Macfarlane family archives
Place Published: various
Date Published: 1832 to 1919
Binding: No binding
This archive collection contains 37 items dating from 1832 to 1919, specifically 24+ letters, 6 photos, and other pieces of ephemera. Although some documents have folds, stains, tears and nicks, most of the material is in good condition.
These family archives which originate in Scotland pertain to immigration and settlement in southern Ontario, Canada (Brant County and Chatham) and the USA (Pennsylvania and Texas). Several individuals are prominent in the letters and other documents: James Macfarlane, a teacher in Brant County in the 1850s and 1860s, uncle of Dr. Alexander MacFarlane; Dr. Alexander MacFarlane (1851-1913), born in Blairgowrie, Scotland, married Helen Mattie Swearingen of Texas in 1885 (1871-1927), and died at Chatham, an educator, author, logician, physicist, and mathematician, who taught at universities in Edinburgh and St. Andrews, the University of Texas, and Lehigh University; and his son, Alexander Swearingen Macfarlane (1896-1918), born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, an engineering student at the University of Michigan, who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in August 1916, was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 63rd Battery (later 4th Divisional French Mortar Battery), Canadian Field Artillery, was killed in action at Bourlon Wood during the operations before Cambrai, and was posthumously awarded the Military Cross in recognition of his “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” in WWI
1) ALS, Logiealmond [Perthshire, Scotland], Sept. 27, 1832, 2 pp., from Alexander Young, attesting to the excellent teaching of James Macfarlane.
2) ALS, 1 page, from Trafalgar, Jan. 31, 1848, written by William Robertson to James MacFarlane, Teacher, near St. George, Dumfries, C. W. [Canada West], re teaching vacancy at his school.
3) ALS, 2 pp., from Toronto, Nov. 17, 1848, to James Macfarlane, St. George’s, C. W., from Henry Bogen. “…I performed that piece of business which you requested… I cannot find the Irish Maps in all the city…after inquiry at the most noted bookstore…Teaching here is rather uphill business yet…I have used the strop a good deal since I have been here. Mr. Gale says we are commanded in Scripture to make use of it and that is good authority…”
4) Printed certificate with written text, No. 312, “Mr. James McFarlane of the Protestant faith…applied to the Board of Public Instruction for the County of Brant, for a certification of Qualification, to teach a Common School…First Class Teachers… prescribed by the Council of Public Instruction for Upper Canada……to teach Common School …in the County of Brant…3rd day of October 1850…”
5) ALS from James Macfarlane. to George Lee, St. George, Aug. 15th, 1853, re land and Plank Road. Split into several fragments.
6) Printed certificate with written text, No. 87, “Mr. James McFarlane of the Protestant faith… applied to the Board of Public Instruction for the County of Brant, for a certification of Qualification, to teach a Common School… Second Class Teachers, prescribed by the Council of Public Instruction for Upper Canada…to teach Common School in the Township of South Dumfries, County of Brant…Second day of October 1855…”
7) ALS, Glen Morris, Feb. 16, 1860, to J. MacFarlane, St. George, from John Dunbar, alerting him to his impending visit to their school for examination and lecture.
8) ALS, Ancaster, Nov. 18, 1860, on a single large sheet of paper, “We, the trustees of the Common School…of Ancaster, hereby certify that Mr. James MacFarlane, a natural born subject of her Majesty, has taught a common school in this neighbourhood for upwards of five years. That he has uniformly given the utmost satisfaction to his employer and well demeaned himself as a man and Christian. We can cordially recommend his mode of teaching and attest to the progress made by the Pupils under his care.” Signed John M. Wilkins, Moses H. Howell, Joseph Chatterson.
9) Printed certificate with written text, No. 11, “Mr. James McFarlane of the Protestant faith…applied to the Board of Public Instruction for the County of Brant, for a certification of Qualification, to teach a Common School…First Class Teachers, prescribed by the Council of Public Instruction for Upper Canada…to teach Common School in the County of Brant…Sept. 1861…”
10) Handwritten receipt on strip of paper, $16.87, Mailed to J. MacFarlane, St. George, Brant, C.W., Jul. 18, 1861, with brief note on other side. 10) Handwritten receipt on strip of paper, $20.64, Mailed to J. MacFarlane, St. George, Brant, C.W., Jan. 20, 1862, with computations on other side. Also writing on inside of envelope flap.
11) Empty envelope, hand-dated May 23, 1862, to James M. Macfarlane in Rosebank, C. W. Letter missing but the envelope provides another address for James.
