Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Ritchie Family circa 1875

This is the earliest photo I have of David and Isabella.
I have dated this at 1875 but it might have been as early as 1874, as their 5th child, James, was brought into the world in 1875. As William is in his mother’s arms, it is hard to see if she is ‘with child’.
Their oldest son was also a David and followed into his fathers trade becoming a mason and then a respected builder, living in Cupar for the whole of his life. This was barely two miles away from where he was brought up. The family home, in Cupar Muir, had four rooms that contained windows and was big enough to bring up their seven children. Although their eldest son stayed close, their eldest daughter Janet emigrated to Canada and their youngest, not born for nearly another decade …my Nana…lived for several years in London. This is the only photo I have yet to find of Janet and their second son Alexander.
Sadly I have no image of James who died before his time….I am sure I have not recounted his story before so maybe this is the place to record it.
James was born in 1875 and like William, who worked in the print, did not follow in his father’s footsteps but became a Cabinet maker. He met and fell in love with Jane Brunton and they married in 1903. Soon Jane was carrying their first child and eleven months after their marriage Elizabeth was born. They were so happy but Jane was very unwell after the birth. James had gone out to visit friends and returned to find that she had died and could not forgive himself for not being there by her side. His death from poison was recorded 12 hours after hers.
Elizabeth was now an orphan but James’s siblings tried to care for her. A few months later Jane’s parents came and took her to live with them…. changed her surname and appear to have brought her up as their own child …maybe to shield her from knowing about her real parents deaths.
James' family never saw her again but I found that she lived until 1986 … not all that far from where I live now …. unmarried and on her own …how I wish that I had started Family History 10 or so years earlier …but then maybe it would have been wrong to rake up the past.