For the Sake of Auld Lang Syne: THE ROMANCE OF JIM AND BARBARA

Rev. Herman A. Clark wrote this poem to honor Barbara Duncan Cumming and her husband James “Jim” Morrison Cumming on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married November 17, 1882 at  the home of her parents, “Carron Brae,” in Kincardine, Victoria County, New Brunswick. Rev. Clark married Barbara’s sister, Florence. Barbara’s grand niece Kristin Chapman Headley transcribed the poem that follows.

Affectionately Dedicated
Herman and Florence


As we reckon by time as told by the clock
Many days go to make up life,
While every day brings us something new,
Few are outstanding to a man and wife.
Hard work, and plenty of it, is the average lot,
Life runs on about the same.
Most of us ask for our “daily bread”,
Few ever win riches and fame.

Our program is made up just about right
A chance to sweat, some joy, some sorrow.
No use to kick, it’s all planned out,
‘Twas here today, ’twill be here tomorrow.
Some things pass away with time, thank God,
Some things time cannot efface;
Pleasant memories, few which we also thank God,
Many of them enter the human race.

Poems have been written about Golden Wedding days
And it will be a great privilege if I may intrude
To help celebrate by this poem
Though it may be rather crude.
During a period of fifty years or more
Some things are certain to stand out clear.
Shall we peep into the secrets of bygone days
Of a couple who are with us, whom we all hold dear?

What wonderful blessings old age does give;
How wonderful to those who are allowed to come,
Blessed with abundant health and strength,
To the years near the set of the sun?
Can gold take the place of memories
In a life lived for things sublime,
When they pass their three score years and ten,
And are now on “borrowed time”?

A Golden Wedding Day, half a century gone?
Fifty years full of joy and bliss;
Birthday, christening, first wedding day,
Few days ever can compare with this.
Many start, but few win out,
Pitfalls and snares all along the way.
All hail to those who reach the mark,
Who reach this, their festal day!
We have as our honored guest today
Two dear ones we invite you to meet.
In this sketch we will try the story to tell
Of a romance dear and complete.
Although honored citizens of this commonwealth,
They were born in the land of the heather;
Just a wee lad and lass they came to these shores
Where, at school, they played together.

Soon they grew up to girlhood and youth
Toiling with parents, mid woods and hills
Learning the lessons from the school of Experience,
Studying Mother Nature in her changing frills.
They knew not advantages we have today;
Each learned well the lesson of thrift;
You didn’t need money where they grew up,
Everyone gave his neighbor a lift.

Large families were raised in these rugged homes,
Children play in and out the door;
Made no odds how many they had,
There was always room for one more.
Whether it was a Cumming or Duncan
Yea, throughout this Colony fair,
The young people scattered early for work,
Some found it here, some there.

You could search the house of Duncan,
Or look through the Cumming Clan,
There was no class or distinction,
All that counted was the man.
If, in the old Country from whence they came,
Had once been this feeling of class,
It would be wiped out in this Colony grant,
Buried deed in the forest so fast.

Like all the lassies of that Colony Clan
Brown-eyed Barbara, a lass of fifteen,
Bid farewell to her forest home
And came out to the stream.
She was not the only one to follow down the river.
An old Scot named Frazier had travelled it before,
And a place called, River De Shute
Had settled near the shore.

To this Scottish home of Frazier
And his thrifty crafty wife,
Barbara came to work one day
As she started out in life.
She had been reared mid scenes of hardship
Could manage housework very well.
Had she not been young and charming—-
There would have been no more to tell.

She could sing so many Scotch songs
Was graceful on her feet at the dance.
If a young may should come her way,
It would certainly be his chance.
Her disposition was shown in her smile
Like a gift sent from above
She was made to be a blessing;
Worthy of some good man’s love.

Now to this Canadian clearing
On the side of the river bank
Came Jim Cumming, a tall Scotch laddie.
He was honest, courageous and frank.
Old Donald gave him a job at once,
Working for him out of doors,
Sometimes in the mill, handy man ’round the house
Doing all sorts of chores.

