Pick a story from any of the lists below

open all lists    close all lists     A quick review of all the content

The Jeely Scotts by Peter

Republished by kind permission © Dr Peter J Gordon

The PDF file is accessed by clicking the link below which then opens a Google Document Viewer

View The Jeely Scotts

The text which follows is a searchable version of the pdf story


The Jeely Scotts

By Dr Peter J. Gordon

I have always loved Bridge of Allan, a bond that has
remained with me from my earliest
childhood when I visited my grandfather at Drumdruils farm.
The following account then is
dedicated to my grandfather Robert ‘Rab’ Scott. The narrative will
have at its beating heart Bob
Scott the grandfather of Rab. The story will further describe
how the Scotts brought Jam to
Scotland and will walk through their keen & innovative role as fruit

Robert ‘Bob’ Scott (1856-1940) was an extraordinary man - this
superlative can be used without
fear of exaggeration. As recently as this last summer, I was
blessed to read letters written to and
from Bob Scott of Orchard.
They show a man of
enormous benevolence, deep
kind heartedness and an
exceptional entrepreneur who still
managed to put his
family first.

The Scott family
characteristic has always been
garnered by two principal traits –
an innate kindliness
and a spontaneous, genuine
humour. Margaret Scott,
dear Granny to Andrew and
Rachel, my mother, and
daughter of Rab, has that true
kindliness of being. In
spades the Orchard Scotts had it:
a beautiful, selfless
generosity of being.

Bob Scott (1856-1940) was a
Nurseryman, retaining
and developing the skills of his
father, grandfather and
great-grandfather. He developed
these skills in a time
of great Victorian advancement,
and was instrumental
in the success of the Carluke
Preserve Factory. He was
a man highly regarded and liked
by all.
Figure 1: Bob Scott (1856-1940)

Bob Scott, the eldest child of Robert Scott and Agnes Tudhope,
was born at Holmfoot, Carluke in
October of 1856. He was to grow up at the helm of his five younger
brothers and three younger

Sadly Bob's mother, Agnes Tudhope, died when he was just 16
years old. He loved his mother
dearly, and felt her loss ever so sorely. That grief was still palpable
in the letters he wrote in
much later life. Agnes, his mother, had succumbed quickly to
death when her brain had swollen
uncontrollably in the days after she had given birth to her last child
Thomas. Shaken with his
loss, dazed, and miserable, Bob left the family home of Totham
Cottage, Uddingston and took
sail for California. Poor Bob, he was adrift, his mother had died
and within two years his father
had remarried, taking as his bride the Housekeeper ‘Annie’
(Hamilton). Bob learned of his new
stepmother on his first few days ashore in America. He was
affected badly. He had had a terrible
journey by sea, had no clothes and no money and his mental state
was in a state of complete
and utter unrest. This, in reflection now, was the breaking, and the
making of the man.

Bob’s brother Alec was worried for Bob, and wrote with
homesprung affection, offering to recall
the good guidance of their dear mother:


“I am sure you will be wearying to see us all again, but I think
it may be a while
before you will manage that since you have no money.
I’m sure you will be
welcome home again. I hope that you will be kept from all toil
while you are so
far from home, remember your kind mother who is now in the
happy Land. Oh
Bob mind all her good advices. May God watch over you and
protect you till you
come home again.”

Within days of Alec’s letter, Bob received a letter from his father
Robert. It betrays Bob’s dire

“I received your welcome letter, and was glad to hear
that you was well,
although in poor circumstances. I heard from the Newspapers
of your arrival out
on the 24 of October, and it then knew of your long voyage.
You speak of cold
and hardship during the passage, I think it must have been
enough for older
hands than you were, and I am not in the least surprised at
you getting enough
of it, you say that you have run away from the ship, and you
seem as you have
got none of your Pay, and had left all your clothes, if that is the
case you will
find yourself very awkward amongst Strangers.”

The Scott family was of the ‘Auld Licht,’ presbyterian and strict.
Bob’s father was guided in his
faith to write and to offer such spiritual counsel:

“And Robert I am very glad to hear that you have taken my
advice and never
tasted Strong Drink, and I beseech you never do it, for there is
always a curse
attending the use of Strong Drink and my Prayer will always
be that you may be
kept from it and every other Sin and I am glad to hear that you
wish an interest
in all our Prayers, I think you will have had it every day since
you left here, but
you must also Pray for yourself, and I do hope you do it daily.”

These two letters, from Bob’s brother Alec, and his father Robert,
are about all that survives to
tell of Bob and his run-away venture. However a story has survived
as told by John Gibson Scott,
great-grandson of Bob. Whether there is truth in the story is
another matter, yet it truly portrays
the tortured nature of Bob in what were clearly most desperate of
times. It was said that Bob
had got involved in a 'brawl' with a ‘chineseman’ in a San
Francisco bar after Bob had been upset
with the way this man had used ‘the Lord’s name in vain.’ Worse
still the brawl was to result in
the death of the chineseman. Thereafter Bob took frantic and
returned to Scotland, arriving back
on Scotland’s shores in early 1874, after sailing & piloting himself
around Cape Horn. How he
undertook such a journey is hard to imagine, his mind must have
been tortured and to survive
physically he must have resorted upon every fibre of his
athletic being. Perhaps not
unsurprisingly Bob came ashore looking something like a pirate;
bearded with a head-scarf and
earring. His childhood sweetheart Margaret Marshall greeted him.

