First letter written by Daniel Stewart, teacher and baptist pastor
in Long Lane, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, dated 22nd February 1887

My Dear Friend,

I am favoured with the present of two letters from J. J. Stewart (1), Halifax, Nova Scotia., one dated September 1st 1886, the other dated December 23rd, both addressed to my late brother W (2). His youngest daughter (3) sent them to me of the 3rd of this month. Likely you would not be aware of my being in life when you visited this country, (as) you did not call on me. I am afraid that I cannot be of much service to you in tracing out the history and correspondence that took place so long ago, but I have a child’s memory of my Aunt Scott (4) and her son and daughter (5), also (of) Donald Stewart (6) leaving Borenich and going to America, and his settling in Prince Edward Island. I remember, shortly after their landing, that their house was burnt and thus lost all. My mother (7), I know, sent out both body and bed clothes to her sister. My father (8) corresponded with them for long, but my being young I took not the interest in these things then.

I knew both your grandfathers, for when my mother took her father (9) to live with her, he was very frail and I slept with him, of which I have a vivid recollection for he gave me some sugar when in bed owing to (a) bad cough, and always in bed he searched for my mouth to give me some of the sweet. (10) I wish I could give you his age and the date of his death. He would (be) about 80 years I suppose. Your other grandfather I knew very well, a cheery little old man. He died in his 74 year of cancer. (11) You will easily conclude that as I knew the grandfathers, I knew far better the grandmothers. If I’m not mistaken your grandfather was the first in Borenich that had the first Gaelic translation of the bible. He had it in two volumes and cost him one guinea. I heard him often reading the history of Joseph and at the affective part of the narration he would break down and weep like a child.

My father died in his 89 year, my mother on her 87th. I am the only one of the family alive, Jannet, Margaret, Alexander and William have formed the majority. (12) Your cousin, my wife, (13) and her sister Bell (14) are still in life, though now aged and frail. My brother William died 3 or 4 years ago, driving home with his horse and gig, his horse came down and he fell forward and got his head hurt, which caused his death. are now 50 years since I came to Broughty Ferry and awaiting the summons to call me hence. I am much gratified to find from your letters that my aunt’s grandchildren are in high esteem in PEI. I tried through those of our friends in Canada to find out something about them, but failed.

My brother William’s family are very much scattered. 1 is in California, Alexander in Toronto, James in London, John and Robert at home with their mother, Hellen is in Edinburgh, C. is at home (15) D, my sister’s son is in Canada at White Lake. (16) It is a pity that you did not see him for I correspond with him regularly. He could tell you of many of the changes that take place among the friends and relations in the Highlands of Scotland.

Your father’s cousin, John Stewart, went to the White Lake district where he died. (17) His widow is still living. His three daughters are married thereabouts and his sons are doing well in Canada.

My nephew D kept me well informed about those in Beckwith (18) and all about that neighbourhood, but the friends in Nova Scotia have ceased to answer my letter.

The last I got was from your father, to which I replied but got no answer as yet. Perhaps I offended him some way in mentioning to him some religious questions, however no reply arrived to my letter. So most of the family have passed the house from which no traveller returns D, Jannet, Christine, Alexander and Grace. (19)

Margaret is still to the fore, she ages with my wife. Give her our regard, also Bell – glad to know by your letter that your father is hail and hearty. I hear from a cousin of your father’s, Jane Robertson, (20) who is in Pitlochry, that she is able to be moving about. She is a widow, had a large family. Two of her sons are gone to Australia has(?) year ago. 3 sons are in Scotland, two daughters, one of them married in Foss.