I can’t feel any one was to blame,
‘Tis the way all of us are made,
Tall Jim and charming Barbara,
Sweet glances oft did trade.
The good wife of old Donald
Thought it would never do
To allow Jim to court Barbara,
For he loved her now so true.

The young couple had started in,
Each knew what they were about,
They had truly started a romance
Which no Frazier could put out.
Whether back in Upper Kintore
Where the Cumming Clan did light,
Or across in old Kincardine,
Made no odds what sort of a night.

Through miles and miles of Forest
O’er a trail now deep and wide,
Rain or shine, on the darkest night
Jim would travel to Barbara’s side.
What he did say while he was there,
Well, no one will ever know;
But a wedding was soon forth coming,
Things always work out so.

Yes, a path cut through the forest
From one road to the other did go,
It was blazed by the early fathers
As a short cut to and fro.
Strange thing, —-that path, a little later,
Should be used by Jim’s brother, Bill
As he courted Barbara’s sister, Annie
At her house on the side of the hill.

A little house was soon set up,
Out of boards, it was mostly made;
Jim’s father sawed the lumber for him,
‘Twas from him Jim learned his trade.
It wasn’t large—-didn’t have to be,
It resembled a butt and bin,
Hardly had the chimney been given a start
Before it begun to cave in.

Jim had engaged a stone mason
To come and lend a hand.
‘Twas Bill Duncan, Barbara’s brother,
The only mason near at hand.
The chimney went up, brick by brick,
Three feet up, then, consternation!
“What’s the matter?”  “It jiggles,” Bill said
To Jim, “Let’s look at the foundation.”

Well, Jim had done the best he could,
We all did about the same
Soon after the girl we’d wooed and won
Had agreed to take our name.
Bill and Jim, they both did laugh,
They laughed till they were hoarse,
For in the excitement of those busy days
Jim forgot to nail the horse.

The chimney was made up through the roof,
It stood up straight and tall.
Bill, the mason, was now engaged
To spread the mortar upon the wall.
Summer was passing, the nights were cold
And in order for the plaster to dry,
‘Twas needful to keep a fire in the house;
Bill and his helpers, they all stood by.

One night as they were sleeping
After their work was done,
After an evening of joking
With the usual frolic and fun,
One of the boys rolled near to the plaster—-
It was soft enough to fall—-
Next morning, when each one rubbed his eyes
There were foot prints on the wall.

On the night of the wedding (can we ever forget)
There was Jim with his precious load,
They were hurrying from the Kirk, back home
When, look!  What’s that across the road?
A tree, lately fell, no use to ask
What’s this nonsense, and then get mad;
Just a wedding prank, Jim’s chums had played,
They made use of such things as they had.

‘Twas a wedding party, all happy and gay,
The bride looking charming and sweet;
No gayer scene was in Plymouth town
When Priscilla did ride down the street
On a pure white bull, garland with flowers,
Carefully led by the hand
Of John Alden, the youthful lover,
Not Miles Standish, the fighting man.

What would Jim do, not an axe at hand?
No one man could lift that tree.
It was lucky for him, the boys that night
Carried jack-knives, two or three
They hacked and haggled, twisted and bent
At the limbs which gave only with time;
Now, lift the wagon over the tree
And everything would go on fine.

One night was cold and dreary,
The snow was on the ground
Bedded down full five feet deep
For miles and miles around.
Bill Duncan, the mason, was called upon
To harness his horse to the sleigh
And drive down to MacNichols’ house,
A full five miles away.

‘Tis well that you all remember,
No doctor was in all that land,
The auld wifie of MacNichols
Was a mid-wife, skilled of hand.
All that dreary, snow-bound night
Bill did drive ’till morn.
Urging his horse to Jim Cumming’s house
Eer Barbara’s child was born.

Only a wee light shown across the snow
To show where they should drive;
Jim, the proud father, was not at home
But both mother and child did survive.
A messenger was sent to fetch Jim home,
The snow was waist high deep,
He came, and there beside the bed,
The nurse her watch did keep.