Less than a year later, in July of 1875, Bob Scott & Margaret
Marshall were married. Bob was
later to describe how Margaret tamed his wayward spirit. Fifty
years later on the occasion of their
Golden Wedding, Bob wrote a letter for his dear wife Margaret and
left it under her pillow:

These last few days I have been looking back to that time fifty
years ago, when
in your glorious young womanhood you gave me your love
and yourself. I have
often thought it took a big courage on your part to plight your
troth to such a
harum scarum, unsettled chap as I then was, but
perhaps, after all the
confidence of your warm little heart was justified in some
small measure, for
have we not been loyal and true to one another through all
those past years!


In the last decade of the century of his birth, Robert entered for
Veterinary Medicine at Glasgow
University. He was apparently a prize-winning graduate. His choice
of study was not to change
vocation, but to pursue in particular, his love for horses, and
to share and develop, the
‘equestrian cause’ of his Uncle William.

In the early years of their marriage, Bob worked as a Market
Gardener in Newton Dumbarton,
and here, in a house called "Allan View" three of their children
were born: John in 1878, Agnes in
1881 and Jessie ‘the blue-eyed Scott’ in 1883. Within a couple of
years the family had returned to
Carluke, living at first at Roseneath Cottage, and later a granite
villa called Fairyknowe. Over a
twenty-year period, from 1876 to 1896, Bob and Margaret had
seven children, five boys and two
girls (Robert, John, Moppie, Alec, Willie, James and Jessie).
In 1905 the family moved to
Auchenstueart in Station Road Carluke, a larger and more
imposing sandstone villa.

Figure 2: Children of Bob and Margaret Scott
(Moppie, Robert, Agnes & John)

Generations of Bob’s family had worked the land of the Orchard
Estate near Crossford. His great-
grandfather (Robert Scott of Gowanglen born 1761) was the first of
his family to learn the craft
of fruit-bud grafting. Alec MacCallum Scott, MP, has described
Gowanglen’s early enterprise:

th th
“At the end of the 18 and the beginning of the 19 centuries,
a certain Robert
Scott had a nursery garden at Gowanglen. He did a
considerable business in
supplying the orchards of the Clyde with fruit trees, and
his fame was
established as a grafter and pruner. As far away as
Seggieden, in Perthshire, his
descendants have gathered fruit from trees which came from
Gowan Glen.”

It is interesting that Bob's return to Carluke coincided with the early
days of Jelly Works of R. &
W. Scott, which was certainly up and running by 1880. This
venture was started by Bob's father
Robert and his Uncle William (of Marnoch Mill, later Gillfoot, and
finally Thornholm). It appears


that Bob Scott redirected the agitation of his early years into the
most energetic development of
his father's business.

Figure 3: Gowanglen, Orchard, Crossford – the
start of an enterprise.

Before the Scott family, commercial strawberry growing was not
known in Scotland, and had
Robert Scott not ‘induced his brother’ in the spring of 1873 ‘to plant
half-an-acre of ground with
strawberry plants as an experiment’ this fruit may never have
graced the Scottish pudding bowl.
At Mashockmill, Orchard, the sheltered situation and the suitability
of the soil was found to yield
‘very satisfactory results,’ and strawberry culture became one
of the main industries of the
Clydesdale neighbourhood.

“The success of the works was undoubtedly due to the
splendid managing
abilities of the partners. Both were men of integrity
and uprightness in all
business dealings, which gained for them the esteem
and confidence of
customers and employees alike, and has given the firm
name of R. & W. Scott a
reputation and character excelled by no firm in Scotland.”


Figure 4: R & W Scott the “inventors of the
Scottish Strawberry”

So next time you enjoy a juicy Scottish berry think of Robert and
his chance suggestion to his
brother William. For without the shared spirit of adventure of
these two brothers, our palate
might indeed have been sadly deprived.

Figure 5: Bob Scott: four generations of Rob Scott
with Robert of R & W seated right

By 1900, Bob’s father, who had been ill through tuberculosis, was
retired. By now the Jelly works
were flourishing, and a business contract in 1905, valued the
company at £60 000! At this time
Bob Scott was the Company Secretary, and his Uncle William
was the Chairman. The wealth of
the family was literally growing daily, and Bob and his family had by
now several homes.


Secure with the success of the Jam works, Bob, backed by
considerable fortune, started his
search for the right location for a new orchard. It was a search that
took him outwith his familiar
upper Clyde Valley and that ultimately brought him to Bridge of

Bob Scott took tenancy of Drumdruils Farm from Martinmas 1892,
and just two years later he
adapted the agreement to share the tenancy with his son John
(who was then just 16 years old).

Figure 6: Drumdruils carts
the fruit

Bob Scott was keen to prove that he could be a successful fruit
grower outside the vales of
Clyde. Together, with his young son John, he set forth, grafting
and stocking the farm. Detailed
handwritten volumes describe the busy years of the late 19
century and contain thorough
itineraries of the fruit trees planted by Bob and John. It was to be a
successful venture. R & J
Fruit Growers, Bridge of Allan was thus born, and John's future

During this time the family was hit by their first most sorrowful
loss. Willie, aged just 11 years,
died of Rheumatic fever at Drumdruils farm. He was buried in
Carluke, where he spent most of
his childhood.

Bob Scott was highly regarded in
Carluke and respected for
his strength in business and
generosity of spirit. He was a
deeply religious man, and raised
his family in light of his
beliefs. His children enjoyed a
caring, warm family life and
were to be well educated. Later this
prosperity of youth was
repaid with their own success:
Robert became a doctor,
surgeon and missionary; Alec, a
doctor, advocate and
politician; James, who was
wounded in Gallipoli, succeeded
his father's role in the Jam
Works; and Moppie married Dr
George Prentice a pioneering
African Missionary.

