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Reminiscences of Dollar, Tillicoultry and other Districts adjoining the Ochils
Chapter IX - Commencement of the Village of Devonside


HAVING taken notice of all the old works established in Tillicoultry, I will now go over to Devonside, that thriving little suburb of our village, most of which is built on the property of James Blair, Esq., of Glenfoot.The first mill erected there was built by Mr. Thomas Monteith, of Tillicoultry, in 1834; and in company with his son William, the business was carried on there for a great many years under the firm of Thomas Monteith & Son. The erection of this mill was the commencement of the village of Devonside. It is the second one from the bridge.

The ground being once broken there, others soon followed Mr. Monteith's example, and in 1836 the mill next the, bridge was built by a company of three,— Messrs. James Henderson, David Moir, and Robert Walker (a cousin of the present Mr. Robert Walker).
 
In the same year, also, the mill to the west of Messrs. Monteith's was built by the following gentlemen,—Messrs. David Anderson, Robert Blackwood, Peter Miller, William Young, and William Smith, senior; and the one to the west of it again, in 1841, by Messrs. James and John Hunter, Robert Young, and William Smith, junior.

Beyond this last spinning mill, and farthest west of the public works, a weaving factory was erected by Messrs. James and Matthew Thomson about the year 1845 or 1846.

The first little one-storied mill at Keilersbrae was built by a Mr. Keiller; and hence the name of the works. Mr. William Archibald (son of Mr. John Archibald of Menstrie) who was for some little time at the commencement of his business career in company with old Mr. Paton at Kilncraigs, Alloa, left there, and bought Keillersbrae Mill, and commenced business there by himself. He added two stories to the mill, thus greatly increasing it in size. His brother, Mr. John Archibald ('Uncle John'), was carrying on spin- fling at this time in Strude Mill, Alva, and Mr. William's two Sons, John and William, were there with him. Mr. William, senior, and Uncle John then changed places,—.Mr. William going up to Strude Mill, and his brother coming down to Keillersbrae. Mr. William spun stocking-yarn at Keillersbrae, and continued to do so at Strude Mill, Alva; while Uncle John started the business of machine-maker at Keillersbrae, and continued this as long as he lived.

After a time, Mr. William Archibald, senior, built Keillersbrae new mill, for his three sons, John, William, and Andrew, and an extensive manufacturing business was carried on by them there for a number of years. To celebrate the start of it, a grand ball was held in one of the flats of the mill, at which there was a very large attendance,—the largest, I believe, that was ever seen in the county. The walls were all hung with tartan, and great preparations made for it, and the entertainment passed off with great spirit, and proved a great success.

When this business was given up, Mr. Andrew joined his father at Strude Mill, Alva, where a most prosperous business of stocking-yarn spinning had been established by him, and the firm was then changed to William Archibald, Son, & Co. This business is still being most successfully carried on—under the same old firm—by their successors, Messrs. Cowan and Dawson.

GARTMORN DAM.

When referring to Keilersbrae, it may not be uninteresting to learn how the water-power for this mill and other mills in Alloa was got. From the last Statistical Account of the parish of Aba (drawn up by the late Mr. William Brodie, teacher, Alloa, in 1840), we learn that about the year 1700 (183 years ago), 'the celebrated John, Earl of Mar, who had a great mechanical turn, and attended much to the improvement of hydraulic machinery (the steam-engine not having then been brought forward), caused a strong dam-head to be thrown across the Black Devon at Forrest Mill, in the parish of Clackmannan, by which he raised the bed of this river 16 feet higher. From the top of this dam-head he carried an aqueduct westward about four miles, which carried the water into Gartmorn Dam, perhaps the largest artificial lake in Scotland, covering, when full, above 160 imperial acres. It is about 160 feet above the level of the Forth, and 92 feet above Alloa. In some places it is 36 or 37 feet deep, being sufficient to carry a seventy- four gun ship. Prior to 1785, only a temporary dyke existed. A dam-head was then built of hewn stone, measuring upwards of 320 yards, at an expense of several thousand pounds. In the year 1827 this embankment threatened to give way, in which case it would have swept away, with the torrent of its waters, all the lower part of the town of Aba lying in its course. It then underwent a complete repair by Mr. John Craich, the present manager of the colliery, at an expense of only £300; whereas, in the opinion of a celebrated engineer, the sum necessary for performing the work effectually would be £3500. This lake is situated at the north-east extremity of the parish, about two miles from Alloa. Its waters form a permanent supply for driving the hydraulic machinery of the Alloa Colliery and the water-wheels of various manufactories.'

