Steamboat Springs Dear Bertha,
Not able to work in the mines on account of TB, Davie had to do something to keep busy and so took up knitting. He became so expert at knitting that he made petticoats and even underwear for his sisters.
There was no work at the mines on Sunday, and so Will would walk home to Peace and Plenty cottages from Kilmarnock to attend church. On these walks, Will passed a pawn shop, where he discovered a violin in the window. How Will wanted that violin! The shop keeper said the price would be $5, but the former owner of the instrument had to be allowed for several weeks the option of reclaiming the violin. Will paid the $5 and for several weeks dreaded to pass the shop for fear the violin would be gone. The deadline passed and the violin was his! That violin and other instruments particularly the coronet became an important part of Will's life.
Will's sister, Helen, (my Aunt Nell) married Tom Ross. Eileen's mother (Aunt Jenny) recalled how the bouns were cried for three successive Sundays in the church. "There is a purpose of marriage between Helen Bowie and Tom Ross," announced the preacher and Jenny slid down in her seat embarrassed because she was sure everyone was looking at them.
Tom and Nell left for America and their honeymoon. When they arrived in New York, Tom's pocket was picked, leaving the young couple without cash. Fortunately they still had their train tickets to Illinois where they lived briefly, later moving to Cincinnati, Iowa.
In Ayrshire, Scotland, Will's father (my grandfather William Bowie died in 1886 making it necessary for Will's sisters to find jobs. Helen before marrying Tom worked in a thread mill. Agnes (Aunt Mannie) worked for a family helping care for their children thus acquiring the nickname "Mannie." Janet (my aunt Jenny Eileen's mother) had the "real art" of the needle and was apprenticed as a seamstress to Hugh , Lauder and Co., The Swank Clothing Store in Kilmarnock. They made lovely costumes and mantles to order for ladies as far away as South Africa. The Cunninghams were considerate and gracious, but the use of the cottage was solely for families of workers on the estate. They waited for some time to see if Davie would recover enough to go back to work. He never did.
Meanwhile, Will, the oldest son was established in America, married to Ada, and earning good wages. Will signed the necessary papers guaranteeing that Davie would never be a public charge because of his illness and arrangements were made for the family to move. This was in June of either 1892 or 1893. (The obituary of Helen, the mother, said she came to America three years before her death, which would have been in 1892. I'm inclined to accept this date.)
The household goods and furniture were sold, including the beloved grandfather's clock. The neighbor who bought the clock promised, "Mrs. Bowie, if any of the family returns, he can buy the clock back." However, when mother and I located the clock in Glasgow in 1949, the neighbor was a feeble old man, almost senile, and his daughter couldn't remember when the clock hadn't been in the house. She regarded us with the outrage and horror when we hinted we'd like to buy it. She did let us look at it, though, and it was beautiful.
Passage was booked in steerage and provisions were packed in baskets for the long trip. The family had ideas of buying space above deck after the voyage was started. For Agnes, this wasn't necessary; she was seasick all the time. Later she remarked, "Jennie danced her way across the Atlantic and I was sick all the way."