With his son settled at Drumdruills,
Bob bought the Cornton
Farmhouse and estate, which lay
upon the vales of the river
Forth. There he set about building a
new home to retire to.
During this time, the early 1900's,
there must have been
much flitting between Carluke and
Bridge of Allan.
Figure 7: Poor wee Willie

Bob started work on his new Orchard House, and employed the
architects James Salmon & John
G. Gillespie to design a light and spacious family home into which
he could embrace his family.
Salmon was a close friend and contemporary of Charles Rennie
McIntosh and introduced some
lovely Arts and Crafts detail to the house. Early construction proved
difficult. The first foundations


were found to be unstable on the carse’s notorious shale
banks, so the project had to be
restarted using a new floating-foundation.

For Bob and Margaret the years at Bridge of Allan were to be
largely happy ones, surrounded by
children and grandchildren. It became a cherished haven for
returning family from Africa. Peggy
Moffat, daughter of Bob's daughter Moppie, (pictured below with
her sister Nancy) wrote some
lovely memoirs of that time at Orchard House:

...."Robert was the owner of a jam factory which he
had inherited from his
father Robert and his uncle Willie, in Carluke - a little village
set in the beautiful
Clyde valley which was renowned for its fine fruit orchards.
The jam factory of R
& W Scott flourishes until today.

Bob's mother Margaret (Marshall) was a handsome dark-
haired woman with a
beautiful complexion and the prettiest hands I think I have
ever seen. She was a
real personality in the village and had a good big
family. Robert. Alec, John,
James, Willie (who died when very young) Agnes and
Jessie. Robert (or Bob)
and Alec were both doctors, John had a large fruit farm
called Drumdruills in
Bridge-of-Allan, James was in the jam factory In Carluke.
Agnes (or Nan) was
having singing lessons in Glasgow and was quite
exceptionally good-looking with
a tall slim figure and her mother's dark eyes, while Jessie
who was my loved
‘Auntie’ was the youngest with fair hair and the Scott
blue eyes. She never
married. Later on she looked after my little sister Nancy and
myself when her
parents had moved to a super house which her father had
specially built to retire
to in Bridge-of-Allan in an orchard to grow apples, plums,
pears and damsons on
‘good, heavy carse soil.’

Grannie was quite strict with us, but very fond of us we
knew. Auntie Jessie who
was ready for any game or ‘expeditions’- and Grandad who
walked round all the
hedgerows with us and through the orchards looking for
bird's nests and getting
to know the various birds and their songs. Near the
house there was an old
orchard where we had a special apple tree with thick
old gnarled branches
where we sat, and which every spring we almost tiptoed
past because the Blue
Tits were back again in their special hole In the trunk.
In the hall, at the
Orchard, there was another of ‘our’ places. Under the stair
there was an alcove
with a fireplace, comfy chairs and tall narrow stained-glass
windows on either
side of the fireplace. Every spring Robins built their
nest in one of these
windowsills, which reached right through the thick walls of
the house, and we
could peep through the glass and watch the babies being

Also in those days we had gorgeous place to go to, and that
was Uncle John and
Aunt Susie's big fruit farm, Drumdruills. There we played
with our cousins Susie,
Madite, Rab and Mary; games like ‘kick the can’, out in the
yard, hide-and-seek,
or rounders. Often our other Scott cousins Bobby, Betty,
Margaret and Marshall
came for the school holidays to the Orchard - which
definitely livened things up.”


Figure 8: October 1900, John Scott marries Susan Rutherford
McEwen, and right seen just days before his death in 1912 .

In May 1910 Robert officially retired from the Preserve-making
business and the new Orchard
House was complete. It was to be a wonderful family home.

Bob and Margaret had lost their young son Willie to
Rheumatic Fever in 1898. Tragically
Drumdruils was to deal them another shock in the early summer of
1912, when John Scott, their
second son took suddenly ill . He succumbed quickly to a burst
gastric ulcer, the same condition
that had taunted Bob himself. John was just 34 years and had a
young family, his only son Rab
(my grandfather) was just 7 years old. This was a dreadfully sad
time for the family, and was the
first event to lead to the family's' eventual departure from fruit
growing and preserve making.

“Always at Christmas time there was a real family party with
Grandad carving
the turkey, and Robbie muttering about getting hungrier and
hungrier and
that it was horrid being the youngest and served last! Then
after the meal
we children settled ourselves round the fire in the hall
while the oldest -
Susie, read us stories from Chatterbox, Little Folks, Chum,
and so on. Then
tea and some games in the hall - and Christmas was bye
for another year.

After one such Christmas. Nancy who was 9 or 10 told me
that she thought
she must have been a ‘gutsy hound’ at the dinner a
day or two before,
because she had a very sore tummy. Our doctor was away
on holiday, and
his locum came to see what was wrong.


Figure 9: Orchard House Hall where Susie
read Christmas stories

He said it was a case of having overeaten,
and perhaps too
many sweets and things, but when it
became apparent that
Nancy was really ill she was hurried into
Edinburgh to be
operated on by Dr. Caird, - but by that time
It was too late
as the appendix had perforated and she
died a few days
later. She was a specially gifted little girl,
and somehow it
seemed such a dreadful waste; and I
really knew what it
was like to have my heart broken. One of
the last things
she said to me was ‘My little body is aweary
of this great

The Orchard, Bridge of Allan. December 27

My Dearest Uncle Alec,
Thank you so much for the five shillings it was very good of you to
send it to us.

Thank you so much for the lovely big box of chocolates that Aunt
Rita and you sent it was very kind of you
both. I had to get a prize for my war poem but it has never come so
I don’t expect it at all now.

