This project will probably take me years and years to get it where I want it to be, but I told myself this was the time to start. My fifth great grandfather, Peter McIntyre, was born in Scotland during 1790, and wrote an autobiography. He was also the first ancestor that I really researched when I was 8 or 9 years old. That fact, along with him being Scottish, has always made him dear to my heart. When I started to read his autobiography again last summer, I decided that someday I wanted to write a historical fiction about him so that my family would enjoy reading and learning about him. When I went back to re-read his autobiography to start brainstorming, the second paragraph jumped out and me, and it almost seemed as if he was asking me to write about him. He said:
“Perhaps this will be useful to my sons or daughters after my departure from them, as I know I must rest from my labors, and my works will follow me.”
Peter's life was full of adventure and meaning, and I feel wholly inadequate to capture it in story form. But I hope this will be something my future children, or nieces and nephews, are able to use to learn about their incredible ancestor. I plan to rely heavily on the autobiography, along with historical records, to make Peter’s story as accurate as possible. Although some fictitious people, dialogue, and a little of the plot must be allowed to help the flow of the narrative. Especially since Grandpa McIntyre’s autobiography, as grateful as I am for it, isn’t always the most well written and cohesive of literature. Look in the chapter notes for references to the sources I use and for notes on what is fiction and what is not. Keep in mind that these are, in most cases, more like draft forms of the chapters, and I plan on going back and editing them as I go along. And, as always, suggestions and advice are always welcome, though I will say be gentle. This type of writing really makes me feel like I’m putting my heart on the line and I really going to learn to have tough skin :) Now all that being said, I hope that you enjoy this serial, and perhaps learn as much from it as I will in the research and writing process!
The day of March 17, 1790 was a cold and dreary one. Archibald McIntyre looked on anxiously as several women from the village of Succoth, Scotland, worked around his wife. He glanced down at the infant in his arms, grateful for the strong squirming boy. He sighed and prayed that God would also spare the new baby’s mother. Maggie MacLean, seeing his look, came over and put a hand on his arm. “Dinna fash Archibald, we will do all we can to save her.” “Aye, I know you will.” Looking back towards the patient she said, “Mary is strong, I have not lost hope yet.” He nodded, unable to speak for the emotion he felt. She began to gather her things. “I must return home to my bairns tonight, but Agnes and Margaret are to stay with you. I will return as soon as I can in the mornin.” He nodded again. “I thank you.” As she left he took a seat near the bed, bouncing the baby in his arms some as the little one began to make fussing noises. The mother’s eyes were closed, too weak to move. Presently Agnes Campbell, an older woman, who in other circumstances was seen as rather round and jolly, came over to Archibald. “I’ll take the wee thing from you now Archibald. I reckon he is probably in need of some feedin.” Archibald nodded and handed the baby to her. She looked at the tired husband and father for a moment, and paused, as if wondering if she should say what was obviously on her mind. “I dinna wish to say this, but I think it best if you prepare yourself.” Tears filled her eyes as she continued, “I’ve seen God take home new mothers stronger than she is now. You have all ye’r other bairns to think of, as well as this wee man.” Tears filling his own eyes now, Archibald only nodded. As Agnes walked away with the baby, he put his head in his hands, completely exhausted.
Archibald awoke the next morning with a start. The fact that he had been able to fall asleep at all was a marvel to him. Alarmed, he looked at his wife on the bed in front of him. Margaret Campbell, the youngest daughter of Agnes, was attending the patient, whose face still appeared pale and languid. Seeing he was awake, Margaret said, “She’s holdin’ on awhile yet.” He sighed in relief. There was still hope, small though it was. At that moment Maggie MacLean walked through the door. She came directly to Archibald. “Do not be cast down.” She knelt in front of him and put a comforting hand on his arm. “Mary McGlashan will not die yet, I dreamed last night and seed her in a great hall near a throne holding a large lighted candle in her hand.” He smiled faintly. He was a believing man, and had faith in such things. Maggie looked to the cradle beside Archibald and picked up the baby. “Do you know what ye’ll call this wee laddie yet?” Archibald nodded and smiled more fully as he looked at his newborn son. “Aye. Mary wants to call him Peter.”
While the details of Peter’s birth are limited to a paragraph in his autobiography, the account of the dream in the dialogue in this chapter, is word for word (see Peter McIntyre autobiography, digital copy, Call No. MS 3261, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, catalog.lds.org : accessed June 19 2019, page 2.) However, Peter never gave the name of his mother’s friend, so the name of Maggie MacLean, as well as Agnes and Margaret Campbell are fictional. I have also chosen to spell the names of McIntyre and McGlashan as they are spelled in the autobiography, though in the Parish birth and marriage records they are more commonly spelled as MacIntyre and McGlashain. This discrepancy in name spelling is not uncommon as the English spelling of names in Scotland were an attempt to write how the Gaelic names sounded. Another discrepancy is Peter's birth date. He lists the day of his birth as March 17, while the entry in the birth register is March 18. I have chosen to go with the 17th to correspond with the autobiography, though I am more inclined to believe the birth register. Also, you might have noticed my attempt at using words to portray the Scottish accent as well as Scottish words themselves. I have marked a couple of them in italics. Most of the Scottish words I will use is this story will be checked for accuracy in their meaning and in their being used in the right time period using a Dictionary of Scottish Language (http://www.dsl.ac.uk/). However, I will apologize now if I make a mistake or make anything sound ridiculous. That is definitely not my intention. If anyone has more knowledge about the Scottish language, please comment, fill out the contact information boxes on the right, or email me! I would love to learn more!
Words used in this chapter:
Fash - To fret (https://dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/fash)
Bairn - A child (https://dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/bairn)
Peter McIntyre, Peter McIntyre Autobiography, Digital image, Call No. MS 3261, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, catalog.lds.org : accessed June 19 2019.
Old Parish Registers, Births, 534/2 10 68, Strachur, entry for Peter MacIntyre March 20 1790, Page 68 of 157, Digital image, Scotland’s People(scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed June 18, 2019), ©Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland.