Letter from America
Mary Anne Wyett to her brother Henry Hull of Cape Town
Mary Anne Wyett, sister of Henry Hull in Cape Town, wrote to her brother from Oberlin in Ohio, USA, in 1849. Almost two whole years on, the letter eventually reached its destination, via India, on 7 Mar 1851. For long, we knew nothing further of the Wyett family than is given in this letter, reproduced here in its entirety. More is now known - and additional information is given separately below.
The Wyetts' association with Oberlin College is worthy of note. This was a progressive institution, the first in America to admit women to degree courses (1841), and a pioneer in refusing to debar students on account of race (1835). The preacher Finney, referred to in the letter, was renowned beyond the United States. He also gained notoriety for assisting slaves to escape to Canada: in 1858, 30 Oberlin professors were arrested for rescuing the runaway slave, Littlejohn, from US police custody.
Oberlin June 26 1849
My dear brother,
More than fifteen years have rolled away since we last met. We were then at Eltham when you and Sophy with some of your children came to pay us a farewell visit, previously to your departure from England to take up your abode in the new and untried scenes of Western Africa. I little thought at that time how soon we should be called upon to leave our pleasant home and be sojourners in a strange land, yet so it was. In little more than six months after you had bade adieu to so many who were dear to you, we were crossing the Atlantic to seek a home in the wilds of America - separated by oceans and continents and holding no communication by letter. We have as it were been dead to each other, as far as all intercourse is concerned, yet have you not ceased to live in the memory and affections of our family, and often have you and yours been the subjects of conversation in our little circle. Our dear sister Maria (who has been my faithful and almost only correspondent in England) has from time to time written me accounts of you all, as she has received news from the Cape, and be assured the information has been read with great interest by all of us here. We have sympathised with you in your trials and rejoiced with you in your prosperity. The last intelligence I received was I thought upon the whole of a more pleasing nature than any previous letter had contained - your having employment under government, that Sophy was successful in obtaining pupils in music and that the girls had schools; it also mentioned Edward's marriage - so that I hoped you were all getting along well (to use a Yankee phrase). Our children grow up around us, and we do not perceive the change, so gradual is it from day to day, but when we hear of those we parted with some years ago as girls and boys, being married it sounds strangely in our ears and we hardly know how to believe they are men and women. Should our children meet now I suppose they would scarcely recognise each other - of course the younger ones would not, and I am by no means sure that their parents would appear more familiar, at least if you and Sophy are nearly as much altered as George and myself are - but I think it is quite likely that you are not because the climate you have lived in is more temperate than this and of course more favorable to health.
I have often wished much to hear from you and have thought of writing, particularly to Kate, but have known exactly how to direct or send my letters, and suppose they would cost a great deal. I write now with the expectation of being able to send this with some friends who are going to Siam, and who will probably stop at the Cape in their way. The party consists of a Dr & Mrs Bradley and their two children and Mr & Mrs Lane and their little girl. Dr Bradley has been a missionary at Siam some years - he came to America some time ago to bring his children to be educated as they had lost their mother - he came to Oberlin and left them with the expectation of their being brought up here, but in a little while the eldest girl died, then the others wanted so sadly to go back with their Papa that he consented to take them - he is now married again to a lady who was a graduate from this institution and [previously] a classmate of our dear Frederick - both he and Margaret were much attached to her and she still corresponds with the latter. Dr Lane and his wife came here after he had taken his medical course but he went through the theological studies at Oberlin. Mrs Lane was here a few weeks since and spoke of the probability there was of their touching at the Cape in their way to Siam. I thought I would avail myself of the opportunity of writing by her as she would try and see you and tell you what she would about us. I hope my letter will reach you in safety.
Maria has I suppose in writing to you occasionally mentioned us, and told you somewhat relating to our family and circumstances but as you have just hitherto heard directly from us you will perhaps like me to go a little into details respecting our history since we parted. The circumstances that gave rise to the necessity for our coming here I shall but slightly touch upon. You were doubtless informed of the particulars at the time and they are of too painful a nature to dwell upon. I can scarcely now think of the scenes I passed through previously to my leaving England and during my voyage to this country without weeping. It was long, very long, after I came to America before I could reconcile my mind to my situation so as to feel happy in it but I now feel that such a repining state was a very sinful one, and that all things were ordered for the best. If I cannot say with St Paul "I have learned whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content", I at least feel that I have abundant cause to be so with my present situation, indeed I have so many mercies to be grateful for that I should be inexcusable were it otherwise. We have passed through many sever trials, but not one more than was needed. On our first coming to this country George took some land in Michigan to farm. We brought along with us a man and his wife. She was to assist me in the home and the man to work on the farm. You know George was always very fond of working in a garden and he thought he should like farming as well. I think he did, but then he was quite inexperienced and there was a great deal to be done, as the land was not even fenced in, trees had to felled and split up for [rails?], a log home put up, a well dug, a barn built, etc etc etc.
People saw that George did not know much about the value of work and they all charged him more than they ought for what they did. He got imposed upon and cheated, lost a mare, had a fine ox die, and raised but few crops. So thus after a time he was obliged to let the farm upon shares. An Englishman with a large family of boys, who as well as himself had been brought up to work, came to live on it. The man understood it well, he raised good crops, which we had a third of, and a large stock of cattle for himself. So he did well, but we had not sufficient to live on, and had it not been for our kind brother John, we must have suffered greatly. For the first two years and half we rented a house in Monroe and George went out every day (with William, the man who came with us) to work on the farm. This was while it was being fenced and before we had any house put up. Provisions were at that time very dear and we had not then raised any. Flour was *** Pounds a fanel**, beef? 2 and a half cts per pound and fish 15 cts per lb. There was a time when we were obliged to live almost entirely upon corn meal. Afterwards when we had a dairy provisions had fallen so low that butter sold for only 8cts per lb. When we first went to Monroe Frederick went to Dr Bonart's store where he stayed for three or four years. Margaret, Ernest, Charles and Anna went out with us to the farm. We were two and a half miles from Monroe, the population round us nearly all French with the exception of a few Irish, all ignorant people. Our nearest neighbour was a mile from us. So you may imagine it was very lonely. Part of the year the road into town was so bad that I very rarely got in to church and seldom saw anyone. There were no advantages for educating the children on account of the distance from Monroe - we could only send them in occasionally when the roads were good. Ernest went in for a time but it was too much for him and we attributed his sickness in a great measure to the long walk. His health of delicate and seemed to fail at one time very much so that during the winter we kept him at home entirely. He so far recovered towards the spring as to go out again and even walked in to church twice. He even went out one day to look for our horse which had strayed away and walked much further than we had expected he would. After this he grew worse very quickly, though we did not imagine him to be in any danger, but he only lived a week after this and went off most suddenly and unexpectedly - so much so that it was long before we could reconcile our minds to his loss. Margaret and I felt it most severely - we thought if only we could only have known of his danger and been aware that we were soon to part with him we should have felt better prepared for it.
Frederick was at this time at Oberlin where he had gone about two years previous, to enter upon a course of study to fit him for the ministry. He invited us shortly afterwards and wished much to induce is to remove to Oberlin. There were many reasons for rendering a removal at that time desirable. We wished much to have the comfort of Frederick's society, as well as for our own sakes as the children's, and also that he might have a home without paying for his board which he had to do.
In the fall of that year therefore we made preparations to leave Michigan, packed up our goods and had them conveyed to the wharf, intending to take a passage by a steamer which would have brought us within 30 miles of this place. But a severe frost suddenly set in and closed up the lake so that we were obliged to abandon the idea of going that way. We afterwards hired waggons and came by land, and although the weather was extremely cold, suffered but little. We arrived here after a journey of five days and we were kindly received into the house of an English family of the name of Hill. He is the Sec and Treas of the Oberlin Collegiate Institution, had only been from England at this time 1 year and a half. He has a very agreeable wife and large family of children and we have found in them very kind friends. Indeed Mr Hill has been like a brother to George, and has assisted him much by employing him in his office.
Oberlin is by no means remarkable for beauty of situation, as it is flat and nearly enclosed by woods. It is however gradually being cleared and much of it has been planted with fruit trees, and laid out in gardens, so that it is at present assuming a more inviting appearance than it bore some years ago. There is a large Institution of Learning and several large College buildings, but none of them handsome. There are Preparatory College and Theological departments, also a separate annex for the ladies but they are at liberty to take a college course if they choose it, and a great many have done so. At present I think there are more who confine themselves in the ladies' annex. Margaret commenced with the former but afterwards went into the latter as I thought upon the whole it would be better for her.
She was within one year of completing her course when she had a severe and protracted sickness which prevented her finishing. She was at that time not living at home but boarding in the Young Ladies' Hall where she was teaching two or three classes and had at the same time as many studies and recitation of her own to attend to, besides a great deal of care and responsibility thrown upon her. Altogether it was too much for her to endure and she came home with a fever which confined her for a long time, and from the effects of which I think she has never perfectly recovered. It is nearly two years since, but she has not been able to do much either in the way of study or teaching up to the present time.
But I have got a little out of the order of events, and I will now go back to speak of our dear Frederick. When we came to Oberlin he was in the Sophomore Class, the hardest year in college according to general opinion. During the long vacation he had been teaching school and in term time working a good deal in order to pay for his board. His health however at that time appeared good but as the summer came on he complained of feeling great weakness and often on coming in from recitations was obliged to throw himself on the bed. He went on, however, that summer and the next winter went out to teach. In the spring he returned with a bad cough and appeared quite unwell. I nursed him for some time but finally it was thought desirable for him to try a change of air, and sea voyage was particularly recommended. Through the kindness of many friends, in addition to his own earnings, he was enabled to go to England and visit our friends - he stayed with his Grandmother and enjoyed himself very much. For some time he appeared to derive great benefit from his native air, and wrote us word that he was getting quite well, but as the winter came on his cough returned and spring found him far advanced in consumption. He now prepared to return to his family with the impression that he had not long to live. So indeed it was - when we met again, his feeble step and emaciated form told to plainly that he was only a short time for this world. He lived eleven weeks after his return. I cannot tell you what comfort it was to minister to his wants, to wait upon him, to watch around his sick bed, to hear all his sweet words and to treasure up every look and sentence in our hearts never to be forgotten whilst life shall last. You did not know Frederick in the last years of his life and therefore you cannot realise what a trial it was to lose such a son. He has left a bright example of every virtue to all who know him and blessed shall be those who tread in his steps.
Margaret and Anna are both kind and good girls and a great comfort to us. Charles has occasioned me some uneasiness - it has been difficult to get him to settle to anything. He has never been fond of study and has therefore never applied himself to it though he has excellent abilities and might have done well if he had. He has grown up a fine young man and is taller than either of the others. It is singular how many traits in his character resemble his Uncle Edward's - one might think him enough like him to be his own son. He is just as particular about his dress and person and wants everything he has to be the very best of its kind. He is at present out of employment which makes it very hard upon George with his small income.