Auntie is coming home today she is to be in Stirling about eight I
think she is bringing Bobby and Marshall
with her. Betty and Margaret go to Carluke.

How are you keeping?

Give much love to Aunt Rita next time you see her.
Love from your wee
Fat pogling ‘Nancy’


Bob was to watch with horror the unfolding of the Great war. Two
of his three surviving sons,
Alec and James (‘Jimmy’) were conscripted. With the early loss of
two sons, Bob and Margaret
deserved no more heartache. Yet they didn't have to seek their
troubles, as their youngest son
James was shot at Gallipoli. He received a bullet to the head and
was lucky to survive, though by
all accounts was never quite the same.

Alec Scott, doctor and barrister retained many of the letters sent by
his father during the war and
the years of depression thereafter. It presents an emotional
account of a man at the helm of his
family: and exemplifies the unconditional loving of a dad. Reading
the letters I was so moved
that I felt transported to Orchard beside old Bob at his writing desk.
Yes akin to gentle Bob.

20th May 1915

My Dear Alex,
Man! I wish the war was over and
Jimmy was back in the old place
again. Isn’t it a most terrible
struggle month after month? I rather
think compulsion is now in sight.
One cannot see 300,000 fresh men

I have just had afternoon tea and
the sun is breaking out. Re-reading
this letter I see I have been a bit
dampish. Don’t let me discourage
you. Things will mend. We see
a Captain Gibson killed in action.
From the little notice given this
seems to be Jack’s friend of other
days. Poor fellow he was a right
good sort I understand.
Yours ever Dad

Figure 10: Jimmy Scott

30th June 1915

My Dear Alec,
I had your letter today and note how things go. I think you
are doing quite right to nibble away at
blackcurrants even if dear. The Dutch (Harlayen) currants may
come in. I rather think that Carluke folks
have bought some at 30/- They may be good or they may be
indifferent. It will hardly do to depend too much
on English. I fear they are just not there in quantity. If very scarce, I
never saw the year when black jam
could not be sold. Some folks seem determined to have it no
matter what the price is.

You are right to arrange for definite lots per day. Otherwise you
would get swamped. Keep in mind that we
must have somewhere about 1000 tons of stock this year if we are
to have any profit out of the business. It
will be a little worrying for you for the next few weeks but just keep
plugging away. It is a pity Tanyer
Press and the sifter are giving trouble.

I am glad you saw Jimmy, isn’t he a hardy looking young fellow? It
is going to be an anxious time if he
goes to the front. We could wish to keep our laddie at home
if we could. What a slaughter it has been

I am glad Bob is still this side.
Yours ever Dad


We saw MacCallum-Scott at Thornhome, we were together there
over the weekend.

Now no narrative on the Scott family could pass by without
dropping in on MacCallum-Scott.
Alexander MacCallum Scott (1874-1928) was Secretary of the
League of Liberals against
Aggression and Militarism, and Secretary of the New Reform Club
before becoming Liberal M.P.
for the Bridgeton constituency of Glasgow in 1910. During the First
World War MacCallum Scott
was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Winston Churchill and
remained M.P. for Bridgeton until
1922; two years later he left the Liberals to join the Labour Party.

The MacCallum Scott papers present a fascinating archive of an
extraordinary man. The papers
are lodged with Glasgow University Special Collections on the top
floor of their library and
include correspondence with constituents and contemporaries
(including materials on the
Suffragette movement), drafts of speeches, political diaries and
journals of visits abroad (the
latter containing his impressions of the Soviet Union and the Baltic
States in the 1920s).

In 1905, MacCallum-Scott
completed the very first
biography of his friend Winston
Churchill in which he
predicted greatness based
on his ‘will, courage,
originality and magnetis’:

Discerning men, wrote Scott,
predicted that “he will
make history for the nation.
The youth of thirty is
confidently spoken of by his
admirers as a future Prime
Minister ... he is of the
race of Giants. In the
tempestuous gambols and
soaring ambitions of his
youth, we read the promise of a
mighty manhood”

Sometime before 1910, it has
been recalled that Bob
and his son John were introduced
to Winston Churchill
by MacCallum-Scott.

In more recent times, Winston Churchill was voted by several
million as the Greatest Britain of all
time. Yes truly one can state that MacCallum-Scott was ahead of
the game!

McCallum-Scott was prolific and wrote a wonderful account of his
family ‘A Clydesdale Man’
which he dedicated to his father. It traced the budding enterprise of
Gowanglen and its orchard
right through to the flourishing years of the Jelly Works.

To complete his manuscript MacCallum-Scott arranged
to visit his family widely and record all sorts of
anecdotes. He was a frequent and welcome visitor of
Bob Scott at Orchard House Bridge of Allan as well as his
son John at Drumdruils.

MacCallum-Scott had beautiful handwriting and his
collected notes burst forth richly evocative of a
Clydesdale that was once the fruit field of the world.
With Bob at helm the jams of R. and W. became world
famous. There were even Parisian
adverts, with one design, made by young Jimmy of the Eifel Tower
made out of Scots Jam jars!

On the last Sunday of August 1928 MacCallum-Scott and his wife
Jessie were tragically killed in a
plane crash over Puget Sound, British Colombia.