The Earl of Mar could find no person in Scotland of sufficient skill to carry out this undertaking, and in order that he might have the most eminent person then known, he brought Mr. Sorocold, a mining engineer, from Wales, at a great expense, to carry the scheme through. The primary object the Earl had in view in the formation of Gartmorn was to get a supply of water for the water-engine at the coal-pit near Carsebridge.

The hamlet of Forrest Mill, from the neighbourhood of which the supply of water is got for Gartmorn, was in the year 1766 the abode of Michael Bruce, the poet of Lochleven, where he taught a little school. He was suffering from consumption when he went there, and on his journey thither from Kinnesswood his horse stumbled with him when passing through the Black Devon, and, all dripping and wet, he arrived at his lodgings there. This greatly accelerated his malady, which so soon after terminated fatally. In writing to his friend Mr. David Pearson, he says: 'The next letter you receive from me, if ever you receive another, will be dated 1767. . . . I lead a melancholy kind of life in this place. . . I have some evening scholars, the attending on whom, though few, so fatigues me that the rest of the night I am quite dull and low- spirited. Yet I have some lucid intervals, in the time of which I can study pretty well.'

Michael Bruce was the author of some of the finest compositions in the English language,— such as the 'Ode to the Cuckoo,' 'Lochleven,' 'The Last Day,' etc.; while some of the most beautiful of our paraphrases were written by him. Dr. M'Kelvie of Balgeddie, in his biography of him, clearly proves that Logan pilfered a great many of Bruce's finest poems, and published them as his own. He died in 1767, at the early age of twenty-one, and was buried in Portmoak churchyard. His father, Alexander Bruce, was a weaver in Kinnesswood. He died in 1772.

SUBSEQUENT OCCUPIERS OF SOME OF THE MILLS. GREAT FLOOD OF 1877.

I will now refer shortly to those who occupied some of the mills after the original proprietors of them had passed away, and to some public works of more recent date.

On Mr. James Dawson and his family emigrating to America, Messrs. J. & D. Paton and J. & R. Archibald jointly leased the south part of this mill, having each one set of machines in it; while J. & B. Archibald occupied the northern portion of it by themselves as a weaving shop. In 1848 both of them gave up the whole mill in my favour, and it was here I commenced manufacturing in that year, and continued in it by myself till 1851. The south part, as before, was filled with carding and spinning machinery; my office, ware- room, etc., were in the first fiat of the north mill; while the upper flat, attics, and back weaving shop were filled with looms.

In 1851 Mr. Archibald of Devonvale and I entered into partnership under the firm of William Gibson & Co., and the office was removed to Craigfoot; but we still retained Dawson's Mill, and have continued the tenants of it ever since. Mr. William Anderson was my first warper, and continued in my employment for a number of years. He then commenced manufacturing on his own account in the old U.P. church (latterly Mr. Browning's), and carried on a very successful business there till his death, which took place in 1870, when forty-two years of age.

The next mill below Dawson's (The Horse, or Company Mill) was long carried on by Mr. Alexander Harrower of Alva; and on his death a Mr. Scott became the tenant of it, and continued in it for many years. Edward Meiklejobn & Co. next became the tenants, and are carrying it on at the present time.

On the death of Mr. Andrew Walker, his widow carried on Castle Mills for a considerable time, under the management of Mr. Robert Fotheringham. After his death they were bought by Alexander M'Nab, Esq., of Glenochil, in 1849; and the firm of William Hutcheson & Co. was then staited, and carried on the works till the disastrous flood of 1877, under the management of Mr. William Hutcheson, and for a short time after that under that of his son, Mr. Abraham Hutcheson.