Perhaps you have heard from Maria that our dear Anna is deaf - she has only been so for a few years. It is a great affliction to her but she bears it very patiently. We have had a good deal of advice and tried several remedies, without success, and I fear she will never get better of it.
Margaret is engaged to a very excellent young man of the name of Penfield. He is a student and expects to graduate from Theology a year from next August, when they will probably be married. He is a tutor in College and much esteemed for his good conduct and literary attainments. We are much attached to him and think him well suited to Margaret.
George has for the last five years had the situation of book keeper in the office for the publication of the Oberlin Evangelist. It brings him an income not quite equal to 100 Pounds a year but in this country one can live upon much less than in England. Provisions are cheaper and, in this place, house rent is, and wood for fuel. In the large cities this is not the case.
The society here is good. There are generally from 5 to 700 students, male and female, all residents at the College, and from six to eight professors and other teachers, a principal to the ladies' department, with assistants under her.
The colonists consist of many pleasant and agreeable families. Upon the whole I have felt more at home and a great deal happier here than I did at Monroe, though we met with many kind friends there also. The professors lecture to their pupils upon various subjects and everyone is at liberty to attend them who choose and can find time, but there are so many other things to do that I have scarcely availed myself of the privilege. The advantages for obtaining a good education cheaply are very great, the price of tuition is low and many of the students pay for their board by working, as it is a manual labor Institution, and all are expected to do some work. There is only one church in Oberlin. The denomination is Congregational. It is a very large building, capable of holding 3000 persons - it has been built since we came. Before that time they met for worship in the Chapel of the College, where the students attend prayers every evening, but the population is now so large that it is not capable of holding all. I missed the form of the Episcopal Church very much when I first came here, though having been for some time without a minister at Monroe, we had no preaching in our own church and used to attend the Presbyterian, so that we had become in some measured weaned from our long formed habits and opinions, in attending exclusively upon the service of the Church of England. We have a celebrated preacher for our rector, a Mr Finney, known all over the United States for his extraordinary abilities and eloquence. He has however great eccentricities and proved not to be tolerated in many places but notwithstanding all he is a most powerful preacher. His writings are well known both in England and Scotland amongst the dissenters. He has had an invitation to go over to England to preach which I believe he will accept. Nothing struck me as more singular on first coming to this country, than observing in every small village or town we passed, 3 or 4 churches, each perhaps large enough to contain the whole population, but there are so many different denominations, and as each is at liberty to worship God in whatever way they please, they must all have a different place to meet in. There is generally an Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist Church in every town, and it is quite peculiar to Oberlin to have but one place of worship. Many customs prevail here which are very different from what we were used to in the old country, and it takes a long time to become habituated to some of them so as to be perfectly reconciled to the change. The times for taking meals generally in all this western country is as follows - breakfast at 6, dinner at noon and supper at 5 or 6. The latter meal varies according to the season of the year. At this place the bell rings at 5, at which hour the students must rise summer and winter, and the colonists mostly do the same. At 6 it rings again for breakfast, every hour through the day for recitations, for evening prayer at 5 or 6 and then at 9 for retiring. I have now become so accustomed to going to bed at that hour that I cannot bear to sit up later and am always ready to rise at 5 or sooner. The manner in which they conduct their funerals is in many respects, I think, very objectionable. The body is always (or with some exceptions) interred the day after death, every one who chooses, friend or stranger, comes in to view the corpse. Sometimes the funeral services are conducted entirely in the house, but if the friends choose they have the coffin taken to the church. It is considered a mark of respect for everyone to attend so that if it is in the house it will be literally crammed full almost to suffocation, and as everyone will put on their best things and since but the relatives put on mourning, it rather has the appearance of a festal than a funeral party. Great pains is taken in laying out and dressing the corpse. If a young person, the hair is beautifully arranged and sometimes adorned with a white rose or myrtle. The dress, made of lace or book muslin laid in folds and nicely fitted - if a lady a sap?? is made of book muslin but with so much taste that the corpse has always a very pleasing appearance. This latter custom I think far more pleasing than the manner in which the dead were attired for the grave in England - but that of burying the corpse so soon was very shocking to me at first, and was a severe trial when I lost Ernest as it was then so new to me.
The advancement of knowledge, and progress of civilization, have affected a wonderful change in this part of the world since we first came here. At that time there was a marked difference between the inhabitants of the western country and those of the eastern states with respect to habits, manners and dress. Steam navigation and rail roads now afford such facilities for travelling that new fashions and customs are speedily introduced and people are beginning now to dress as extravagantly as in the great cities. This is certainly the age of luxury and expense. The love of fashionable dress is universal, and extends to all ranks. The poorest girls will work out till they have earned enough to procure some handsome clothing, and it must be made in the last style of fashion so that it is sure to meet with any one who is not well dressed. While the introduction of luxury and fashion are in many respects to be deplored, much good is at the same time diffused throughout the country by means of the various arts, sciences, manufactures, literature and education which now spread everywhere and afford the opportunity of improvement and means of support to the millions of America.
But I am lengthening my letter most unreasonably and fear you will find it very unconnected and somewhat tedious. If I were not writing to my own brother who has not heard news from us for so many years I should feel called upon to offer some apologies for my prolixity as it is. I trust to his affection to excuse all, and can only say that I should esteem it a great favor to receive as long an epistle in return. George hates letter writing so much that he does not even write to his own father, so you will not think it strange that he should not put in a word to you. I intend my letter equally for you and Sophy and shall be happy to have either of you answer it that feels inclined to do so. I have not written to Kate for I was not sure that she was with you, Maria having mentioned that she had gone to reside with some lady. When you hear or write you will convey my kindest love to her and say I should be very much pleased to hear from her. Margaret I believe has written to Fanny and will have sent her own remembrances. Charles of course has but a faint recollection of any of you but he says he remembers that Aunt Kate used to flush the towels very hard, and also that she once struck him very hard when he was naughty boy and I was away at Windsor. She must not suppose however that be bears her any ill will but wishes to join in kind love and good wishes to all, with George and myself, in which Mary and Edward, as we know must of them are especially included, and beg you to believe me my dear brother and sister,
Your ever affectionate
Mary Anne Wyett.
Mary Anne Wyett's letter has been visited
times since 10 June 2002
Known descendants of Mary Anne Wyett
26:7 Mary Anne Hull, b 23 Feb 1797, d 16 Feb 1863, Oberlin, Ohio, m George Philip Wyett, b c 1790 of Eltham, d Oct 1876, Oberlin, Ohio. Both were buried at Westwood Cemetery, Oberlin. "Painful circumstances and scenes" caused the family to migrate to Monroe, Michigan, America, in 1834 and thence to Oberlin, Ohio. Wyett was initially a farmer then book-keeper, suffering severe hardships.
27:1 Frederick Wyett, b c. 1823, theological student and teacher, d c 1843.
27:2 Margaret G. Wyett, b 14 Dec 1824 in London, d 16 Apr 1861, Oberlin, m 25 Apr 1850, at Oberlin, Charles Henry Penfield, b 7 Jan 1826, d 11 May 1891. 2nd son of Anson Penfield and Marrian (?) Dayton. He m2 Sarah Dutton. Margaret Wyett was an Assistant in the Women's Department at Oberlin, 1846-7. Penfield obtained his AB in 1847 and AM in 1850, from Oberlin, becoming Professor of Latin, Hebrew and Greek at Oberlin College, 1855-1870. His grandfather was Ebenezer Penfield, son of Peter Penfield. They were pioneers in Ohio, arriving in Connecticut in c 1700.
28:1 Anna Josephine Penfield, b  13 Feb 1852, Oberlin, d 13 Nov 1944.
28:2 Frederick Thornton Penfield, b 2 Oct 1853, Oberlin.
29:1 George Penfield.
29:2 Helen Penfield.
29:3 Thornton Penfield.
28:3 Mary Alice Penfield, b 4 Jul 1856, Oberlin, d.... , m 23  Aug 1877, Cleveland, Ohio, Revd William Scott Ament.
The following is a barely edited version of material from the internet:
Revd William Scott Ament (1851-1909) was son of Owosso pioneers, who settled in Shiawassee County, Michigan in 1840, even had a street named for them: Ament Street. Rev. Ament was born and raised in Owosso and graduated from Andover Seminary in New York with a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1877. He married Mary Alice Penfield of Ohio.
He gained fame as a missionary in China during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. His heroic defense and and rescue of missionaries and native Christians from Tung Chow, near Peking, brought him national acclaim. Tung Chow was surrounded by howling Boxers, threatening the outnumbered missionaries by 50 to 1.
There was no help to be had from Peking, so the Rev. Ament gathered about a dozen carts with mules and drivers and under his personal escourt, proceeded to Peking and safety with the missionaries and Christians in his care.
"It was as if the flaming sword of an angel had guarded them on their way, for no sooner were they out of Tung Chow than the fury of the mob broke loose and both college and mission homes were quickly laid in ruins," wrote one observer.
Henry D. Porter, authored a book "William Scott Ament, Missionary of the American Board in China" (1911).
A New York paper published a scathing attack on Ament, purporting that he extorted money from the Chinese villagers in order to free the missionaries. In 1901, several Detroit pastors defended Rev. Ament in newspaper articles there.
Earlier, in 1885, Ament, as pastor of the local First Congregational Church at Owosso, incurred the wrath of the local council with an article, "Owosso, Morally Considered", in which he noted there were "saloons - a prevalence of harlotry - and infamous women": "Fourteen saloons furnish more school rooms and teachers of vice than the city can furnish for purposes of useful instruction," he wrote. "Of pool rooms there are enough...small boys puffing big cigars can be seen at most any hour of the day..."
"Not only do these displays indicate the moral character of the city, but much more does the prevalence of harlotry. This is something which should cause every citizen's check to burn with shame. Yet to the eternal disgrace of this city, infamous women can be seen in open day, and by night they infest the streets...." The council responded with a resolution adopted, 6 to 1 on Sept. 7, 1885: "Whereas a certain evil disposed article written by the Rev. W.S. Ament and published in the Owosso Times September 4, 1885, entitled 'Owosso, Morally Considered', is erroneous in every particular and has been widely circulated with a tendency to cast opprobrium upon the fame and fair name of our city and it is a positive fact that Owosso is one of the most moral manufacturing towns of its size in the United States..."
When Rev. Ament died in San Francisco in 1909, his body was returned to Owosso by his wife and buried here from the First Congregational Church. A week after the funeral, memorial services were held for him both here and throughout the country as well as in China.
