Y’all owe me big for this one. Not only is is difficult to read, but dear Aunt Margaret used inventive spelling, wrong punctuation, and random acts of capitalization. Bless her heart.
Cobourgh Place, Sighthill
January 7th, 1853
I hop you wil excuse me for not writing before this time to you. It is wonderful how the time slips by in the worald, I am hapy to inform you that My Mother is just about her usewall way for health although she is very frail. She cannot walk through the house without me supporting her by the wone side and she cannot turn herself in her bed, I put her staves in the bed beside her when she gowes to bed and when she wants Mr. Chaps on the bed head and then I come and takes her by the feet and draws them over the bed stock, and then takes her by the hand and pulls her pu on her botem, and I always have a chair before the bed and she holds by the chair and then she goes into her bed again and I turn her on whatever side she wants, and she has lost her memory a good dale, but she is quite hapy and comfortable, I hive her everything she wants and more if she would take i. I very often her today when she gowes to her bed and makes her sleep well and I change her from the skine every to weeks and ceeps her close. I have to wash and dress her like a child or her body would soon waste, I never give her a cross look nor a harsh word. Poor Woman. She has been a good other to us all. I have done all and will do all for her that lies in my power I no I will never ???? it and although James Torrance writes for me to come aways America, in every letter, I have always said it and I will keep my word good I will be ?? l will leave her, I will leave it to God to judge if I have not done my duty to her although I must say it is not the case with some of her children, I have wrote to letter to Rob J Archibald last year and I never got no answer, it is 15 months or 16 cince we got the scrape of a pen from them, I must say they are to ungratefulwrethes not to write to their aged mother, poor woman. She did all that ever lay in her power for them before they went away and when they went away, and likewise I did a great dale for them myself and this lets you see the reward we are getting from them not so much as write a letter to us, I never would have thought it of them but last time I wrote them it was in the month of march last and I told them if they did not answer my letter I would not write them again, not neither I will th low scoundrales that they are I had a letter from y brother James yesterday and he is in good health. He comes now and again to see us, poor fellow. He is very lowlay at Denny, but there is won thing. He is a good loving man and that is before all the riches in this worald when he comes to see us.
Mrs. Reid is very kind coming out to see us and when I go to the town, she stops with my mother, but my mother is just like a child she cannot think to see me out of her sight affew minutes, Mrs. Reid is not so well up to her way, Dear Sister, My Mother and Me often sits and layments over you and your family gowing away to texes such an unhealth climate, but I always make as light of it as I can to her, Mrs. Fleming of Tloors was at Roghsay ast sumer and she came up in the steamboat with Mr. John Abston and he said he was sory and very sory indeed for poor Mrs. Wood and her Famley, he said he had a gred respect for you and your famley. He said You was a vlever active well dowing woman, and likewise he said you had such a finefamly, he said they were so manerlay and well douring indeed he said he vener had seen the likes . He said he would never be as vexed for James Wood to take away his wife and famley, He said if Mrs. Wood and her famley had stopped in Bankhead he would never seen you sore pout about I heare that Robert Donelope is dowing well in it, I hard that Mrs. Struthers of Avonhome had a child late day, James A;;;en of West Mains has takes Johnson the ? it belongs to Lockess to and the bargain is that he is to Carbarn himself and sonday is to stop at Westmains, and Agnes and Archibald ? is in whith the farm, Old Whiteal has left the Farm to Robet of Allan and he is to pay 25 pounds in the year to his mother, and 25 to Mrs. Holms, ther eis a Mrs. Back and her famley from Cyperige taken Brayhead, Gavin Baird in Heads has taken Jow Edlewood. There is a 100 and 10 ackers and it is taken at 3 pounds the ackers and James Hamilton in heads has taken Gavin Bairds farm, Hugh Harkland of East quarter has sold his farm to Mrs. Hamilton Land of low mains and he is gowing to America in the spring hes mother is going to get money and she is gowing to stop with her daughter Margaret in Strathaven. Hellan Vallance of Girtle is married latelay to Andrew Fleming of Hughwood hes farm is come place about Cornwath side it is repored that Mrs. Vallance is a heavy drinker, they have not got any word from John there son this long time, Mr William Harvey coth mertchent is away from Stravon he is a clerk some place on the Callayollnan Gaylay and there shop is shut. James Layhore Grosser and William Layhore grave digger is both dead and Muchock is gravegier now. Janet Spence John Spence is oldest daughter died of inflamaiton affew weeks ago in 4 days only her corps was brought to glassford churchyard. She has left wone child a daughter.
William Hamilton of Tarehill died in the beginning of Nov. last. He died of appoplexay. He was at Draffard and Kikmuss hill that day he died. He went to his bed about ten o’clock at night, in hrave health and was a corpse before 12 but hard him give a heavy groan and she ran to the kitchen form James but they never saw breath, I understand stand they are a great dale of dept, and I hard that James has got a nineteet year tack of ? My ? to Mrs. Lawcock is still at spittle, William Wast and Bigg has spilled just now of a great dale. We had a visit from Robert Allen of heads affew days ago and he said the people about heads and Westquartes were ? Janet Semple was with child to James Laden, and she is greatlay falling into dring and her mother to, Old Peggy is very Porrlay, Robert Semple and Whilecraigs is still drinking as bas as ever, Andrew Alboun of Penyland is married to Margaret Templeton and they are in the sop that Willam Allan was in when he was in Strahaven)
Dear Sister, I got a letter from James Torrance sent me lever home in the beginning of Dec with a ten pound check in it, He is coming well on they had a very good crope this year they were getting 3/6 for the bushell of wheat, where is a gred rise on the wheat on account of sending so mouch away to astrallayia, there is a railway making from Newyork up to bufflaw and from there to goderich, He has bought another 150 ackers of land he sayes that Goderich is a beautifull place and they are bealding a fine harber there, he saies it is a fine graine country, and plenty of fruit there. They intend to have 50 ackers of wheat this year, they have six cows and to horses and to oxyon, and they have a good dwelling house, he sayes he likes the place wel, and he sayes it is a very healthy place, he wrote for your address and I sent it, and he said He was gon to write you soon.
My Brother John was and stopped 2 weeks with us at the term, he was then in good health, and the Laird came down 2 weeks after the term with my Mother liserent, he daughter Susan was with him they stopped 4 or 5 hours, we ? up no corrowspondenace with the at all, he is a low means villain he has never given My Mother won farthing for her coals cince ever we left the heads nor ever as mouch as ever asked her if she needed anything ther is some word of his daughter gowing to get Willay Baird
Dear Sister I think I have given you all the news that I have mind of and I remain your affectionet sister, Margareet Riddell
My Mother and Me sends out best wishes to you and your Dear and loving famley.
Mrs. James Wood
Near ?, Post Office
James Paterson of bridgehome is married to won of Old Letham’s daughters.
And Robert Reverthoss of Cirkstill is married to Jean Murray of Nowhead and they ??? won of Andrew Murray’s high rooms?? Child 2 weeks after she was married.
My Dear Friends I hope you will excuse blunders for I wrote it in haste to get away with the mail.