Newsletter No. 8

 

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News Letter Number Eight

Society of Edgar Families

Melbourne, Australia

 

 

SIR WALTER SCOTT'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH MISS EDGAR

edited by the late Lady Edgar (courtesy of JK Edgar, of Toronto, Canada)

 

Now that almost everything relating to the "Great Wizard of the North" has been exploited, a few more lines from his pen will no doubt be welcomed by his devotees.

 

The following letters, hitherto unpublished, show his kindness of heart, his tender sympathy for young and unknown authors, and his willingness to help them. The letters are not dated - "a family failing" - as Sir Walter remarks in one of his letters to his son, but it is easy to determine the time at which they were written by the reference to the marriage of young Walter Scott, which took place on 3 February 1825. "Feb 25th" is on one letter, without the year. "Monday" is on another. Castle Street is the address. As is well known, he loved for part of the year in Edinburgh while attending the sessions of the Court in that "grey city of the North," in which his name is enshrined. No place that his footsteps trod is left unvisited and his letters have been a precious heritage to posterity. Let us gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost.

 

The occasion of this correspondence is, that a Miss Edgar had written a book of poems called "Tranquility," which she wished to have reviewed by Sir Walter. Her first letter evidently remained unanswered, and she wrote again - probably in a hurt manner. Instead of seeming to be annoyed at the importunity, the great master writes:

 

"Sir Walter Scott's most respectful compliments to Miss Edgar and begs to assure her that he had not the least intention of incurring her displeasure. It happened that he was called to the country after Miss Edgar's first letter was sent to him and only returned last week. Sir Walter Scott is unfortunately subjected to receive and answer the letters of an almost incredible number of literary projectors; sometimes ten or twelve in one week, and it is not easy to maintain such a correspondence with punctuality. Sir Walter Scott is afraid Miss Edgar has greatly over calculated any power he possesses of assisting her wish to make her works more public - he has not for many years written a single article in any review or other literary publication, and his private circle is almost exclusively domestic.

 

But Sir Walter has no desire to decline what may be in his power and hopes, if furnished with a paper, to add a name or two to the subscription of Miss Edgar, to whom he regrets much undesignedly given pain. If the weather admitted his coming out he would wait upon her to make his personal apology."

 

This was probably written during the winter of 1824. The next letter refers to some Stuart miniatures which Miss Edgar had sent to his house for him to examine.

 

"Sir Walter Scott regrets he was abroad when Miss Edgar's friend called and now returns by a trusty person the box with the miniatures, who has orders to deliver it into Miss Edgar's own hand. Sir Walter Scott encloses Mr Oliphant's letter and begs to express his thanks to Miss Edgar for the great interest he has received from these curious portraits.

Castle Street, 25th Feb

 

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After this correspondence evidently became more friendly, and the formal third person was dropped for the more familiar address. The next letter in the packet is written immediately after the marriage of his son, which is referred to in it. It was on January 7, 1825, that a great ball was given at Abbotsford, the first and last large entertainment ever held there, to celebrate the announcement of the engagement of Walter Scott of the 18th Hussars, to Miss Jobson, the "pretty heiress of Lochare," a niece of Sir Walter's old friends, Sir Adam and lady Ferguson. The marriage took place on February 3, 1825. That year was the zenith of Sir Walter's life. His books were bringing in a princely income. No cloud had dimmed his horizon. There were illimitable possibilities for the future. His cherished dream of founding a family was near fruition. His eldest son had married, to his great content. He had settled Abbotsford on the young couple, keeping only a life interest in it, and had purchased a captaincy in the 18th Hussars for 3,500 pounds, so that his son might be established with comfort in his chosen profession. His pride in his family peeps out in the letters that follow:

 

"Dear Miss Edgar, I have been engaged of late in a very interesting matter, the matter of my eldest son, which has occasioned my neglecting or rather delaying to answer your letter and thank you for the curious and interesting seals, which I return with it. In the first place I beg to acquit myself and Lady Scott of the debt incurred by your being so good as to send us four copies of "Tranquility" subscribed for. Please to excuse the dirty bank paper, having no more genteel made of remittance at present. We will subscribe with great pleasure for a copy each of the proposed poems, but I am under the necessity of saying that it has been my custom for many years to decline circulating subscription papers, and indeed, I do not live among the class of people where that can be done with success. It is a great many years since I have declined all poetical criticism and all connection with periodical works. Nor have I wrote anything for Blackwood's Magazine, except some stories about phepgupsies in the very commencement of that publication. The fact is, in my acquaintance with literature, that sort of thing do (no) good and almost all the successful authors I know have never troubled themselves with reviews or advertisements. I am sure if I thought otherwise I would be happy to be of service to a work so respectable in itself and so deserving of success on many accompts. Captain Scott, of Lochare, King's Hussars, and Mrs Scott, of Lochore, beg you will add their names to Lady Scott's and mine and their copies may be sent to Castle Street, as they will be in Ireland very soon.