29:1 William Sheffield Ament, b 1887, Medina, Ohio, d 1951, m Lillian Elenor Hill from Berlin Heights, Ohia. She graduated from Oberlin Conservatory (piano and organ). William Sheffield Ament lived from the age of 3 through 11 in China, then attending schools in the U.S. including Oberlin, where he graduated. He taught at Pomona College and was on the original faculty of Scripps College in Claremont, California. He served as acting President of Scripps and the Claremont Colleges.
The "Ament Scholars Award" was established by alumnae of the classes of 1931 through 1947 in memory of William Sheffield Ament, professor of English and a member of the original faculty of Scripps College. The award is given each year to a junior who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship in the humanities. The award is not a cash prize, but is credited toward the student's tuition.
30:1 William Sterling Ament, d 1970s, a physicist with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, who contributed to the discovery of sonar.
30:2 Richard Penfield Ament, a retired meteorologist and statistician, living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
30:3 Emily Starr Ament, b c. 1923, m Philip Starr.
29:2 Margaret Ament, d in infancy in China.
29:3 Philip Ament, d in infancy in China.
29:4 Emily Hammond Ament, b China, d aged 8.
28:4 Emma Henrietta Penfield, b 8 May 1858.
28:5 Edith M. Penfield, daughter of Sarah nee Dutton, d Claremont, 1940s.
27:3 Ernest Wyett, b c. 1827, d c 1839.
27:4 Charles E. Wyett, b 1830. d from war injuries on 27 Nov 1863
27:5 "Anna" Georgianne M. Wyett b c. 1834, England. She was deaf. There is an obituary for Anna M. Wyett, 9 Sep 1902. Emily Starr tells that she taught drawing and painting at Oberlin, 1855-1887.
Extracts from a "History of the Peter Family of Kirkland, Fife, and their known descendants in South Africa, the United States of America and Canada" - compiled by David Morris, Kimberley, South Africa.
My late father, H. Roger Morris, had not yet traced "the origins" of this family - as he put it - when he revised its known genealogy in June 1992.1 The name was said originally to have been Petre (according to family legend). There were known to be connections between the Peter, Tandy and Bellingham families, while a link with the Lindsays of Balcarres was spoken of by some descendants. Deductions in this connection, since revised, were made.1
Our knowledge of our Peter and Tandy forebears and extended family has been somewhat extended since then. Details concerning Henrietta Tandy (who married James Peter of Kirkland House, Fife) and her forebears (including the Bellinghams of Castle Bellingham), and collateral relatives, are given in a history of the Tandy family in Ireland.9
The quest for Peter family roots and history has been punctuated by not a few thrilling moments of (often chance) discovery. Following clue upon clue led to the excitement in May-June 1998 of receiving letters from Heather Christopher and Ken and Velma Peter, cousins in Canada, almost exactly a century after the then last known contact between the South African and Canadian branches of Peter family descendants (some indication of subsequent contact has since come to light). Correspondence with them and their families (including an initial fax out of the blue from Brian Peter, then in Uganda!) is adding immeasurably to this documentation.
Since then, an internet discussion forum yielded a note from a descendant of George Anderson Peter in the USA (our cousin Judy Peter and her family in California). We have since jointly corresponded with our cousin Linda and husband John Hendrikson in North Dakota - who possess a copy of Dora/Jessie Christopher's immensely valuable "Peter Family Tree".304 And through that document we have contact with descendants of Eliza Aytoun Grant: Joan Litster, her daughter Lorraine and son-in-law Al Kemp; and with Norma Sealey, a descendant of "Maynan" Carmichael, who has another copy of the Dora/Jessie Christopher history.
A little headway has been made towards tracing possible descendants in Australia and New Zealand.
I acknowledge particularly the early input of Lorna Newcombe in Cape Town, Mary Cameron and Derek Johnstone in Fife, Anne Lehmkuhl in Canada, Claudia Cole in British Columbia, Ardis Parshall in the USA and Ross McClean in Australia. One of the most fruitful breakthroughs occurred while in a hospital bed in 1996 - spotting a note on Wemyss in a Scottish magazine lent by Fiona Barbour, which led to my making contact with Mary Cameron and in a sense setting all of the Peter quest back in motion: so thanks also to Fiona!
More recently, Brian Peter (who visited Leven and Kirkland on the strength of an earlier draft of this history) and his aunt Sandra Kennedy, as well as Heather Christopher and Ken and Velma Peter, in Canada, have sent valuable additional information. Ruth Broad, while not connected with the Peters, has sent information from South Australia on John Peter and his wife and children.
It was also indirectly through Brian Peter that contact was made with Mr Ian Keenleyside, of Leven, to whom I am indebted for his copious notes particularly with regard to the Peter family's pioneering role in the history of golf in the Levenmouth area.
Through some of the sources found by Brian Peter in Leven - including those, evidently, used by Mary Cameron - we read of the layers of legend and, indeed, of myth that grew up around Kirkland, the Peters, and their oft remarked-upon connection with Napper Tandy: "however tangled the web," wrote William Reid, "the warp of Napper Tandy adds romantic colouring to this story".183 (See Judy Peter's submission to the Tandy Genforum for further family legend on Tandy279). In his altogether more cautious account of the Peter family and their role in the founding and history of the Leven Curling Club, the late Dr George Riddell said "the Peter family...the first of our notable families, is perhaps the most fascinating and attractive. Certainly it is the most poorly documented in local history. The family occupied a position of considerable importance and eminence in the district during the first 75 years of the nineteenth century. Local history of the family is an extraordinary mixture of a minimum of fact and a great deal of very attractive but poorly substantiated legend and folklore."184 Riddell devotes several pages of his book to a careful sifting of what evidence he could find. "In particular," he writes, "almost nothing is known of what became of a remarkable family following the catastrophic decline in the business due to changing demand and increasing foreign competition from 1875. I have thought it right to put on record what I have been able to find out".184
It is my hope that this account of the Peter family establishes and assembles more of the facts and provides some consideration of the legends and the folklore. It does, moreover, trace the fortunes of some branches of the family as it went out from Kirkland to the far corners of empire in the course of the nineteenth century.
Cameron10,77,321 and Reid183 both follow local lore in stating that the Peter family of Kirkland was of Cornish extraction, and originally named Poitre10 or Peitre77, emigrs of Lille, Burgundy, France. Lille was noted for its textile industries including the spinning of flax and the weaving of products such as cloth, table linen and damask. In Cornwall, the story goes, the family were staunch Roman Catholics. A son converted to Protestantism, and was disowned. Left a sum of money, he was made to change his name and leave the family home.10 "The said Peter, through previous connections in the textile trade between Dundee and the Low Countries, found his way to Dundee".77
Keenleyside mentions that Dundee and Angus north of the River Tay "were very strong in Jute manufacture; the valley of the River Leven had, prior to industrialisation, as its main craft occupations, flax spinning and hand loom linen weaving".218
An alternative version has the Peter family being of Huguenot origin,184 a possibility that cannot be discounted. Riddell refers to the fact that "the family, as we know them, were quite certainly Episcopalians, and had links with mainland Europe, especially France, although whether these links derived from ancestry or from business is not clear."184 However, Reid's speculation about a Huguenot connection for "Tandy", and his ingenious explanation for "Napper",183 have no basis in fact whatsoever.
There were Peters in Fife from at least 17072 but whether or not these relate to our family is presently unknown. In the late twentieth century the surname was "not uncommon in Fife, especially in the Levenmouth area" - but, as Riddell also observes, "it seems unlikely that any direct descendants, at any rate on the male side of the family, now live in the area."184
24:1 John Peter, b 1738 336 [25 Mar 1738, Fife317,319], d 15 Nov 1813 at Dundee,143,336 is the earliest individual presently identified in our lineage. He m pre 1773 at Dundee, Mary Hog,78 b 1734, d 29 May 1794 at Dundee.143 A flat stone was placed on their grave at Dundee's Howff Cemetery, plot 695, by James and John Peter in memory of their mother and father.143
Dora Christopher's "Peter Family Tree" gives the name of his wife as "Miss Spence".304
A legend passed down in Eliza Aytoun Grant's family is that John Peter was said to be descended from the Irish King Brian Boru.317
A bracelet made from John Peter's wife's hair is in the possession of Joan Litster in Canada.317
[24:? James Peter. m Isabel/Isobell Wallace.2,]????164 Ian Keenleyside wonders if these were the golfing Wallaces.218 It appears that this is a different Peter family, however.
25:1. James Peter. b 177378 [but Dora Christopher's "Peter Family Tree" suggests that James was younger than his brother John304] at Dundee,10,12 Forfarshire,10baptised at Dundee, 1773,78 d 27 Nov 1833 at Kirkland.143 [Inscription on obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery143]. There is mention of brothers John and Henry Peter,10 but the context suggests the latter was more likely James Peter's son Henry Tandy Peter. James Peter m 20 May 1804, in the Parish of Wemyss,14 [28 May 1804, Dundee?78,184,217] Henrietta Tandy9,14 daughter of Henry Tandy and Anna Maria nee Braddell of Charlemont Street, Dublin, b 1781.143 [Inscription on obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery143]. She was a first cousin once removed of General James Napper Tandy, United Irishman - NOT a daughter of James Napper Tandy as is often asserted..
A possible Tandy link with the textile industry in Dundee and/or Fife needs to be investigated, given not only the legend recorded by Reid (that a Tandy may somehow have been linked with Neilson, Greenhill and Co),183,184,195 but also the fact that two Tandy sisters from Dublin married here: Henrietta Tandy to James Peter (1804), and Mary Lamphier Tandy to Paterson Saunders at Dundee (1806).9
One source suggests that James Peter who had been living in Dundee moved in 1790 to the Kirkland Mill, known as Messrs Neilson, Greenhill and Company,10 but given that he would then have been only 17 years old it is unlikely he went as "manager of the mill".10 A different version, more generally accepted, suggests that James Peter purchased the "modest spinning and weaving business" in 1800, and was later joined by his brother, John.184 The firm's name of Neilson & Co was kept up until after 1836. (A tantalising clue to a link between the Peters and Neilsons is to be found in Dora Christopher's "Peter Family Tree" which states that James's brother's first wife was a Miss Neilson - but this is in conflict with other evidence. While Dora Christopher may have been mistaken, chances are that there was such a marriage somewhere between the families304). Neilson & Co at Kirkland had originated when it took over a water-driven power wheel on the River Leven in 1785. Previously the water-engine served the Laird of Wemyss' colliery, the Fife Coal Company.226 One of the supports of the great wheel had snapped and while the Laird assessed his options Messrs Neilson, Greenhill and Co appeared with a proposal to erect a spinning mill. Colliery operations ceased, and a large - and in many respects progressive - spinning work arose here, utilising the River Leven for motive power.21
Reviewing parish history, Cunningham states that "having established a great spinning business in linen and cotton yarns, [Neilson, Greenhill & Co] turned their attention to the manufacture of linen, and fitted up hand-looms...and commenced the manufacture of sail-cloth. The firm did not stop at sail-cloth. Accepting Dunfermline as the model, the enterprising manufacturers of Kirkland imitated the city, and commenced the manufacture of damask."21 Riddell states that "the firm [was] at one time supplying the bulk of the sail cloth required by the British Navy."90,184
Having acquired Neilson & Co in about 1800, James Peter was joined by his brother John,10,21,184 with an expanding partnership, in time, including father and son Henry Vigne and Henry Thomas Vigne, brokers of London. Henry Thomas Vigne - who married Anna Maria Peter in Aug 1826 - lived at Kirkland from 1825 to 1834. The Vignes probably conducted business with Neilson & Co for a time preceding the institution of partnership. Cameron refers to a brother of James and John Peter, namely Henry Peter,10 but this is probably James's son Henry Tandy Peter who became a partner with his uncle John after his father's death.
