The information below has been taken from the book "Letters and Genealogy of the Edgar family"
The source of the following letters and genealogical data is given herewith:
The first letter of the Secretary, James Edgar, to his nephew, as well as certain of the others, came to me in a collection of material compiled by Captain J. Lawrence Archer, who published in 1873 the best book on the Edgar family I have seen. Captain Archer's material was bound in two scrapbooks and was offered to me through Ellis, the London book dealer. The remainder of the letters between members of the family in Scotland came from Miss Fedora Edgar, New York City. Letters between members of the family of Matthias B. Edgar came into my possession on the death of my double aunt, Mrs. A. H. Goodloe (Fanny Edgar, of Lexington, Ky.), in 1925. These letters are followed by a- reprint of the genealogical collection of Rev. Cornelius Edgar, of Easton, Pa. I acquired this data also from my aunt. Where the family is carried on beyond the fifth generation, I am indebted to Miss Fedora Edgar and Mr. William S. Edgar, of New York, and Mrs. Whitney Davis, of Scranton, Pa. The data on the Canadian branch of the family beyond that included in the book of J. Lawrence Archer was furnished me by Mr. James F. Edgar, of Toronto, to whom I am greatly indebted.
The aim of collecting all this material and publishing it is to give to members of the family interested in their descent all the data that I have been able to collect. It has been an interesting and, at times, an amusing study.
In connection with all this I have become acquainted with the Edgar of Auchingrammont family portraits by Sir Henry Raeburn that have perpetuated the features of the family who are distantly related to the Keithock Edgars. As you doubtless all know, Sir Henry Raeburn married the daughter of Peter and Ann (Hay) Edgar, of Bridgelands, Peebleshire. This daughter, Ann Edgar, was at the time the widow of a Mr. James Leslie, who had left her, according to the story, quite a fortune. Raeburn, fifteen years younger than she, married her after a very short courtship, and it is evident from the pictures he painted of the family that she had great influence with him. Lady Raeburn had an uncle, who was Alexander Edgar, of Auchingrammont. Both branches of the family were related directly to the Edgars of Wedderlie, and Sir Henry Raeburn painted a series of portraits, including Lady Raeburn's first cousin, James Edgar of Auchingrammont, Alexander Edgar, Doctor Handasyde Edgar, his brothers, and two baby pictures, sons of James Edgar, of Auchingrammont, who died in infancy, i. e., James Edgar and Alexander Edgar. He painted at least two pictures of James Edgar, of Auchingrammont. One is owned by Mr. Percy R. Pyne, Long Island, New York, and the other is in the possession of a Mr. Vaughan, of Toronto, Canada. He painted at least two pictures of Alexander Edgar-one is in the collection of Lady Forbes-Leith, of Fyvie, and the other is in the picture gallery at Ghent, Holland. Raeburn's painting of Dr. Handasyde Edgar is in the possession of Baron Schroder, of London. The picture of the infant James Edgar has not been located at this writing, and the picture of the baby, Alexander Edgar, is in the possession of Mrs. James Edgar, Detroit. Of these pictures, the gem, of course, is the picture of Lady Raeburn herself, which is in the possession of Lady Louis Mountbatten.
This is a copy of a letter given to James Edgar, when in Scotland in the year 1818, by Thomas Edgar, who was a grandson of a brother of the writer.
James Edgar gave it to my Father, William Edgar.
Edgarton Dec. 28th, 1839
Cornelius H. Edgar.
"Rayway 24th May 1728"
Yours of the 7th March 1727 with the plaids and stockings came in good order safe to hand for which I return you hearty thanks. I am heartily glad of the good account of your wife and children and of Brother David & his family of brother Robert and his wife and of Mr. Harrie: Should likewise been heartily glad to have heard of Brother James Wildfair but am hopeful I may in your next. We had a son born 13th March last, lie was a sickly child from his birth to the day of his death. He lived about four weeks, his name was Thomas. Lord help us to a suitable improvement of all his dealings towards us. Blessed be God, my wife, three sons and daughter are in good health. Dear Brother you wrote you should be glad to see me and I sincerely say that I should be heartily glad to have the comfort to see You, but a circumstances is with me I see no probability of it. But could I get my wife willing and if you were desirous I would willing send my oldest son David that he might get a little more learning than we can procure for him in this country, if it please God to spare him to the 2nd October next he will be eight years old. Blessed be God my children are likely to prove far better proficients in learning, (had I the means of bestowing it upon them, than ever I was which is a great comfort to me. I desire to be kindly remembered to Brother James when you write him, to brother Mr. Harrie, and your Father. Mr. Skinner, the clerk of Montrose and his family, Mr. Gewthey and Mr. Reunold and all other our friends. I desire you would sent me an account of my age in your next. My wife and I gives our hearty love and good wishes to you, and sister, your wife, and children. I ever am
Your most affectionate and obliged brother,
Copy of an old letter written in
Scotland to David Edgar oldest son of Thomas Edgar.
We have received two letters from my uncle and you the last by the bearer Capt. Wallis. I am heartily glad to hear that your Father, my Aunt, and family are all well and congratulate you on your marriage, and your young daughter, but we are all much surprised that you have not been more particular in the account of your marriage. Should be glad you'll tell us in your next, your wife's name, her family, and your Daughter. I hope you'll miss no opportunity of writing, that we may keep up the correspondence, and altho we can hardly expect to see you soon here, yet I hope you'll persuade some of your Brothers to take a trip over the waters. All my friends here are well. Shall trouble you with no more but offer my compliments and best wishes to my Uncle & Aunt & Cousins, I am-
Your most affectionate Cousin,
and most humble servant,
Keithock April 4th 1745.
I desire you'll recommend my particularly to your young wife.
Montrose, December 18th, 1750.
I was glad to hear of your being well and your family by Captain Campbell my ould aquatings. I arrived from Lisbon four or five days ago. I was in 1748 master of my Uncle's ship in Virginia, where I have bin four voges but could never have the opportunity of being to the Northward to see you. I shall be glad to keep a correspondence with you by all opportunity. Give my Serv. to your wife and children.
Dear Cousin your affectionate and humble servant
Robert Edgar, Jun.
To Mr. David Edgar at Rahway, Near New York.
by Captain Campbell.
Montrose, June 13th, 1751
I wrote you December last by Cap. Campbell as I hear he is married at Rhode Island, make no doubt of its being come to your hands and now brother Harie and I take this opportunity of writing by Alexander Davidson who has for several years belonged to your Custom House here, and is going with his family to live in Long Island. His wife and lie are both discreet quiet folks, as it is not a great distance f rom you, if it falls in your way to assist them in your advice or other ways; should be glad and am positive you'll find them Homest and Gratefull. I wrote to brother Sanders, acquainting him of the opportunity, but as yet have not had his answer. He is so weak that it is a Great Trouble for him to write. His daughters and Mr. David Audick & Mrs. are weal. Her son Robert is but Master of my vessel to Riga. I had a letter lately from John Edgar with the enclosed to your son David. My young folks are weal and join in our affectionate Compliments & best wishes to Sister & all our young friends both children. and grand children-am Dear Thomas
Your werie affec. Brother,
To Mr. Thomas Edgar Rahway near New York.
To Mr. David Edgar.