This great flood having had such an important bearing on the present position of these works, I will now briefly refer to it. On the 28th of August 1877, one of the most calamitous floods took place along the front of the Ochil range that was ever known in the memory of man, and that will be long remembered in Dollar and Tillicoultry, where it seemed to have wrought the greatest havoc. After a deluging rain had continued for some time, the clouds seemed to have suddenly opened out in a series of waterspouts all over the front part of the Ochils, and, without a moment's warning, Tillicoultry Burn came raging down in one mighty wall of water of some seven or eight feet high, carrying everything before it, and causing great destruction to property all down through the village, leaving a scene behind it that would be almost impossible to describe.

First in its progress of destruction, a large portion of Mr. Ilutcheson's power-loom shed, with the ground between it and the burn, and the strong-built wall at the side of the burn, with the private bridge inside the works, were all swept away without a moment's warning. Then the upper public bridge was left almost a total wreck, the water careering over the high parapet wall on the north side of it, forming one of the most frightful scenes ever beheld. On passing this bridge the raging rush of waters then scooped out a large portion of Upper Mill Street, right across to the houses, and to the depth of some seven or eight feet, the pavement for a good distance being carried away, and the houses escaping total destruction only by a hairbreadth. On leaving this point the mighty torrent then proceeded to the work of destruction on both sides of the burn. The street on the west side was, for a long distance and to a great depth, carried wholly away, and the east end of Mr. Ure's house was completely wrecked, leaving the rooms inside quite exposed. On the east side of the burn it knocked down the wall at the back of Mr. Browning's property, and, rushing through the east portion of it, filled the rooms to a great depth,—Mrs. Alexander's invalid son John narrowly escaping being drowned, and was carried out with considerable difficulty. After sweeping away the Tea Bridge, and coinmitting terrible havoc on both sides of the burn, part of the water then rushed along Frederick Street (the 'Howdub') and down Stirling Street (to the great consternation of the inhabitants), a deep stream of water the whole width of the street, having never been seen there before since ever it was a street.

On the main body of the water reaching the lower bridge, it then swept along the High Street in a great volume of some three feet deep; and so frightened were the inhabitants, that some of them were leaping out at their back windows into the gardens behind, and great damage was done to both dwelling-houses and shops.

But the most painful part of the whole catastrophe was the lamentable loss of life connected with it, my good kind friend and neighbour Mr. Hutcheson and one of his workwomen (Isabella Miller, daughter of Mr. Crystal Miller, Union Street) being swept away with it and drowned. Mr. Hutcheson and his dyer, William Stillie, were in conversation at the end of the private bridge within the works; and Isabella Miller was, at the critical moment, passing them, when, without the slightest warning, the ground gave way under their feet, and bridge and all three were engulfed and swept away with the torrent. The dyer got hold of the iron stanchions in the windows of Mr. Walker's house below the public bridge, and held on there till assistance came to him; but the other two were carried away and drowned, Mr. Hutcheson's body being got down at the Oak Mill, and Isabella Miller's a good way down the Devon. This lamentable loss of life cast quite a gloom over the town, and great sympathy was felt for the bereaved families.

It would be next to impossible to give a proper idea of the spectacle our burnside presented after the flood had passed, and it would have required to have been seen to be properly realized. The channel of the burn was not only filled to the brim with immense boulders, but was actually piled above this in many places to a great height; while the streets on both sides of the burn were covered with debris to a great depth, some huge blocks of stone, of above a ton weight, being carried right across the streets and deposited on the pavement.

The channel of the burn being thus so completely filled up, the water had to make new channels for itself on both sides of its usual course, the one below the upper bridge being of great depth and extent, and entirely stopping all traffic for a considerable time. The pavement in many places. was torn up and damaged to a serious extent; and, besides the great loss to private individuals, it took about £2000 to repair the damage to our streets and burn. The dam-head up in the glen was filled to the brim (it is 35 feet deep) with debris, and cost the manufacturers above £100 to get it cleared out and repaired. (The Alloa Illustrated Family Almanac of 1878 gives some very good views of the destruction caused by this extraordinary flood, both in Tillicoultry and Dollar,—those two places having suffered more than any of the other villages along the foot of the Ochils,—and they are repeated again in that of 1879.)

