Transcribed by Norman Thomson, email@example.com
Letter from Eliza Thomson of North Queens Ferry Scotland to her Brother David John Thomson Submitted by Norman Thompson
North Queens Ferry
Feb 27 1834
I received yours of the 19th Inst and was happy to hear you were all well. I meant to have written you about the New Year. There was a man came here shortly after of the name of Marshall a native of the place, whose mother was married to Smith at the Battery here. He was from Island Bridge as I supposed and I thought of asking him to carry a letter, but he went away very hurriedly from here along with his mother, who left Smith and went to live with her sons in Glasgow. I have been very bad with a severe pain in my stomach. Loathed everything of victuals and drink and I was able to do nothing no could by any means stand. The letter writing was left amongst other things till I would be more able to do it. I was a great deal better last week, some days I was almost free of pain but these three days back, it is threatening a relapse. Even now while I am writing I feel very uneasy.
In my letter I likely would have merely noted Uncle John’s death as I entertained the idea that there was frequent correspondence between Greenock and you and, that you would have been acquainted of it at the time. It was not until I received yours that I learned that our aunt had particularly given orders to write you and also to Hamilton, neither, of which had been done .At, which she had been very angry. Uncle John died on the tenth of November. I suppose there had been a great change on him. for a long time before. But he had turned alarmingly ill about midnight on the very night that Lilly arrived at Greenock from the ferry where she had been for two or three weeks which I think was about the end of January last year. Since that time he has been constantly confined to bed I believe but he did not lie constant but sat and lay alternately. About July or August he was considerably worse and was not expected to put off but got around again in his ordinary way in September, but I believe he never lay after that. But when he laid himself to rest changed from a sitting to a reclining attitude until he died. He was quite sensible to the last only wavering a little at times. The night before he died he got up at the time he used to lay himself to rest and sat the whole night talking to Aunt about his disease and the arrangements for his funeral and he died early in the morning. For a long time before his death he could not stand for Aunt to be out of his sight. I believe months before his death she gave up attending her business and sat constantly in the room beside him. I believe she is beginning to go out again with particular persons
. Lillie McRitchie returned to the ferry on 14th of December to remain. What Jane means by the disasters of the family is the deaths of three heads of families connected with our Uncle’s Family, who all died within the year namely Walter Shaw. Captain Walsh and John Gilchrist.The two first I took note of before when writing to you. I can’t say whether I mentioned Gilchrist’s death or not. He was Helen Bell’s Husband’ He died I think in the month of June, of dropsy. She bore a son in October last. I forgot if I mentioned the deaths of James Bell and Janey Hay’s Jennie who died of consumption I think last spring. David McRitchie, Charlotte’s Brother in law who was drowned here last summer. I think it strange that your letter did not find Jane in Glasgow. . Do you think you had the right direction? You have got a small specimen of McCulloch too, in the refusal of your letter. We may well guess what sort of treatment she gets. I would give something to know with truth how she is used. Mrs Wall’s youngest daughter was married on the 17th of December to young Jabaz Auld. They are all well .We had a short visitation of Cholera at the commencement of the winter. The woman who first took it got well again then there were five women took it, one after another who all died. There were two men who also recovered. Anne Hay was amongst the victims and Mrs Malcolm’s maid. She belonged to Limekiln and wished to be home. She was in my house about eleven o’clock in the day .She went away in a cart about 2 and died at 1 in the morning. Then her Father, Mother and sister took it. The Father recovered but the mother and sister died. We have reason to be thankful that none of our concerns anywhere has taken it yet.
I can give you very little about the Campsie affair. I suppose it must have been in the year 15.I think it must have been our Great Great Grand Father as I have heard my mother say that our grand Father was a farmer and that his father had been bred to business as he was the eldest son. Then for the name I think it must have been James since as far as we know, the eldest sons have always been named after their Grand Father. There were distant relatives of my fathers of the name Rattery, Brewers; our Father was bred with them. They lived a few miles from Lord Duncan’s Estate of Lundie in Angusshire.They served His Lordship’s family with beer. Our sister Lilly when she was in that family found out that they were the same Ratterys that they were related to. She sent a message with some of the servants when they went to order beer, letting them know who she was’ they sent her invitation she went and saw them .She was on visit after that to us. I either heard her telling it or our mother repeating it. I don’t remember which. In answer to the first letter you wrote me from Dublin. I asked you to let me know what were the duties of your situation but you never took any notice of it. My kind love to you, Mrs Thomson and all of the children .All our friends here are quite well and desire to be kindly remembered to you both and believe me your affectionate Sister