It was a girl, a wee small lass,
She looked so cute and sweet.
Yet one girl more, and then two lads
Eer Jim’s family was complete.
He took his wife and family,
Across the line he came,
And started work with Clausen
‘Way down in Fairfield, Maine

He got a job in a saw mill,
He was an expert rotary man.
He started right in sawing logs
As only a Scotchman can.
To pay out rent to a landlord each week
Seemed to Jim an awful sin,
So he built a house, a good one,
And moved his family in.

Whether Jim liked to travel or not,
Or he did it in order to gain,
We find him in Bartlett, New Hampshire
Outside the borders of Maine.
In a little town called Woodstock
Old man Henry owned a mill.
He drove a trade and hired Jim
A filers job to fill.

He worked hard for Old Man Henry,
Then he got the fever to go out West;
‘Way out in Portland, Oregon
Where there’s plenty of room for the best.
Old Man Henry chased Jim with letters,
He hated to lose this breed;
Every time Jim called at an office,
One from Old Henry, he’d read.

The only saws Jim filed back home
As well as ever run,
Were midgets compared to the ones out there
In the land of setting sun.
He had sawed many a log on the Kennebec,
Had ripped many a fir and pine,
But such logs as they had in Oregon
He had never seen in his time.

Jim had a cough, and he hoped the West
Of his trouble would set him free,
But every man in that big mill
Was coughing more than he.
Old Man Henry sent a letter one day
Begging Jim to come back East,
The terms he made, the cash he gave,
Seemed like a mill-man’s feast.

Jim accepted the terms, came back East,
Began work for Old Henry once more;
A short time after, a letter came
Which certainly made Jim sore;
Old Man Henry, a second offer had made
And sent it soon after the first.
If the first was good (the one Jim took)
The second would have filled his purse.

For all the old man heard or knew,
The last offer had gone astray,
Jim kept his work, stuck to his job,
And worked on, day by day.
In Jim flowed the blood of the Highlands,
He simply had to roam,
So, soon after, he left for New Hampshire
And in Nashua made his home.

Both Barbara and Jim are full of fun,
At a picnic he’s spry as a cat,
He can pitch horseshoe, yes, dance a step,
But his greatness isn’t known by that;
Beanhole beans, mean beanhole beans,
The old faithfuls cooked deep in the ground,
The Clan knows the sort they’ll have to eat
When Jim Cumming is on the ground.

After the Clan has gathered at the call
And counted number of faces,
The dinner call comes, tables are spread,
All hurry to take their places.
They stand in silence, look to their chief,
Each an appetite possessing,
No true Scot could eat a thing
Eer it received a Bobby Burn’s Blessing.

In days of old, when knights were bold,
And the Highlander wore his kilt,
When the Fiery Cross passed the mountain peaks,
Felling Clanish blood must be spilt,
Whole families sipped their brouse at night,
Ate oat cakes baked on the hearth,
gathered sea gull eggs high on the cliff,
Feasted on the haggas.  Well! now you laugh.

Few American Scotchmen know that word,
It’s a dish no Scot can ignore.
Now while Jim cooks his beanhole beans,
Barbara makes haggas by the score.
If you ask her how she makes them
She’ll say, “Oh, it isn’t hard,
Just onion and tilt, oatmeal and tilt,
And finish off with—-tilt and lard.

Now Jim and Barbara are getting along,
Sixty years of American weather.
Today they look back on the trail,
Fifty years they have lived it together;
A half a century, a pleasant dream,
Though some days have been dark and dreary.
Here, near the sun set of a useful life
Both are well and cheery.

No doubt Jim, like any old man,
Thinks he’s “just as fit as a fiddle”,
Can tackle a days work at both ends
Then grab it ’round the middle.
I don’t think he voted for Hoover last fall,
Convert him to Roosevelt, if you can.
If you read “The Appeal to Reason”
I guess, you could find his man.

They were both reared Presbyterians
In all its Orthodox ways,
But in nary a church could they find that creed
Though they searched and searched for days;
So at last they joined the Methodist
And each set in to work,
While others have tired of the harness,
These two will never shirk.

Now with children and grandchildren
Like branches on the family tree,
Barbara smiles that same sweet way
She did at twenty-three.
Jim, he jokes about the same,
He can talk on any theme,
“By Ginges,” is his one pet word
When he must let off steam.

