Thank you for all your wonderful information.Before I saw your most recent postings I had already figured out that Jane Prentice must have been the wife of Alexander. I stumbled on a Prentice genealogy on the internet and then searched for children of Alexander and Jane Prentice on familysearch.The children all matched the children mentioned in the letters. Also other events, such as the death of Jane's sister Mary Smith. Five children lived to adulthood: Agnes Watson, Jane (m. Angus or August), Isabella (m. Millar or Mellare), Alexander (Sandy) and John. All except Agnes married and had children.
There is no doubt an interesting story surrounding Christina. My mother's files included census information for 1841 through 1881.It appears that Christina must have had many illegitimate children. This is the only way I can account for all of the grandchildren living with John in Pettinain over the years.
My GGGrandmother Martha Telfer saved many letters from her husband's relatives in Scotland. Most of them were written by Agnes Telfer, daughter of Alexander and Jane, although there are also letters from James Brown (husband of Ann Telfer) and his daughters Jessie and Helen Brown. They cover the time period from 1883 to 1907.Christina is mentioned in almost every letter. On rare occasions her children or grandchildren are mentioned.As Agnes Watson Telfer was very religious one wonders what she thought. She does not seem to have disapproved of Christina in any way.
Here are some exerpts.
From James Brown, the Lodge, Carmichael, 28 Sept. 1883
...the truth is I should have wrote before this time but as our Father is and has been very poorly I put off writing to see what would turn about and as he is not like to get any better and we don't think he is much worse either although he must be getting gradually weaker at least we all think so as he is nearly close confined to his Bed and can do little or nothing for himself but he has a good nurse in Christina. She keeps him bright and clean in every respect. She never loses sight of him long at a time either night or day. I don't suppose she will have had off her Clothes much for about two two months as he will let no Person do anything to him but herselfbut George's wife gives her a hand now and then with the Cows and other work.Perhaps you don't know your fathers age but he entered on his 88th year last July...
From Agnes W. Telfer, 2 Torphichen Street, March 18, 1891
...I had a letter from Pettenain last week, Aunt Christina ia very bad with Rheumatic pains. She too is beginning to fail. Her long period of hard toil is telling on her now. I feel very much for her, being alone...
From Agnes W. Telfer 2 Torpichen Street, February 27th 1893
...Our last letter from our friends in the west were not very bright. Aunt Christina at Pettenain was ailing -- it is rheumatics which is her chief ailment. Our cousin the Blacksmith there has been complaining for some time with indigestion...
[I believe the blacksmith is a son of Christina's. His death is reported in a later letter.]
From Helen Brown, Carmichael Lodge, Oct. 10, 1893
...You were asking how Aunt C. was situated as regards income? She hadn't much past her when she gave up farming and her stock and Implements wouldn't realize very much as Cattle were selling very cheaply at that time. But she has a grandson stays with her, who has never known any other home. His mother is dead as you will know. He is earning a fairly good wage and with care and attention he will get his pay raised from time to time with the chance of promotion. He is a porter at Carstairs. (sp?) Uncle John will know where that is. He seems a well behaved lad and I think is very good to Aunt, so that I think she will be quite comfortable and the rent of the house is very little...
On a different subject, the Carluke births caught my eye, especially William Craig Telfer.The parents were Thomas Telfer and Mary Brown.It is probable that this Thomas is the son born in 1732 to John Telfer and Agnes Watson.
And on yet another subject -- are Scottish naming patterns different from Scotch-Irish patterns?I was surprised to see that John Telfer and Agnes Watson named their first daughter after his mother rather than hers. (Of course, since no marriage record has been found, it's possible that there was an earlier, unrecorded daughter named Ann who died.) Alexander and Jane clearly named their first daughter after his mother rather than hers.When that child died, they gave the next daughter the same name. One reason my mother had no success was that she assumed that Agnes Watson's mother was named Isabel.