"In 1794 about 300 hands were employed about the works, and the company then imported flax direct from Russia to the harbour of Methil."21 In 1803, it is interesting to note, Scotland's exports in textiles - cotton and linen - amounted to 64 % of her total export trade.183 "A considerable extension was carried through in 1809, and in January 1810 the works were lit up with gas. This was the first introduction of gas into any spinning mill in Scotland."21
Cunningham cites the Leven poet Rankine who, writing in 1812, says:21
Nor can the philanthropic muse
Pass Kirkland heedless by,
Where elegance combines with use
T' arrest the traveller's eye.
Within the spacious, lofty dome,
Where wheels unnumbered play,
The brilliant gas dispels the gloom,
And night surpasses day.
On 7 Oct 1814 the partners in the Kirkland Works were James Peter (Kirkland), John Drummond, John Peter (Dundee), John Baxter (Dundee), John Collier (Dundee) and James Aytoun Snr, Petersborough.336
Cunningham reports that in 1836 a considerable workforce was engaged at Kirkland: 109 persons in flax-dressing, 283 at the spinning mill, 48 in the bleaching department, and 241 at cloth manufacturing - 681 in all.21 The annual consumption of flax and hemp amounted to 1000 tons; yearly wages amounted to 17 000 Pounds. The firm additionally had looms in every village in the district for the manufacture of sail-cloth and damask. Cunningham cites the Revd John McLauchlan, who gives a glimpse of Kirkland in 1836:21
The work is a model one. As far as the health and morals of the people are concerned, it is conducted in the best possible manner. It is not only the wish of the proprietors that the work-people's children should be properly educated, but they are really and truly so in all the common branches; and particular attention is also paid to their instruction in the great principles of Christianity by a well-qualified and efficient teacher. Fewer applications have come for parochial relief from people employed at this work than from any other quarter of the parish.
If the work was a model one in 1836, this puts a gloss on the intervening period: in fact it had been anything but plain sailing, let alone prosperity, during the previous decade.
In about December 1825 Henry Thomas Vigne - whose father headed a London brokerage - entered, with Messrs James and John Peter, a partnership in "Trade and Business" - but not in the "Plant, Premises and Works" - at Neilson & Co, Kirkland.93,95 Marrying James Peter's eldest daughter, Anna Maria, the following year, Henry Thomas Vigne was invited to become a partner on the same footing as James and John Peter95 - but he appears to have declined, and in fact in March 1833 gave notice to retire at the end of February the following year.102 The business seems to have gone through hard times from the late 1820s, when additionally a dispute arose between the partners over liabilities for upgrading machinery.88-96* "It is in the nature of our business, and indeed every business depending on machinery," James Peter wrote to Henry Vigne of London, "to be in a constant state of change; and unless we adopt what we see to be an evident improvement, by renewing our machinery, we cannot keep up with our rivals in trade".90 This was in 1829, when the dispute arose. Henry Thomas Vigne had commented that "a great deal of the machinery is very old".88 What was proposed - and in fact carried out - was the replacement of the old water wheel with a new one. This would provide more power "for the purpose of driving additional machinery", including six new machines for spreading flax, saving the "labour of 21 hands or workers".90 Spinning frames were repaired: "the frames, when I became a partner, were old and worthless things - by the repairs that have been made on them they have been rendered as good as new ones",96 Henry Thomas Vigne remarked.
But the firm was well into a fourth year "of the most extraordinary manufacturing and mercantile stagnation" that James Peter had ever experienced.90 At some time previous to this James and John Peter had invested in substantial capital expansion. A note recorded by Mary Litster indicates: "Tuesday, 22 July 1828 - the first damask loom was set agoing at Kirkland"336 - perhaps this was the expansion in question. However, looking back, James Peter writes that:
"Could my brother and I have foreseen the change that immediately followed the extension of the works, be assured we would have hesitated before laying out so much of our property, and I am sure none have had more cause to regret it than I have. I am convinced, however, that had we not done so, bad as business has been, it would have been to us much worse; we should neither have been able to have taken advantage of the large Navy orders that we have completed with so much credit, nor to have supplied the quantity of Crown goods which have been required; of course we should have been much worse off in point of profit, tho' certainly not so crippled in funds, which has been greatly increased by an accumulation of the manufactured article - this outlay however, we would not have felt, had business continued prosperous."
The dispute over the new water-wheel had arisen over the degree to which Henry Thomas Vigne, as partner in Trade and Business, was liable to a share of the costs relating to Plant, Premises and Works - and while it appears that Henry Thomas Vigne was in agreement with many of James Peter's proposals, including the wish that he become a full partner in the concern, his father, Henry Vigne, was hard and stubborn and was the man who pulled the purse strings. The squabble turned on the interpretation of the original agreement of partnership, and Henry Vigne senior declared that:
"In passing through life I have made many improvident and bad bargains, but have always thought it necessary to adhere to them strictly. I do not believe that any arrangement of the sort ever takes place in which the interests of all parties are so exactly balanced that neither party has an advantage. I can only say that if a percentage had been fixed which experience proved too large, I should not have thought myself at liberty to request a reduction, nor do I believe the Messrs Peter would have volunteered it."97
"As to your becoming a partner in the machinery, I cannot give my consent".99
The dispute was to be settled by arbitration, preferably by one acquainted with the spinning business: James Peter felt "a lawyer I should consider as most improper, for I have found by experience that he may be defined as a 'person who abhors a settlement of any business that shall ever come within his grasp'"!94 It appears that at some point after June 1830 the matter was resolved.
In 1831 Neilson and Co were still struggling: "we require every sixpence we can scrape together" Henry Thomas Vigne wrote to a partner, probably John Peter.101
On 1 March 1833 Henry Thomas Vigne gave notice of his intention to retire from the partnership on 28 February 1834. Sadly, however, James Peter's illness and death intervened, making decisions in this connection altogether more difficult. In October 1833 Henry Thomas wrote home to his father that:
"I am truly grieved to say Mr Peter is gradually dying. The physicians told me today - in probability he would live about six weeks, unless inflammation or some unseen cause terminated his existence earlier. As he has so repeatedly urged me to remain in this place - for the sake of his family - and his family having done the same thing - I have agreed to write to you about it...You may perhaps blame me for even agreeing to consult you. But had you seen Anna's and all their unhappiness, you would not have resisted so well as I have".103
James Peter died on 27 Nov 1833.143
Exacerbating matters, Henry Thomas Vigne reported that "a great dislike has insisted itself between the families - his brother's I mean - and his - for some time - but as to this I shall write to you again".103
No explanation of this "great dislike" appears to have survived, but it is possible that disagreements of a political nature had arisen. In May 1831 Henry Thomas Vigne wrote to his father mentioning a "check...which our political meetings have received...from a speech of Capt Wemyss in the House of Commons - saying 'that on his estate a manufacturer had taken his workpeople into his counting house, and made them sign the Petition for Parliamentary reform' 'and this is the way petitions are got up' - and our friend [possibly John Peter senior] who is not the least prone to anger - [well may?] I know - got red hot at this - nor was he at all cooled by being reminded - by me - that I advised him from the beginning to have nothing to do with public meetings - for in the first place I thought it wrong to use even as much influence as he did - and that if Capt Wemyss heard of it he would very certainly take notice of it - besides anything I could say about stirring up the people in a public work - being wrong - was not thought so by him. I rather think he repents of it now. He had a great deal of correspondence with Capt Wemyss who refuses to contradict anything he has said. And after all this, to publish that would-be- admonitory letter to Capt Wemyss I conceive was worse than foolish. There is no such want of delicacy about the whole transaction that I, for one, am quite ashamed of it - and have done and will do everything in my power to prevent the same thing occurring again."101
We learn nothing further of the changing fortunes of the Kirkland Mill from Vigne family papers, except that members of the Peter family were still there - and corresponding with Vigne descendants in South Africa - in the early twentieth century.