The effects of those waterspouts can be seen all over the south side of the Ochil range, great holes having been made at many places, and the earth from these to the bottom of the glens torn up to a great depth, showing clearly that these great floods in Dollar and Tillicoultry were caused by a series of waterspouts. A fine specimen of this can be seen in the front of Ellieston Hill above Harviestoun West Lodge, where a deep and wide scaur was made from the top of the hill to the foot, and a large portion of a field covered to a great depth with the debris. The lodge was surrounded with water, and the wall opposite it, on the south side of the turnpike road, was tumbled over into the field. In rebuilding this wall, Mr. Orr made several loopholes through it at its base, in case of a similar catastrophe again happening. It is to be hoped, however, they will never be required.

In the Statistical Account of Tillicoultry parish, Mr. Osborne gives an account of a very heavy flood on the Devon, but doesn't refer to Tillicoultry Burn at all. From the great destruction caused by the Devon, however, it is more than probable that its tributaries Tillicoultry and Dollar Burns, etc.—would also commit great havoc. He says :-

'A very remarkable and uncommon flood happened in September 1785, which carried away a prodigious quantity of cern, broke down a stone bridge at the Rack Mill in Dollar, and occasioned other very extraordinary damage. The river rose in four or five hours more than 13 feet above its usual height at Tillicoultry bridge. A woman who was assisting a farmer in removing his corn, on the south side, was forced away by the rapidity and violence of the stream, and brought in safety to the opposite bank. Her clothes had made her float on the surface of the water, though she was carried down about a quarter of a mile.'

Shortly after Mr. Hutcheson's death, the works were brought into the market for sale, and lying adjacent to our other premises at Craigfoot, we bought them, and have carried them on ever since.

Having, for business purposes, got views taken of both our works, I herewith insert them; and they will give a better idea than any description can give of what some of the first mills in Tillicoultry are like. The mill in the foreground of the view of Craigfoot Mill is Dawson's Mill, which we only lease; while the large mill at the foot of the Craig is the one built by J. & R. Archibald in 1838; and the wing behind it (increased in height when the big mill was built) by Mr. William Archibald, their father, in 1806.

The one-storied building below the entrance gate (in the view of Castle Mill) is the upper end of the first mill in Tillicoultry, built by the Messrs. Christie in the end of last century. The large mill is the one built by Mr. Andrew Walker; while the dwelling-house is on the site of the old castle formerly referred to, and from which the works got their name. The roof of a house in the foreground of this view (on the opposite side of the street from the entrance gate) is the roof of the Horse, or Company Mill.

After the deaths of Messrs. James and George Walker, their mill. (immediately below the upper bridge) was carried oti for a considerable time by Mrs. George Walker, under the management of Mr. Thomson Dawson, until Mr. Robert Walker, her son, was the length of managing it himself. This mill, the Bridge Mill at Devonside, and Thomas Monteith & Son's mill (subsequently acquired by him), are now Mr. Walker's property.

In 1860 the finishing works of Mr. Robert Drysdale were erected, and have been carried on with great spirit ever since. The grounds around these works are laid out with great taste, and are quite an ornament to this entrance to the village.

Castle Mill and Craigfoot Mills

From a very old document that has been put into my hands, I find Mr. Drysdale can trace his genealogy back to the beginning of the sixteenth century. I herewith give a copy of it in full :-

'On the twentieth day of May, one thousand five hundred and three years,—

'We, Thomas, William, and James Douglas, Sons of the departed Thomas Douglas, of Brushwood-Haugh, in the parish of Drysdale and shire of Dumfries,* left our native place for the reason here assigned, viz.: Defending our just and lawful rights against our unjust neighbour, Johnstone of Greenstone-hill, who being determined to bring water to his mill through our property, and having obtained leave of his friend the king, began his operations on Monday the 16th May. We prevented him by force.

'The next day he brought twenty of his vassals to carry on the work. We, with two friends and three servants (eight in all), attacked Johnstone with his twenty; and in the contest fourteen of his men were killed, along with their base leader.

'A report of these proceedings was carried to the king, and we were obliged to fly (the tocsin being sounded). We took shelter under the shadow of the Ochil Hills in a lonely valley on the river Devon.

'After having lived there two full years, we returned home in disguise, but found all our property in the possession of Johnstone's friends, and a great reward offered for our lives. We having purchased a small shot called the Haugh of Dollar, and changed our names to the name of our native parish, and are clearly in mind to spend the residue of our days under the ope of the Ochils, and wish the name of Drysdale to flourish in the lonely valley. The king passed through this with his court on the 12th of June 1506, going from Stirling to Falkland; dined on Halliday's green (an eastern neighbour), but we were not known.'