I see my time is nearly up
The time is come to part;
If mistakes are found within this sketch
They came from the head, not the heart.
May the years that are yet before you
With all the blessings they hold
Give you health, and a Christian’s blessing
As silver threads crown the gold.

So here’s from your brothers and sisters,
From both Cumming and Duncan Clan,
The world respects noble women,
There’s nothing like a real man.
Here’s from nephews and nieces,
You have cheered us many a time;
Now let’s all stand up and sing a song
For the sake of Auld Lang Syne.

Published in: on April 24, 2014 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

1933 Ninth Annual Clan Picnic

Star Herald, September 14, 1933

Washburn, Maine

The ninth annual clan gathering of the Duncans and Cumming families took place at Aroostook Valley Park on Friday. It rained all day, which was sorely needed by our fields and did not interfere with the merry-making in the large dinning hall at the park. We are lucky to have a bunch of Scots that can pull together at these yearly gatherings. One of the outstanding unselfish leaders is our present chief—James Cumming of Nashua, N. H. Too much credit cannot be given to him for the masterly way he discharges the obligations he imposes on himself to make the occasion enjoyable, such as the personal supervision of the making of his matchless bean hole beans. His guidwife (scotch accent) Barbara runs her man a close second in her cooking of the famous Scotch haggas as well described by Burns in his “Cotter’s Saturday Night.”

Altho Spud prices have been on the down and down for years we did not allow that to dampen our spirits and certainly those long well loaded tables showed no depression with that variety of Scottish fare.

During the program of Scottish songs and stories, interspersed between a five-piece orchestra, a number of letters were read from absent member. Among the rest, one in verse from Rev. H. A. Clark of Gardiner, Me., and addressed to our worthy chief and his wife entitled—“The Romance of Jim and Barbara.” The Rev. gentleman seemed to be very well posted on the girl and boy courtship of the couple, and he was also eloquent on their early backwoods life in Kincardine Colony, and now that they have passed the golden wedding milestone we all hope to see Jim and Barbara present at our gatherings for a good many years to come.

Another letter was read from Geo. Cumming, a young electrician in Boston, Mass., in which he extolled the ideals of the clan. He said—“No longer do we do as our forefathers did”—carry the fighting fiery cross through the glens calling out the clans to battle, but instead we gather together in friendly competition of service to each other. We understand that George has been busy tracing back his forefathers of the Cumming clan, but the shady lives of these ancient free-footers discouraged him. No use digging up these old records, George for you might have discovered blue blood in your family tree which would have been just as bad. During the program some of the sprightly old clansmen were still able to demonstrate the lightsome steps of the Highland Fling. Among the notable songs was a duet, the Old Scottish Classic—Jimmie and Jennie—and it was rendered by Jim and Barbara, our chief and wife. Our clan seems to be very healthful and somewhat prolific for our record shows seven births and no deaths during the year.

These officers were elected for the coming year: Chief, Alex Duncan, Washburn; Vice Chief, Anson Cumming, Easton; Sec’y and Treas, Mrs. Barbara Lyons of Presque Isle.

Altogether we spent a very enjoyable day and thank all who helped make it so, of whom not the least was Zellwood Potter, caretaker of the park.

This article was sent by William L. Duncan, an aged and pioneer citizen of Washburn. But Billy is not so old after all. He still plays the piccolo in the band. You should all hear Billy. He’s a wonder.

View the original newspaper story here.


