Land of Opportunity: Cattle Market Brings Family to Better Life

Father recalls his birthplace as a castle in Scotland.

| Good Old Days

My father, who was born in Scotland in 1876, came to America, the land of opportunity, around 1884. His father had been to the States several times, since he was a cattle buyer in Scotland and brought cattle to America by ship to be sold in cattle markets here. After several trips the father decided to bring his family to America for a better life. The deciding factor seemed to be taxes, which were going up and up in Scotland.

Dad was 8 years old and had full run of the ship. Being a sociable youngster, he got acquainted with many of the hired personnel who worked aboard. The thing he remembered most was following the steward, who hauled ashes from the furnaces below deck to the upper deck and dumped them over the railing into the ocean. Seeing those cinders and ashes fall the long distance made a lasting impression on him.

The family docked in Philadelphia, then made their way by train to southern Iowa, where there was already a settlement of Scotsmen. In later years, Dad was the only one who ventured away from that area when he got old enough to be out on his own. He made his way to Missouri, met my mother, married and settled down on a scully lease until he could buy land of his own.

When the children came along his favorite saying was, "I was born in a castle in Scotland." We would grin, and with tongue in cheek, say, "Sure, sure."

It wasn't until 1977, 12 years after my father died, that my husband and I made a trip to Scotland to do some genealogy research. The map of Scotland that we were given listed a place called the Castle of Balzeordie. To make a long story short, it turned out to be the place where my dad was born. We went to see it. The place was a large stone house with probably 15 or 16 rooms. There was a courtyard in the back, with small apartments built in a "u" shape for servants' quarters.

Of course we were curious and began asking questions. We were told to go to a farm about a mile down the road, since that man had charge of renting the house and the grounds.

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