Figure 11: MacCallum-Scott lost over Puget Sound
when his plane crashed in August 1928

It was MacCallum-Scott who collected a lively collection of stories
from Carluke which otherwise
would be lost to time. When I was helping my Great-Aunt Sally
write her memoirs I passed on
some of his favourite MacCallum-Scott moments:

6th September 2005

Dear Sally,
Some years back I took a trip to Glasgow to visit the top floor of
the University Library. It was here that the
MacCallum-Scott papers were lodged. Alec was a prolific
man and really very able. A true Victorian
benefactor whose writings in a beautiful-hand’ paint the picture of
someone special and genteel. Sad then
that Alec and his wife were lost suddenly (in their prime) as the
result of a tragic plane crash over Canada.

My trip to Glasgow was principally fuelled by my wish to find
more about Dr Rankin – Carluke’s

celebrated Doctor. You see I have collected stories relating to
several 19 century doctors – Dr Rutherfoord
of Bridge of Allan, Dr Rankin of Carluke and several from the
North East of Scotland and Upper Deeside.
It was one of my ideas to pull their stories together in
some-sort of historical fabric. Yet another of my
projects that never quite got going!

One visit to the collection could do no justice, however I did
manage a search of one of MacCallum-Scott’s
many boxes of handwritten notes. Between 1908 and 1925 he
visited a number of our family, researching
for his manuscript, which I know you h ave read, written in honour
of his father “A Clydesdale Man.” It
was amongst these notes that I found some wonderful family
anecdotes and stories of a few of Carluke ’s

It has taken me till now to write up Alec MacCallum-Scott’s
writings and still, they are but a snapshot! I
cherry-picked the stories that appealed to me – mostly the
humourous accounts! Lists of dry family names
has never appealed – bringing them alive does – and that is why I
love your style of writing so much.


More than that – to me the Scott family characteristic embodies
two principal traits – an innate kindliness
and a spontaneous, genuine humour. My grandfather Rab had
these in spades which even years of drinking
did not subvert!

During the early yrs of WWII my ‘Grumpa Rab’ had a favourite
prank. He would wait until his visitors
had enjoyed their dinner, slip out of the house and under
early-nightfall wedge sand-bags under his
visitors’ automobile. He would then sneak back into the house and
bid his guests farewell – only to roar in
laughter as they tried hopelessly to drive off!

As a youngster Rab used to visit the Dunblane Grocer and
swap the ‘Lucky -dip
penny-a-shot prizes’ with little wrapped presents of cow-dung!

Anyway enough of that. I thought you might like the story of Bob o’
Totham and his
Latin ! Also it looks as if your dad met with Alec MacCallum
-Scott at Orchard
House at the end of Nov 1913. Could that be right?

I thought you might like to see Punkie Willie! Quite a Carluke
character! As a child
I remember coming across his photograph in the old Drumdruills
side-board – I had
no idea it was Punkie – but he did make me wonder so!
Yours Aye,

Bob’s father, the founder of R. & W. was a robust figure and
embodied the sense of humour so
keen to the Scotts, though at times, it has been recorded he could
‘nip’ a bit hard with this.

Archie Reid got a little Latin at school. John Scott ‘a Clydesdale
Man’ (father of MacCallum-Scott)
once offered old Reid a job at Boathouse:
“Whit John Scott” was the indignant reply: “Wud ye ask a Latin
Scholar to cairt dung tae
Glasgow. Na! Na!”
That same season Archie was employed pulling fruit with Bob
Scott o’ Totham & Rob Caldwell:
“What dae ye call this in Latin” asked Bob, pointing to a ladder?
“Ledderibus” said Archie.
“Weel” said Bob, “tak that Ledderibus, an gan’ tak that treeibus an
pull the pearibusses!!”
Archie was dumfounded and gasped “when did you learn Latin

Robert Scott one of the founders of the firm R. & W. Scott,
Preserve Makers, Carluke, had once
in his early days to consult Doctor Rankin about some affection of
his skin. The Doctor took his
hand and examined it carefully while his face assumed a look of
anxious solicitude.
'Man, Robert', he said slowly, 'D'ye know if there's any place round
about here where they send
'I got a start', Robert used to say afterwards, in telling the story. 'It
sent a kind o' cauld shiver
through me. D'ye think its Leprosy, Doctor', I said.'
'I don't like it', said the Doctor shaking his head, 'but give me a bit
o' paper and I'll write ye out a
prescription. There, get a pennyworth o' that and I think it'll cure

Dr Rankin was born in Carluke in 1805. He began a career in Law
but changed to Medicine and
studied at the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow. He
chose to practice in Carluke
despite other opportunities and became a much loved and well
respected figure in the town. He
never charged the poorer townspeople, who knew he could be
relied upon for help and advice no
matter what the problem. He was a lovable eccentric who took
great pride in his long mane of


hair and also boasted that his attire had come into fashion not
once, not twice, but three times
since he first graduated in sartorial splendour. It was one of Dr
Rankin’s boasts that he never
was on a train!

Mary Scott (grandmother of Bob Scott) once went to Dr
Rankin of Carluke to get a bad tooth pulled. He climbed up on the
back of the chair on which she was sitting and yelled in a
voice “Open your mouth” She got such a fright she jumped up and

the doctor fell all his length. As he expected, however, the fright put

away the toothache!

Dr Rankin did not ride a horse, it was said that ‘on the only
occasions he rode it, it unsaddled him, and it was sent back to the

giver Mr Hamilton of Braidwood House.’

