Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ayrshire, Scotland - Top to Bottom

The Tannahill's came from Old Comnoch at the top of Ayrshire but not too far away at the bottom of Ayrshire in the lowlands, was a farm called Pinmore near Girvan.  It was on this farm that the tenants were James Wilson and Jane Lusk.  James was the son of John Wilson and Janet Murdock and was born in 1779 on a farm called Kilpatrick, not far from there.  He married Jane in 1806 or 1807.  She was the daughter of Andrew Lusk and margaret Kerr, and was the cousin of Sir Andrew Lusk, who was the Lord Mayor London.
James was an ideal man—vigorous, industrious, temperate and intensive and generous Presbyterian.  He is reported to have been a well-known singer of church music.  His wife, Jane, has been reported to have rare business talents, keen foresight, was clean, loveable and somewhat slim.  She operated a little country store on the farm.  The family was considered to be fairly prosperous.  They lived most of their married lives on the Glessel farm near Pinmore and Kilpatrick.

  Their eleven children, Margaret, Janet, John, West (our ancestor), Sarah, Chirstina, Grace, Jean, Mary, James and Andrew, were all born in the parish of Girvan, Ayrshire, Scotland.  The children attended the school at both Pinmore and Glenluce farms.  They walked several miles each day to school.  Their father, James Wilson, believing like modern parents in a hot lunch, had a village woman prepare for them every noon a thick, hot soup with everything “intilt”.

Mindful in every way of his family’s welfare, James strongly emphasized the religious side of their lives.  They had a ten-mile ride each Sabbath past ten churches of various denominations to reach the one of his belief, the Scotch Covenanter. .  They would sit through the four and five hour services on the straight hard benches.  James’ version of their religious training said,  “We were never allowed to read the newspaper on Sunday or do anything except go to all the church services and keep clean and in order between times.  There was very little to eat on Sunday in our house and some of the neighbors did no cooking whatever.  If we twisted or made a noise, or snickered in Church, we caught it when we went home.   But on Monday we boys settled everything with our fists and climbed every tree and scaled every crag and went swimming.”

While visiting Scotland in 1997, we were able to see the green rolling hills of Girvan.  It was on this land that the Wilson’s and Drynan’s lived all those years ago.  The old stone building is probably a couple of hundred years old and the old bridge is probably older than that.  The little white dots on the hill are sheep.  The land is lush and green. No wonder they were successful farmers.  It was here that West Wilson was born.  How he must have missed this land when he came to America.  Iowa was about as close as he could get to Scotland.

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