12) ALS, 2 pp., but other pages are missing, first part is written to “Dear Brother”, from Blairgowrie, Scotland, on August 5, 1862, to James Macfarlane probably from Daniel Macfarlane, whose wife (Ann Small) then wrote a few lines on Aug. 13, and her last line on the second page ends in mid-sentence: “…You said you have dry weather in Canada; we have had very wet weather, all the spring, and the beginning of summer, the first half of June was extremely wet and cold, which retarded the progress of the growth…We have had the best hay crop that we have had for many years, and pasture grass, as generally good, other crops in many instances very deficient, and the harvest will be very late… You were very kind in mentioning to get Latin books to Alexander, but this season being spent we did not get any yet… My dear Brother, you are very kind in wishing to know our wants and that you would do what you could to assist us. Our prospects at present are very gloomy. Since I wrote you last I have not been able to do anything… Something is affected about the pit of my stomach…” Aug. 13, 1862, “My dear & kind Brother-in-law: it is with deep sorrow…that I inform you of My Dear Husband’s death which took place here on the 8th of Aug… He was interred on 12th Aug., in Mary Ann’s grave, in Ratray Churchyard… cannot tell you how sore I feel, being left in the circumstances I am in… & my 3 orphan boys, but I hope the Lord will open up a way for us….”
13) ALS, James Macfarlane to Trustees of School Section, Township of South Dumfries, from Rosebank, Oct. 16, 1862, re his proposal to teach.
14) Patent, Department of Interior, Wash., D. C., printed stained document, Apr. 7, 1893, “Teaching Mathematical Mechanics and Physics,” submitted by A. Macfarlane, signed by W. E. Simonds, Commissioner of Patents.
15) TLS with stained envelope to Alexander Macfarlane (University of Texas), letterhead of “Scientific American,” O. D. Munn and A. E. Beach, Munn & Co, Editors and Proprietors, 361 Broadway, New York, May 18, 1893, re the rejection of Macfarlane’s application for a patent on “Teaching Mathematical Mechanics, etc. “…Give us your ideas in full concerning the differences and advantages of your invention over the references, as this may assist us in the presentation of the case…” Signed “Munn & Co.” Includes “Scientific American” envelop.
16) ALS on letterhead, UT for Physical Laboratory, May 29, 1893, 2 pp., detailed reply from Macfarlane about the rejection, “…What I do claim is the use of wire to make diagram models in space, whereby those principles of mathematical mechanics and physics may be demonstrated…”
17) ALS from John Cooper, Chatham, addressed Dear Sir, 28 November 1903 or 1913, re tender for Macfarlane’s timber.
18-20) 3 ALS to Alexander Macfarlane from his brother, James Macfarlane (not to be confused with his uncle with the same name), Scotland: April 2, 1907, 2 pp., with tattered envelope, 21 Brown St., Blairgowrie: “…3 weeks past… I took ill… I am getting better rest at night… The doctor allowed me to rise on Good Friday… I am out of all danger now…Jessie wishes me to try and arrange for a change say in May probably to the seaside…” April 7, 1907, 2 pp., 21 Brown St., Blairgowrie: “…Last week I made good progress in the way of recovery…[Doctor] said the seaside would not suit me until June as the east winds would kill me…I have pleasure in sending you two photos, one of which you will recognize as Maggie. The other may puzzle you…you will see a resemblance to brother William.” Nov. 3, 1907, 2 pp., with envelope, 21 Brown St., Blairgowrie, sending sympathy to his brother for the loss of his son, Henry, a 4-year old boy who died from a spine injury.
21) Small b&w photo, circa 1907, taken by Morton’s in Liverpool, probably James Macfarlane.
22-27) 5 photos: cabinet photo, Alexander Swearingen Macfarlane at about 2 years old, taken in San Antonio by Lewison Bros, corners worn and upper right corner missing, mount stained and worn, tear along lower edge, pencil scribbling on verso; cabinet photo, Alexander Swearingen Macfarlane with his mother, Helen Macfarlane, circa 1900, taken in San Antonio by Callaway, worn around edges and corners, light to moderate foxing to card mount; couple in buggy with young man standing on wheel and holding umbrella, probably Alexander and his parents in Chatham; Alexander Swearingen Macfarlane in military uniform, 1916-8, moisture damage across lower edge; 2 photos of Alexander’s grave, Triangle British Cemetery, Moeuvres, 7 miles west of Cambrai, France.
28-30) 3 ALS from Alexander to his father (Dear Papa), n.d. but circa 1905, 6 pp. total. “We are in Austin, Cousin Harp and Cousin Annie and Aunt Gertrude and Auntie are here [from San Antonio]. Auntie goes to the University. We went in the street car. Another day the cars were not running because the dam(n) power was broken…they tried to fix it all say and it is really running today. Auntie gives me bananas and cream every morning and custard….” “We were at Mr. Walker’s house at Erie Beach. We stopped at the Garner House and took breakfast. We went to Detroit on the boat and saw whole lots of others stopped right in the water. And we didn’t get on the street car because Aunt Gertrude couldn’t get on… Dear, dear, dear papa…I have written to you a whole lots of times and you never write to me but once. I am good to Mothers and she’s good to me and that’s all I got to say…your loving, son…” “We are in Austin… we have been at San Antonio and have gone away from it, really, really. Are there lots of green cars that pass by where he is? In Austin the Portman comes.”