My favourite story however recalls one of the Gilchrists of Gillfoot,
(the house next to Hill of Orchard and later home of William Scott
R. & W.) who travelled to Canada or Russia from where he sent
home a ham of Bear
Figure 12: Dr Rankin of Carluke

“You ken a Bear has foot awfu’ like a human being” said Robert
Scott of Totham. The foot was
“cut aff the ham an flung oot on tae the midden where some aff the
folk found it” . . . “it caused
an awfu’ commotion in oor church: They thocht it was a
human foot an someone had been

That has been a wee diversion into the lives of some of Carluke’s
old worthies, but it is time now
to return to the letters between Bob Scott and his son Alec. One
letter addressed to Alec was not
from his father, but from a friend, Ella Crum, it is worth
recording as it conveys the tidal
emotions of the unfolding war:

Garth, Trentham, 19 December 1915

Dear Alex,
I love my country, simply because it is my country, but
the Hun has taught us the ghastliness of the super-
nation and the super-man. With this chastened view I
can’t even thank God I am Scots! But I shall thank Him
if we are given the grace to do well among our brothers.

And don’t feel the times a bit bitter in losing your
fri ends. It’s a good cause, and a life so much better than
the old ante-bellum life that they have now.
Ella Crum

Figure 13:
Alec Scott the soldier

On his retirement the Carluke Young Men's Christian
Association presented Bob a wonderful
commemorative scroll:

"We take this opportunity of addressing you in prospect of
your retiral from our
Association owing to your removal from Carluke to reside at
Bridge of Allan. We


regret your departure from amongst us, but at the same
time we desire to recall
with gratitude the many services which you have rendered
to our Association
and to say how heartily we wish you God-speed in all your

Bob Scott invested wisely and owned a number of properties,
including the Cornton & Forglen
Farm; Orchard House; Kennetpans; 163 Gourlay Street, Glasgow;
26-32 Hotspur Street; 468-478
Dumbarton Road and 6 Trafalgar Street, Dalmuir

After Bob Scott's retiral, his youngest brother John ran the
Preserve Factory at Carluke. The
company continued in its prosperity, and John and family moved
into the Orchard Mansion House
at Crossford. John's sons opened preserve works further afield, at
Hayes Middlesex and in Dublin

I do hope that I am not losing the narrative, but I find that I cannot
leave out the letters of Bob.
He was a man underwritten by strength, a man who put the Jam
Works on a worldwide stage,
and a man who lived for his family.

10th June 1915

Mother is still in bed but feeling a bit better, although sickish at
times. It is just possible she won’t venture
down tomorrow, but we shall see. It is quite evident she cannot
stand now what she was able to undertake
in former years.

Man I am kind of sorry that you had that rumpus with Bob
yesterday. It has worried me ever since I heard
of it. Of course I know well you are anything but quarrelsome, but
these quarrellings of relatives are so
disagreeable and leave one so worried that they are best avoided if
at all possible.

I hope to see you all tomorrow again. I am not lecturing you Sandy.
I know you are a good sort and the last
to treat anyone unjustly.

Yours ever

In July of 1928 Bob wrote to his son Alec telling him how his health
had failed rapidly: he had no
appetite and what he could eat was retched straight back up.
Reading the letter below you can
understand that Bob must have feared that he had cancer.

29th July 1928

I told you last week that I was going up with Dr Welsh to see Dr
McLennan at Doune, well we went up on
Tuesday last. Dr McL. examined me very thoroughly. He said he
thought there had been an ulcer about the
pyloric opening earlier in my life and that in healing up it had
resulted in a thickening of the membrane
and a consequent constricting of the opening into the bowel, with
the further consequence that the contents
of the stomach had a difficulty in passing out. Hence the vomiting
and the eructations of gas so repeatedly.
He said that it might be advisable to have a small operation
performed, but first of all he wanted to have the
contents of my stomach examined microscopically I suppose,
before doing anything. Since a week past on
Saturday there has not been any vomiting and no nausea. For the
present I am taking my meals with some
degree of appetite and relish. My stomach feels still a bit full and I
have to take a dose of Rochelle salts every
second day. On Tuesday morning – this is Sabbath – Dr Welsh is
coming down to empty my stomach with
the tube and to submit part of the contents to Dr McLennan. What
the result may be I do not know. It was
hinted that I might be put under the x-rays. You will understand
better than I do. Dr McL. was surprised


to learn of my age. He thought I was quite wonderful, but really I
am a good bit thinner, the vomiting and
loss of appetite two weeks ago pulled me down a bit.

Now, sonny mine, don’t think that I am whimpering as scared, I
have had my three score years and ten and
more, and that is all we are promised.
With fondest love,
Yours ever,

Although Bob was officially retired, one gets the sense that
never really stopped. In one letter to Alec he remarked “I don’t
mean to stick so close here now that Rab has taken over
tenancy of this place. I must have some leisure time in my
age.” Rab, his grandson, was in turn, as you must realize, my
grandfather. That is how I am cast into the world of my
grandfather and in turn my grandfather’s grandfather. It was Bob
and Rab who made me the ‘Garden Maker.’ That is a tradition of
which I am rightfully proud. Yes rightfully proud.

Of all the pictures this one (to the right) is a clear favourite
mine. In it Bob is so wonderfully tall and straight backed, standing
proudly next to his granddaughter Peggy Prentice who holds up
darling wee great-grandaughter. In the background is Kennetpans.

This was a home that Bob gave to the Prentice family. It had its
own Orchard and tomato houses and had a glorious outlook over
the river Forth towards Airth. The Kennetpans house, after
time of the Scotts, was later destroyed by an accidental fire, but
Bob’s Orchard survives to this day.