Published in: on April 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

1912 Ebenezer Hunter Killed in Washburn Mill Accident

Star Herald, Feb. 22, 1912, Washburn, Maine

A shocking accident occurred at the grist mill here last Friday when Mr. Ebenezer M. Hunter, the miller, was killed by being caught in a revolving shaft. As near as can be learned the accident occurred about 2:30 p.m., but as he was under the mill and alone, he was not discovered for more than an hour afterwards. It seems that he was attempting to oil the bearings of the main shaft when he was caught. The deceased was 47 years of age and was born in Scotland and came to Kincardine, N.B. in 1873, and about 23 years ago [about 1889], he and his wife moved to this town where they have since lived. He was a most devoted member of Industry Lodge I.O.O.F. and Prosperity Rebekah Lodge. Funeral services were held Monday afternoon. At 1 o’clock a short Presbyterian service was held at the house, the Rev. Mr. Pringle of Kincardine, N.B., a friend of the deceased, conducting the service. Following this service, the remains were taken in charge by the Odd Fellows, who formed in a body at the hall and marched to the house (some 120 in number) and escorted the remains to the Baptist Church where the following service was carried out: Reading of Psalms, Percy Dow; Prayer, Rev. C. C. Koch; Scripture Reading, Rev. C. C. Koch; Singing, 119th Psalm, D. L. and William Duncan, William Cumming, and Rev. Mr. Pringle (special friends of deceased); Sermon, Rev. Pringle; Music, (Male Quartet) “Boylston” J. F. Gulou, Ernest Rogers, Earl Gibson, H. S. Willey; Odd Fellow service: Music, “Abide With Me,” Male Quartet. These services being over the Odd Fellows escorted the remains to the Riverside cemetery where the last sad rites were held. The deceased leaves to mourn their loss a widow, four daughters; Mrs. Carrie Bugbee, Mrs. Kate Rideout, Misses Belle and Sadie Hunter and five sons, Abie, Herbert, Walter, Alex and Alfred, also a mother and four brothers. We extend our sincere sympathy to the grief stricken relatives.

View the original newspaper story here.

Published in: on April 19, 2014 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

1919 Wedding of Florence Crouse and Kenneth Duncan

Star Herald, Oct. 16, 1919, Washburn, Maine

The marriage of Miss Florence Crouse, youngest daughter of Mrs. Adeline Crouse to Mr. Kenneth Duncan, youngest son of W. L. Duncan, took place at the Advent church, Crouseville, on Wednesday evening, October 8th, the ceremony being performed by the pastor, Rev. J. A. Woodworth, in the presence of a large number of guests. The bride, who entered the church on the arm of her brother, H. B. Crouse, was prettily gowned in white satin and georgette crepe, with veil and carried a beautiful bouquet of roses and carnations. Miss Verna Jardine gowned in pale yellow silk, did the honors as bridesmaid, while Francis Prescott of Everett, Mass., acted as groomsman. Loretta Brown and little Lois Crouse were flower bearers. Miss Verna Estey played the wedding march, in her usual pleasing manner. After the ceremony a reception was held at the bride’s mother’s and dainty refreshments were served. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, who are very popular will be at home to their friends at their very cosy bungalow on Main street after November 1st, 1919.


Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

1931 Death of George Duncan

Star Herald, Aug. 13, 1931, Washburn:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Russell and Mrs. Hannah Ridout were called to Waterbury, Conn., last week because of the death of George Duncan, son of Mrs. Rideout, who was shot by Joseph W. Wright. The body was brought to Washburn Friday and funeral services were held at the Baptist church Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock, Rev., E. R. Farrar officiating. The choir sang two selections, Sometime We’ll Understand and Nearer My God to Thee. There was a large profusion of flowers from relatives and friends. The bearers were cousins of the deceased, Alex Duncan, Harry Duncan, W. L. Duncan, Jr., and Kenneth Duncan. Mr. and Mrs. G. J. Durepo had charge of funeral arrangements. Burial was at Riverside cemetery. The deceased was born in this town, the son of Mrs. Hannah Rideout and the late Alexander Duncan. He married Beulah Shaw also of this village. Besides his wife he leaves eight children, a mother, Mrs. Hannah Rideout, two brothers, Ernest Duncan of Washington, Stuart Duncan of Washburn, two sisters, Mrs. Henry Russell and Mrs. Erban Haines, a half brother, Donald Rideout, besides several aunts, uncles and cousins. Sympathy is extended the bereaved family in their great sorrow.



Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

1922 W. L. Duncan Letter to Local Newspaper

W. L Duncan penned this letter to the Presque Isle based newspaper in the spring of 1922 when he was 66 years old. William Linton Duncan (1856 Banchory, Scotland-1941 Washburn, ME) immigrated with his parents and siblings in May 1873 to the Scotch Colony of New Brunswick. In 1885 he married Catherine Cocker (1864 Banchory, Scotland-1939 Washburn, ME) who had immigrated with her family at the same time aboard the same ship Castalia. About 1891 William and Catherine and four children (Alex, Agnes, William, and Florence) moved to Washburn where four more children were born (Jennie, Kenneth, Isabelle, and Stuart.)

Star Herald, May 11, 1922



Washburn, ME., May 1922

Editor Star Herald,

Dear Sir:

I was somewhat surprised and also pleased on opening my Star Herald last week to see the insert at the top of the front page entitled “Clean-up Week,” by the Mayor of Somerville, Mass.

Now I make a yearly pilgrimage to “Burns Night” over to the old home at Kincardine, New Brunswick. As usual I found myself in the ranks of the pilgrims Jan. 25th last. When I got there the first news that greeted me was: “Another one heard from.” (a common expression there when a good word comes.) Jack Webster is Mayor of Somerville.” Of course I rejoiced with the few that are left there at Jack’s good fortune, and we innocently thought no one else was interested. And now comes the Star Herald, along with its other marked improvements, and scoops the doings and sayings of a humble Scot, who is only doing his duty in his adopted country.

Some twenty-eight years ago Jack Webster, then a boy of seventeen, footed it from Kincardine through Presque Isle on his way to the woods up-river. On his return from the woods he made a sojourn of a few weeks with us in Washburn. He did not like woods work. The next I heard of him he was fireman in the meat packing plant, where today he is chief manager. He had been a city alderman for a number of years before his election as mayor. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church, so he is strictly in line with Chief Justice Cornish, as to what kind of man makes a true American citizen—not necessarily, of course, because he is a Presbyterian—but because of his many other civic virtues.

I take notice the canny Scot shines through when he says, “untidy yards depreciate property.” He also goes more than skin deep. He is thorough in his cleaning when he advises looking after the cellars. No half way work will do. He is surely looking after his pre-election promises, and working for a safe, healthy and beautiful city.

Although the Scotch Colony is fast going back to forest, and its once cultivated fields are now gradually becoming covered with a thrifty growth of birch and maple, and the people have dwindled to a mere handful, still I take great pride in the old place. The Scot is a wanderer, and during the last fifty years they have trekked over Canada and the United States from there, but I have yet to hear of one who is not paying his way. In fact, a good many of them, like Webster, are prominent citizens in the communities of their adoption.

It makes me sick when I go there now, their numbers are so few. The Germans got the most of the last bunch of young fellows, and now they “lie in Flanders Fields.” They did their duty, and have also been heard from.

Next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of our landing on this side the water, and we are already making plans for a “gathering of the clans.”

W. L. Duncan

 Note: “Jack Webster, ” the mayor, was born John M. Webster about 1878, son of John and Jessie (Milne) Webster who were also among the first group of Scotch Colonists aboard the Castalia in 1873.


Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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1912 Wedding of Herman Clark and Florence Duncan

Star Herald, September 5, 1912, Washburn, ME

Last Wednesday evening, August 28th, occurred the marriage of Mr. Herman A. Clark of Westfield and Miss Florence E. Duncan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Duncan at the pleasant home of the bride’s parents in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends. At 7 o’clock during the evening was a Scotch song entitled “Lassie Wi’ the Yellow Coatie,” the bride’s grandfather, an old Scott over 82 years of age. He still showed a little of the vim of his younger days in singing the old song. Refreshments of ice cream, assorted cakes, fruit punch and nabiscos were served during the evening. The bride is a very popular young lady, being a devoted member of the Baptist Church and one of the leading members of the choir and has been very active in social circles. She is also a successful public school teacher. The groom is highly respected young clergyman with a great future before him and is now pastor of the Free Baptist Church at Westfield. They were the recipients of many gifts, conspicuous among which was an elegant piano, the gift of the bride’s parents. Mr. and Mrs. Clark left for their home in Westfield Friday, followed by the good wishes of their many friends. We extend our hearty congratulations for a long and happy married life.