I have wrote your Father of this date, on the melancholy occa- of your Uncle Roberts death, and resolved the rather not you, that I have hopes from a stated correspondence with you, to have from America fuller accounts of the welfare of all friends with you, than your Father's age and weakness of his eyes will perhaps allow him to give, or the disadvantage of want of acquaintance with your Brothers & Sisters, leave me room to expect from them. This will at all times be very agreeable but particularly seasonable relief, if you do it soon and continue frequently Next to the religious improvement, of the loss we sustain by the death of friends, I know of no better use to be made of such afflictive dispensations; than to turn them into motives, of tying the knot of affection closer among those that survive. To engage you the more & others I will begin to relieve you from the mournful subject, of this; & that to your Father of better accounts of our friends still left on this side. Robert's family are as well as can be expected and tho not left in affluent circumstances, the funds they have, will I hope afford, by right management, a comfortable competence. His son is upon his essay voyage at Sea, and promises to turn out a virtuous well improved young man. I saw our friends at Keithock and thereabouts last week & were very well and your Uncle there, tho extremely weak, was good health as he has been these many years. Our other friends in the country are for anything I have seen or heard all in their customary health; and by very late accounts I have of your Cousin John, who is expected home in the Autumn, he and his Uncle James are very well. By causing this convey my best respects and kindest wishes to your Family, and that of your Brother and Sisters as of all particularly named, you will sensibly oblige. Dear David,
Your most affectionate Uncle & Servant
Aberbrothock-May 9th 1754
Mr. James Edgar was a younger son of
David Edgar of Keithock by his wife Katharine Forrester, and was born at
Keithock on July 13, 1688. He was secretary to the Chevalier St. George, also
called the Old Pretender and by the Scotch James the Third and Ninth for a
period of fifty years, following him through his life in France to Rome, where
he lived at Albano. Mr. Edgar used the name James Guthry in signing his letters,
and his assistant, Mr. Andrew Lumsden, used the name of A. Bruce. The John Edgar
in this correspondence is the secretary's favorite nephew, also a staunch
Jacobite. Secretary Edgar died on September 24, 1764, at Rome.
Mr. John Edgar escaped from Scotland after the rebellion of 1745 and went into the French service, being in Lord Ogilvy's regiment of the Scotch Brigade, with many others from Forfarshire. He returned home after the Act of Indemnity in 1756, and the accompanying is a letter to him from his uncle, the secretary.
March 12th, 1755
Mr. Harie Edgar
I received, my dear Cousin, last October your letter of the 27th May, which gave me I assure you the greatest pleasure, tho I must tell you at the same time that I partake with you very sensibly in your uneasiness that our correspondence is not more regular and frequent, But as I find our letters by the post do always miscarry I cannot think of writing more home by that conveyance. I shall however profit of every occasion that offers, as I do of the present one, to write to you, and you cannot do me a more sensible satisfaction than to let me hear from you as often as you can. What you tell me of my Brother Sanders and his Family is most agreeable to me, I take the greatest share in every thing that happens to them and I long much to be in a condition to give him and his proofs of it, which please inform him of, with my kindest remembrances and most affectionate concern for him, my sister, and his Family. The melancholy accounts of Mr. David's death affected me very much, I am heartily sorry for his untimely end, and that I am not able at present to give his Family any assistance, which whenever I am I shall do with the greatest pleasure. I thank you kindly for what you tell me of my sister Iean's daughters. Pray when you see my old friend Fin-ry let him know the pleasure I share with him in his eldest daughter's marriage and in everything else that is for his and his Family's advantage, and assure him at the same time of my kindest remembrance and compliments. Let all my friends in general find here the assurance of my best wishes and humble service, and in particular Mrs. Dall and her brother for both whom I retain a most sincere kindness. Let my friends at Edinburgh Peggy and her husband know my kind remembrances of them, and the sincere part I shall always take in everything that relates to them. As for myself, I have writt upon that article to my Cousin Rob, so I refer you to it, I shall only add here upon that subject, that the change of climates has made no alteration upon me as to the Religion I was bred up in. My best wishes, my dear Harie attend you in warmest affectionate & real manner. May God send us soon a merry meeting, and do me always the justice to be persuaded of the tender concern and affection I have for you & of my being.
Your most affectionate cousin and most humble servant
(James Edgar, See. Ch. St. Geo. James III and M)
Albano, May 25th, 1756
I received last week, my dear John, yours of the 28th April. I have red it over and over, and as the contents of it affect me in the the most sensible manner and as what relates to you lyes so near my heart, I cannot but write this to you without delay in answer to it. If this new Act of Parliament be in such terms as you mention, I can not advise you not to give up your commission and to go home, since your worthy Father's very advanced age, & the just concern you have for your paternal inheritance may make your presence there absolutely necessary, & I should be really very sorry were you forced to sell the Riggs even at a very high purchase but I think you should delay taking a positive resolution in the matter till you get sure information of the force & nature of this new Act, considering well the risque you would run by not conforming yourself to it. If you should take the resolution of going home, I think you should keep it private from every body till first you be going to throw up your commission, & after that immediately leave the Regiment and go to Holland, & from thence home. But still there is a circumstance that may alter all these measures, As the French are at present making on the ocean vast preparations for an expedition, If you should find the Prince were to go at the head of it, in that case you would I believe not quit the Regiment whatever the consequences might be, You v-ill no doubt know this summer what may be in this matter, & if any expedition is to be made without H.R.H. I should be sorry you were upon it. Pray think well upon it & take your resolution after due deliberation. If you take the party to go home what a pleasure would it be to me, were I in a position to make you easy there for I feel the straights you will be reduced to, but I know you can put a stout heart to a sly brae, All I can do, & I am very sorry I can do no more, is to send you 200 liures which I shall desire Abbe Carteret to give you & to draw on me for it, and as you are very dear to me I shall send to him or to Mr. Watens my gold snuff box which may be worth, I believe 20 guineas, & I wish you may be in a condition after paying all your debts on this side to carry it home with you & to make a present of it to your mistress for I must earnestly recommend it to you to get a wife as soon as ever you can, but with money, which you want much, but still not to take one but such as you think you can live happy with. I remark what you say of the burthen you have upon the Riggs, but I would fain hope you may get at least as much with a wife as will pay it all, and as what you mention may be due to me, by Your Father and you, let that never give you any trouble, for unless I should have absolute need of it, or any part of it, which I hope I never shall, I freely give it to you without my nephew Jemmy or any other body pretending to any share of it, I do this out of love I have for you, & out of my ardent wishes you may never find yourself obliged to part with the Riggs, only I desire that you may with your conveniency give five hundred merks to your sisters for buying gowns for themselves, & that for the care trouble and expense they have been at in making the linnen for the Dozen & half shirts they are sending me, and it is my intention to repay you that sum, whenever I find myself in a condition to do it. If you should leave the Regiment pray, if it be possible for you pay every farthing of debt you are owing on this side the water, and as you will probably go home by London, what if you thought it worth your while to inform yourself about your Female namesakes near Ipswich & of making them a visit if you should find it proper. If you have any thoughts that way I shall send you a line for Mr. Ventris, not from me, & in such a way, as all the world may see, upon the receipt of which he will I hope do you what service you may think fit to ask of him; I heartily wish that your purse may not hinder you from trying this experiment. As I am writing this to you, I own it gives me great concern. that I have never taken care to lay by any money that with it I might have had the comfort to supply your wants. When you see my brother Harie inform him of the contents of this letter which I sign with my name to make it more authentick as a part of it relates to money matters. If you must go .... take your measures to hear from me, before you cross the sea; In the meantime, I embrace you very tenderly & am with all my heart-My dear John
Your most affectionate Uncle & Most Humble Servant
I just received yours of the 6th, by it I see you are in such a heast to go home that I don't know whether this can reach you, if it does not I shall be sorry for it but as it is not proper that it should be sent after you, I send it to Inchbrek to be returned by him to me if you should be gone. If you get this you may show it to Mr. Theodore Hay what I say about of Abbe Carteret & he will, I believe give you the 200 liures & when I know it I shall remit to him that money; & I shall send to him, or anybody else you name the Gold Snuff box so you may take measures that it may be sent after you. I love you with all my soul, which is all I shall here say, but that I shall say to a certain person all you desire me, which I know will be very well taken of you & I shall do for Blairfelly nephew all the service I can but I know it is impossible to get anything fixed or settled upon him.