31-34) 4 ALS from Alexander to his mother: Sept. 15, 1906, San Antonio, 2 pp. with large hand-drawn letters on verso. “I had a fine time on the train, the first might be on the I & G N. I could not get a sleeper so slept with young man who lives in San Antonio. On the way back the births were regular state rooms we had one of them I slept in the upper birth that night I find all well here Clara May is just over the Dangue [dengue] fever but is well again School starts tomorrow I am starting to public school But Aunt Clara and Uncle Sidney think I would do better at Pancoast.” Nov. 29, 1914, Austin, Texas, 8 pp. “…was going to San Antonio Wed. night to spend Thanksgiving… They were all so good to me over there. Aunt Winnie had an elegant Thanksgiving dinner… Dorothy was not able to go because she was sick with the boils. There is an epidemic of boils here just now nearly half the boys have them. I got sick have not been troubled with them so far. Uncle Harry bought a Hudson… Sidney [Brooks] took me all over S. A. in his car—to the POST and all interesting parts of the city. Aunt Clara is so good to me. It seems just like home to be in her house… [after exams] I will be able to start home on the 19th or 20th…” Circa early 1918, letter and envelope with “The Canadian Pacific Ocean Services”, 4 pp. “We are now nearing the end of our voyage and I am writing this letter on the boat and will mail it as soon as I can. Our convoy has been very slow due to some of the boats being freighters… On Xmas day there was a very big sea and most everyone was sick. I however have not been sick… have eaten heartily ever meal… On board there are 50 nursing sisters and 30 V.A.D sisters… I do not know exactly what we will do when we get to London but expect to get in the Artillery… I missed being at home very much this Xmas however I will be back for the next one…” April, 1918, London, with British emblem on stationery, 5 pp. “Dearest Mother… I wished to get home this weekend but was on duty here as orderly ofr [officer]. The whole battery was on leave except about thirty men and two ofrs. So we had not much to do except exercise the buses which has been great fun. I have ridden about 20 mi per day for the last few days and enjoy it tremendously. I expect to be home in two weeks… Last week I had dinner with Lt. Mitchell who is in the same room with me in the quarters… His mother and father were so cordial and he has a very attractive sister… I am also invited to dine at the house of Colonel Lewis who is Brigade Cmdr, for the 63 here, the 64th of Guelph the 65 of New Brunswick, and the 66 of Montreal, and is a member of Parliament… Saturday night I went to see Ben Hur which was very good and I took Miss Mitchell… I sure got homesick here the last week end with all the fellows away.”
35) Typed document, Awarded the Military Cross, Lt. Alexander Swearingen Macfarlane, 4th Divisional Trench Mortar Battery, Canadian Field Artillery.
36) Typed document on plain paper, Awarded a Bar to the Military Cross, Lt. Alexander Swearingen Macfarlane, M. C., Canadian Field Artillery, attached 4th Canadian Trench Mortar Battery: “On Sept. 2nd, 1918, after the advance through the Drocourt-Queant support line, when the battalion was temporarily held up by the enemy in the sunken road south of Dury, he made his way forward under heavy fire to the officer commanding one of the foremost companies, and volunteered to bring up a gun to assist in clearing the sunken road and strong points in rear of the enemy. This he did and then went forward to our most advanced troops to observe. His gun fired with great effect. Although wounded, he refused to leave and kept his gun firing on given targets until all his ammunition was expended. He showed marked gallantry and determination.”
37) ALS from E. Douglas Shelton, Oct. 20, 1918, Seattle WA, to Helen Macfarlane in Chatham, 7 pp. with envelope: “You are one of the world’s mothers that are bleeding for us all, and our debt to you can never be paid…Your fine manly son is still yours, and we shall all think of him as the brave courageous young soldier who was willing to give his all to free a sin ravaged world. Your high ideals were his and it was his privilege to carry them on, for no son can be greater than his mother, and you know he is so safe, so secure in the loving Father’s care and protection… Dear Mrs. Macfarlane I pray that your loneliness may be lifted to a great joy in the assurance that you have given of your heart.”
37) ALS from Mary Adams, Chatham, Feb. 19, 1919, to Helen Macfarlane, 1 p. with envelope, encloses rent payment: “In yesterday’s Globe, we saw [names of local boys] who were awarded the distinguished bar to the Military Cross, [including] Alexander’s name. We can never express our esteem and love for that Noble Boy and our regret that he will not come back to bless your home but we hope that your heart will find comfort and joy in the knowledge that he will never be forgotten.”
Collection on consignment with LDRB.
Good. Item #8771