But if the firm was not exactly prospering, the momentum from earlier successes was evidently of sufficient magnitude, in 1836, to earn the praises given by Cunningham and the Revd John MacLauchlan cited above. Indeed, there may have been something of a come-back in the course of the decade. The population statistics for the area tell their own tale of economic rise and decline: from 1771 to 1831 the combined population of Methil, Kirkland and Inner Leven rose from 705 to 1112, growing a little further to 1165 in 1841, but dropping back to 1073 a decade later.185
The period 1848 to 1856 - yet another critical one for the textile industry in terms of technological transformation - was, it is claimed, "got over wonderfully well" at Kirkland.21 "The hand loom gave place to the power loom on the banks of the Leven in 1857; and during the sixties, when starching warps were being turned out for Kirkcaldy Linoleum Works, and other departments were in full operation, as many as 800 hands must have been employed at Kirkland."21 Board of Trade returns for 1857 confirm this figure.183
Yet, in 1856, the traveller Barbieri, visiting Methil, painted a gloomy picture of decay - that despite having one of the better harbours on the Forth, many of the town's buildings were "in ruins" and its trade was "nearly gone". "It seems to be the shrivelled up skeleton of a once important place".185 Probably, Kirkland was the only major employer in the area at this period, other spheres of industry being dormant. Once again the hard statistics point to steady and, for the firm, ultimately catastrophic, decline: the population of Kirkland itself dropped off from 448 to 297 in the twenty years ending in 1881. All was not well. The Kirkland Mill went bankrupt in 1882.185
In 1887 it was proposed to convert the Kirkland buildings into a paper mill, with better export facilities following improvement of the Methil Docks. This failed, however, and the buildings lay empty for several years. In 1896 they became the works of the Scottish Cyanide Company, until it went into liquidation in 1905. From 1909 they housed the National Steel Foundry.185 The chimney stack, presumably dating from the conversion to [steam] power loom in 1857, was demolished in 1911.77 A modern town of Methil mushroomed in the 1880s and 1890s with the coming of the railway and the revival of coal mining, but in the twentieth century its fortunes waxed and (mostly) waned.185 Brian Peter visited the Kirkland site in December 1998 - "basically vacant industrial land now, though a few large trees on the site look as though they may have been around during the time of Kirkland's heyday".176 Ian Keenleyside states "the spinning mill at Kirkland Works is now the site of a small metal casting foundry. Som of the buildings on the site today certainly look as if hey go back to beyond the turn of the century".218 The only surviving landmarks were the "old weir on the River Leven and Kirkland footbridge (a newer bridge has been built but apparently is virtually identical to the old one)".176
Kirkland House - which remained in the Peter family until 1931 when Miss Fa Peter died10 - was built by James Peter "and a relative", according to Cameron, around the beginning of the 19th century. Reid suggests that that "relative" was Napper Tandy, which cannot be so.9,184 From this house, notes Cameron, the Peter family would occupy a position of influence "for generations".10 Several authors have remarked on the nature of this influence, not least because the Peters were "operating for a period of sixty years from 1810 the largest manufacturing industrial complex in the locality with hundreds of employees".184 Reid suggests that "what is factual in this history...is the contribution to success and social reform shown by the Peter family over approximately 100 years, in their management of Kirkland Mill and their personal interest in the conditions of their workers".183
Cameron refers to domestic servants who looked after the house and family. Built in a secluded locale hedged in by trees, it was a favourite picnic spot for local Sunday Schools and the public at large, before it was demolished.10 There was a curling pond (used by the Leven Curling Club, established in 1839 with Peter family members amongst the founders184) which served as recreational facilities for workers and their families. Other attractions included the Kirkland Bridge, ideal for fishermen or families wanting a quiet and scenic picnic spot.10,86 "The mill workers were treated to excursions at the summer holidays and would proceed to various destinations headed by the Kirkland Mill Brass Band."77 A small village grew up around the mill and a school and reading room were established.77 Indeed, the Kirkland Industrial School was, as Paul Murray has written, "the first school in the Methil area, opened by the Peter family early in the nineteenth century".185 By 1875 it was too small for the community and was replaced by a new school at Crossroads.185 A Kirkland branch of the Leven Co-Operative Society was photographed in 1907, in a building that was evidently part of the old Kirkland Works.185
Cameron and Johnstone also record that the mill had in its heyday its own fire engine which was used in emergencies in the area.77
The house itself, comments Cameron, attracted much attention and numerous visitors - "for many reasons". "The spirit of progress that had been shown by the Peter family in the organisation of the Kirkland Mills was also shown in Kirkland House". Cameron and Eric Eunson both state that it was not only the first house in Scotland to be illuminated with gas, but is reputed to have been the first house in Fife to have an indoor bathroom.10,186 "These two things were considered to be luxuries and people travelled from far and near to witness them".10
At the entrance to the estate was a Lodge House, home of the caretaker of the estate. In 1851 Kirkland House (home then of John Peter sen) was described as "a central focus for Kirkland Village, around which four big houses clustered."22 The first of these was then occupied by Henry Tandy Peter, his brothers James and Henry Thomas, and two sisters Mary and Jane.22 The second was the school master's; the third, the manager's. Several photographs and paintings of Kirkland House and what are probably two of the "cottages" are preserved by descendants in South Africa188,189,190,191,192,193,194 and Canada.179 "The Hall, Kirkland House" is a photograph taken in Oct 1913 and sent to the family in South Africa by Fa Peter.188Exterior views of Kirkland House include two post cards and a photograph (with family group), taken probably in the first decade of the twentieth century.189,190,191[One of these190 appears in Eric Eunson's book and is estimated to date to 1902186]. Two identical oil paintings show similar front views.192,193 The building in the oil painting in Canada is not easily identified but is clearly of the same style as the others - and could either be an early wing of a subsequently expanded Kirkland House, or perhaps one of the cottages.179 Yet another building, again in similar style, is a water colour, and inscribed "The Old Manor House, Kirkland, Fifeshire, in 1870".194 It is addressed "To the Misses Vigne, Tyger Hook (sic), Cape of Good Hope, from Mary and Jane Peter".194
Kirkland House was demolished about 1940.186 Cameron and Johnstone record that "a local West Wemyss villager told us that when they demolished Kirkland House some of the stone was taken to Wemyss Castle to repair it."77 Ian Keenleyside, writing in Mar 1999, says "I walked over the site of Kirkland House the other day. Not one piece of evidence of it ever having existed remains!"218
Another of the Kirkland attractions noted by Cameron was a life sized statue of Napoleon that stood in the garden.10,26,321 She links its existence directly with Henrietta Peter (nee Tandy), a first cousin once removed of the United Irishman, a Jacobin and French General, James Napper Tandy (although in her account, as in those of Riddell184 and Reid,183 she erroneously has it that he was Henrietta's father). From what appears to have been an account contemporary with Frances Peter's death in 1931,10 this statue is described as showing Napoleon "with arms akimbo, knees bent, and a look of stern triumph on his face".26,321 According to Cameron, Napper Tandy had been given by Napoleon a jewelled sword, now in the British Museum.26,196 The story goes that Henrietta Peter had the statue erected at Kirkland House as a mark of gratitude to Napoleon, who secured Napper Tandy's reprieve from a charge of High Treason, as part of the Treaty of Amiens. Tandy lived his last days in exile at Bordeaux, where he died in 1804.9 (A fuller account of James Napper Tandy is given in "Towards a history of the Tandy family in Ireland"9). The statue was dated 1831 - but notwithstanding the above story, it is not certain who commissioned the execution of this work.77 Subsequently the statue was moved to "a remote and hidden corner of the gardens",184 allegedly because Henry Tandy Peter's young bride, Annette Martha Drachenhauer of Livonia, loathed the idea of Napoleon sternly gazing up at her through her window at Kirkland House. Annette Peter died in childbirth in October 1837.71 "That the statue was ... moved at some point is certain," comments Riddell, but he wonders whether Annette Peter's mother- in-law would have countenanced its banishment during her life (she died in 1841). After Fa Peter's death in 1931, the statue came into the possession of a Mr W. Ballingall of Coaltown of Balgonie. No place could be found to store it, however, until a temporary home was found, through a Miss Forsyth, outfitters of Methil, in the sculptor's yard of Mr Thompson of Leven. It was later bought and, in 1997, is said to be "somewhere in Newcastle."77 Attempts to locate it in Newcastle (by way of letters to local newspapers and the Family Tree Magazine) have, thus far, failed.197
The legendary family association with James Napper Tandy is recorded by Riddell and others.184,279 We now know that Henrietta Tandy, who married James Peter, was a daughter not of Napper Tandy but of his first cousin Henry Tandy of Charlemont Street, Dublin (whose wife was widowed early). It is interesting that stories passed down in the family in South Africa also support some kind of fairly strong bond or association with their maverick Tandy cousin. The details remain elusive and warrant further enquiry.
Cameron records that "Kirkland House was surrounded by trees and through local recollection we know it had an orchard and a terraced garden...that always had a beautiful display of flowers."10 In 1918 there were lawns which Jamie Peter refers to in a letter: "they cut all my lawns here with a machine, they are large and no easy work..."81 His sister Fa Peter, the last of the Peters to live at Kirkland, was particularly fond of her garden. "Fa is much engaged in the garden when not too cold."81 In 1927 a bad summer with rain and storms resulted in a bad crop, as Fa reports in a letter from "The Schoolroom, Kirkland House", to her cousin: "all the apples, plums, etc quite a failure, a great loss to me, especially the apples, as I use so many in the winter...I have some fine crops of peas, beans and potatoes, however, in spite of weather. I had some lovely flowers. My sweet peas are specially fine, but the rain destroys them very much; the delphiniums were beautiful...and there were also some lovely roses growing all through the wilderness."85
[It is possible that the apple trees and rose bushes brought out to Tyger Hoek, South Africa, were from the Kirkland gardens].
The family also kept a number of pets, both dogs (including a kennel of Pekingese) and cats.85,227 Horses, obviously, featured in the nineteenth century lives of those at Kirkland, and Henry Thomas Vigne makes several references to riding and hunting - or the lack of it - in his letters. In Jan 1828 he writes: "I received a message from Capt Wemyss the other day, saying I might shoot over his estate, which I say makes him a Gentleman, if he was not one before. I have been very little out this year and only once or twice with the Fox Hounds. In fact we have had such bad weather - the ground is now covered with snow. However, in the spring I shall go out oftener. I have been trying very hard to shoot an otter, which lives in our river, but cannot succeed."231 In 1833 he writes home that "I am so much occupied - I have scarcely been on horseback this year - or out to shoot. Tell Felix [Vigne] to write me about his horse...".235 The following year he writes of how "Lady Emma Wemyss has been very kind indeed to both Anna and [little Missy - presumably Henrietta Mary Vigne, who was "very poorly indeed" and in fact died three days after the letter was written] in sending fruit and vegetables. She told me today Capt Wemyss thinks my horse the best broken in horse he ever rode - he was rough enough when I had him first."250 Later that year, having left Kirkland and living for a time amongst the hills at Dunkeld, he tells of how "I enjoy this place very much indeed - such very beautiful scenery. I am out nearly all day, and Anna rides a grey pony I got for her - while I shoot or walk. I have plenty of roe deer on my place - but it is very difficult to get at them. The mornings are so fine - I go out about 5 o'clock and sometimes earlier".239Jane Peppard Peter wrote to her Vigne brother-in-law in 1838 - he was by then back in London - enquiring, "Have you still your little young horse that was from here? And has it grown a pretty one? Your old mare I still see going in the park behind the New Town. She puts me in mind of old days, I stand and look at her, poor old beast, her best days are over. I have still my Goldy you gave me, quite well and looking very pretty just now, he has attained an old age. I forget how long ago it was since I got him."248
The Peter family played a leading role in local golfing and curling history.184 James Peter was one of fifteen founder members, in 1820,219 of the Inner Leven Golfing Society - its original name - and he was elected captain of the society in 1826.219The I.G.S. was the 12th oldest golf club in the world.219 The club no longer exists as a separate entity, having amalgamated with the Leven Golf Club in 1957 "because it had become moribund and no longer viable"; however the amalgamated club, the Leven Golfing Society still occupies the original club house built specifically for the I.G.S. in 1894.219 The society originally played - until 1869 - on a stretch of links immediately west of the River Leven, known as Dubbieside. Industrial development led to the golfers decamping to play on Leven Links, a stretch of coastline east of the town, still in use today.219
Four of James Peter's sons featured prominently in the history of the club and of the game in that area, with John Peter, Henry Tandy Peter and Tom (Henry Thomas) Peter serving as captains in the years 1842, 1844 and 1851 respectively.10,219 Tom Peter later wrote a book, Golfing reminiscences by an old hand,21 and he and his brother James are credited with introducing locally the very latest golfing equipment and techniques (that they devised the "hand hammering of golf balls", as claimed by Cameron,10 is however an over-simplification218). In the entrance hall of Kirkland House, as seen in a photograph sent by Fa Peter to her cousin Edith McIntyre of Kimberley, South Africa, there hung a large engraving by Charles Wagstaffe of The Golfers: a grand match played over St Andrew's Links (1850) by Charles Lees.171,172A copy of this engraving hangs in the dining room at 22 Elsmere Rd, Kimberley, South Africa, today (1998).26
Riddell argues that for "the sporting gentlemen of the Inner Leven Golfing Society", frustration at the lack of golf in inclement weather doubtless persuaded them that "an alternative must be found. The Kirkland Pond offered an intriguing prospect". Thus there came into being, in 1839, the Leven Curling Club - which celebrated 150 years of existence in 1989.184 Indeed, Riddell suggests that "there can be little doubt that the founders [of the club] were playing the game before 1839 and it is more than probable that the Peter family...enjoyed skating and some form of curling on their Kirkland pond prior to this date".184 Of the Peter family, two were founder members of the club, three served as Presidents, and two as Patrons; they provided the curling pond; and no fewer than ten members of the family curled with the club in the first half century of its existence.184
Music featured prominently in the lives of at least some of the Peters - we have firm documentation of this for Henry Tandy Peter and his son Jamie [see below], and there is a reference to James Peter senior being "a concert pianist".317
The children probably were educated in part by tutors, but we have it from Henry Thomas Peter that he attended the Madras School in St Andrews.221 Mary Litster evidently had a family record of the children's illnesses as of 1 May 1814: "All had whooping cough: Anne Peter, Mary Peter, John Peter, Henry Peter, Jean Peter, James Peter".336
There is a Peter family memorial at the Methilhill cemetery. A view of the cemetery was sketched by James Peter's son-in-law, Henry Thomas Vigne, c.1820s. This silver-point drawing is in his scrapbook presently preserved in Kimberley, South Africa.*** There is also a photograph of the memorial in one of the family albums.***Brian Peter mentions, following a visit to Kirkland in 1998,176,177 that "most of the writing on the obelisk and surrounding wall is pretty much illegible, but it was still interesting to see and it is obvious that they must have been quite a prominent family at the time given the size of the monument".176
James Peter died on 27 Nov 1833143 [between 9 Nov and 24 Dec 1833.78,104,105] Henrietta Peter lived on until 14 Jul 1841.78,143 [Inscriptions on obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery143].
