John McDougall, the last weaver on the Isle of Lismore in the West Highlands of Scotland, was not wealthy but his life as superintendent of the small islands Sabbath school was far from simple. As his eight children passed away or left Lismore for other parts of Scotland and America to live more prosperous lives, McDougall began writing letters to his adult son, John, who emigrated to Minnesota. The letters, which reflect his sadness after the childrens departure, provide rare insight into the daily routine and thoughts of a landless cottar who was an engaged and valued member of the Lismore community.
Edited by his great-great-granddaughter, Margaret Miller, the compilation includes images of McDougalls original handwritten letters from 1870 to 1888, related photographs and maps, a timeline of events, and family trees. The letters reveal a thoughtful man who cared deeply about his family and community, and include poignant reminders of the ways in which medicine, communications, and transportation have changed throughout the centuries. As McDougall shares his thoughts and wishes, his enduring human values are brought to the forefront as this devout, principled man managed to influence the development of communities in the United States through his descendants.
My Dear Son shares a compelling collection of letters from a nineteenth century Scottish island weaver to his son, letting us hear his thoughts as he continues his life in Scotland while his son emigrates to America and begins anew.