September 7, 1756
You may easily imagine, dear Cousin, the concern I and your friends here are in about you, not having heard anything of you since you went home. We hope however you arrived safe there, where our best best wishes most sincerely attend you. I own to you that I tremble on the apprehension that your first letter may bring me very melancholly news of the good old man, our friend, for whom I have the greatest value and kindness. I have paid to Mr. Ballantyne the 200c you know of, so you need to think no more of that matter, and I have sent to him your gold snuff box, and I hope by his means it may go safe to your hands. I have writ to your friend Livingstone, who probably may inform you of the contents of my letter, after telling him that finding upon enquiry there was no encouragement at present for trade at Venice or any where else, I advised him to make the best of an ill market, and continue where he was. I have also writ to Wm. Stewart, and I believe he may be satisfied with my letter. Remember me in the kindest and most affectionate manner to all my friends. This being a night I set apart for remembering one for whom I interest myself very particularly, I and some others solemnize it with warm hearts. My best wishes attend you, and I am my dear Cousin, with all my heart,
You most affectionate and very humble servant
Nov 29th, 1757
It was, my dear friend, a singular satisfaction to worthy Mr. Guthry as well as to me to find by your line of July 19th that you and all your friends were well. May you long enjoy that blessing! We observe that you are fairly embarked in a country life, and heartily wish that it may afford you all that pleasure and profit you can expect from it. We shall be glad to know what progress you make. Agriculture has always been looked on by the wise as the most honorable way of improving one's fortune, and fit for a gentleman to pursue. Innocency will be your constant companion at the, same time that you are doing real service to your country by increasing its natural produce. If you think that the essay on the Venetian manner of farming may be of use to the public, you may publish or do with it what you judge proper. In hopes that it might be useful to our country, I did not grudge the trouble of drawing it up.- Tis but lately that Mr. Guthry knew that Mr. Maitland the historian was from Brechin; as he is fond of all the antiguities preserved in that part of the country, be desires to learn that Maitland says of the little steeple of Brechin, the Bridge and Catherthunne. Mr. Guthry longs much to hear from you. He embrases you with his usual warmth. He thinks of You by day, he dreams of you by night. I need use few words to persuade you of the constant esteem, and malterable affection of
My dear friend
Your A. Bruce
February 20th, 1759
Your cousin has some since informed you on of my having taken a jaunt to the land of levity. I thought to have spent a part of the winter in the city of pleasure, but I found that my affairs called me elsewhere to settle accounts with an old correspondent, with whom I now am. When I have finished my business, I shall lose as little time as possible to return back to your and my worthy friend Mr. Guthry, who desires me to forward to You the enclosed for his Cousin Mr. Harie, which no doubt you will deliver. Mr. Guthrie when I left him enjoyed, and I have the satisfaction to find by his letters that he continues, and long may he continue to enjoy good health. He reckoned that you would have seen Maitland's history and antiguities of Scotland, which he brings down, it seems, to the death of our James 1st. As Maitland was from Breellin, lie supposed that he would probably say all lie could of the place of his nativity, describing the cathedral, little steeple and bridge, telling when and by whom built, and that he would also also mention Catterthun. If you find anything in the work relating to these points, it would be very acceptable to Mr. Guthry if you would give him an account of them. I know nothing at present worth mentioning to you. You will easily believe how much I long for an epistle from you. It will be a particular pleasure to me to hear of your improvements in agriculture; may your schemes prove always successful! for surely no one can wish prosperity and happiness more ardently than he who is with a most affectionate heart,
my dear Sir entirely yours
Your kind letters to your Uncle and me came safe to hand. We heartily condole with you for the loss of your worthy Father. I hope you will let us hear frequently from you: It seems you have suffered nothing from the present war in your quarter, for I think you never mention it. I shall be glad to hear where your Brothers are settled and how employed. I suppose you continue engaged in farming. I have been trying that trade these two or three years and find it very amusing but expensive to do anything to purpose. Your friends in this country are in their ordinary health. My Sisters join with me in complements and best wishes to you, Mrs. Edgar, and your Brothers and Sisters and I ever am, Dear David,
Your most affectionate Cousin
and most humble Servant
Copy of a letter inscribed:
Mr. David Edgar at Rahway in New jersey to be forwarded by the Racquet Boat to New York. per your hble servt james & Hope
I condole very heartily with you, & the rest of the family on the melancholy accounts you gave me in your last of the death of your worthy Father. 1 am persuaded there v-ill none of you be wanting to yourselves in seeing and adoring the good Hand of God in it, & not only with true christian resignation submitting to it as His will towards you, but gratefully acknowledging the kindness of His Providence in continuing him for a blessing so long among you. The having enjoyed the Benefit of his Instruction and Example, not only till your minds were formed thereby to that serious sense of Religion he himself all along entertained, but all of you according to my hopes and opinion, comfortably settled in the world, is so valuable a Blessing, and the more so, that. it is not generally conferred, that it calls for the most pious sense of it, and as an evidence of that a suitable improvement of it. You will do all well therefore, while you remember this, not to forget. the obligations that it lays upon you. How strictly it is incumbent upon you to transcribe the same seriousness into your own hearts, to observe the same regular Discharge of the duties of Religion in your several persons and Families and to propagate and transfuse into all the children it shall please God to bless any of you with. This your own experience of its being the best portion that can be left with children in this world, as besides all the advantages it is attended with here, extending its happy influences into Eternity, will make you the less lyable to fail in it, with regard to those who under God derive their being from you & whose happiness both here and hereafter must depend upon the pattern you set before them and the education you give them. Your worthy Mother is still, I reckon, continued with you, & though I heartily condole with her on her present separation from so desirable a companion of life, I can scarce keep from congratulating her, on the near prospect she must have before her of meeting him in a state where their virtues will be crowned with perfection and there will be no danger nor possibility of parting again. I am glad to infer from your silence, now a second time that your country though deeply engaged in the present war & situated, as I take it, at no great distance from the seat of it, has yet continued much free from the calamitous consequences of it. The worst I hope is now over, & if a right use be made of the successes God has given in it, the peace and security of your Quarter of the World will be effectually established. I would have wrote you sooner but yours which was long in coming to hand, having fallen by, has now for a long time escaped my search for recovering it & so left me at a loss for the proper direction I entreat upon the receipt of this you'll give me full and particular accounts of all friends with you and that you'll make my wife's complements & mine acceptable to them. That God may keep you all always under the protection of his Fatherly Providence and the guidance of his saving grace is the hearty prayer of
Your most affectionate Uncle
May 20, 1760
July 24th, 1760
Your letter, my dear Cousin, of the 12th May was most welcome to me, for I was thinking very long to hear from you. You may easily imagine the great concern I was under when a misfortune which would have been very sensible, and of which you may have been informed was likely to happen lately to me, but I thank God that is now over, and I have no further uneasiness at present on that account. I must own to you I was much concerned when I heard the ship was but there is no question now of my sending it to him by Mr. Nevoy, for I am very glad to let you (know) that lie is now in a fair way of shining as one of the first painters in Europe, he only wanted to be introduced into the world, that his talents and capacity might be known, and my Lord Strathmore has generously done this by bespeaking from him two large pictures, for which he gives him 400£ Stg the highest price given to the very first masters for pictures of that size. Nevoy on this occasion will gain great reputation and he will be in a fair way of making a fortune; it will take him 3 years before he finishes these two pictures, and till then he does not think of removing from where he is I remark what you say of your improvements, I am sensible that the scarcity of hands now to be found for carrying the work on, and the dearness of it must be a great hindrance to you at present, but with all that, my head runs often on that matter, I should be very glad to know what You have already done and what you still design to do in that particular. Have you as yet cleared out and improved the Muckle Ward & adjacent waste ground, and made it arable land? I remember there was a house and some acres of arable ground in that Ward near to the place where the Fir trees were planted. Have you or design you to improve the waste ground adjacent to Ledside the west side of the burn, and Linhead. How many may be the acres of all that waste ground? and of the Common that was fenced from the town of Brechin? I really believe that when you are able to turn the whole into arable ground or into good grass, it will be more, and of more value than all the corn ground you had before, and when you can complete all, you have have, besides the mains, a good farm in the Muckle Ward, those of Leadside and the Westside of the burn much encreased, and that of the Linhead made a good one also, and besides all that, you will have ground enough to make two good farms on the Muirland. Pray do me the pleasure to write me an answer to this, that I may know what you have and are designing to do. Embrace your Uncle and Jemmy from me with all the sentiments of a warm and an affectionate heart, and remember me kindly to such of my friends as you think fit. Our friend Bruce remembers you very kindly. I long to see the letter you say you was to write to him. May you be as well and as happy as I wish. I am with all my heart, my dear Cousin
Your most affectionate and most humble servant
Yours, my dear Cousin, of the 15th Sept. was long in coming to me, but I made it very welcome, as all that come from you will ever be to me, for nobody can interest himself more warmly than I do in all that relates to you, and it would be a most sensible pleasure (to) me, were I in a condition to give you essential proofs of it. I do my best to be able to do. it, and I have still hopes I may compass it at last. In the meantime, it is a most sensible satisfaction to me to see that the great improvements you are making on your Riggs are already turning to so good an account, and as I know the soil, I would fain hope by your dilligence and application, and from the experience you must now have in such affairs, you may be soon able to make something very considerable of it, may I ever flatter myself you may soon augment the income of your land to more than thrice as much as it was when I was in those parts. How glad am I to hear that my friends with you are well, my best and kindest wishes attend them, of which pray assure them when you see them. The compliments you make me from my old friend Dr. Ogilvy are most acceptable, for I have a particular kindness and esteem for him. When you see him say all that is kind and obliging to him from me, and assure him of my best compliments, which I hope I may yet have the pleasure to do by word of mouth. We are all well here. Your friend Bruce always remembers you kindly. May this prove a thriving year to you, and accompanied with all health and happiness. Nobody can wish it more than I do for I am with all my heart, my dear Cousin.
