Explanatory Note


This is a letter from Hugh Cockburn to his cousin, Mary Simpson.Hugh Ernest Cockburn was born March 23rd 1888, so at the time of this writing, in 1974, he was 86 years old.Hugh was the son of Robert T. Cockburn and Mary Kerr.Hughís mother, Mary, died when Hugh was 18 months old, and being so young, Hugh was then raised by his grandparents, William and Margaret Kerr.


The recipient of this letter, Mary Simpson, was the daughter of William Simpson and Janet Kerr, Janet being the youngest daughter of William and Mary Kerr. ††








April 28th 1974.

366 Glover Road,

Fruitland, Ontario.


Dear Mary (Simpson):


Mary (Mary Dean, Hughís daughter) has told me that you would like if I could write some of the things that I remember of your motherís early years.I wish that I could relate more, for we grew up together, and our ages were not very far apart, so we must have had many escapades together.


I was only 18 months old when my mother died, and I went to live with my grandpa and grandma Kerr, so they were as father and mother to me.Your mother (Janet Kerr) was 3Ĺ years older than me, but being the two youngest, we were very close together, and when any of the older ones picked on us, your mother and I always took each otherís part.


Your mother commenced her schooling at what was then #10 School (Corwhin).When I started at the age of 5 years, we always went together, I under her wing, and as all boys of that age, I no doubt gave your mother many frustrated moments.


In those days, picking wild raspberries for preserving was an annual event, and during the summer holidays, mostly it was your aunt Lizzie (Kerr), your mother, and I who were detailed for that.I can so well remember your mother slipping some out of her pail into mine to cover up my incompetence.


Your mother would be about 11 years old when we moved to Badenoch.Then, came the 1st day to attend school there.Again, hand in hand, we faced the ordeal of all the scholars staring at the newcomers.I donít remember who was kindest to your mother, but your uncle Donald made me feel at home.


And so the school years passed.


Then, your mother was old enough to attend dances, which always took place in the homes.Even so, the old folk didnít think that your mother should go alone.I donít know how it was manipulated, but it was decided that it would be alright for her to go if she took me along. Naturally, I was delighted.So for years we went together.Occasionally, we went to parties outside of Badenoch, but never made a Hall dance.That was taboo.


Your mother and Jeannie Kennedy became very close friends, and many were the visits back and forth.


If we were talking, I am sure that many little incidents of your motherís early years would come to my mind.Perhaps, some time we can have a talk.Should you be down this way, be sure and drop in, and weíll do a lot of reminiscing.



It was so nice meeting you that day in Guelph.This snap really turned out well.I have been trying to guess what age your mother was when it was taken.Probably, shortly after we moved to Badenoch.


Trust you are all well.



Uncle Hugh



Janet Kerr and Hugh Cockburn