From bonnie Scotland came we here. In Carnie Scotland there are still the remains of an old Aikman castle, the site of which is on an eminence commanding the surrounding country. And my dear ancester what dwelled here was known in the country round as the "gude Laird o' Cairnie." Among many of the illustrious descendents of this man is the painter, William Aikman who had many pictures including his own portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. After selling the ancestral estate in 1707 he traveled east for some time and studied art in Rome. On returning home to Edinburgh, he became a very close friend of Allan Ramsay, author of "Gentle Shepherd" who for friendship's sake composed these few lines: "Here, painted on this canvass clout By Aikman's hand is Ramsay's snout. The picture's value, none may doubt. For ten to one I'll venture The greatest critics coult not tell Which of the two does not excel. Or in his way should bear the bell The poet or the painter."
The same man wrote many touching lines about the death of his friend. Many dear friends of the family have teasingly doubled and questioned the birth of there (stet) only being one family of Aikmans. They persistingly said that there are negroes by the same name. But listen dear friends and I will tell you how this happens. There was a great great great grandfather Aikman who owned two coffee and sugar estates in Jamaica. On old slave belonging to thisgrandfather, at the age of ninety eight while talking to an Aikman of the fourth generation that he had known told how the slaves had loved their kind old master, the kindest in Jamaica. From this time until the present day the negroes have kept the name of their master. Now from Scotland to America came one of these glorious men. Alexander by name, settled in New Jersey. He bravely fought, so they say, in the American Revolution until he was killed in the Battle of Brandywine. Next, we find his children moving with their mother to Kentucky where they had school training as good as could be had at that time. From Kentucky my own great great grandfather came to Davies County Indiana. At Washington in the same county still stand the old homestead built in 1833. This grandfather with yolks (stet) of oxen tramped the mud into bricks for the first brick house in the state. It still stands in good condition and descendents are living thee. A reunion was held at the homestead in 1906. When this grandfather first came to Indiana the Indians hated the white men and did their best to drive them from the state. He with neighbors finally built three forts to protect themselves from the enemy. From there came my great grandfather who settled in Vermillion County. He bought government land for a dollar and a quarter an acre. Here too is another old homestead standing. It was the home of twelve boys, my grandfather being the third from the oldest. There are six brothers still living. How I love to hear the childhood tales they tell when they gather together. The often repeat the one of the times their mother dressed them all and in their copper toed shoes went with them to Sunday School in a big farm wagon. Then how merrily they laugh at tricks of hanging in wells at hide and seek; tying cats' tails together over the clothes line, and racing horseback to the little town nearby. I know of all brothers in this wide wide world there are none more devoted and affectionate and none who are a better bunch of granddaddies.