The foregoing document had been preserved among the descendants of those three brothers Douglas (now known by the name of Drysdale), and copied first by Symon Drysdale, of the Haugh of Dollar, in the year 1620; by Robert Drysdale, of Tillicoultry, in 1708, and renewed at different times since then.

The spinning mill of Edward Senior & Co. was erected in 1864, and the Oak Mill—built by a limited liability company—in 1873. The latter is now the property of Mr. Gill, and was acquired by him in 1881.

MANUFACTURING FIRMS WHO DIDN'T SPIN YARNS.

I will now shortly take notice of a number of manufacturing firms who did not spin, but bought all their yarns, and some of whom carried on pretty extensive businesses; and foremost amongst these is the enterprising firm of Monteith & Drysdale. The original partners of this firm were Mr. James Monteith and Mr. Alexander Drysdale; and they commenced business in 1836, in premises nearly opposite J. & G. Walker's Mill, and carried on, also, the dye-house in connection with this mill for a good many years. They had no spinning mill at this time, but bought all their yarns. Mr. James Monteith died in 1847, and the business for a long period was carried on solely by Mr. Drysdale, until his son, Mr. James, was of age to assist him in it. In 1849, Mr. Drysdale bought the two mills at Devonside, to the west of Thomas Monteith & Son's, and built the fine new spinning mill there, with the large power-loom shed and other premises that now form their extensive works. Mr. Drysdale retired from the business in 1871, and it is now being carried on by Mr. James Drysdale and Mr. Allan Ritchie, under the same old firm of Monteith & Drysdale.

The next business I will refer to is that of our respected townsman, Mr. Robert Young. Mr. Young, as already noticed, was one of the original partners of the firm who built the farthest west spinning mill at Devonside in 1841; so that he has now been for the long period of forty-one years one of our local manufacturers. In 1860 he built those commodious premises in the Moss Road, where he has carried on his business ever since. He is now assisted in it—and has been for a good many years —by his son Mr. James.

The firm of James Dick & Co. commenced business in part of the Bridge Mill at Devonside in 1850. The original partners of this firm were—Messrs. James Dick, Thomas Graham, William Miller, and Andrew Lane. Mr. Dick retired from the firm about two years after it was started, but the name of the firm continued the same as before. Mr. Miller died a few years after Mr. Dick left the business; and it was afterwards carried on by the two remaining partners, Mr. Graham and Mr. Lane. Their premises were changed, first from the Bridge Mill to part of Thomas Monteith & Son's Mill, and ultimately to the weaving factory at the west end of Devonside (erected by the Messrs. Thomson), where they continued in business for nearly twenty years. The business was given up in 1877, Mr. Graham still residing amongst us in retirement, and Mr. Lane removing to Glasgow.

MANUFACTURERS AT ONE TIME IN BUSINESS IN TILLICOULTRY.

It may not be uninteresting to give a list of some of the firms that were at one time in the trade here, most of the members of which have either passed away or have left the district:-

names

Firms carrying on manufacturing here at present, but who don't spin yarns, as follows:-

names

GOODS MANUFACTURED AT THE FOOT OF THE OCHILS.

John Archibald & Sons, of Menstrie, commenced at a very early period to manufacture broadcloth, but did not continue long at this branch of business. They were for a long time, however, quite celebrated for a superior class of tartan trouserings, which were at one time very fashionable, and greatly worn. They were the first, I believe, to introduce power-looms into the district, having had some at work as far back as fifty years ago. J. '86 R. Archibald, also, from the very commencement of their business, occasionally made broadcloths and trouserings; but they formed a very small portion of their business.

Up till the year 1830, the principal goods, however, manufactured at the foot of the Ochils were blankets and plaidings, which were generally taken to Perth market, and exposed on stalls for sale; and this continued, less or more, up till the year 1840. About the year 1830, a new manufacture was introduced to the locality, which gradually superseded the weightier and plainer goods, and eventually became the staple trade of the district,—that was, the manufacture of tartans. These goods by and by became so fashionable, that no lady considered herself dressed without a tartan plaid or shawl; and tartan dresses became very fashionable also. The result was, that the demand for them became so great, the trade soon assumed gigantic proportions, and the villages of Alva and Tillicoultry increased rapidly in size and population. New firms started by the dozen; and in the town of Alva alone there could not have been fewer at one time than from thirty to forty manufacturing firms.