There are 50 years since I came to Broughty Ferry, so I cannot gratify you by having in my possession any of the letters my father had from PE Island. It would give me pleasure to be able to be able to assist you in your enquiries about our ancestors. Your grand aunt Christie (21) went to NS with her husband but I understand were much disappointed and did not live long. Your grand aunt Hellen had a large family but they died young. One died in St Andrews, a young mum, left a widower and two daughter. Only Duncan is now living of that large family. (22)

I had an uncle William (23) who died young through an accident. My aunt Isabella (24) died in her 80th year and all her family are now gone, except my wife and her sister. Your father’s cousin Sandy (25) who married my sister Jannet, married again and had one daughter named Jannet. She is now living with us in our frail old age. She is most useful to us, she is strong and active and very kind. Her brother D, my sister’s son, I mentioned before, is in Canada. I think, as far as my knowledge extends, about your new relations in this country, I have given you a succinct account. Had registration been attended to in the former times, as it is now, I could have recourse to the registrar and given you correct dates of births, marriages and deaths, but such was not the case. Therefore we must grope our way in these cases as we can.

Your father‘s cousin Jannet (26) is still living in Balnabodach. Her son (27) has a large family, her sister Elizabeth (28) is still living. Do you know anything about my cousin Robert (29) and his family? They settled in NS. A son of his visited Scotland some years ago. He was, I think, a Minister. I did not see him.

Cousin John Stewart, (30) uncle Robert’s son died last year, left a large family, one of them is a lawyer in Edinburgh and all the others are doing well. Could I trace out all your blood relatives in first, second and third degree, they would be very numerous and gathered together would fill a good corner of NS.

Perhaps you cannot make much sense of my rambling communication but I tell you I write under great disadvantage for, eleven weeks ago I was in my usual health and went out, it being very hard frost and slippery, and fell with all my weight on my left thigh which disabled me so much that I have been for the most part of that in bed and not able to move from one place to another. Whether I get better and go about again, it is hard to say but I have reason to be thankful to my God and Father through my Saviour and Redeemer that I have all earthly comforts, not in need of any thing either temporal or spiritual to cheer me now at the end of my pilgrimage. I may tell you in much humility that I have been Pastor of a small Baptist Church in Tayport for the space of 31 years and it is owing to my accident that I am not able to meet with the Church. Still I have no sickness. I have had in general good healthy constitution and was always able to be at duty I was teaching about 40 years. Now my dear cousin, remember me in kindness and love to your father and those alive of your father’s sisters and their families and the families of those that are gone to their .... homes.

Your aunt Christina and I were of the same age, when young we were always together and wished no other company but our selves. One of our cousins, John Robertson, I heard, was settled in Halifax. I was told that he lost his abilities. Do you know anything about him?

Perhaps you would correspond with D, my sister’s son, in Canada. I give you his address,

D. M. Stewart, Esq.,
Burnstown P.O.
Ontario, Canaday Dominion

That is the address I given. I intend to write to him in a few days. I conclude my Dear Friend and cousin, wishing you all prosperity and all temporal and Spiritual Blessings, both now and to come,

I am truly yours, Daniel Stewart

Expecting to hear bye and bye and to hear more of my relations in PE Island and Nova Scotia. D.S.


Second letter written by Daniel Stewart, Broughty Ferry, dated 13th June 1887

My very Dear Friend

First I have to thank you for the information you gave me about my dear friends and relations in Nova Scotia and Prince E. Island. Then for the photo of my dear cousin, W. S. (31), also for the maps of Nova Scotia and for the description of NS and its people and different employments. It is pleasant to know that those who left their old homes are in better circumstances than they were. I have nothing very important about any of your friends in Scotland to inform you of. Give my love to your Dear Father, he knows that I had a weak side from my childhood and it is on that side I got my hurt. I have not been out of doors since and have no prospect of being much better. My wife (32) is about as usual but has rheumatic pains. Bell (33), my wife’s sister is very poorly about the middle of April last. She lost the power of her legs. She is to be lifted every movement. We three are in a weak state at present. The youngest, eighty years of age, but we have with us Jessie Stewart (34), a daughter of Alexander Stewart, my wife’s brother by a second marriage. She is strong and active and very kind and attentive to us all. Some uncles of hers, Robertson (35) by name, settled either in NS or PEI. If you know anything about them, Jessie would like to know. They were Highland men. Alexander, my brother’s widow is still alive. She and those remaining of the family are about Perth, a daughter died last year, three sons and two daughters are living. (36)