Your most affectionate Cousin & most humble servant
September 5th, 1762
It is a long time since I have the pleasure of writing to you. Ascribe it not, I entreat you, to want of friendship, but only to want of subject worthy of a letter that must travel so many miles. I intended indeed to write to you, as soon as I heard of your marriage, but Mr. Guthry prevented me that pleasure by doing it himself. Permit me, however, altho' late, still to do it, and to congratulate with you on a subject, on which, I flatter myself, you have good reason to congratulate yourself. And may you ever find that reciprocal satisfaction in the marriage state, which the young lady, whom you have made your happy partner, must surely find in your virtue and good sense.
Worthy Mr Guthrie of whose thoughts you are the constant object embraces you, and the lady with the utmost affection and altho' he drinks to your good health twice a day, yet Monday according to annual custom, will be particularly set aside for that purpose; We shall even begin tomorrow to celebrate the first vespers, and to wish you a clopping boy before the year is ended. He is indeed very anxious to hear from you. He has long expected that satisfaction He lost not a post to write you in return to your last, and at the same time begged of you to return him an answer to the questions he therein asked you. Did you know the comfort your letters give him you would, no doubt, write of ten to him. If you have not therefore already writ him, pray do not delay to do it.
I hope the improvements you have made on your estate, begin to answer the expense and trouble you have bestowed on it. How happy should I be to walk around your farm, and observe the effects of your art and industry! I am persuaded that you now think agriculture a more agreeable employment than either fighting in camps, or bowing in courts.
You can expect little news from this quarter. We live as usual like clockwork. 'Tis true I have had these eight months the pleasure of Mr. Strange's company. His elegant drawings, or more properly pictures, for such they appear, have procured him great fame in a country so justly celebrated for the designing arts, and I question not but, in time, they will procure him both that and fortune in Britain. He offers you his compliments.
Pray how do all my worthy friends in your neighborhood?
(The rest of this letter is torn off-it was written by Mr. Lurnsden-alias A. Bruce.)
I have the pleasure of your kind letter dated June 7, and I saw that to your Uncle. We sincerely condole with you for the loss you have sustained by the death of your wife, and brother Alexander. I hope you will lose no opportunity of letting us hear from you, we will be very glad to know that you have got the better of your distress in the eyes. It pleased God to call your Uncle James about a year ago, he has ordered a ring for you which has not yet come to this country, but shall be sent by the first, sure hand after we get it. Your Aunt Mrs. Edgar at the Knap died last winter. It is about two years since I was married to Katherine Ogilby, daughter to Mrs. Ogilby at Quick. We have a son and daughter, James and Kate. My sisters live all together in Montrose. I don't remember any more deaths or marriages among your Friends here except Nelly Edgar, Uncle Robert's daughter, who was married to one Captain Petrie in Montrose, and died last year leaving a daughter. As to father particulars I refer you to our Uncle Mr. Harie, who is to write along with this. My wife and sisters join with me in kindest compliments to you, your mother & all friends and I am most affectionately, Dear Cousin,
Your most obedient & humble servant,
Keithock, Sept. 15th 1763
Received yours of 24th September 1763 in which it gave me the melancholy account of the death of my worthy Uncle James and my Aunt and Cousin Nelly-oh that the melancholy account of the death of our dear friends, which we so often hear, might be sanctified to our spiritual and eternal concern. It has pleased God to call from me my dear Nephew Thomas Randolph which my sister Jenett left me, last July, and from my sister Kate her son Thomas. I would now relieve you from this mournful subject, and congratulate with you on your marriage, and wish you comfort and happiness. It is about 2 years since I was married to Phebe Baremore. Brother William has another son, Alexander. He and his family and the rest of our friends are in their ordinary state of health, Blessed be God-and do wish to be remembered to you and your Spouse and all friends as if particularly named. I and my family are in our ordinary state of health Blessed be God, only I am something afflicted with my eyes and have lost the sight of one of them, so that I cannot see to do anything with it; but they are a good deal better than they have been in time past Blessed be God.
A copy of a letter sent to Scotland to my Cousin John Edgar
and one something like this to my Henry Edgar.
Dated Feb. 8th, 1766.
(The writer of this letter must have been David, son of Thomas Edgar.)
Friday Mourning, August 16, 1839
I have been trying
for some time, to find time to write a few lines, to my little sister, but we
have been so busy I could not succeed until at last we have got a stormy day and
little less work, you must therefore excuse my not writing before. Aunt Margaret
and Catharine have been in town buying her wedding dress,-she is to be married
the second week in Sept. Neither Mama or Elizabeth will go to the wedding and in
seven weeks from this time you will be home, if I am not mistaken as to the time
school breaks up. Elizabeth has not been to school this summer and has become
quite saucy and frolick-some, but have no doubt when you come home you will
steady her down. Miss Eliza Manning and Mary Cornelia arrived at our house from
Geneva this mourning at 5:00 and are going to Rahway as soon as it clears up, to
spend a few weeks. Cousin David is improving as fast as can be expected,-they
took him to Amboy yesterday, where he will remain until he recovers. Brother
James and Jeanette have moved in their house in Hubert St. and are fixed quite
nice the little baby grows finely. Elizabeth is spending a few days in the
country to improve her health and recruit her spirits. Phebe Cate is to be one
of the Bridesmaids and Uncle Clarkson one of the Groommen the other two are
friends of Mr. Cornell and you do not know them.
It is just one year today since I arrived home from sea, when you opened the door and was so surprised to see Brother William. You must be a good girl-learn fast-and get fat and hearty this summer. I could come and see you if I could find time. Brother Booth has gone on a visit to Auburn and will not return in a week. Louisa is as well and fat as ever. Mama is middling well and I am so so. It is as hard work as ever for me to get up in the mourning and especially Sunday's.
I must bid you a good bye and you can get one of the large girls to kiss you for me and then you can kiss her for me. I am always happy to get a letter from you and shall expect to hear from you again soon. Let me make one little correction in your letters-never write on the seal, it does not look nice.
Give my love to the prettiest and nicest girl and keep a good share for yourself and believe me to be,
Your affectionate Brother,
Catharine H. Edgar, at Mrs. Cooks, Bloomfield, N. J.
Rayway, N. Jersey, May 16th 1840.
On Tuesday last May 12th James Edgar of Scotland was at this house and spent the night. He is the son of James, whose father's name was John, who was the son of Alexander. The said Alexander -was a brother of the Thomas Edgar our ancestor who came to America about 1715 to 1718. The said Alexander and Thomas with five other sons were children of David Edgar whose father's name was
This young man James is just past twenty-one years of age he has spent about six months in Canada where he has purchased a farm. He is now on his way to Scotland and expects to return in about three months.
Cornelius Henry Edgar.
Troy, March 9th, 1844
Miss Mary S. Babcock,
Care Corns. Edgar, Esq.,
Rahway, N. J.
Your very pleasing letter of the 27th ult. inviting me to be present and to witness the ceremony of the change of name has been received. Nothing would give me greater pleasure I assure you than to comply with your request, in fact not until today have I given up the hope of being able to gratify my wish but in this I am disappointed.
My cousin Betsey has been ill for some time and she is now so much exhausted and so low that her physician thinks it very doubtful whether she will survive another week.
This being the case I feel it to be my duty as it is my inclination to abandon my intended journey and therefore I can do nothing more than wish you as I do most sincerely a long, a happy and a prosperous life.