I remain, Dear Madam, Your most obedt servt, Walter Scott."

 

The last letter in the packet is as follows:

"Dear Miss Edgar - I am commissioned by my daughter to transmit her own and her husband's subscription with thanks for your obliging note. She could not reply herself, as they left town this morning and had of course much to do when abandoning her quiet home to carry the young Trooper's portmanteau. I certainly will be happy to advance the sale of "Tranquility" as far as is in my power. But unluckily, my society lies chiefly among old lawyers and politicians, a set of persons for whom poetry and tranquility has few charms.

 

My son's title is "of Lochore," not "Lochrie," as my bad hand led you to suppose. I have never seen the curious tracts you mention, and should be much gratified by a perusal of them.

I remain, Madam, yours respectfully, Walter Scott
Tuesday,
Castle Street"

 

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Now all this trouble was taken in order not to hurt the feeling sof a young lady, personally a stranger to him. It was a gracious act graciously done, and throws a tender light on Sir Walter's character.

 

CORRIGENDA ET ADENDA

Page 48, lines 17 and 18

"… on 25th September 1869, and was, until he disposed of it to the Duke of Buccleuch in 1872, the owner of ..." Correction – Omit date 1872. The property was sold after his death.

 

Page 58, lines 6 and 7 to read:

"... who married an Edgar and had issue, a son, and a daughter, Mrs Cochrane – [who died 7th December 1939]."

 

SPECIAL NOTE

 

It is regretted that page 44, supplied with this issue, was previously missed. Will our readers please insert in its correct place and thus correct the notation of our pages.

 

OBITUARY

 

Edward Crowder Edgar

 

The death occurred in Melbourne, on 26th May 1940, of Mr Edward Crowder Edgar, formerly of St Kilda and Belgrave.

 

Mr Edgar was born at Cressy, Tasmania on 13th April 1877, and was the fourth son of John Coupar Edgar, a well known headmaster of Tasmanian Schools, and his wife, Amelia Crowder. Mr EC Edgar's great-grandfather, Thomas Risdale Crowder, reached Sydney Cove on Foundation Day 1788, and in 1807 settled in Hobart Town, where he became Superintendent of the Penal Settlement.

 

Edgar Crowder Edgar was an executive officer of the Shell Co, of Australia in Melbourne until he entered practise on his own account as a Public Accountant. He was appointed chief accountant to the Victorian Wheat Commission in 1919, and subsequently became secretary and director of several companies. He was especially experienced in taxation matters.

 

Mr Edgar married in 1910, at Geelong, Victoria, Una Kate Rose, only child of the late Edward Trentham, of Hawthorn, Melbourne, and formerly of Bank House, Worthen, Shropshire, England. They had issue a son and a daughter.

 

MONUMENTAL INSCRIPTIONS

 

Much interesting material relating to family history is to be found inscribed on tombstones. This Editor would be pleased to have copies of the wording on Edgar stones. Unfortunately, time is slowly obliterating many.

 

When walking through the St Kilda Cemetery, the Editor noticed an Edgar stone, and afterwards located another on nearby. the following particulars were noted:

 

Robert Edgar, a native of Bangor, co. Down, Ireland, died at Caulfield, Victoria, 12th Feb, 1918, aet 97. His wife, Ellenor, a native of the

 

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same place, died at South Yarra, Victoria, 6th Apr, 1889, aet 65. Samuel Edgar, presumably their son, died at Prahran, Victoria, on 3rd Jul, 1888.

 

the second stone was erected

 

"To the memory of Elizabeth Edgar, my beloved daughter, who died 26th Apr, 1889, aet 2. ALSO Roseann Edgar, my dearly beloved wife, who died 25th December 1900, aet 38, born at Ealloo, co. Down. ALSO, James Finley, beloved husband of Sarah Edgar, who died 29th Nov, 1918, aet. 59, and his son, Cpl, Walter Edgar, who died at Caulfield Hospital, 9th Aug, 1919, aet. 28."

 

Can any reader identify this family?

