This comes from a genealogy friend from my Martin line out of England but she has been interested in Sinclair things as pertains to the Mi'maqs as she lives in Maine.
Subject: Scottish customs
Hi, Laurel: Hope you are well. Recently I received some information which I thought might warm the cockles of your (Scottish) heart. My husband has a relation living in New Bedford, Mass., who is now 106. She had a brilliant mind and wrote down all her memories of her childhood in Yorkshire, where her Scottish families lived at that time. Some of it is amazing, and we wonder if any of it sounds familiar to you.
Rhoda (Mc)Gill was born in 1894. Between 1894 and 1903 when she came to America to take complete care of sick family members (at age 9) in New Bedford, these are some of her memories: It was accepted in her family that all children would leave school and go to work as early as possible to help support the parents. When that happened the mother would "retire," and the children would cook, clean, and do all the work.
When the McGill man married into the Nelson-McIntosh family he was shocked by this attitude. The "retired" mother-in-law would not cook supper for her husband or the new son-in-law; and they had to wait for the girls to come home from the mill to cook a meagre supper. When they complained she said: "You get out there, now, and pick your daisies and buttercups, and no more from you!" Then she would "stay up all night by the fireplace with her cronies, gossiping until morning, until she went to bed." She slept most of the day, until her supper was ready.
Rhoda remembers seeing her coming over a little curved bridge over the stream, wearing her bonnet and little cape, on her way to their house. It all sounds like something from Mother Goose.
Rhoda took over the complete care of the Barry family (my husband's grandfather), as the father was dying of Bright's disease, the mother worked cleaning houses in New Bedford, and there were babies at home. She was only 9. A brilliant student, she was encouraged to further her education, but it was the policy of the Gill family for the children to WORK, so that was what she did, and she went to the factory to spin cotton. Her brother was artistically gifted, but his life was spoiled for the same reason.
Maybe this was the lot of only the poor, but I doubt it. The parents invested their children's earnings in a nice farm, and lived well the rest of their lives. The "Mc" on Gill came and went during their lifetime, as political situations changed. I thought you might enjoy this.