I with pleasure annex the receipt alluded to in your letter.
Please remember me to all friends.
I remain your friend,
Rec'd Troy, Mar. 9, 1844, from Mary S. Babcock, one dollar in full of all demands whatsoever.
(Mary S. Babcocks guardian. Her parents died in cholera epidemic, 1832)
Edgarton, Rahway, N. J.
March 16, 1844
My Brother Matthias' son William Henry was married on Wednesday evening last, by his brother Rev. Edward B. Edgar, to my wife's sister, Mary S. Babcock.
The ceremony was performed in a most excellent manner at 8:00 0 'clock.
My wife and I made this occasion of assembling the Edgar family and branches, as far as practicable.
There were invited Father, Mother, Brother William, Sisters Catharine and Phebe and Cousin Henrietta...
Matthias, wife and daughter
James A. Edgar and wife...
William. A. Booth and family
Alex. Edgar and family
Cornelius Baker and family.
Clarkson Edgar and family.
Jno B. Edgar and wife .....
W W Cornell and wife .....
Edward Babcock and wife..
Thomas Howland ..........
Harriet Smith and family ...
Ross Kinsey and wife ......
Mrs. Blanchard and family
Wm. Tailor and family
Rev. E. B. Edgar
Mr. Baldwin, Waterbury, Mr. Baush, Mr. Coolidge
Mr. J. H. Stephens and family
David E. Paton and wife.
also Miss Glory Nichols ......
The day was unpleasant and the roads awfully bad, number present 38
Henry Stephens, Groomsman
Henrietta Baker, Bridesmaid
The evening passed very pleasantly and all seemed a happy family.
The Minister in his prayer made allusion to the peculiar family blessings our house has enjoyed and invoked the blessing and guidance of Providence on these young folks in the enterprise, of going to the West, alone, to engage in agricultural pursuits.
It being impossible to have any but the family present in our small house on the evening of the wedding, another evening was set apart and our neighbor acquaintance and a few city friends were invited; this was on Friday evening the 15th. The evening proved very rainy and pitchy dark, but some 30 were present out of 75 invited, 60 of whom were not of the family.
Mr. & Mrs. Moore
Mrs. Clark & Julia Lee
Mary Helen Lee
Rob. B. Lee and Sisters
Jno. Thompson & wife
Mr. Webb, wife & daughter
Jacob Shotwell & wife
Birdsall & Sister
Miss Brown, Miss Freeman
N. Thorp & family
Rev. Mr & Mrs Peet
Mr. King & family
Mr. DeWitt & Sisters
Dr. Cook & wife
Rev. Mr. Imbrie & Wife
Mr. & Mrs. Lathrop
Mr. and Mrs. Labau
W. E. Baker & sisters
Mr. Stephens & sisters
Mr. Cromwell & Mr. Wheelock
Mr. Waterbury, Baush
Mr. E & S Rogers
Besides a number of our own
immediate family making upwards of 70 invitations.
Many of those who could not come sent apologetic regrets to that effect.
It is not customary to have tea or coffee, but the company having assembled and congratulated the Bride and Groom, converse in groups, and at a suitable time, lemonade and cakes are passed round. Music and conversation and promenading from room to room, take up the time until say 10:10 o'clock and then the party was invited to an adjoining room and partook of refreshments consisting of all kinds (almost) of cakes, lemonade, jellies, creams, confectionaries, oranges, etc. Sufficient time having been passed at the supper or refreshment table, they returned and after a little interval, coffee was served and the company dispersed.
(MARY S. BABCOCK'S WEDDING PARTY.)
December 27th, '48
On demand I promise to pay to the order of James A. Edgar Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) value received with interest at 7%
Wm. H. Edgar.
I have this day drawn on you for $300.00 and above hand you note for the same, which as I said before shall be paid as soon as possible. I made the draft in favor of James A. Walters.
We are all well and hourly expecting the stranger. Our best regards to you and will write again soon.
Wm. H. Edgar.
Kalamazoo, Mich.- April 15, 1849
We are contemplating building a Presbyterian church and in order to succeed in the enterprise we must look for some help from abroad. I have ventured to ask You to interest Yourself in the matter thinking that all in your household would contribute something toward an object in which Mary and myself are interest to wit-having a church within walking distance of our house. Much will depend upon my exertions in accomplishing the object, and I shall venture to solicit aid from all my friends. The site has been given and some money subscribed. My object in writing thus early in the matter is to find out how much we can get and if possible get the building up this fall. My Aunt, Uncles and Cousins I feel will all do something and among so many if the donations are small from each it would be none the less acceptable.
We are all well and happy. And with assurance of our continued love and affection for you all, believe me,
Your affectionate Grandson,
Wm. Henry Mrs. William Edgar, Rahway, N. J.
Copy of a letter addressed to Mr. Jonathan Edgar, a lawyer of New York City, residing at Summit, N. J. No. 6 Pitt Street, Edinb. 15 October 1852.
Tho a perfect stranger to you I venture to address you thus in virtue of being a Scotch Cousin, tho in what precise degree, I have no idea. I happened to be paying a visit at Montrose in the latter part of August and saw my old acquaintance, Mrs. Paterson, wife of the Parish Clergyman, who told me of your having been there about six week previously, and of having applied to her husband for information about the Edgar family. I regret very much that I was not in Montrose at the time of your visit, or that I had not the pleasure of seeing you here.
I lived in Montrose till I removed here six years ago after the death of my Mother. She was Catharine Margaret Edgar, the eldest daughter of the last proprietor of Keithock, John Edgar, who died so far back as 1788, the estate was sold after his death (as the family was large) and divided amongst them. They are all dead now, my mother being the last survivor and dying seven years ago at the age of 82.
One of her Brothers, Thomas, a great genealogist and antiquarian corresponded with one of his American relatives, Colonel Edgar, I think, and probably communicated any intelligence he could. He died twenty years ago and his youngest Brother, James, about eleven years ago died at Sea on his way to Canada to see his youngests son, James, and his young wife, who had settled there the previous year. Poor James Edgar, Jun'r, died two years and a half ago of inflammation leaving a widow and three children with almost nothing.
My uncle's widow and her daughter had turned Roman Catholics (a great affliction to my uncle before his death) but she was very kind to James and his wife though they were Protestants and wished the widow and children to come to this country, she being willing to allow them a certain yearly sum. The widow preferred remaining where she was and very soon married a Clergyman of the Church of England who has a small living at Leeds forty miles from Quebec. I suspect they have very little as her mother-in-law declines now to give them any help when her kind offer was rejected. I am grieved at it for the children's sake.
The widow of my uncle lives now at Aix la Chapelle in Germany with her youngest daughter who is unmarried. The oldest son is a Romish Priest, the eldest daughter is married in Cornwall to a man of old family, Mr Plamer a Barrister, and has five children, the second daughter is a nun and that is the whole family and with the exception of myself all that remains of the Keithock family in this country.
Had we met I could have told you many things orally which might appear trivial in writing. I could have told you at least where you could have seen monuments of the family in the church yards of Montrose and Brechin and at Arbroath in the Abbey grave yard, one to the memory of Bishop Henry Edgar, the brother of your ancestor, Thomas, who went to America. I hope you went and saw Keithock, it is ten miles from Montrose, two from Brechin. If you had been here I should have shown you the portrait of James Edgar another brother of Thomas, who having been out in 1715 with the Chevalier de St. George, as he was called, or as we Jacobites called him King James 3rd and 9th, had to leave this country and became private secretary to the said King James and lived more than forty years in that capacity. He died at Rome and his tomb is to be seen in the Protestant burying ground there still.
I could have shown you some of his letters to my grandfather John Edgar, (his nephew) all showing a most charming character, the most upright principle, the most devoted attachment to him he believed to be his rightful King and the warmest affection for his relatives and native home, that he was never to see again.
Tho you will think they were mistaken in their views, yet you must admire the earnest devotion of both uncle and nephew to the cause they thought right, tho it was the losing side.