About the year 1854 a change of fashion took place, which had a serious effect on the tartan trade, and which eventually drove some of our largest firms out of it altogether; and that was, the introduction of cloaks or jackets as an article of. dress, which have continued ever since, in one shape or another, to hold their place in the favour of the ladies. It was then that J. & B. Archibald, Devonvale, J. & D. Paton, Robert Archibald & Sons, and ourselves, commenced to make tweeds or shirtings, which ultimately resulted in J. & R. Archibald giving up the manufacture of tartans entirely, and confining themselves almost wholly to tweeds; Robert Archibald & Sons, to shirtings and tweeds; J. & D. Paton, to tweeds, shirtings, shawls, and other new fabrics introduced from time to time; while for ourselves we gave up manufacturing altogether, and have since 1858 carried on the spinning trade alone. Tartan handkerchiefs, however, are still largely manufactured, and give employment to a great many hands; but the yarn for them is principally spun in Belgium, and at prices the Scotch spinner cannot compete with; and hence the spinning trade of this district is not much benefited by this class of work. Raised shawls are now also (and have been for a number of years) manufactured largely, and have at present every appearance of continuing to be for some time a staple part of our local trade.

Some very extensive businesses are being carried on in Alva at the present time, in various branches of our local manufactures; but it would take too long time, and is out of the scope of these jottings, to refer to them in detail. I may just mention, however, the large and prosperous business of Messrs. William Ross & Sons, whose extensive and beautiful premises add greatly to the business look of the town of Alva. The late Mr. William Ross, sen., was a man of great taste, and had a thorough practical knowledge of his business, and did much to raise the fame of our local manufactures, from the beauty of the goods he produced. He was the architect of his own fortune, and was much esteemed and respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. The business is now being carried on with great energy by four of his Sons, and gives employment to a very large number of hands. Mr. Ross commenced business in 1838, and, from a small beginning, gradually enlarged his premises as his business increased on his hands. In 1865 he erected the fine spinning mill and other premises at Brookfield, which are at present being about doubled in size. He died on the 12th of July 1877, aged sixty-eight years, leaving his widow and six of a family to mourn his loss.

I will only refer to one of the old firms that at one time existed in Alva, and which occupied a very prominent place in the tartan shawl trade, and carried on a very extensive business for a great many years,—the Messrs. Drysdale of Boll Mill. There were three brothers of them,—William, John, and Robert. In addition to their spinning mill and other premises, they erected in 1845 that fine weaving shop which is such a conspicuous building in the higher part of Alva, and gives such a business-like look to the town. The two youngest brothers were cut off while quite young men,— the youngest one, Mr. Robert, first (he died in 1852), and Mr. John in 1854, and Mr. William alone now survives. Their premises are now occupied by Messrs. Tod & Duncan, Ramage & Sutherland, and others.

While Alva and Tillicoultry were from time to time adding to the number of their mills and factories, and increasing in size and population yearly, Menstrie stood almost stationary for a great many years, having only the original woollen mill built by the three brothers Archibald in the beginning of this century. In the year 1864, 4, however, the first part of the very extensive and beautiful works of Messrs. Drummond & Johnston was erected, which has since been added to so very largely; and now their works give employment to a great number of hands, and must have proved of immense benefit to the village. The original mill of the brothers Archibald is still being carried on; but it has now passed into the hands of Messrs. Robert Archibald & Sons, Tillicoultry, the head of which firm was one of the three brothers.

A woollen mill has been carried on for a very long period at Glendevon. Previous to 1850, Mr. Thomas Elliot was the tenant of it; but in that year Mr. John Clayton succeeded him, and greatly enlarged and improved the premises. Since Mr. Clayton's death, the works have been carried on by his sons, under the firm of Clayton Brothers. They are situated at the foot of Glenquhey Burn, and near to its junction with the Devon.