There were large portraits in oils of James and Henrietta Peter, circa 1820-1830, in the possession of Fa Peter, photographic (B&W) copies of which are preserved at 22 Elsmere Road Kimberley South Africa. Fa Peter added a description of one of the paintings for her cousin Edith McIntyre:74
White and flowered mob cap (rose over each of material).
Hair in curls very dark brown,
Black velvet dress, lace collar or fichu, fastened with small brooch, single stone with small pearls or beaded gold round it.
Velvet waist band, buckle in front.
Skirt full and high-waisted. Sleeves very full from shoulder, easy at wrist. Long fur boa.
White gloves, left one on hand and holding right.
Right hand ungloved with two rings on third finger, one ring on fourth finger, all stoned rings.
Right arm leaning on couch end. Seated on sable-lined cloak. Background crimson curtain. Couch crimson too.
James and Henrietta Peter had eight sons and four daughters. Riddell comments that "Henrietta Peter had a great proclivity for having her children baptised by eminent dignatories of the Episcopalian Church, preferably Bishops! [One can add that this proclivity - if it was such - was inherited by her daughter Anna Maria, several of whose children were baptised by the Bishop of Ross and Argyle - see below] As a result only one or two were baptised at Wemyss. The early children were all baptised in the English Chapel, Dundee [arguably this was in order to be near grandparents, and Henrietta's sister, Mrs Paterson Saunders], while later on Henrietta found the Bishop of Pittenweem and the younger children were baptised there. The arrangement whereby the parish of baptism notified the parish of residence was to say the least precarious. Fortunately James and Henrietta being eminent citizens, notification was passed to Wemyss Parish...although often up to two years after the event!"184
26:1. Anna Maria Peter. b 14 Apr 1805, Wemyss, Fife,24 baptised at the English Chapel, Dundee,78 m 8 Aug 1826 at Wemyss, Fife, Henry Thomas Vigne,25 son of Henry and Mary Anne Vigne - by the Rt Revd David Low, Bishop of Ross and Argyle. Anna Maria was evidently named after her grandmother Anna Maria Tandy, nee Braddell. Her youngest and favourite brother, Henry Thomas Peter, born 10 Aug 1825, may have been named after Henry Thomas Vigne. Henry Thomas Peter, in turn, had a daughter who was named Anna Vigne Peter. Anna Maria Vigne's death at Tyger Hoek, Cape of Good Hope on 18 Jun 1857 is recorded in an inscription on the Peter family obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery.143
The family in South Africa are descended from Anna Maria Vigne (nee Peter); while her brother Ned is known to have had two children (see below). These extracts do not proceed beyond generation 26 (except in the interesting case of Edward Alexander Peter who died while serving in the Japanese Navy - see below).
26:2. Mary Lamphier Peter, b 12 Jan 1806,304 baptised 9 Feb 1807, Dundee, Angus,28 baptised at the English Chapel, Dundee.78 Named after her aunt, Mary Lamphier Tandy.9 In 1851 she was living in one of the Kirkland Estate cottages along with her brothers Henry Tandy Peter, James, Henry Thomas and sister Jean.22 In 1881 she was living at the Manor House, Kirkland, having one Margaret Davidson, aged 19, from Scoonie, Fife, as her general domestic servant.327 Henry Thomas Peter's family had moved into the Manor House temporarily while Henry Thomas himself had gone off as an "American farmer" - the family emigrated soon after. Mary Lamphier Peter remained unmarried.61 She died Jun 1887.78,143 The inscription on the Peter family obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery gives the name, curiously, as "Landphier",143 and Dora Christopher spells it "Lanfer".304
26.3. John Peter. b 30 Jan 1808,143 baptised 18 Feb 1808, Dundee, Angus,29baptised at the English Chapel, Dundee.78 Possibly named after his grandfather or uncle John Peter. John died 4 Aug 1814,78,143 "water in the head":336 another son named John was christened in 1815.73 The inscription on the obelisk (plot 12 & 13) at Methilhill Cemetery reads "a child of most excellent disposition".143
The full inscription reads: "Beneath this marble are interred the remains of John Peter, child of most excellent disposition and graceful comeliness, was born on the 30th day of January in the year of Eternal Salvation 1808 and died on the 4th day of August 1814."320
26.4. Henry Tandy Peter. b 3 Aug 1809,143 baptised 26 Sep 1809, Dundee, Angus,30baptised at the English Chapel, Dundee.78 m1, 27 Jul 1836, Wemyss, Fife, [Ida143] Annette Martha Drachenhauer44 [this is the spelling in Henry Tandy Peter's hand71as well as on her grave at Methilhill Cemetery143], "a native of Livonia"71 Annette, an "amiable and interesting young lady", born in 1815,78 died in childbirth on 8 Oct 1837 [3 Oct?143] at Kirkland Works.71 Mourning, HTP wrote to his sister, Anna Maria Vigne - by now in London: "let the broken in heart drink of the water in Gilead, and rest their hopes on the Physician there."71 Plot 11 at Methilhill Cemetery includes an inscription to "Christopher Drachenhauer Esquire of Riga" - but no further details.143Possibly Annette's father? (It is known that the Kirkland Works imported flax from Russia21 - probably via Riga. It seems not unlikely that Drachenhauer was a business partner in this enterprise). In 1851 Henry Tandy Peter occupied one of the four cottages surrounding Kirkland House (home then of John Peter sen). Living with him were his brothers James and Henry Thomas, and two sisters Mary and Jane (Jean).22 Henry Tandy Peter m2 1 Aug 1854 at Wemyss, Fife, his cousin, Elizabeth Souter [Soutar143] Peter45,61 and she bore him four children. It is probable that HTP and his family moved into Kirkland House following the death of John Peter senior in 187******.184
In 1880/1 the family occupied Kirkland House: Henry Tandy Peter (71), Flax Spinner, and his wife Elizabeth Souter Peter (47), with Frances Elizabeth Peter (23), Charles Edward Peter (17), Engine Fitter, together with Caroline Brown Lindsay (21), a cousin, and their general domestic servant Ann Rutherford. Also living at Kirkland House were John Peter's widow Jessie Peter (85), widow of flax spinner, Alice Jane Peter, daughter (53), Martin Lindsay Peter (49), sheep farmer, South America, with servant Jemima Duff (28) and cook Jennet Bernard (42).327
Henry Tandy Peter's father, James Peter, was a founder of the Inner Leven Golfing Society, and elected captain in 1826. The four brothers featured prominently in the history of the club, with John Peter, Henry Tandy Peter and Tom (Henry Thomas) Peter serving as captains in the years 1842, 1844 and 1851 respectively.10,219
Henry Tandy Peter himself was a founder member of the Leven Curling Club in 1839 and provided the Kirkland pond for this purpose.184 Riddell suggests that the family probably curled here before 1839 - and that the idea of forming the club perhaps grew amongst local golfers frustrated when inclement weather prevented golfing. Henry Tandy Peter was elected President of the Leven Curling Club in 1843, was Representative Member for 20 years and a member for 47 years, being Honorary from 1873.184
Henry Tandy Peter was also a founding member and first president of the Leven Amateur Musical Association, which came into existence in October 1872. With a "reputation for excellence", the LAMA celebrated its 125th anniversary in March 1997. In 1872 "a bill was exhibited in Leven proclaiming: `It is proposed to form an amateur musical association and choral society in Leven to have for its object the practice of vocal music, particularly music of the higher class'. Led by the association's first president, Henry Tandy Peter, more than 50 local people joined. The first performance was the oratorio The Creation which was the beginning of a run of choral works that lasted 24 years. Not until 1897 was there a change from `higher class' music to `lighter' Gilbert and Sullivan when H.M.S. Pinafore was staged." Only during the war years of the twentieth century were productions halted.79
Henry Tandy Peter died 4 Feb 188578,143 [4 Feb 1886333]. Elizabeth Peter died 18 Nov 1912.75,143,333 [Inscriptions, plot 11, Methilhill Cemetery143]. Local newspapers marked her passing: "Funeral of Mrs Peter. Kirkland House. On Friday the remains of this venerable and esteemed lady were conveyed to St Margaret's Church, where service was conducted by the Revd C. Angell. The flower-covered coffin was then borne to the family burying ground at Methilhill, where lie the remains of generations of the family" She was "dear to all who knew the history of the church, which she had attended since its earliest beginning. He touched upon her remarkable personality. Noone could come into her presence without being impressed by her strength of character and perfect faith. It had been related to him that on one occasion a number of her friends were speaking of their religious difficulties whilst she sat quietly listening, and presently she said in her downright way: 'If we only had a little more faith.'"223 On Advent Sunday, 1 Dec 1912, Canon Harper preached "In Piam Memoriam" at St Margaret's and referring to Elizabeth Peter: "I have known her for a longer time than either of the others [recently departed]. For more than twenty years I have had the privilege of knowing her and counting her among my intimate friends. Her death is like removing an ancient landmark. She is one of the very few who could go back in memory and experience to the first beginnings of the church in this district. Her husband Henry Tandy Peter of Kirkland was one of our first managers, and a tower of strength to us in those days of struggle, when the congregation was gradually being gathered into a Mission. It was he, if I mistake not, who was the means of providing your beautiful silver plate for the Altar. I have once or twice seen more expensive vessels, because sometimes they are made of gold and set with jewells and precious stones. But leaving aside these exceptional cases, I have always thought that our communion plate here, the cruets, he chalices and patens are truly chaste and good and in keeping with the fine church and all its belongings....The deceased lady...had many friends and was much beloved. And though she was full of years when she fell asleep, yet she will be sorely missed and her memory will be kept green for many a year."223 Canon Harper refers to "a brief memorial as a tribute to [Mrs Peter]" in the parish magazine. It is not known if this has survived.