I do not know if the following anecdote will interest you:
Sometime during the interval between 15 and 45 there was a rising expected in favor of the exiled family. Sir Robert Walpole, the British Minister, anxious to get some information wrote to James Edgar privately offering a handsome sum if intelligence were given. My greatuncle put the letter in the fire and thought no more of it. A second and third with higher offers shared the same fate. Sir Robert then altered his tactics He wrote to him that lie had placed ten thousand pounds in the Bank of Venice for his use, which he might draw when he pleased, no condition was annexed that was to be understood. Mr. Edgar took this letter to King James and took his measures accordingly, then wrote to Sir Robert that according to his instructions he had drawn the ten thousand pounds from the Bank of Venice and laid it at his royal master's feet, who had the best title to gold that came from England. Sir Robert was outwitted by an honest man.
The Edgar family you are perhaps aware, were from Berwickshire and settled in Forfarshire in the reign of Queen Mary, Uncle Thomas used to trace their descent, very far back, but they do not seem to have ever been wealthy, not a money making race but always respectable and beloved as individuals.
My father was Bishop of Dimbold and died in 1808. His successor died only the other day aged 89. I was a mere child when my father died but reached the age of fifty a few days ago, in your country this would be quite venerable, I suppose.
And now having told you all I can think of, it remains only to say, that I shall be most happy to hear from you with any information repecting the numerous descendants of Thomas Edgar, and should you or any of them again visit Scotland I shall be most happy to see them here.
I am, dear Sir,
Catharine Mary Watson.
New York, May 13, 1861
My dear James,-
Your letter I received on Wednesday and was very much gratified to hear from you. You are all now settled in your new place of residence and when you can all realize the change I hope you will be more and more reconciled, I know your dear Mother had sad feelings parting with so many friends, but she will soon have pleasant neighbors and associates and I fondly hope your Father's prospects though attended with wearisome days will be more cheerful and profitable. I hope too you will find for yourself a good place with Mr. Barker,- a willing mind, my dear, united with a consciention truthful heart always makes work easy and that you have the happiness to possess cultivate it and with the blessing of God you need not fear, you are setting out in a world of temptation-the snares and follies of this world may allure you, but always keep in mind the eye of God is upon you- He can strengthen and support you and deliver you from the many temptations that beset you, and now, my dear James let me advise you and I hope you will take heed to what I say-never allow yourself to use tobacco in any form whatever-tis said to be a good business-let that suffice, don't you never taste or smoke it tis a dirty foolish and I may add an extravagant practical I think your Father would be very glad if he had never used tobacco-tis hard to leave off-better never to commence don't you think so? I hope you do.
Your Grandfather had a few lines from you Father on Saturday and now lie has gone to Lake Superior I fear he will have a cold time of it there must be a great deal of ice remaining. We have had here a very cold wet spring weather. I was up at your Aunt Mary's a fortnight ago-took a ride out to Central Park you may have heard of it 'tis a few miles from the city it was beginning to look very green and beautiful-several ladies were riding on horseback-last winter the ponds became very hard frozen and the young people invited them to skate, scores of young men and some ladies trying the experiment of skating.
Your Uncle James is making arrangements to go to Elizabeth the family will leave the city on the 20th. I think your Uncle and Aunt would be very happy to make it their place of permanent residence, all things being equal I think they will in time do so-they have three little boys, full of play and mischief.
I don't know when your Aunt Louisa will go to Stratford. Henry has been home 3 weeks-returned to college on Wednesday-he is a nice steady boy. Frederick and Theodore go to school-Catharine is at home and Cousin Mary does not go to school any more-she takes music lessons at home.
Your Uncle Edward seems very happy in the choice he has made, he has chosen one I think whom we may all love and esteem-the children call her Mother and are very much pleased I hope she will prove to them all they could expect or desire.
Hanford and Catharine study at home and recite to their Father Louisa goes to school.
There is a prospect of a new church in Westfield-they have commenced getting out the timber-they will have 1 expect a very nice church, when completed
I hope your Father will succeed in getting a pew in St. Johns and you will all be satisfied to attend there.
My love to your Father when he gets home, tell him I was more than delighted to get a letter from him it was a real test-my love to your Mother and dear Sisters, how I should like to see you all together once more-I can fancy to myself what kind of a looking house you have-have you a garden or any kind of fruit I Now my dear I must bid you adieu. I wish of ten as I sit alone that I was near enough to help your Mother with her busy cares, but here I am and she far away. Don't forget my dear boy to read your bible you will find many precious promises there for you.
From your affectionate
Your Aunt Lizzie wrote a few days since to your Mother.
New York, Sept 27, 1863
My dear James-
'Tis a long time since I received your kind notes. They should have met a reply before this, but for this reason I have not been very well and have not felt very much in a writing mood. We have passed through a very trying summer for the young as well as for the aged-the weather of so long continued heat that many fell prostrate with exhaustion-this last week has been remarkably cool for the season.
I am glad to hear your Mother is again in the enjoyment of health-how thankful we should all be to the giver of all good that her life was spared.
Sarah spent a short time with us-she is now at Easton enjoying herself with her little cousins. Your Aunt E. returned Saturday to the city-left Sarah to remain another week-I hope she will be content-she is a dear good child and behaves so prettily you can't help loving her-I don't wonder if you all miss her at your happy home.
Your Uncle Booth's family are all in the city for their winter residence I am very glad for 'tis so very lonesome for me to have them all away.
Your Uncle James family like Chilton so much they do not return until late in the season.
Your Mother seems to anticipate much pleasure in Aunt Eliz. visit-I hope nothing will occur to prevent. Sarah thinks she will not be willing to go home without Aunt E. Your Father must find some of your kind merchant men to take charge of them. I should not be willing to have them go by themselves-if my health was adequate for the journey how dearly I should love to see you all togetherI tell your Aunt if I could go all the way in a boat., I think I might, she laughs at the idea-she thinks I am not able to go any way so I must be content.
Much do I think of you and of the busy footsteps you are daily making 'tis right and desirable you should labour for a support. I admire you for your habits of industry-I love you for the good principle God has implanted in your heart,-but my dear you are young and many temptations surround you-Satan is always busy to seduce the young from the path of piety-but fear him not-take hold of the Saviour's invitation, "Every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters"-take your bible and read the 55th Chapter of Isaiah, and then again you may plead his promises-" Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. "Give your heart my dear son to Christ and become a Christian-the longer you delay the harder it will be for you to accept of offered mercy-take the Lord for you strength and support and you will find Him a present help in time of trouble. He has never said to the seed of Jacob ' ' Seek ye my face in vain." I feel that my time on earth is short-I may never see either one of you-it would be a satisfaction to see you-if not I hope to meet you all as one happy family in Heaven if through the merits of a Saviour God a seat I gain.
'Tis seldom I write on the Sabbath but I expect to go to Westfield tomorrow to spend a few days so I feared the delay. I have not been there in 16 months.
My love to you dear Father and Mother, Fannie, a large share for yourself. May your name my dear James be found written in the lamb Is book of life is the fervent prayer of
Your loving Grandmother
New York, Dec. 28, 1863
My dear Fannie & Sarah-
Christmas came and a bright cold morning it was. Soon after breakfast in came Kate Booth with her satchel of Christmas presents for me to see. She showed them all to me and then handed me a little parcel with letters from my dear children of Michigan. Rest assured I received the presents with very pleasing sensations of gratitude. The mats are nicely made, I have put them on the round table-you will remember dear Sarah it is in the corner of the room. I have put Cousin Henry Booth on one and little Eddie Edgar on the other of the mats-so I think of you all together.
Dear Fannie your Aunt Louisa thought as I did,-that the book mark was very pretty-I have it in my large book of PsalmsPsalm 23rd and 34th-get your small book of Psalms and read them read your bible dear children every day.
It was so cold on Christmas I did not go to 14th St. Your Uncle Booth and all the family were here at different times through the day-all except Theodore-his uncle was a little weak from a slight sprain-his Mother did not like him to walk-the day passed very pleasantly away.
Your Cousin Louisa spent Christmas eve and night at Cousin Henry B-she went home the next morning. Your Uncle James and family-Uncle Baker's family-Rufus and Blanchard-and your two cousins from Easton made up the party. Cousin Henry and family with your cousins dined Christmas day at Chilton.
There was a fair at Rahway-I have not heard the particulars of it.
Cousin Kate Edgar came in town on Saturday-staid with me till noon-then went to 14th. I expect her tomorrow to stay till Wednesday.
