doing and if he came home to
Canada. I would like well to know if he be still alive. Let me know all
about Motherís farm and what she is doing. Let me know all about your own
farm and what you have growing on it and how many horses and cows you
have. The produce of this country is very high to. The bowl of meal is 16
to 20 shillings and the horses and cattles much the same as they are with
you. The cropís is looking very low this year.
Dear brother my wife gives you and your family har kind love to you all
and tell your children that there Cousins gives them all there best
respects and wishes them well. Tell your children how many cousins they
have in Orkney. William your old friend Peter Gairoch gives you his kind
love and your aunts and uncles and Cousins gives you there kind
compliments. You did not send any word to them and they were not
satisfyed with you at all.
Aunt Mary is shopping in whistle hear and aunt Barbara in Felehall they
are both failing fast. William you will _____ and help your namesake to
America. I think he will be a cliver fellow if he be _______. James is
been speaking about going to America but whither he goes or not I do not
_______. William I will bring this long letter to a close. Give my best
respects to your wife and children and I sicerly wish them all well.
Write as soon as you receive this letter and let me all the news you
have. So no more at present from affectioned Brother
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Transcribed by Scott Mills from a photocopy of the
original document. Original document currently in the possession of Gail
Nunn.I have added some punctuation for ease of reading. Mis-spellings are
as written by the author.
William Robertson McGillivray was the recipient of this letter. His
brother James is living in Egilsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland, U.K. at
this time and William is living in Ontatio, Canada.