 

MARRIAGE

 

At Melbourne, on 8th Jun, 1940, Lesley Margaret, only daughter of Mr WS Edgar, and the late Mrs Edgar, of Casterton, Victoria, to James Graham Ochiltree, Lieutenant, Australian Staff Corps, younger son of the late Mr and Mrs WB Ochiltree, of Melbourne.

vide News Letter No 1 "Edgars of Moffat."

 

QUARTERLY GENERAL MEETING

 

The usual Quarterly Meeting took place in Melbourne on 10th Jul, 1940. After dealing with routine business the Meeting was closed to permit the newly constituted War Comforts Committee to hold its first meeting Mrs K Nicholson, was in the chair and Miss Margaret Edgar was appointed Hon, Secretary to the Committee. The Committee consists of ten members and will meet regularly to arrange for the collection of comforts and their distribution to Edgars and descendants of Edgars who have enlisted in any of the Services. The Committee expressed thanks to Mr RH Edgar for his offer to make his business premises available as a depot for parcels forwarded to the Committee. Such parcels, containing gifts for our men serving at home and abroad should be marked "War Comforts Committee, Society of Edgar Families," and consigned c/o Messrs W Edgar and Co, Pty Ltd, 788 Swanston Street, Carlton, N3.

 

Will all members and associates consider how they can help the Committee? Offers of assistance should be addressed to Miss Margaret Edgar, Box 2630X, GPO, Melbourne.

 

It is hoped to organise groups of correspondents who would keep in touch with the men serving, enquiring their wants and satisfying as far as possible, their needs. The War Comforts Committee can do a most useful service for our men, but it is very necessary that the Committee should have the names and full service addresses of all those who have already enlisted and of others who may enlist.

 

PLEASE SEND NAMES AND ADDRESSES AT ONCE. If you are willing to join a correspondence group or are prepared to send a parcel or parcels you are asked to write to Miss Edgar as early as possible. Please tell members of your family about the Committee's work.

 

NEW MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES

 

We welcome the following as Associates of the Society:

1. Mrs Jessie Edgar, Kew, Victoria;

2. Mrs Stella M Martin, Chiltern, Victoria;

3. James Edgar, West Albury, New South Wales;

4. WGD Edgar, Tawonga, Victoria.

Mrs JA Burgess, of Armadale, Victoria, has joined as a full Member.

 

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NOTABLE EDGARS

 

CHARLES EDGAR [9th April 1862 0 15th February 1922]

 

Charles Edgar, lumberman and inventor, was born in Metuchen, New Jersey, USA and was the son of Benjamin Winant and Phebe [Dunham] Edgar. He was educated at local public schools until he was eighteen and in 1880,upon graduation from High School, he went to Chicago, Illinois and found employment with lumber interests there. After five years he moved with his family to Wausau, Wisconsin and became general manager of the Jacob Mortensen Lumber Company. A few years later he founded, with Walter Alexander, the Alexander-Edgar Lumber Co. Charles Edgar was then only twenty-eight years of age. In the succeeding twelve years, under his leadership, his company played a prominent part not only in the development of the Northern lumber areas of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, but also of the southern pine forests as well.

 

The young business man found time to perfect certain improvements in sawmill machinery and took out Patents in 1894 and 1895. Failing health compelled Edgar to retire from active business about 1902 and for ten years he lived on his estate near Charlotteville, Virginia. In 1914, because of the death of one of his associates, he was again obliged to take up his duties as President and general director of the Wisconsin and Arkansas Lumber company, of Malvern, Arkansas and he continued in that capacity until his death. During the First World War he was identified with the Southern Pine Emergency Bureau and later was a member of the Lumber Committee of the Council of National Defence, finally becoming lumber director of the War Industries Board until the end of the War. A Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to him 7th Apr, 1922, after his death.

 

Charles Edgar married in 18th Dec, 1884, at Chicago, Illinois, Gertrude Pomeroy, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, daughter of George V Pomeroy. At the time of his death, Charles Edgar was survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter. He died at Miami, Florida and was buried at Essex Falls, New Jersey, where he had resided for a number of years.

 

AUTHORITIES: Dictionary of American Biography, VI., Lumber World Review, 25th February 1922., American Lumberman, 18th & 25th February 1922., EW Byrn, - "The Progress of Invention in the Nineteenth Century", [1900]., AA Pomeroy – "History and Genealogy of the Pomeroy Family, [1912]., Newark Evening News, 16th February 1922., Patent Office Records, USA., National Museum Correspondence.

 

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