This is probably the single most important letter for the Melrose branch of the family, because it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that James(4) HOPKIRK was indeed Wiiliam(5) HOPKIRK's father, even though we have been unable to locate a birth record for William(5) HOPKIRK. This letter mentions James(4) death, Wiiliam's(5) son James(6) death, and mentions all the living brothers of William(5) and even some of the brothers children and where they are. We have copies of the parish records showing James(4) death, and James(6) death. It also mentions that brother David's(5) son James(6) is in Toronto. We have James's military records which show he was in Toronto then and later mustered out in South Africa, establishing the South African branch of the family. We will comment later about the other important items in this letter. To view a copy of the actual pages of the letter from 1841 click here, here and here.
Gattonside, June 30,1841
My dear children
We received your letter on the 17th of this month it has not been so long in coming to us as ours was in reaching you. The paper was sent 2 weeks after it tho it came first. We will send you another paper along with this or soon after it. You will by this time have received our last letter dated the 30 of April containing the account of your Dear Brother James's death. I have to tell of another. That day of week your Brother died your Grandfather breathed his last, and that day of week my Son was laid in his grave, his Grandfather was laid close to his side in the narrow house. Neither Your father nor I were so affected with your Grandfather's death as we would have been had we not so recently lost your Brother. Your Father said that his Father's death was nothing to what he felt when he laid James in the grave.
Your Grandfather's Will was read the day after the funeral. Your father is
left the under part of the house they live in with the closet up stairs your Aunt Molly is left
the other part. Your Uncles Walter and Robert gets the other house. Thomas gets some money of
the other house
and your Uncles James and David have each got P10. David and Walter were both there. James was not able to come; his son James was there. The Will which was read has been made since your Grandmother's death. One did not know till after your Grandfather's death that there was any but the old will. In it your father was left all the house.
Your Father is not fond of selling the House but he thinks he will can raise money on it to carry us to America if you think we ought to come. David gives us such bad accounts of it that it would be a pity to put us to so much trouble and expense and be worse of than we are here. Consider well of it, and let David come over and conduct us, if you think it for our good. If not tell us plainly. David will come over any way and we will rejoice to see him. It is not the thoughts of being better in America that would tempt me, but to see you all again. Write what back cloths or bed cloths we ought to bring. But David can tell us what to do.
Tell William and Jane that her friends are well. I must leave Robert to write Walter about Miss Lee. She is a very amiable young woman but not stout enough for a poor man's wife.
My dear children. I have again resumed the pen Robert says he cannot write
nonsense among so many solemn occurrences it speaks to us all be ye also ready. My poor
James had little time, but I must not speak of him as it will lay me up as it did before.
Your Father and I were
both so ill that we thought we would not be long behind him. But thanks to the great disposer of all events we are both now in our usual state of health and able to say the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be his name..
Your Uncle David's son James is at Toronto in the Artillery you might write
to him you Uncle got a paper from me to send him when he was here. Your Aunt Nelly has
been at Berwick. She was for me going with her but I did not wish to intrude my sorrow
on any one. I don't like to visit. If I go anywhere it would be to Lynes Mill to see my
Sister's Motherless children. Their Father may get another wife but they will never get another
Mother. Sandy is not behaving too well.
Walter thinks Alick will can make carts and ploughs and these sorts of things
he thinks he can make a cart but not wheels yet. As for ploughs there are none used here
but Iron ones so he can do nothing to them. He will scarce learn his trade right where he
is and as he is not stout tho tall. We don't like to send him anywhere else lest he should get
wronged. Besides as we have still thoughts of coming to you it would not do to bind him with
anybody. They are thinking of setting him down to make shoes. He is with John Easton yet and
is active enough.
We expect David mind, and somebody else spoke of coming but if we come over it will not serve I think if Walter leave Steubenville and go to a distance. Elisabeth will do well to go to John for he needs a woman greatly. All your acquaintances are well. Tell William to write
to Robert Redpath for they are earing to hear from him I believe I told you Margaret Scot and James Marche were married Margaret was here last week.
And now my dear children farewell, and may the God of all consolation be with you to bless and keep you is the prayer of your affectionate Mother.
PS I will put a paper in the post with the letter. IH
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