Among the out of town people in attendance at the Clark-Duncan wedding were Mr. James Coker of Fairfield, Miss Effie Coker of Waterville, Mrs. Brown of Frankfort, Mrs. William Cumming and family of Easton, Mr. McBride of Houlton, Mrs. Anson Prescott, of Everett, Mass., Miss Evelyn Whidden of Presque Isle.

To the strains of a wedding march played by Miss Bessie Duncan, a cousin of the bride, the bridal party marched to the veranda, the groom followed by the best man. Mr. James Cumming preceded and the bride, supported by her father and her sister, Miss Agnes Duncan as bridesmaid following. The ceremony was performed by Rev. C. C. Koch of the Baptist church, the single ring service being used. The veranda was decorated for the occasion with a background of green dotted with golden glow and profusely lighted with Japanese lanterns. The bride was handsomely attired in a gown of white satin with bead trimmings and the groom wore the conventional black. After congratulations the guests entered the house, when a most social evening was indulged in. The first part of the evening chorus singing was the order, followed by piano solos and readings. One of the pleasant features of entertainment


? article ends

Here are the lyrics to the song “Lassie Wi’ the Yellow Coatie”:

Lassie wi the yellow coatie
Will ye wed a moorland jockie
Lassie wi the yellow coatie
Will ye busk and gang wi me

I ha meal and milk in plenty
I ha kale and cakes fee dainty
I’ve a but an ben fee gentry
But I want a wife like thee

Tho my mallen be but small
Little gold I hae to show
I’ve a heart without a flaw
And I’d gie it all tae thee

Haste ye lassie tae my bossom
While the roses are in blossem
Time is precious, dinna lose them
Flo’ers will fade and so will ye

Here is a link to a folk group singing the song:



Published in: on April 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm  Comments (1)  

1914 Funeral of William Duncan

imageStar Herald, April 30, 1914, Washburn, ME

Mr. William Duncan died April 27, at the home of his son, James, at the ripe old age of 85 years, 2 months and 24 days. He was born in Scotland and came to New Brunswick with a party of immigrants some 35 years ago, but moved to this town some 20 years ago where he has since resided. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Duncan. There are left to mourn their loss, four sons, David, William and James of this town and Stewart of Everett, Mass; and five daughters Mrs. Lizzie Prescott of Everett, Mass, Mrs. Barbara Cummings of Salem, N. H., Mrs. Annie Cumming of Easton and Mrs. Mary Chapman and Mrs. Nellie Wilson of this town. The funeral will be held tomorrow, Wednesday at the house, after which the remains will be interred in Riverside cemetery. We extend our sympathy to the bereaved.


Published in: on April 13, 2014 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  

1934 Duncan-Cumming Clan Picnic Reported in Star Herald

Star Herald, August 2, 1934

The annual picnic of the Duncan-Cumming clan was held at Aroostook Valley Park Friday, July 27th. The day was ideal and a large gathering of over one hundred and fifty members of the two families were in attendance. After a bountiful dinner the clan was called together in the large dining hall where a fine program was rendered. The President, Alex Duncan gave opening remarks. Music was furnished by the George Cumming orchestra of Everett, Mass., also by the Herman Clark family orchestra of Gardiner. Addresses were given by Rev. W. B. Chase of Houlton, Alex Cumming of Houlton, D. L. Duncan, postmaster at Washburn, Scottish songs by William Duncan, Sr., also by Tom Cumming of Plaster Rock, N.B. The Highland Fling was danced by Wm. Cumming of Easton and Jas. M. Cumming of Nashua, N.H. Reading by Mrs. Jas. Cumming of Nashua, also reading by Mrs. Hannah Rideout of Washburn, Song and hop dance by Emily Cumming of Houlton, piano solo, Maurice Russell, Singing of Scotch songs by the clan. The officers elected for ensuing year were President, Anson Cumming, Easton; Vice President, Harry E. Duncan, Washburn; Secretary, Barbara Lyon of Presque Isle. Out of town members were Jas. M. Cumming and family, Nashua, N.H.; George Cumming and family, Everett, Mass.; Mrs. Herman Clark and family, Gardiner, Maine; Alex Cumming and family, Houlton; George Cumming and family, Houlton; Rev. W. B. Chase, Houlton; Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Cumming, Plaster Rock, N.B.; Cumming families from Easton; Byron H. Smith and family of Bangor. Beanhole beans and Scottish Haggis were a part of the splendid dinner. During the day all kinds of Scottish games were played by the young people. All spent a very enjoyable day. The secretary reported one death in the clan during the year. Seven births were reported. The secretary read a report from the clan Cumming-Duncan reunion at Kittery Point. The picnic will be held at Aroostook Valley Park next year on July 26th.