There was none of the boarders home on Christmas, except your Grandfather and myself,-turkey and fried oysters for dinner, a mince pie-they had one the evening before-it was excellent-and I was wise or foolish enough to eat a small piece-I told Miss Sarah it was to last me all winter-I do not think I shall be tempted again. I suppose your Aunt Eliz. will think it will be for me if I learn wisdom in my old days. I was glad to get a letter from her for Christmas-I wrote her last week.
I rather guess your Grandfather will not venture out today it is very stormy-he is so wedded to his newspaper and book that I don't think my lungs will become weak with the effort of talking.
Yesterday morning the streets were all iced the boys were skating on the sidewalks don't you think it was wrong for them to do so on the Sabbath! I hope my children dear you are to me, you will always remember the 4th commandment.
Give my love to your dear brother-I often think of him going home at night, wearied with his day's work. How glad I should be to be with you all once more, but adieu to the subject. I feel however some days so well that I might go to Detroit-but then I go out a little way and return to climb up these high stairs my limbs ache. What should I do to go away so far.
I have written you dear children in one letter-what I have to say to one is for the other. My eyes are not very strong.
I hope your Father will meet with some one who will be company for your Aunt when her visit is over. Unless your Father has business to call him to the city, it would be to him too great an expense and loss of time for him to come-he must consult his own advantage. My love to him and your dear Mother, and Aunt Eliz.-a large share for yourselves.
Your loving Grandmother.
N. B.-I will send a list of Kate Booth's presents. The little mats look very pretty. I am delighted with my presents, and wish you both a happy New Year.
Copy of letter addressed to Rev. Cornelius H. Edgar, D.D., of Easton, Pa.
Toronto, March 15th, 1868.
My dear Cousin,
You will have come to the conclusion that all your letters have gone to some "Irish Edgar" here, and despair of reaching me by mail. But culpa mea this time, and no Hiberian shoulders may be visited with the weight of your displeasure. Do you not know many men, who are very busy hardworking people, but as bachelors could write a letter occasionally yet when they have a wife and a sister prone to scribbling, become notoriously irregular correspondents! I am such an one.
It is well that heirs have been found for the lands that made us acquainted, even if they do not do us any good otherwise. For my part I have seen so many cases of distant claims or supposed rights to property, that I do not set much store by the chance of getting anything in that accidental way. I am going to work hard and if I ever succeed in joining acres to acres I will call them "Keithock," and tell my boys the reason why. Then if they think as much of an old name as you and I do they will not sell Keithock.
The old letter you copied and sent me is full of interest. The best return for it is the letter from my aunt that I enclose. Pray keep it safe as it is a very clear and interesting piece of family history, and when you have quite done with it perhaps I may ask it back. At the page of Chambers Hist. of Rebellion referred to in the letter you will see the story of Secretary Edgar's loyalty to the Stuarts. How 10,000 pounds-a large sum then-was laid at the feet of his master, when Walpole meant it for a bribe. But Chambers does not say the return James Stuart made. The trophy Which represents to our family 10,000 pounds, and more, is a magnificent gold snuff box of royal workmanship; when James gave it to Edgar it was an heir-loom of the Stuart family. Two years ago it crossed the Atlantic in my possession, and is probably the most precious relic in Canada. The fortunes of the Stuarts went down with it, so have ours; but still I'll try if the new world wont change its influence. It seems to me sacred, like Longfellow's "Luck of Edenhall." I cannot send you a copy of it, but when you see me you shall see it.
Eliza is going to England and Scotland in May for some months for the first time, and if she enjoys herself as much there as with you she will be in no hurry to come back. Before she goes she is to take the responsibility of being godmother to our youngest boy whom we are to call "Harrie Ogilvy," partly after Harrie, bishop of Fife, and the other part after the family name of my greatgrandmother because we think it pretty and distinctive.
I have just asked Eliza to enclose a line with this.
I hope what I send with this will make up for what I do not say in it.
Believe me, my dear Kinsman, faithfully,
J. D. Edgar.
Copy of letter (without date) addressed to James D. Edgar of Toronto, Canada, and sent by him March 15, 1868, to Rev. C. H. Edgar of Easton, Pa.
In Nisbet's Heraldry three families of Edgars are mentioned, the Edgars of Wedderlie in Berwickshire, the Edgars of Keithock in Forfarshire and the Edgars of Poland. At the death of the last Edgar of Wedderlie, Rear-Admiral Alexander Edgar, Feb 17th, 1817, the newspapers in announcing the fact mentioned he was of ,lone of the oldest families in Scotland as appears by deeds as far back as 1170. It is generally believed that the Edgars of Wedderlie were descended from Edgar, son of Queen Margaret, neice of Edward the Confessor, married to Malcolm, King of Scotland, and by Catholics honored as St. Margaret.
Admiral Edgar left only a daughter. She wished her son to take the name of Edgar, and as only the representative of the eldest branch of a family can use the supporters to the family arms, she applied to the Court of Lord Lyon, King at arms, for permission for her son to wear them. Thomas Edgar, my father's elder brother and your grandfather, then the head of the Edgars of Keithock protested against this as he claimed to be the head of both families, since it was a younger son of Edgar of Wedderlie who bought Keithock from the Lindsays in 1617. This claim was allowed, as being the nearest known male descendant of the Edgars of Wedderlie, but as it was possible that another might come forward who had quitted the Wedderlie stem more recently than the Keithock branch, he was not allowed to use the supporters for twenty years; these twenty years being now long past, you are the undisputed representative of the Edgars both of Keithock and Wedderlie. Wedderlie now belongs to Lord Blantyre.
David Edgar of Keithock (whose portrait you will one day have, at present it is at Helstone) had a large family. Two of his sons, John and James, bore prominent parts in the rising of 1715. The first died a prisoner at Stirling Castle, and the second escaping to Italy became the well-known private Secretary of the Chevalier, or as we Jacobites call him of James the third, with whom he remained more than forty years, till his death in 1762. There are many anecdotes of the Secretary, as well as of his nephew Joh, your greatgrandfather, who followed Prince Charles in 1745, which I must leave for another paper but there is no book about the Jacobites in which the Secretary is not mentioned in the most honorable manner as the most faithful and devoted follower of the Stuarts, the most loyal and true of men. Meanwhile if you have an opportunity of seeing any books about the Jacobites, I will mention some in which the Edgars are particularly mentioned. In Robert Chambers "His tory of the Rebellion 1746-6 lie gives one well-known anecdote of the Secretary in the 6th Edition, page 419. In Denistone of Denistone "Memoirs of Sir Robert Strange and A. Lumsden" he mentions both the Secretary and your greatgrandfather frequently. Lumsden was the under-secretary and at Mr. Edgar's death, succeeded to his post. In the Land of the Lindsays page 270 there is a good deal about the Edgars although there are several inaccuracies in dates and spelling of names. Another son of David Edgars, Henry, was Protestant Bishop of Fife, he left no children. Another son displeased his father by his democratic principles and went to America, where he has left many thousands of descendants. Every now and then one of these American Edgars comes to Scotland to visit the family cradle. And when your father passed through New York on his way to Canada, he found some of them out, and was received with the greatest kindness and hospitality. You see should Canada ever be united to the Northern States, you have a readymade clan.
Your greatgrandfather, John, who succeeded his father, Alexander, in 1758 fled to France from the battle of Culloden, he served in Lord Ogilvy's Scotch regiment until the passing of the Act of indemnity in 1756 when he returned to Scotland. He died in 1788 leaving a number of children and as Keithock was greatly mortgaged at the time of his succession probably by their efforts in behalf of their rightful King, he had not been able to lay by anything for the younger children and by his will it was sold a year after his death. Of all his children only two left descendants, the youngest son, James, your grandfather, and the eldest daughter Catherine, Mary Watson's mother. The late Protestant Bishop Moir of Brechin speaking to a clergyman who repeated it to us, of the Edgars of Keithock-said they had always been renowned for their honor and loyalty-that the word of one of them was as good as the oath of another man. That inheritance at least, my dear Jamie, remains you own, no one can deprive you of it. In the next letter I shall send you the anecdotes I promised. Meanwhile I must conclude.
Your most affectionate aunt,
Mary Caroline Edgar.
