Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Thomas Pennant (1769)
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window
18th & 19th Century
Matthew Martin and Johnny McOwan were great friends who worked side by side on the Lawers estate. They were the best of bosom buddies sharing everything and doing everything together and were seldom apart, morning, noon or night. After work it was common for them to meet up at a farmhouse and play a game of “Catch the Ten” which was popular at the time.
One of the houses they liked to visit was at Balmuick belonging to a miller who had a large family of daughters. Matthew, in time, became greatly struck by one of them and Johnny would tag along when he went to visit her. Some of the other girls quite fancied Johnnie but he was too canny for them and did not want to get ensnared in the matrimonial noose.
One day Matthew told Johnny that he and his sweetheart had become betrothed and Johnny delighted for his friend said, “Well, I’m sure I wish you both well, Matthew, and I hope you will get on well together.” Matthew thanked him for his wishes and told him that his intended had made several promises to be undertaken during the first year of married life. His wife was going to spin yarn for a certain number of pairs of blankets as well as yarn for pairs of sheets and a new suit of clothes for Matthew. Johnny listened and said that he hoped she would find time to carry out these promises and Matthew said that he had every confidence in her and that she would do all she had promised.
The marriage was a typical grand affair with open house for all to come and offer their best wishes and enjoy the festivities and Johnny had a grand old time. The bride’s mother cornered him for a few minutes suggesting the he would be well advised to follow Matthew’s example and marry one of her daughters but Johnny said that right now he was not going to make any commitments but would bear her comments in mind.
As was to be expected Johnny lost his boon companion in the evenings and did not visit the miller’s house as often and over time others came to call and the stock of daughters became depleted. About a year or so after Matthew got married they were working away in the fields together and Johnny asked Matthew if his wife had fulfilled the promises she had made in the blush of love and reminding him of the promises. Matthew’s answer was, “No, not one of them, Johnny.” On hearing this Johnny said, “Well, I’m sorry to hear that, Matthew, for I dinnae like folk that do not stand for what they promise.” After a moment of hesitancy he then said, “But how does she please you, Matthew, in other respects?” Matthew replied, “Man, Johnny, she’s ignorant and she’s superstitious and she’s a bad cook.” Johnny listened phlegmatically and then said, “Well, Matthew, ignorance and superstition are bad enough, but bad cooking is the worst of the three, and if I were in your place, Matthew, I would try to make her improve herself.”
Sometime thereafter Matthew informed his friend that he and his wife were going to America. The parting, as with so many other Comrie partings, was a sore affair. As postage was so expensive, few letters from overseas were ever received and many wondered about kith and kin beyond the Divide. It was known that Matthew and his wife arrived safely and had settled on a piece of land but that was about all.
Fifty years passed and one day a well-dressed man arrived in Melville Square in Mr. Miller’s (of Lednock Bank) coach and at once made enquiries about certain people. He was directed to an address and there introduced himself to the lady resident introducing himself as her brother-in-law, Matthew Martin. She was delighted to see him and on hearing about her sister and how they were all getting along. Matthew fielded all the questions and when he had a chance he asked, “Is my old friend, Johnny McOwan still alive.” On hearing that he was hale and hearty he arranged to meet him the following morning.
After breakfast, and with growing excitement, he went to Johnny’s home and
knocked on the door. “Are you Johnny McOwan?” he said, “Aye, that’s me, and are you Matthew Martin?” and the two greeted each other as if they had only seen each other the week before.
Matthew was then asked to give an account of his years in America. Matthew explained that he had done rather well, owned a splendid farm and homestead and had become a Captain in the American Volunteer army. He danced several steps across the floor to show that he was still pretty supple. Johnny then went on to ask about Matthew’s wife and how things were, “you ken how you werna’ very pleased wi’ her afore you left!” “Aye,” Matthew replied, “but she’s a’richt noo. She’s wonderfully improved, her cooking is grand noo and mind you they all know how to cook in America.”
Throughout Matthew’s sojourn they were always seen together having a grand old crack and sad was the day when they took their leave of each other knowing that they would not meet again...aye, aye, as with all partings, it was gey sair! Matthew died soon after his return to America from unknown causes but perhaps it had something to do with a backword’s glance to auld lang syne. Johnny lived on for a few years never forgetting his old and dearest friend, Matthew and then, he too passed on and now… only the sheep bleat up by Balmuick!