Published in: on April 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fifty Years of Wedded Life: A Family Reunion Without a Vacant Chair

Star Herald, Oct. 5, 1905, Washburn, Maine

On Thursday evening Aug. 24th, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Duncan celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding at their home, surrounded by an unbroken family of ten children, five boys and five girls, seven sons and daughters-in-law, and thirty grandchildren, making a total family gathering of forty-nine. This happy event was unique and with very few precedents on record; a family of ten children into which death has not entered for fifty years, and all present at their parents’ golden wedding, is very seldom heard of, with a happy crowd of thirty grandchildren of ages ranging from one to twenty-two years of age. Mr. Smart, photographer, of Presque Isle, was in attendance during the afternoon and took several pictures of the large gathering.

Among the invited guests were Rev. Mr. Pringle and James Hutcheon, New Kincardine, N. B., Benj. Kilburn, Kilburn Station, N. B., Mr. and Mrs. James McPhail, Perth, N.B., and Mr. and Mrs. I. Kearney, Limestone. After the invited guests had all arrived, the large company of nearly one hundred people sat down to a bountiful supper which was done full justice to. After the supper tables were cleared away, the assembled company gathered around Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Duncan. D. L. Duncan then, with a few well chosen remarks, introduced Rev. Mr. Pringle, who with remarks well chosen and suitable for the occasion, in behalf of the ten children, presented the aged couple with a purse of gold containing ten five dollar gold pieces beautifully representing the number of the unbroken family, also their fifty years of married like.

Ben Kilburn was then called upon and he in a fine address, presented, in behalf of the friends of the family, a purse of gold and other presents. Mr. Kilburn in his remarks touched feelingly on his long acquaintance with the family.

Short speeches were made by Jas. Hutcheon and Jas. McPhail. D. L. Duncan, in behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Duncan and the family, responded to the presentations.

Congratulations by the company were then in order for a short time. A program of music and singing was then rendered in a fine manner.

The young folks also engaged in a few good old dances. In the “wee sma hours” of the morning the large company dispersed to their homes after having enjoyed one of the best times of the season.

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Duncan emigrated to New Brunswick from Stonehaven, Scotland, some thirty years ago, with a family of nine children. Nellie the youngest of the family was born some time after they came to New Brunswick, making a family of ten children. They lived some eighteen years in New Kincardine, N.B. when they sold their property there and moved to Washburn, Maine, and bought the A. W. Stratton farm, on which they have lived for over fourteen years. The farm has been divided and is occupied by William, the oldest son, and family, and James, who is unmarried and with whom the old folks reside.

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Duncan are nearing the fourscore mark but are still hale and smart. Mr. Duncan looks after his cattle and garden and the old lady is busy with her household cares as she was in the “auld house on’ Carron Terrace, Stonehane.” Nellie, the youngest of the family, is unmarried and stays most of the time with the old folks.

David with his family resides in Washburn village, has been in the employment of T.H. Phair of Presque Isle, for twenty-two years and has charge of his starch and saw mill business in Washburn.

Alex is a busy and prosperous farmer in Washburn.

Annie is married to Wm. Cumming, a prosperous farmer of Easton.

Mary is married to Robt. Chapman, who is in the employment of T. H. Phair and resides in Washburn.

Lizzie is married to Anson Prescott, plumber, of Everett, Mass.

Stuart, who is unmarried, is in the plumbing business in the same city.

Barbara is married to Jas. Cumming, who has charge of a large mill business, in Nashua, N. H., they reside in Salem, N. H.

Mr. Duncan is by trade a wool spinner, having been in the employment of Thomson, Stonehaven, Scotland, some twenty-six years continuously, before emigrating to America.


Published in: on September 12, 2013 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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