When referring to Glendevon reminds me of an amusing incident in connection with a worthy farmer, who lived in the glen about forty years ago, and who, when a young man, had studied for the ministry, and preached for some little time. He and two of his companions had been in a very jovial, happy mood one day, and when walking along the road, were 'chaffing' the passers-by, or, as we would say in Scotland, 'taking their fun off them;' when, meeting a decent-looking old man, one of them addressed him thus,—'Well, my man, and who art thou?' To which he at once most suitably replied,—'I am the servant of Saul the son of Kish, sent to seek his father's asses, and lo and behold! I have found three of them.' The three students had met their match in the decent old body, and must have felt rather 'taken down a peg' when they got this reply; and, I hope, were more prudent in future.

This story of the minister farmer of Glendevon brings to mind a rather good story in connection with farms. A herd laddie was quarrelled by his mistress for running into the house whenever it came on a slight shower of rain, and was told he was not to do so unless it was an even-down, pour. One day, shortly after this, it was a regular drenching day from morning till night, and to the guidwife's astonishment there was no word of the laddie coming in; but at last, at night, he made his appearance, thoroughly soaked through and through; and when taken to task for his strange conduct, he said he was told not to come in unless it was an even,-down pour; 'now it wasna that, for it was squint.' This worthy lady would see the necessity of being more particular as to the terms she used to this 'young hopeful' after this.

The principal warehouses in Glasgow, in the early days of the tartan trade, that confined themselves exclusively to this branch of business were—Robert M'Kay & Co., Drysdales & Wilson, John Wilson, Sons, & Co., Charles M'Donald & Co., and Gow, Butler, & Co.; while some of the general warehouses, such as J. & W. Campbell & Co., William M'Laren, Sons, & Co., John M'Intyre & Co., Stewart & M'Donald, Tannahill & Robertson, Broadfoot, Brand, Thomson, & Co., etc., did a very large trade in them. The Messrs. Drysdale (of Drysdales & Wilson)—William, Archibald Browning, and Thomas Monteith—were natives of Tillicoultry, and had always a very 'warm side' to their native village. Their father, Mr. Alexander Drysdale, was an elder for a very long period in the United Presbyterian Church here, and lived in Stirling Street, in the house at present owned and occupied by Mr. James Hay. Mr. Thomas is the only brother that now survives.

Mr. Robert M'Kay visited the hill foots himself for 'many years, and bought all the goods required by his firm; and Mr. Gibb (brother of Mr. Gibb in Dollar) then succeeded him, and for a very long period was the shawl buyer for this firm.

Mr. James Liddell was buyer for a considerable time for Broadfoot, Brand, Thomson, & Co.; and latterly for John Wilson, Sons, & Co. He was then succeeded by Mr. George Wilson, one of the sons of the firm.

Mr. David Pye was one of the first shawl buyers for J. & W. Campbell & Co., and Mr. Robb succeeded him, and continued their buyer for a great many years.

Mr. Butler himself for a long period bought all the goods required by Gow, Butler, & Co., and was a frequent visitor at the foot of the Ochils. He was then succeeded by Mr. Fisher, who after Mr. Butlers death Joined the firm, which was then changed to Gow, Fisher, & Co. Mr. Smith was shawl buyer for Stewart & M'Donald for a good many years. Mr. Charles M'Donald was a regular visitor at the hill foots for a long period; and Mr. Alexander Paterson was afterwards made buyer for Mr. M'Donald's firm.

In order to stimulate the demand for tartan dress goods, a ball took place in Alva about the year 1845 or 1846, at which all the ladies had to be dressed in tartan, which was very largely attended, and proved a great success. This assembly was very much talked about for many a day after, and was always spoken of as the 'tartan ball.' Tartan dresses came to be very fashionable and generally worn, and dress goods was a most prosperous branch of the tartan manufacture at the foot of the Ochils for many years. All-wool tartans, however, were too expensive for 'the million;' and this gave rise to a new branch of the trade, which soon assumed enormous proportions. This was the manufacture of Gala tartans, which were made with cotton warps and woollen wefts, and came in at a much more moderate price than all-wool goods, and the quantity of them manufactured for many years was something fabulous. This branch of the trade, however, didn't benefit the 'hill foots' at all, as these goods were made principally in Auchterarder, Perth, and Glasgow.


 


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