I did not say anything in my former letter about uncle Alexander who lived in Perth. (37) He set up spinning mills in Perth and was in great style and for a while was very prosperous but reverses came and his family did not do well. I lost sight of them this long time. The last I heard of them, Dan was in Galashiels (38), A and M in Africa (39). John was a careless and careless life (40). I had a letter last week from Dan, my nephew in Burnstown (41). He and his family were all well, also his relations in that district. He expected the fishing dispute would be amicably settled. In giving an account of our meny friends in NS and PEI, I was glad to know that they all were favourably placed. But in reading your letters let me tell you that I felt a (blank), you did not say anything about the number and gender of your father’s family. I understood some of them were married and I am sorry I cannot send to your father a photo of myself, for though I had them many times I have none beside me now. If I had, it would be sent with the greatest pleasure.



(1) John James Stewart, son of William Stewart and Sarah Emily Peppard, married Catherine Olivia Mackay, 13th October 1880 in Halifax, N.S. They had no children. He was editor of the Halifax Herald as well as being a lawyer and businessman.
(2) William Stewart, farmer at Croftdouglas in Strathtummel, youngest son of John Stewart and Helen Stewart, died 29th October 1880.
(3) Probably Helen Stewart, born 1859.
(4) Christian Stewart, daughter of Donald Stewart and Janet Stewart, born 1st November 1757, wife of Alexander Scott from Tulliepowrie, married 22nd January 1784 (Logierait OPR)
(5) Janet Scott (or Stewart) born around 1786 and Donald Scott, born 19th July 1788 (Logierait OPR)
(6) Husband of Janet Scott, married 19th April 1806, just before emigrating.
(7) Helen Stewart, daughter of Donald Stewart and Janet Stewart in Balcastle, born 3rd September 1770. Died 8th May 1857 and buried in the Borenich Burial Ground.
(8) John Stewart, farmer at Croftdouglas (and teacher?), son of Donald Stewart and Margaret Robertson, born at Tomanbuie of Borenich, 18th May 1772 and died 6th July 1860. Buried in the Borenich Burial Ground.
(9) Donald Stewart in Balcastle. Presumably his wife Janet Stewart died before him.
(10) The writer was born in 1805, so these events probably took place between 1810 and 1815. It is estimated that Donald was born around 1725, from his marriage in 1754, so probably was in his mid-eighties when he died.
(11) Donald Stewart, a handloom weaver in Tomanbuie of Borenich. There were two Donald Stewarts at Tomanbuie, he being the younger of the two. He married Margaret Robertson from Croftcarnach, 30th November 1768, so he probably died about 1812.
(12) Janet died by 1869, Margaret died 1880 and William died 1814. Oddly, Daniel does not mention Isabella the seamstress who is thought (wrongly?) to be his sister. Only a few of the children were baptised with their names entered into the Blair Atholl OPRs, which does not help but the post 1855 children were registered. Perhaps the whole family were Baptists.
(13) Christian (Christina) Stewart, daughter of James Stewart and Isabel Stewart from Uchdnanetaig who married 13th May 1760. She was born 16th January 1804, either at Balintochich or Croftdouglas, as the record just says Borenich.
(14) Isabel Stewart was born 19th October 1807 at Croftdouglas.
(15) William Stewart married Christina Stewart from Chamberbane, the daughter of Alexander Stewart and Margaret Dow (Calmanach). Their known children were John, Alexander, Daniel, William, Helen, Robert, James and Christina. A daughter Margaret died in 1858, less than a month old and was buried in the Borenich Burial Ground. The one in California must be either Daniel or William.
(16) Donald Stewart, the son of Alexander Stewart and Janet Stewart in Croftdouglas, was born 28th May 1834 and married Catherine McNab of Pakenham, 19th June 1873. He died 27th September 1905 and was buried in the White Lake Cemetery.
