Gathering up the odd snippets aside from dates and places, I've found various anecdotes that 'flesh' out the characters in my family history.
It seems that there are a number of very strong women - I call them the 'Determined Dames' - and they would appear to be a force to reckon with!
One such is my Great Grandmother Janet Davidson:
She and my Great Grandfather, Joseph Beattie, had 15 (yes - 15!) children - all live births, no multiples, no infant mortality. She was a God-fearing woman who was portrayed to me, by relatives, as a stern figure who bordered on the ascetic side. In the course of discovering about the Beattie line I met up with hitherto unknown cousins who showed me a letter written by one of her sons that revealed a very different character, one of fortitude and sacrifice and 'duty', who daily prayed for her children, their children and the generations to come!
Her faith carried her through a lifetime of feeding and clothing a large family but whilst she herself was prepared to shoulder such a burden, it was not what she wanted for her own children. I recall my mother saying that after her brother was born, the youngest of three siblings, 'Grandma' arrived to view the infant. When his father arrived home from work, she took him to one side and said "There's more ways to hurt a woman than beating her - you've two daughters and son, that's enough so just stop it!" It seems she didn't want the burden of never-ending childbirth to be visited on her daughter in law. (see her formidable pose in the pic at the start of this post, taken the day she made this 'pronouncement'!)
Another formidable character was my Great Grandmother on the maternal line - Mary Jane Routledge. She married my Great Grandfather Edward Meyers after he had retired from the Navy. They ran three newsagents shops - well, she mostly ran them while Edward, it appears, was just the finance! She raised eight children along the way, too!
Running the shop with one hand and raising the family with the other!
One other 'determined dame' I've come across lived many years earlier than these two. My 5xGreat Grandmother, Jean Elliott stood her ground against a formidable foe in 1745! During the Jacobite rebellion, Bonnie Prince Charlie would have his troops search the local homesteads for livestock to feed the men. Getting advance warning they were on their way to his farm, my 5XGreat Grandfather, John Hounam, ran all his sheep and cattle off the farm and up into the woods away from the property. His wife, having just given birth, was left to face the marauding troops:
(The account, as recorded by my my Great Uncle, who wrote several books about life in the Scottish Borders)
Perhaps, being descended from these formidable women, it explains my own slightly stubborn attitude - and the title of my blog! ;-p