26:5. Jane/Jean Peppard Peter. b 3 Apr 1811,143,304 baptised 28 May 1811, Wemyss, Fife.31 Named after her aunt, Jean Peppard Tandy.9 In 1851 she was living in one of the Kirkland Estate cottages along with her brothers Henry Tandy Peter, James, Henry Thomas and sister Mary.22 She "died unmarried 1874".61,78 27 Jun 1874.143 [Inscription on Peter family obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery143].
26:6. James Peter, b 16 Feb 1813,304 Kirkland,336 baptised 1 Apr 1813, Wemyss, Fife.32 In 1851 he was living in one of the Kirkland Estate cottages along with his brothers Henry Tandy Peter and Henry Thomas Peter, and his sisters Mary and Jean.22 His father James Peter was a founder of the Innerleven Golf Club, and made captain in 1826. The four sons featured prominently in the history of the club. James Peter and Tom Peter are credited with having devised the hand hammering of golf balls.10 A "competent golfer" and winner of the Silver Medal of the Inner Leven Club in 1840,220 he also "exercised considerable ingenuity in trying to modify the gutta- percha ball, devising a technique for inserting lead shot in the centre of the ball which greatly improved its flight and performance".184 "Seemingly the only problem," Riddell adds, "was that after a few games with this ball the wooden headed clubs of the user began to disintegrate!"184 James Peter joined the Leven Curling Club at Kirkland in 1840 and remained a member until his death in 1852. He "died unmarried",61 aged only 39, on 17 Dec 1852.78,143 [Inscription on Peter family obelisk, plot 12/13, Methilhill Cemetery143].
26:7. John Peter, b 13 Jan 1815,304 baptised 17 Mar 1815, Wemyss, Fife.73 m 28 Apr 1845 at Denburne House, Kensington, South Australia, by the Revd R. Haining, Anne Dean, second daughter of Mr Benjamin Dean of Cock's Creek.61,280 "John PETER, Esq" was given as being of Oatlands290,291 [Oaklands280], Mount Barker, Adelaide, on the occasion of their marriage.280 His father James Peter was a founder of the Innerleven Golfing Society, and elected captain in 1826. John and his brothers featured prominently in the history of the club, he himself, with Henry Tandy Peter and Tom (Henry Thomas) Peter, serving as captains in the years 1842, 1844 and 1851 respectively.10,219 He was "an excellent golfer winning both the Silver and Gold Medals of the [Inner Leven Golfing Society] in 1838 - the first time for many years that David Wallace of Balgrummo had been deprived of either of the medals for many years".184 Keenleyside mentions that in the minutes of the I.G.S. for the meeting of 3 Apr 1838 John Peter was elected Secretary; and it is these same minutes that record his winning the Silver Medal with 107 strokes.219 He won the Gold Medal in the same year.220 "The Silver Medal was the original trophy purchased by the founders and is mentioned in the initial Constitution, viz, 'Secretary shall purchase a Silver Medal to be played for yearly on 1st Tuesday in October. The lowest score over fifteen holes wins. The Secretary will engrave the medal with the winner's name and year of winning'. Note the fifteen holes. Dubbieside at that time only consisted of five holes and the Silver Medal was played for over three rounds. By 1824 this had been increased to four rounds. The cost of the medal and the engraving - presumably the first winner's name - was 3-14-6. This Silver Medal is still played for today ".219 John Peter's name appears on the Captain's Board displayed in the Club House for 1842 [the minute books of this period to 1876 are lost].219
John Peter was also a founder member of the Leven Curling Club and was its President in 1846.184 "The Register of Members shows him as a member until 1851 but there is clear evidence that he curled in the Points Competition in 1853..."184Following this there is no record of him of any kind that Riddell could find: "it seems he must have left the district or possibly the country."184 These dates are difficult to reconcile with John Peter's known presence in South Australia from at least 1845, where his wife had children in the years 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1851 and 1852 [see below].
In 1869 Susan Vigne at Tyger Hoek, Cape Colony, listed the three elder children, and mentioned but did not name "three more little ones".61
[It is difficult to reconcile these dates with the information that John Peter's son Edward Alexander was born in Australia in 1846.78,184 Independent evidence suggests Edward Alexander was indeed "a native of South Australia".256 What seems likely is that John had been to Australia, but returned to Fife. His son was at Kirkland at the time of the 1861 census. More research on this branch of the family is needed.]
27:1. Edward Alexander Peter. b 8 Mar 1846 at Oatlands,290 Mount Barker, Adelaide, South Australia.61,78,256,282 According to the census of 1861 a 15 year old Edward A. Peter was living at Kirkland House, Fife, identified as a nephew of Henry Tandy Peter, and as having been born in Australia in 1846.184 The next we learn is of his untimely death on 25 Nov 1874, aged 28, at Formosa.61,229 The place of burial has not been established with certainty but was probably Yokohama, Japan.274 If so, it is possible the grave was destroyed in the great earth quake of 1923. The sad circumstances of his death were published in what is referred to as a "Japan paper": "On Friday the 4th inst [probably December 1874] the remains of Edward Alexander Peter, Chief Officer of the Japanese steamer Acantha, who died in Formosa at 6 a.m. on the 25th November from abscess on the liver after a very short illness, were interred in the little cemetery apportioned to the foreign community. Captain Young of the Acantha who speaks highly of deceased, had his body brought from Formosa in order that it might receive something like Christian interment and on Friday afternoon twelve blue jackets belonging to the H.M. Gunboat Mosquito, proceeded to the Acantha and brought the corpse on shore, and in passing their vessel the Ensign was dipped in veneration of the dead. They landed and the little procession moved towards the cemetery. Arriving there the burial service was read by Revd H. Burnside. The loss of deceased (who is a native of South Australia and only 28 years of age) is deeply regretted by Captain Young and Mr Inglis,331 who is a distant relative. A tomb stone will be created to the memory of the departed shortly. Great credit is due to Captain Paul of H.M. Gunboat Mosquito for permitting the 12 seamen to convey the body to the grave and we are sure Captain Young is very grateful for the considerate kindness of that officer and also to the men for volunteering to do the service required."256 A photograph of E.A. Peter's substantial grave exists.230 It would appear that the sea chest passed down from the South African family at Tyger Hoek, and presently in the home of Catherine, Andrew and Evan Morris in Cape Town, which is inscribed "Edward A Peter", belonged to Edward Alexander Peter.
Something is known of the Acantha: she was an "iron single screw steam, rigged for sail", 180 horse power, 986 tons, 236 feet long, built by Lawrie in Glasgow in 1868. Port of registry (Lloyd's Register, 1871-2) was London: "sailed from the Clyde, bound for China" under then Master Capt J. Grange.275
While the notes of E.S. Vigne place E.A. Peter as a son of John Peter,61 Riddell suggests a possible but unconfirmed relationship with Edward (Ned) Peter78,184 who was in Australia 1838-1847.61 The E.S. Vigne source is generally reliable. If a son of John Peter, it is not certain how the sea chest ended up at Tyger Hoek, South Africa, unless this was the nearest family (none in Australia at that date?), or it was sent to the Cape per will or family wish.
26:8. Edward "Ned" Peter. b 13 Mar [5 Mar304] 1817, Kirkland.1,36,37 Baptised at the English Chapel, Pittenweem.78 Neither birth nor baptism listed in IGI. "Went to Australia at end of 1838, then moved to the Cape in 1847 (Vig 92)."1,61 This tallies with his absence from Kirkland in the 1841 and subsequent census lists.184 In May 1857 Edward Peter was living at Greyton, Cape Colony (the village established by his sister's socially and politically maverick brother-in-law Herbert Vigne), from where he wrote to his ailing sister Anna Vigne,41 weeks before her death. Later, with his brother O'Brien43 and his son Johnny, Edward Peter moved up to the Diamond Fields, circa 1870/71.1,38 d. Diamond Fields, 4 Jul 1872.43,61 Buried at the Pioneers' Cemetery, Kimberley - inscription on a head stone together with that for Anna Vigne Hull (14 Nov 1868 - 23 Jun 1873) includes the above dates and: "Thy will be done Oh Lord".37 Family tradition has it that Ned Peter legally married a woman "of colour" (or "van die Kaap" - "of the Cape" - as some South African genealogists coyly put it) in the Caledon District - but name not known.42 His death certificate, signed by G.H. Hull, states he was not married.43 See below. (It is interesting to speculate to what extent Herbert Vigne - seemingly a close friend of Ned Peter - designed Greyton along the lines of Kirkland which for its time was, by all accounts, a model and progressive village).
26:9. Henrietta M. Peter,277 b 8 Apr 1819,304 baptised 30 Apr 1819, Wemyss, Fife.35m 12 May 1843, Wemyss, Fife, John Hartley Hind,46,78 b 1809, Liverpool.277 He was an "East India and Russian Merchant", according to the 1881 census, at which time they were resident at Claughton with Grange,277 Cheshire. J.H. Hind possibly had an aunt named Christina Hartley Hind, baptised at the church of St Nicholas, Liverpool 5 Apr 1786;199 and if so had grandparents named Henry Hind and Mary NN.199
Christina Hartley Hind could have had an elder sister [25:] Ann Hind, daughter of Henry Hind, baptised at St Nicholas, 18 Jul 1771;199 and John Hartley Hind may possibly have had a niece named [27:] Dorothy Hind m James Pennington Owens 3 Mar 1863, St Nicholas202 [given that his grand daughter, son of Herbert Wheeler Hind, was named Dorothy].