22nd April 1934
Wire worms were bad in tomato houses at Kennetpans this spring
and a lot of plants were spoiled, but we
are hoping that the worst is over. We tried Valproate, Arsenals of
Lead, Paris Gree & also Nicotine. It is an
endless struggle with pests of one kind or another in these days
and I don’t quite feel so vigorous to go
ahead and get them stamped out as once I was. I am fully 78½
years now. Mother was fully 80 when she,
the best wee wifie in the world for me went home to be with her
Redeemer. I think of her every day with a
great longing in my heart. I shall ever thank God that he gave her
to me. She was a grand wee chum to me
in my life’s journey. I shall see her by & by when the morning
breaks over the Everlasting Hills.

Rab is busy planting straws at Spittalton these days. He put in
quite a few acres of rasps during this last
winter. He has now some 30 acres rasps and about 12 acres
straws – part of the last planted last back-end.
He and his wife and wee boy are well.

We expected your brother Jimmy through this weekend, but he did
not come. He may have gone elsewhere.
Preserve making is a much leaner business these days. There is
less demand & yet more competition. The
foregoing is about all the news this time.
Yours ever Dad. (Kiss wee John for me.)

The past came kaleidoscoping back to me when I read of
Bob’s trip north with Rob Moffat.
Indeed, as Bob described, Rob was a ‘thoroughly good fellow .’
Rob Moffat retired from Africa and
settled with his wife Margaret in Peebles. As a young child, I was
taken to see Rob Moffat. He


had an endearingly gentle affect and I felt safe and nurtured in his
presence. He was a man of
honour, intellect and post-colonial splendour. Looking back, I
could just tell that he was blood
and kin of the Great Missionary.

27th July 1935

You spoke of Rob Moffat, and of his lending you his car, as yours
had petered out owing to some breakage
or other. Rob is a thoroughly good fellow. I was awfully glad that a
year ago we were able to take him with
us for a tour right up through Crieff, Dunkeld and so on to
Inverness the first day, and then on the second
day, on through Beauly, Dingwall, Invergairn, Tain, Dornoch,
Golspie, Helmsdale, Lybster, Wick, John
My wee mother’s prayer, I make my prayer. She prayed “this
morning I would throw myself, my dear
husband & dear children on the mercy of the one God in Jesus
Christ.” I make this my own prayer (as far as
I am able) every day.

Warmest love to Ming, wee John and you sonny o mine.
Yours ever,

Time then to take a trip on the Tardis back to the present day. In
May 2006 a book arrived in the
post from Sally Scott, the daughter of Alec Scott (1885-1960) and
Ming. It was entitled The Land
of the Lost Content. Here was my response to Sally:

Wednesday 17 May 2006

Dear Sally,
You owe me an apology! I did not get to sleep till 2.15am, as I was
of course reading your book. I then
dreamt of Africa.

It is a singing, glowing, reaching and vitalizing account of your
family – I could almost reach out and
touch your Dad – so descriptive was the account skipping off your
page. In the north-east, they would say
he was a ‘man of many pairts’ and indeed he was. I have a touch
of your father’s restlessness – it seems to
be innate. I try to sit down and do something and then another
idea comes into my head. It can be a very
frustrating trait!

I think you were at your best when writing about your mother Ming.
In a fair way you described the
torrent of mixed-emotions that came with her ‘bolt.’ To me she
floated around your book like an unseeing

I have said this before – but I do wish I had your descriptive flair,
and ability to pull a situation into
delightfully observed detail. I am quite envious! My writings are
utterly plain in comparison! I am
compiling an account of various family stories ‘This is not
Yesterday’ – it is a borrowed phrase from
Rachel when she was three. I don’t quite know what she meant
but it did fit my purpose delightfully. I have
collected Andrew and Rachel’s sayings in a little book: my
favourite …. when Andrew offered to ‘buy me
money’ after my wallet had been stolen!!

This is Not Yesterday is extraordinary tales of an ordinary family,
but into it come Burke and Hare,
Rabbie Burns, John Logie-Baird, the Madeleine Smith murder
trial, the Lighthouse brothers, Florence
Nightingale, Bonnie Prince Charlie and so forth….


As you have seen Bob Scott remained athletic into old age; in his
seventies he challenged his
grandson Robert to a race up orchard drive, and won!

On the 2nd July 1925, Bob and Margaret celebrated their Golden
Wedding celebration. Bob wrote
a touching note to his wife, which demonstrates both his true
gentleness and also his deep faith:

My Dearest Margaret,
Congratulations to you, and I do congratulate myself. For it
is not given to everyone to
see the dawn of the ‘Golden Wedding’ year. But in God's
goodness and grace it has been
gifted to you and me. Thanks be onto the Great Father of
all, who has manifested his love
so fully and freely onto us. He has been with us in our joys
and sorrows, our cares and
troubles; he has indeed been truly our friend. And thank you
my sweetheart dear for your
companionship through the long years. Your love and
sympathy have cheered me and
kept me going, when otherwise I might have lost heart.

These last few days I have been looking back to that time
fifty years ago, when in your
glorious young womanhood you gave me your love and
yourself. I have often though t it
took a big courage on your part to plight your troth to such a
harum scarum, unsettled
chap as I then was, but Perhaps,
after all the confidence of
your warm little heart was justified
in some small measure, for
have we not been loyal and true
to one another through all
those past years!

I thank you my dearest wife for
all you have been to me,
and for all your love and devotion.
May God bless you and
keep you all the days that may yet
be left to us to go hand in
hand down life's journey. I feel it ha s
been good to know and love each
other and I often think, if by some strange throw back of the
years to the time when you
and I were young, as in 1875, we would just as fondly give
ourselves again to each other
for better and for worse as we did fifty yea rs ago. Don't you
think so wifie dear? Back
then I gave you a ring that was to be a pledge of love and
union. It was a plain circlet of
gold, but to you and me it meant much. I am now
commissioning Bob, Chrissie and
Jessie to get another ring for you in my name, which may
be a further token, after half a
century, of the love I bear to you, also as a mark of the
deepest appreciation of that loving
loyalty you have always given me. May you long be spared
to wear the new ring.
Ever loving yours. Bob

Margaret infact enjoyed seven more years of marriage before dying
as the result of a stroke. The
year was 1932, and she was in her 81 year. Bob was consoled by
his daughter Jessy, who was
unmarried and had never really left her father's side.

