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William Richardson and Mary Fernie

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                      Tucker Ancestry
William Richardson, 1828-1892, and wife Mary (Fernie) Richardson, 1833-1875

William Richardson and wife Mary Fernie and children about 1870

The above photo of William and family was apparently taken about 1870 judging from the age of the children (during the 1871 census David was 10, Jean was 8, and Alexander was 4). William Richardson was born about 1828 at Blackmuir of New Gilston located in the parish of Largo, Fifeshire, Scotland. He was the third of seven children born to Andrew and Isabella (Troup) Richardson. William was 12 years old during the 1841 census of Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire. At that time he was working in a woolen factory along with his father and several of his siblings. His parents had married in Strathmiglo (about 20 miles west of New Gilston), but most of their children were born in New Gilston. The family moved to Tillicoultry in the late 1830s and William's father died sometime during the 1840s. This is also when Isabella and children moved to Strathmiglo where her brother was proprietor of Skene Works, a linen weaving factory. The mill was owned and operated by Isabelle's brother, James Troup, and his son, Alexander (James died in 1855 but Alexander continued running the mill until the 1890s). The 1851 census reported that William, 21, was a hand loom weaver; brother, Alexander, 19, was a power loom mechanic; sister, Jane, 17, was a power weaver; and sister, Margaret, 15, was a linen winder. Only the youngest brother, David, 10, was attending school.

On 12 June 1852 William married Mary Fernie, who was working as a power loom weaver in 1851 at the age of 17. Mary was the second of ten children of William and Margaret (Duncan) Fernie. She was born in Strathmiglo on 9 December 1833. William and Mary continued to live in Strathmiglo where they had nine children between 1852 and 1872. Only four of them lived to adulthood, and three of those (David, Jean, and Alexander) moved to the United States during the 1880s. William and Mary followed traditional Scottish naming tradition (first born male named for his father's father, second born male named for mother's father, first born female named for her mother's mother, and second born female named for her father's mother). The children were:

Margaret Richardson
Andrew Richardson
Isabella Richardson
William Fernie Richardson
Thomas Blyth Richardson
David H. Richardson
Jean Richardson
Alexander Richardson
Isabella Troup Fernie Richardson

William's occupation in the 1871 census was "Jacguard card cutter". Jacguard looms and weaving machines used stiff cards with punched holes to help weave complex patterns in fabric. His occupation is consistent with a family member who reported that William was a "pattern maker" and was "well read". Also in the 1871 census in addition to the three children in the photo above, there were two older children, Margaret, 18, and William, 13 (both were employed in the linen mill which may explain why they were not in the above photo). Their mother, Mary (Fernie) Richardson, died at the age of 41 on 24 April 1875 at Strathmiglo. William then remarried to Margaret Carswell, daughter of Andrew and Ann (Skinner) Carswell, on 7 November 1879 nearby at Auchtermuchty. But they continued to live in Strathmiglo where William was working as a "Damask Card Cutter" when he died at the age of 64. He reportedly died of bronchitis on 31 January 1892 in Falkland in Fife.

William and Mary's oldest daughter, Margaret (1852-1936), embroidered a sampler in 1864 with the initials of family members. It now belongs to Margaret's great-granddaughter, Vanessa (Gray) Hopkins. Below is a photo taken in 1989 of the sampler and Vanessa (in red), and her third cousin, Janet (Tucker) Adams, a descendant of Margaret's brother, David H. Richardson.

Janet Tucker Adams and Vanessa Gray Hopkins in 1989

Finally, it is of interest that William and Mary's son, Alexander (1867-1930), who immigrated from Scotland when he was 20, wrote many poems about Scotland which were printed in the local paper. This one he called, "My Birthplace"

I have always been proud of my birthplace
Tho it lies far awa' o'er the sea
And my hair like the mantle o' winter
It grows dearer and dearer to me

It's a canny wee place in auld Scotland
The home-land o' bonnie bluebell
Where the heather-clad hills rise in grandeur
And the birdies their sweet chorus swell

Happy moments are spent in reflection
As I wander again up the street
To the place where I lived when a laddie
With its memories sacred and sweet

Now in fancy my feet press its threshold
and I venture within there to see
In that old-fashioned chair my dear mother
And I hasten to climb on her knee

Those dear arms seem again to enfold me
And I snuggle down close to her breast
The memories of childhood returning
As I pause for a moment to rest

And listening I still hear that sweet voice
As she tenderly whispered to me
The ever sweet story of Jesus' love
When as a child I sat on her knee

In devotion we kneel by the fireside
My dear brothers and sisters are there
How my purpose in life is uplifted
as I hear father's voice in prayer

It was just a wee hoose yet I love it
There it stood on the side o' the brae
Thru the decades it lingers more clearly
Than the memories of yesterday

How it carries me heavenward daily
As its blessings more truly I see
While I think of those scenes of my birthplace
It can only grow dearer to me

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