Monday, October 25, 2010

The Standing Stone of James B. Forgan

James B. Forgan was born in St. Andrew, Scotland, April 11, 1852. He died October 28, 1924 in Chicago and is buried in Graceland cemetery. Around the age of 20 he moved to Canada and was employed by the Bank of British North America. In 1892, he came to Chicago and was elected vice president of the First National Bank. By 1900, he was president of the bank. Mr. Forgan was a member of the Fourth Presbyterian church in Chicago, and also president of the Illinois St. Andrew Society.

Just prior to his death, Mr. Forgan wrote his autobiography.  He gave the book and the proceeds to the St. Andrew Society.  We have one copy in the Scottish American Museum.  Recently a young friend of mine, lost his grandfather. I sent him this passage from Mr. Forgans’ book.  There are people in Scotland who often read this blog, so I am hoping that someone who knows the area will contact us.  We all leave "standing stones" so I wonder if this one can be found.  Here is what he wrote.

"I paid frequent visits to them (my grandparents)during my summer vacations, and my last visit, just before I left for Canada, is indelibly fixed in my memory. The only direct means of transportation then was a bus, which ran daily from Anstruther to St. Andrews each morning and returned in the last afternoon. The two miles between Anstruther and Pittenweem had to be walked. On returning from my last visit to them, my grandfather, a large, heavily built man, who had retired from business and was showing the effects of his advancing years, accompanied me on my morning walk from Pittenweem to catch the bus at Anstruther. He walked about three-fourth of the distance with me and suddenly stopped at a stone, which stood erect from the bottom to the top of a dike, built along the front of a field. He drew my attention to the standing stone, as he called it, and told me that if ever I passed that way again, I would remember that there is where I parted with my grandfather, that I would never see him again. Then he said: “Good-bye God bless you, Jamie”, and with that, being overcome with his feelings, he suddenly left me. My feelings were no less affected. He had been a kind grandfather to me, and I was very fond of him. I have visited Scotland six times since, and passed over the Anstruther and Pittenweem road, and on each occasion I stopped at the standing stone and recalled this affecting parting scene with my grandfather."

1 comment:

  1. Anstruther and Pittenweem aren't terribly far from where I am, but Fife's not an area I am very familiar with. There is a standing stone at Easter Pitcorthie, but it sounds like this was more of a large stone built into a dyke, rather than a traditional standing stone. Hopefully someone with local knowledge will be contact you. I can say from experience that you can get the best Fish & Chips in the world at Anstruther! :-)