Three years later Bob’s heart was broken once more. Poor gentle
Bob for he lost his third and
youngest son Jimmy, his dearest of boys. Jimmy succumbed to
pneumonia which was indeed a
nasty visitor upon the Scotts. The vividness of this loss is brought
abruptly home to us by a letter
sent to Alec from his sister Jessy.


Fairyknowe, Carluke. December 2nd 1935.

My dear old Alec,
I don’t know how to tell you and I wish I could soften the
blow in some way. Jamie died on Sunday
morning about six o’clock. We are all stunned & heartbroken.
Dr McLean was called in on Wednesday
after Jamie had had a bad rigor. He sounded him in the evening
and found some rough sounds – not bad –
but next morning pneumonia had developed definitely. Dr McLean
brought down Robert Marshall to see
Jamie and Robert phoned to us on Thursday evening. Father
and I had
just got home from the south the day before. We came through
here on
Friday morning and found Jamie much worse than we had
been led to
expect – Robert had tried not to alarm father. Jamie had a bad
night on
Friday, restless, vomiting frequently, and breathing
quickly with
difficulty. He couldn’t get rid of the mucus in his throat. About 6 o’
he seemed rather better & seemed easier till the afternoon, asked
to have
his face and hands washed & looked at the pictures in the Bulletin.
he wasn’t so well, and about 2 o’clock there was a decided change
for the
worse till about 6 o’clock he turned on his side and died. Bob and I
with him. Bob came up on Friday evening. Father went back to his
bed at the Orchard every night.

A specialist from Edinburgh Dr Hewitt saw him twice took a
gloomy view of him the first time but was more hopeful next
day. All
agree that it was a particularly vicious infection. The poor boy was
by it. I can’t get his pathetic face out of my mind. He looked so
eager to do anything that would make him better. He began to
towards the end and about a few minutes before he died he
begged me to
get his shirt and socks. He was going to Bridge of Allan. I said
it was
much too early in the morning but he replied ‘no we’ll be there by
past eight just a nice time and will go to our beds’ Poor boy he was
to death. Will miss him terribly and it is painful to be in this house
he had made so comfortable and tasteful. He had had a few
friends in on
Tuesday evening for Bridge and as I write I can see the
flowers which
were put in for the party.

Father is terribly cut-up. Nan says she has never seen him so
grieved at any time. Though Jamie was so ill
Father thought he would pull through and he couldn’t believe his
youngest had gone – always a loveable
boy. It has meant something to us to find his friends in Carluke
have loved him. He was very popular (how
horrible to need to use the past tense.) He was tolerant and kind
and enthusiastic in his interests, indeed a
lovable boy.


And now our wee brother is being buried in the Carluke
Churchyard on Wednesday, beside wee Willie &
our grandfather. It is fitting that he should lie in Carluke where he
belongs. He was just a visitor to Bridge
of Allan. How we are going to go on without him I don’t know. He
brought so much ---- into our lives and
we were so proud of him. He was so ornamental

These are dark days and now that death has got him I am sorry I
didn’t do more for him. Will you excuse
this scrawl, father wanted me to write. He will write himself when
he has more heart for it.

Much love Jessy

By this time Bob must have lived for his faith and with this he had a
resolute, yet inner strength,
as this account has so demonstrated.

In June 1940 the Orchard came to an end. Bob Scott died on the
13 of that month while his
daughter Jessy, prostrate with the same the same grim chest
infection, slept in the next
bedroom. Jessy took a turn for the worse and the decision
was made not to tell her of her
father’s passing. Sawdust was put down on the wooden floors of
Orchard House, so that the
hearse would not alert poor Jessy. Just nine days after the
death of her father Jessy died.
Sadness drifted through Orchard House like never before and
Jessy, one can only imagine, must
have felt the unrehearsed loss, and simply a broken-hearted spirit,
gave up. Bob and daughter
were buried together, alongside their family, at Logie cemetery. A
plain stone was to mark the
quiet resting place of this special family, a family under-pinned by
the strength of Bob Scott.

Simplify Me When I’m Dead

Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I’m dead.

As the processes of earth
strip off the colour and the skin
take the brown hair and blue eye

and leave me simpler than at birth,
when hairless I came howling in
as the moon came in the cold sky.

Of my skeleton perhaps
so stripped, a learned man will say
‘He was of such a type and intelligence,’ no more.

Thus when in a year collapse
particular memories, you may
deduce, from the long pain I bore

the opinions I held, who was my foe
and what I left, even my appearance
but incidents will be no guide.

Time’s wrong-way telescope will show
a minute man ten years hence
and by distance simplified.


Through that lens see if I seem
substance or nothing: of the world
deserving mention or charitable oblivion

not by momentary spleen
or love into decision hurled
leisurely arrive at an opinion.

Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I’m dead.

Keith Douglas



Read more stories from the People section
Ramsays Tales of Rankin (the next story in sucession)
Carluke, Ontario -Titanic victim
Dixon Vallance
Dr Rankin from Scots Magazine 1986
Edward Boyes Brownlie
James Allan 1855

Last Updated on Apr-28-2014