(17) Cousin John probably was John Stewart the gamekeeper for Foss House, who also was the brother of the writer’s wife. John's death certificate dated 8th October 1875, states that he was born in Blair Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland, was aged 73 years, and a Baptist by faith. He "died suddenly, sitting in a chair, supposed to be heart disease". His memorial stone in White Lake cemetery gives his date of birth as 1803. The same stone records that his wife Christena (sic) was born in 1811, but her death certificate dated 10th February 1906 gives her age as 88 years.
(18) The Beckwith Stewarts are the children of Alexander Stewart and Isobel Scott from Balcastle (see 4) and included ‘merchant Sandy’ of Black’s Corner from whom the Waba Stewarts are descended.
(19) This sounds as if John James had been recounting how many of his father’s siblings were still alive, the first ‘D’ being Donald..
(20) Some clues, but identity unknown, as yet.
(21) Presumably talking about a grand aunt on the Tomanbuie side. It may be Christian who was born 14th May 1781.
(22) Likewise to previous, and if so, Helen was born 6th October 1787 and married to Alexander Fraser in Croftcarnach. They had at least 7 children, Duncan being born 23rd November 1825.
(23) William Stewart, born 6th March 1784 at Balcastle, brother of Christian and Helen, above.
(24) Isabel Stewart from Uchdnanetaig who married James Stewart in Croftcarnach, 6th July 1792.
(25) Alexander Stewart in Croftdouglas, born 1st January 1794. The second marriage was to Margaret Robertson in Gascan of Bohespic, 6th May 1836.
(26) Janet Stewart died 2nd May 1896 aged 91. Parents given as Robert Stewart and Janet Stewart (but in error for Janet Robertson)
(27) Robert Dow in Balnabodach, married to Margaret McDonald, of Kinaldy, 24th January 1862
(28) Elizabeth married Donald McDonald, weaver in Balnabruach, 8th December 1833. She died 25th December 1890.
(29) This sounds like Robert Harry Stewart and his family from Fimcastle. They emigrated at the same time as the Balcastle (Knockgarry) Stewarts.
(30) John ‘Bonnety’ Stewart, innkeeper of the Diamond Inn, Bankfoot who has a monument inscription in the Borenich Burial Ground. His youngest son, Alexander, was a lawyer in Edinburgh.
(31) William Stewart, the husband of Sarah Emily Peppard.
(32) Christian Stewart, the daughter of James Stewart and Isabel Stewart, born 16th January 1804.
(33) Isabella, Christian’s younger sister, born at Croftdouglas 19th October
(34) The daughter of Alexander Stewart and Margaret Robertson in Croftdouglas, born around 1837.
(35) Presumably the brothers of Jessie’s mother. Margaret’s death certificate (Caputh, 1875) gives her parents as John Robertson and Janet Robertson. Margaret was born at Calvine, 6th February 1812, but seems to have been their only child.
(36) Daniel’s brother Alexander married Jean Chapman in Dundee and died in Perth, Scotland, in 1880. His sons were John, James and Daniel (sometimes called David). The name of one daughter is unknown but the other two were Christina and Jane. The unknown daughter had recently died.
(37) This cannot be Daniel’s uncle Alexander on his mother’s side as they were the Beckwith Stewart who prospered. So this must refer to his father’s brother Alexander who was born at Uchdnanetaig 30th July 1779. Nothing is known about him, nor his family, but it sounds as if he was setting up business in Perth, Scotland.
(38) Presumably Galashiels, Scotland.
(39) Using abbreviations means that the recipient of the letter would have known the names of the Alexander’s family already.
(40) Careless and carefree?
(41) Donald Stewart, the son of Alexander Stewart and Janet Stewart in Croftdouglas, was born 28th May 1834 and married Catherine McNab of Pakenham, 19th June 1873. He died 27th September 1905 and was buried in the White Lake Cemetery.

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