Charles Morrison’s Diary, 15 to 30 April 1863

Looking Across to Arnish 24 August 1900 crop

‘Looking Across to Arnish’ by Gina G. Morrison, 24 August 1900

Wednesday 15th April

Not much doing today it being very wet.

Thursday 16th April

Very slack. I attended the funeral of a child of Mr Dawson’s Arnish.

Friday 17th April

I had a severe attack of toothache. I met Alexr Gerrie and had a long talk with him.

Saturday 18th April

After a lingering illness Mr Wm Gerrie died this evening at 7 o’clock at the age of 73. He was a quiet peacable and agreeable man. Goathill will miss him very much.

Sunday 19th April

Mr Leith preached in the forenoon from Matthew 19th chapter 27th, 28th, & 29th verses. In the evening from Isaiah 1st and 18th verse Come now and let us reason together saith the lord though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.

Monday 20th April

Very cold and stormy.

Tuesday 21st April

I had a letter from home and Robert is willing to come here they tell me Lexy was with them from Saturday 11th to Thursday 16th. She then left for Edinburgh. A boat belonging to a schooner in the harbour was upset when 2 men were drowned.

Wednesday 22nd April

Mr Wm Gerrie was buried today there were a good many at the funeral. I wrote to father to send Robert on.

[Note: William Gerrie (1790-1863) – the father of Charles Morrison’s intended – was born to Alexander Gerrie (1754-1819) and Cristian Ross (1755-1819) in Lochs in the parish of Urquhart, Morayshire. On 15 July 1824, in the town of Lossiemouth, William married a local farmer’s daughter, Margaret Dean (1798-1880). A week later, on 21 July, the couple set sail on the Dunrobin Castle packet, landing the next morning at ‘the little ferry’ (presumably Meikle Ferry) then travelling on to their new home, Evelix Cottage near Dornoch. William had lived in the Dornoch area since 1817, when he took employment ‘in the Capacity of Road Maker’ with D. Gilchrist of Ospidale. He worked extensively as a road contractor on the Sutherland Estate and must have witnessed the height of the Highland Clearances.
William and Christina’s first two sons – Alexander (1825-1907, unmarried) and William (1827-1908, married Margaret Houston) – were born at Evelix Cottage. In 1829, however, the family moved to Proncy Mains, a nearby arable farm. William initiated extensive improvements (drainage, fencing, etc) to Proncy Mains between 1831 and 1836, and brought into cultivation 103 acres of very stony waste ground, which he surrounded by a 5ft-high stone dyke and dedicated to growing oats. For this work – which cost £1504 17s. 2d. and required a specially-built heavy plough – William was awarded a silver medal by the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.
The Gerries’ remaining children were born at Proncy Mains: Robina (b. and d. 1829), Margaret (1830, later Mrs James Hodgins), Georgina (1831, later Mrs Matthew Russell), Robert (1833, married Julia Pringle), Isabella (1835, later Mrs Robert Reid), Christina (1838, later Mrs Charles Morrison) and Mary Ann Johnan (1841, probably died in infancy). William continued to work as a road contractor and road maker in the County of Sutherland until 1841-43, when he went through bankruptcy proceedings and moved the family from Proncy to Clashmore. By 1844, having received his discharge, he was looking for a new position. He applied to be Inspector of Roads for the County of Nairn, but ended up working as Inspector of Roads and Bridges for Sir James Matheson in Stornoway. When the family moved to the Isle of Lewis, Christina was just 6 years of age. After a few years, William retired to Goathill Farm and won awards at local agricultural shows until his death. Goathill Farm was taken into the Lews Estate and turned into a tenanted dairy farm in 1869.]
Xmas 2015 (26)

Goathill Farm in 2016

Thursday 23rd April

Very busy today.

Friday 24th April

Very stormy very little doing.

Saturday 25th April

Do Do Do

Sunday 26th April

Mr Leith preached in the forenoon in Job 7th chapter 1st verse Is there not an appointment time to man upon earth And in the evening from 1st Peter 2nd chap 7th verse Unto you therefore which believe he is precious. In the afternoon Mr McLean Carloway preached from Zechariah 3rd chapter 2nd verse Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire.

Monday 27th April

Mr Copland from Glasgow came to look after Francis McIver’s affairs and he them away south again. Mrs R. Reid went south. I went home with Christina.

Tuesday 28th April

Very stormy and cold.

Wednesday 29th April

Stormy the wind easterly not much doing.

Thursday 30th April

A fine day. Pretty busy. Our drawings for April is £217 which is wonderful well. The month has been remarkable cold & stormy it being very wet. The farmers has not been able to sow or plant anything in the ground. The country has been very ill of as regards man and beast in a number of places the cattle has been dying for want of provender and in a number of cases the people has been almost starving for want. I went home with Christina.


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