Monday, March 8, 2010

John Robertson and Christian Douglas - 1850s

I want to post this in honor of an unknown man whom I met in the summer of 1994.  At that time, he lived in  Springfield, IL.  Here is the story:
Ethnic groups had been invited to display their histories at the State of Illinois Building in Chicago.  I had gone with several staff members and we had taken historical items, flags, brochures, etc.and spent the day talking with people abut the Illinois St. Andrew Society.

A stranger approached me as asked if I would be interested in a Bible that once belonged to a Scottish family.  I said, "yes", of course, and he told me how he had obtained the book.  He had gone to a flea market and saw the book for sale.  As he looked at it, he realized that it was a family history that once had been a valued possession.  He felt it wrong to have this family possession lost and so he bought the book and had kept it for several years.  He promised to mail it to me on his return home.

In a week, or so, a large package arrived from Springfield without a return name or address.  It was the Bible.  It was not exactly a Bible, it was a book of daily devotions and scriptural writings. It had been well used over the years.

The front page contained a family history written by hand and now difficult to read.  This family, with this book, had traveled from Scotland to Australia and back to Scotland again and finally to America.  A son, William, was born in Scotland in 1865 and died in Washington County, Illinois, one year later.    I wish we knew why a family would travel so far from home and then return, only to come to America and finally Illinois.  We pause to admire their courage and faith in God.

I also post this because some descendants may be looking for this important family information. The book is now safely stored and on display,  in the Scottish American Museum.  Here is the family history as hand written.

"John Robertson and Christian Douglas were married at Dollar, Clarkmennarshire (sic) Scotland, on the 24th of April, 1857.  Births of our children:  John was born in Melbourne, Australia on 24th of February, 1858.  Christian Hall was born in Penttand Hills, Australia, on 16th of April, 1860.  May, on the 15th of February, 1862.  William was born at Elllemford, Scotland, on the 10th of March, 1865 and died in Washington Co., Illinois, 21st of July, 1866."

If anyone would like more information, please send an email or call 630-629-4516.

Note:  Washington county is located in southern Illinois, a 5 hour drive from Chicago.

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