The family lived at Ashville House in or near Liverpool, possibly Birkenhead (and were certainly at Ashville in May 1870).76 This may have been John Hartley Hind's parents' home? An 1855 letter from John Hind is headed Birkenhead, and several of the children were apparently baptised there. Margaret Mann remarks that "men of substance moved from Liverpool across to Birkenhead where it was much more rural and an altogether nicer place to live than Liverpool".203 It is possible that the Hind family were involved in the industrial development of the Birkenhead area in the mid nineteenth century. Evidence below203 suggests the Hinds lived in Claughton - from 1898 a suburb of Birkenhead.204 The population of this township grew from 67 in 1801 to 714 in 1851; that of Birkenhead from 110 in 1801 to 24 285 in 1851 and to 110 912 in 1901.204
The household in 1881 included four domestic servants, Anne Winter (25) (house domestic servant) from Barkston, Lincoln; Elizabeth Lynch (44) (cook) from Bootle, Lancashire; Louisa Jones (23) (parlour maid) from Coed Poeth, Wales; Margaret Taylor (18) (kitchen maid) from Bidston, Cheshire.277
David Hinde remarks that some of the Liverpool Hinde/Hind families were "involved in merchant shipping and I understand...that they were also involved in slave transportation through either Lancaster or Liverpool...There was a lot of money in the Lancaster Hinde families".207
The East India mercantile connection would perhaps explain the link with Kirkland and the Peter family. John Hartley Hind was perhaps a young partner securing deals both in terms of raw materials from Russia and finished products in the form of sails and rope?
26:10. David Peter.78 Baptised at the English Chapel, Pittenweem,78 probably in 1821.184 David Peter was living at Kirkland in 1841, and in the following year became a member of the Inner Leven Golfing Society Club.184,219 He was a member of the Leven Curling Club from 1846 to 1854. In Apr 1883 he was re-admitted to the Golfing Society without ballot, not having, as the minutes put it, "used the green for 35 years being absent from the county".219 At a meeting of the committee on 20 Apr 1892 members decided to invite "Mr David Peter to the Spring Dinner in his Jubilee Year of Membership".219 In 1897 an anonymous member of the Society presented a Silver Medal in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and in "special commemoration of the Jubilee of three members, viz Mr P. Bonthron, 1844, Mr David Peter, 1842, and Mr Robert Smith, 1847."219 "This trophy," remarks Ian Keenleyside, "now known as the Jubilee Medallion, is still competed for annually. When it was donated the committee of the day decided it be called the Jubilee Handicap Medal and would be competed for annually under handicap on the first day of the summer meeting."219
Riddell could find no trace of David Peter's death and believed it may have been outside Scotland.184
26:11. O'Brien Bellingham Peter. b 8 Feb 1823 at Kirkland.1,62 Baptised 18 Apr 1823, Parish of Wemyss, Fife,33,62 at the English Chapel, Pittenweem,78 by the Rt Revd Bishop Low of Pittenweem.62 He was thought to have emigrated to the Cape after 1847 - in fact it appears it was close on 20 years later that he left Scotland. It is known he was a member of the Leven Curling Club from 1860 until 1865 and on occasion was a Skip. Like his brothers he was a good golfer, winning the Silver Medal in 1848 and 1862, and the Wemyss Cup in 1857 (94 strokes).220 He was living at Kirkland in 1861, but disappears from local records after 1865.184 He is known to have been in South Africa by about 1870 when he went with his brother Edward Peter to the Diamond Fields, circa 1870/1871.1,43 In 1882 he was actively ostrich farming at Tyger Hoek (VIG120).1 Died after 31 Mar 1892 (VIG119) and buried at Tygerhoek, Caledon, South Africa.
26:12. Henry Thomas Peter, b 30 June 1825,333 baptised 18 Aug 1825, Wemyss, Fife,34 at the English Chapel, Pittenweem.78 He was eduated at the Madras School in St Andrews, and spent two years in France, 1846-1848.221 In 1851 he was living in one of the Kirkland Estate cottages along with his brothers Henry Tandy Peter and James Peter, and his sisters Mary and Jean.22 m 17 Jan 1854 at Wemyss, Fife,47,78 [or at Carnoch, Fife48] Marianne Anderson.47,48 She was born at Havre, France, on 1 Jun333 1829,111,118,184 and died 8 Jul 1892 at Cordova Bay, Lake, Victoria.111,118 Henry Thomas Peter d 4 Dec 1899 at Victoria, British Columbia.112,119Both are buried in a church yard St Luke's Church, Victoria, the inscription on the tomb stating: "In memory of Henry T. Peter bone June 30th 1825, died Dec 4 1899 and his wife Marianne Peter born June 1st 1829, died July 8th 1892 of Kirkland Scotland."317,319
His father James Peter was a founder of the Innerleven Golf Club, and elected captain in 1826. The four sons featured prominently in the history of the club, with John Peter, Henry Tandy Peter and Tom (Henry Thomas) Peter serving as chairmen in the years 1842, 1844 and 1851 respectively.10,219 He is described by Riddell as "a quite exceptional golfer", was Captain of the Inner Leven Golfing Society, and won the Silver Medal in 1852, and the Gold Medal in six out of the seven years from 1848 to 1854 [the exception being 1851].184,220 He was a member of othe clubs as well.221 Tom Peter wrote a "slim volume" in 1890221 entitled Golfing reminiscences by an old hand,21,184,221 published by James Thin, Edinburgh,221 and containing "a wealth of information about golf in the Levenmouth area in the mid nineteenth century".184 (There is a copy in the Hay Fleming Reference Library in St Andrew's184and at a museum in Victoria187).
Tom Peter wrote that "my first acquaintance with the game began in 1837 when a boy at Madras School, St Andrews; and it was one of my favourite pastimes till I left home for the States some 10 years ago."221
Tom Peter and his brother James have been credited by Cameron10 with innovations in the game which, Keenleyside remarks, is an over-simplification. Tom Peter himself writes on the matter:
"The introduction of gutta percha balls effected a complete revolution (over the preceding featheries). Their cost was small, their durability great. I believe I may with justice claim the credit of having first brought them to the notice of the golfing world and this at the spring meeting of the Innerleven Club in 1848. The previous month," Peter continued, "when on my way home from a two years' stay in France...I chanced to see in the window of a shop...in St David St, Edinburgh, a placard bearing the words "New Golf Balls for Sale". He was told they were "Guttie-Perkies", made from a gum like india rubber. He bought one for a shilling. It was "not painted but covered with a sort of 'size', which after some practice with my brother James who was a good golfer, I saw reason to scrape off." He determined to try it on Inner Leven Links against David Wallace, "a golfer whom I often played and who always beat me. He showed a great interest in it. That day I 'thrashed him' by 13 holes. Wallace started to use the 'guttas'...I won the Silver Medal against him in April 1848 and it was at that meeting I showed the new ball to Allan Robertson and Tom Morris. It was the first time either had seen a gutta". Robertson would not accept that the feathery ball's days were numbered. "Morris on the other hand took the whole thing in a different way...If I remember rightly his difference with Allan on this subject led to their separation."221
[Keenleyside mentions that in fact a match was played at Blackheath using the "gutta" at the beginning of 1848. Also, if Tom Peter first saw the ball in a shop in Edinburgh, they were almost certainly by then being used at Mussleburgh, just to the east of the city221].
"I made my own balls". The only disadvantage of the gutta over the feathery was that they did not hold their course well in a high side wind. "My brother and I succeeded in inserting and fixing lead securely in the centre of the ball so that it putted accurately."221
"I stopped making them at my brother's death. Leaded balls damaged clubs regularly. Other players tried to lead balls by rolling the warm sphere in lead filings but these fell out when the ball was struck. I had the impression that unpainted balls flew better than painted - but there was the drawback that they were difficult to find".221
Tom Peter ascribed the lower scoring of the 1880s-90s almost wholly to the advent of the gutta percha ball, presenting an analysis of average scores through time to show this. He described leading players of the day and memorable matches, reminiscing also on the caddies and their characters. Those mentioned include that Wallaces, uncle and nephew, who won medals with the Inner Leven Golfing Society in an unbroken record over a period of about twenty years. When David Peter beat him in 1839, "the elder Wallace was much annoyed and said to his nephew 'Hoo did ye let that laudie Peter beat ye?'".221
"I claim to have played with three others in a foursome a greater number of rounds over St Andrews than had ever been done before (though whether since I, of course, do not know). The players were my brother, O'Brian (King William IV Medal holder in the R and A 1851) and Tom Morris against Allan Robertson and myself. We played for two days consecutively five rounds each day. And the match ended in a draw."221
"Before concluding it may be permitted to a veteran to give a few hints to young players, viz to keep cool, avoid strong language and never to forget Allan's golden rule 'Tak' it easy'. Finally the more you abstain from liquor or tobacco the more likely you are to become a successful golfer".221
Henry Thomas Peter was also an "outstanding curler", joining the Leven Curling Club in 1850. He served as President in 1855 and in 1869, was Skip in many important matches, and was Conservator of the Ice for at least 17 years. He was elected an Honorary Member and Patron78 in 1873.184
Heather Christopher refers to a picture of the Inner Leven Golf Club in the British Library.158 She also remarks that her father had two old golf clubs which, before his passing, "we were told never to part with". "Now I understand", Heather has remarked after reading a draft of this history.158
Henry Thomas Peter emigrated to USA in 1880129,184/1881,78 when, as Riddell says, "the fortunes of the family firm [were] in decline".184 His family followed soon after78[1881336 1882184] - his son W.H. Peter was granted land in Iowa as of 1 Nov 1880.129The census of 1881 indicates that Mrs Peter (Marianne) and several of the children, Rachel Henrietta (aged 26), George Anderson (17), Eliza Aytoun (21), Mary Jane (15), Dora Bellingham (11), Bertha Margt (10) [the last three as scholars] were living temporarily at the Manor House at Kirkland, with one Ann White, 22, from Largo, as their domestic servant.327 Their emigration appears to have been part of a scheme organised by the Scottish American Land Company which made grants of land, 160 acres each, at Ocheyedan, Osceola County, Iowa.129 D.A.W. Perkins in his history of the county notes that "at one time there was a Scotch settlement at Ocheyedan Township" which, however, by 1892 had largely "scattered from misfortune or inexperience in farming".130 Tom Peter's son George Anderson Peter was one who remained - while most if not all others of the family appear to have moved to Victoria in British Columbia by about 1890 (Eliza Aytoun Grant and family moved there in 1887336).
Photographs of Dora and Bertha Peter and a Mr Grant, "Uncle Tom's Peter's son-in- law", were sent from Victoria to South Africa (possibly via Fa Peter in Fife) in 1898.82,83 There is evidence of sporadic contact and items of news filtering out to the Cape for a while after this. Contact was renewed in 1998.