Another minor Scottish
poet connected with Kirkintilloch was Walter Watson, the author of the
well-known, proverbial lines:
Weve aye been provided
for, and sae will we yet.
Walter Watson was born in
the village of Chryston, parish of Cadder, on 29th March, 1780, of
humble, hard-working, weaving parents. In later years he described the
old folks :
My parents were folk that
gaed aye to the kirk,
Keepit in wi* their neibors about,
Were carefu* and eident frae momin* till mirk,
An* I neer kent their credit rin out.
Little could be done for
young Walter in the way of education, and at the age of eight years he
was engaged as a herd on a neighbour's farm, where, like Hogg, he had an
opportunity of studying nature's beauties, yet to be the subject of his
In winter time the fields
were abandoned for the loom, and, on reaching manhood, he earned good
wages as a sawyer in Glasgow.
When in this city, a
recruiting sergeant persuaded him to serve His Majesty, and, entering
the Scots Greys, he spent three years of a soldiers life in England.
Receiving his discharge at the peace of Amiens, he returned to his
native place, and married Margaret Wilson, a farmer's daughter. During
his spare hours he cultivated his mind, improved his grammar, and,
encouraged by the knowledge that some of his poetry had been printed in
newspapers, published a small volume of verse, by which he gained
considerable local fame.
In the year 1826 there
was great commercial depression, and in order to procure employment for
himself and some of his growing family, he removed to Kirkintilloch,
where he obtained work as a stone breaker at Strone Quarry, about five
miles from the town. During his residence here, life was a hard
struggle, and he lost three of his sons by death.
Kirkintilloch to Craigdorroch, and then to Lennoxtown, in 1849 he
settled down in Duntiblae, and was in the habit of getting up popular
concerts for the people at Kirkintilloch, at some of which he sang his
own songs, and which were always well attended. Some of his old friends
presented him with a sum of money at a supper in Campsie, and in his
declining years he was the recipient of many tokens of appreciation and
affection, but in 1854 the cholera visited the district, and he died of
that malady on the 13th September.
On the 9th October, 1875,
a graceful granite obelisk was erected to his memory at the south-east
corner of the graveyard in his native village.
Walter Watson did not
claim any high rank as a poet, and must be placed amongst humble bards,
but yet his songs, We've aye been provided for, and sae will we yet,
and Jockies far awa, are justly included amongst the best of their
He has left his mark upon
Scottish literature with sufficient force to make his name a popular and
familiar one to his fellow countrymen.
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