Detroit, April 24, 1870
My dear Child,-
Arch. Sarah and Bessie Dudgeon leave tomorrow night and by telegraph just received from Sioux City they will just about hit a boat. We have enjoyed Arch's visit very much-he is a noble fellow and I only hope Sarah will get me as good and clean a son-in-law. I hope Sarah and Bessie will make you happy and then when you are all happy you know Father is happy. I only wish I could give you a good hug and kiss-perhaps I may this summer.
Detroit, Oct 7/70
We have all become so used to have Mother write you her regular letters that it has made the rest of us rather careless. You know that I am not much of a letter writer and you know as well my dear child that absence can never lessen my love. You are my own dear Fannie. I have not been at all well this summer-not sick, but out of sorts the weather is now cool and pleasant and am better. We are all too happy at the thought of you being in the states in the spring and I am now thinking to put a wing on the house that I may have room for all my children-how do you like that?
Sarah is the same child and I fear any day that some "fellow" will be taking her off. We have had some changes this summer Arch. has lost his father and you your grandmother, but we must trust they are both happy. I was afraid Arch's coat would be too small. I had it made larger once after it was sent home. James and Mollie seem happy, but father was never so matter of fact when he was first married. I am too happy in feeling that you have so kind and good a husband and from the way you write I know you are happy-if you were not you would tell me.
Office of Wm. H. EDGAR & SON SUGAR DEALERS
Detroit, Nov 2, 1872
I judge from the receipt of the "Horns" which came safely and without a break that you are safely with Fannie. Accept thanks for your remembrance. What a trial it must have been for Fannie! and what an exciting time you must have had. How I wish that I could have been with you. I have promised Mother she might come out in the spring if you remain at Sully. After election is over settle on some 1, 2 or 3 positions you would accept in the states in your military capacity and I will do all in my power to bring it about. Cannot promise much but I will try hard. The election is about conceded to Grant and there can be no doubt of it for my own part I have but little choice.
We are all well except a trouble James has with his throat and that is improving.
Sarah and Charlie are happy and as most young people are when first married but you have no conception of the happiness it has afforded Mother and myself to think and know that both you and Fannie although separated from us are so contented with each other. Kiss the dear child for me and believe me,
W. H. Edgar
St. John's Detroit
13 March A D 1874
Mr and Mrs W. H. Edgar,
My very dear friends,-
Thirty years of married bliss! Have not these Years numbering so many today, been full of the loving kindness of our God? and each year as it has been calendered been more complete with happiness than the last? I doubt not - - and as I think of your "full cup," I scarcely know what to ask, or seek for you-love-that you may always remember, Every good and perfect gift is from above."
Be very certain, my dear friends, that there are few, if any, who greet you on this happy anniversary with more tenderness and sincere affection than your pastor
(after Bishop of Nebraska)
P. S. Please allow this comforting text a place in your own room as a souvenir of this day, March 13th, 1874.
March 18, 1874
My dear Fanny,-
It is not often that I punish you with two letters in the same week, but really my surprise of last evening after your letter was closed was so complete, I cannot wait until next mail to give you an account.
To begin with, I bought in the morning a cravat slide for Father and had it prettily marked as a souvenir of the day-made preparations for a nice tea, and invited James and Mary. To my utter surprise Mary declined saying she would rather come in, in the evening, as she could not leave Goodloe for so long a time. I was sorry but came to the conclusion that she thought it would be too much excitement for Sarah. Then when Father gave the baby presents I was completely blinded.
Charlie came to the library door as I was sitting there alone saying "Mother Edgar, Sarah wants you a moment. Of course, I thought she was not as well and ran up stairs. She detained me for a while. I stayed never thinking for a moment she had an object. When I returned what a change!!! The library a maze of lights. On my writing desk an illuminated text elegantly framed in green and gilt-the flowers painted by hand "He shall give His angels charge concerning this" with a beautiful note from Mr. Worthington. Two lovely bouquets, one from Bessie and one from Goodloe a silver spoon holder to match my tea set and bouquet for bride of 30 years orange blossoms, and so forth from James and Mary. From "baby Fannie her first gift, an elegant berry spoon, gold lined. From your Mother a silver tea tray, large enough to hold my entire tea set marked number of years, dates and so forth. It is more than elegant.
I cannot tell you my surprise nor how precious to me the love of the dear ones who took so much pleasure in planning it. The only drawback was the absence of two who presence was wished for many times to make the festival complete. After the time spent in chatting and admiring the elegant gifts, I heard the table bell. Mr. Worthington arose and with great ceremony offered his arm. Poor I bewildered-was ushered into the dining room where by magic it seemed to me was a table loaded with good things-ice cream, charlottels, grapes, oranges, cake, candies but you know Father's way when he does anything of the sort. It was, as Mr. W, said, a complete surprise, complete success and a "good time"-and Sarah was not hurt by the excitement and laughter down stairs.
Sunday evening September 25th 1888
My dear Arch and Fanny,-
As I sit at my desk this Sunday evening knowing that ere another Sunday comes you will be far from home, I cannot resist the impulse to write a few lines to be read when you are on the ocean. I wonder. as I write, if the winds and rains will be tempered by a kind Providence, the same Providence that I trust will have you both in his keeping until I see you once more face to face. How I shall enjoy your letters. Of course lonely hours must come for I have learned in the past five years to look to you both so constantly for the brightness in my home life. I cannot but miss you every day-every hour-and long for your return. Even now, I can almost hear Arch laugh. I am ready to count the months, crossing each week, with the feeling that the time is so much shortened.
I hope you will both enjoyed every minute. Think of Mother at home, content that you are happy but ready with a loving welcome whenever you decide to turn your steps homeward.
God watch and guard you both safely in all your wanderings will be the daily prayer of your loving
Detroit, August 29, 1891
My dear Sister Fanny,
Not a day passes that I do not think of you and with deep
gratitude for your kindness and motherly interest in our boy. Do not let him get
careless or get an idea that he has not his own way to make in the world, make
him realize and appreciate this-that he may not is my greatest fear. I had
always looked forward to the time when he might perhaps be associated with me in
my business, but the sugar business seems to have had its best days- I may be
obliged to give it up. It is a great trial being separated from Mary and
Bessie-my interest in my business lags with my heart so far away and all my fond
hopes and dreams seem turned to ashes. Mary and Bessie had good times at Fort
Grant-met Col. Penion and wife there-friends of yours-who were exceedingly
kind-also Col. and Mrs. Mizner and others who knew you-Mary is almost an "Army
lady" now. Mary says they are now nicely settled again in Tucson -found the
house in nice order and Sarah and Carmen ready to welcome them and the weather
cooler and pleasant. Dr. Green has quite a large and paying practice.
Everything here going along about as usual. Mother keeps well as I ever knew her and enjoys Aunt Lizzie who is bright and agreeable and looks a picture of health-never complains. Sarah and her children come to dinner every Sunday. Mr. Marsh is away from home again-this time at St. Paul and Duluth-I seldom see him the "baby" is bright as a dollar and Mother's idol of course. Alice is a sweet girl-she grows tall and handsome-John is delicate, but averages a pretty good boy. I am thinking of a trip to see Mary and Bessie and may go now almost any week. Kentucky news is a scarce article with me. Lizzie Barret is at Dr. Smith's attending constantly on Mrs. Goodloe who keeps about as usual-there is of course the increasing infirmities of old age. I doubt if Mrs. G. leaves Waco this winter.
I hope when you once "settle down" Goodloe will take up his books and make good progress-he has had a long vacation and rest-and should make up some lost time-however he is (for the present at least) your boy and I am sure you will direct him right. Kiss him for me and with warmest love for one and all, believe me my dear Sister,
Ever affectionately yours,
August 12th, 1893
My dear Fannie
So swiftly does time fly, it is hard to realize that twenty-five years have gone by, since you stood a bride in St. John Is with the setting sun shedding its soft light upon you.
I know quite well that the love which you and Arch. gave to each other then has only deepened and strengthened as the years have fled so that you can celebrate your "Silver Wedding- feeling you are nearer and dearer to each other than ever. That I may have a share in your happiness of August 12, '93, as I did in that of /68, I send to you a little keep-sake and as you and Arch. enjoy sometimes in your pleasant home "a cold cut," may the fork with which you serve it, be a reminder to you of the warm place you have now, and ever have had, in the loving heart of.
Your own dear