David Peden

Grandfather David Peden was born February, 1838, at Barrhill, Scotland which is only a short distance from Maybole, where he married my grandmother Annie McClymont and there raised their family.

David Peden - My Grand Father

My Grandmother Peden, I never knew as she died at an early age: Anne has her picture, but from fathers description she was a lovely big black haired woman.

Grandfather Peden was the direct opposite to Grandfather Coburn, after whom I was named. Where Grandfather Coburn was big, quiet and kindly, Grandfather Peden was small, cocky, proud and bad tempered but under the surface he had a heart as big as his body. If he had to do someone a favour, and he, if he was acquainted with the circumstances before hand, never had to be asked, would do it in such a manner that it seemed as though he was parting with his right arm.

Any show of sentiment I think he considered to be a weakness, which he did not care to admit and tried to cover it up by seeming tough, like a dog keeps growling and keeps wagging its tail at the same time.

In his early years he came to Maybole as a weaver, and as I knew two of his brothers I presume it was a family move. The third and oldest came to Canada to take service with the Hudson Bay Co., at a very early age and as there was little communication at that time, was never heard of again. A number of years ago, the Hudson Bay Co. issued a little pamphlet dealing with the history of their trading post at Dinorwic, Ont.. Among the names listed as Factors who had served at one time or another was one by the name of Peden, and I have often wondered if this possibly could have been my grandfathers brother, as time, place and occupation seemed to agree.

With the advent of modern machinery, the hand loom weaving which was mostly done at home became a thing of the past, and Grandfather like many others had to look for some other type of employment, starting work in the shoe factories, and it was from then that my first recollection of him began.

He had about 30 grandchildren, McEwans and McCances: our family being the only Pedens'. Every Saturday when he quit work at noon, he loaded up with peppermint candies and pennies and started to make his rounds, each grandchild getting a copper and some peppermints. This was something to look forward to, as a penny in those days was good money.

It meant so much that one day brother Jock, being away when he called, missed getting his allowance. This was too much of a loss for Jock to contend with, so seeing the old man in the garden crawled through his hedge and tried to attract his attention. He did, the Old Boy looked at the hole that Jock had made in the hedge, and kicked his ass back through, then handed him his penny on the other side.

As soon as I obtained my first leave in England, I made a trip to the home town and my first visit was to Grandfather. On climbing the stairs to his rooms, I knocked on the door, receiving no reply, lifted the latch and walked in, and there he was sitting oiling his boots.

Now he hadn't seen me for a number of years, and as I was in uniform did not know who I was, and demanded, "Who in hell told you to come in." When I made myself known he just pulled on his boots, got his coat and walking stick and from then on, I was on exhibition.

The occasion of course demanded a major celebration, and his first call was to Sooty Boyds pub. Now, Sandy or Sooty as he was best known by, knew us when we were kids as we used to live adjacent to his place of business. The old mans' first question was, as soon as we entered, "Weel de ye ken him Sanny". Sandy an explosive little barrel of a man, with bulging eyes and a thick crop of black hair, the same which earned him the name Sooty.

Sooty looked me over closely, and as there was quite a resemblance between cousin Tom McEwan and myself, could have been pardoned for his mistake replied, "No Davey, I dinna ken him. Is he yin o Tams' boys?""Tam Hell" shouts the old man, "yen of Daveys' boys" and he ushered me out into the street without a drink, leaving Sooty roaring "Hoo the hell was a tae ken", and the old man shouting back, "that he bloody well kenned noo."

Our next port of call was to the Star Inn: this time I ordered the drink and tendered the money, which was newly printed paper and looked like a soap wrapper, or coupon. The Inn keeper not having seen one of these before, looked at it and handed it back to me saying that he could not accept it: this made the old man mad again and putting his hand into his pocket, took out a fistful of gold sovereigns, saying "Wad ye tak this Smith? Weel ye damned well won't get it." and I was pushed out onto the street again, not that I was particular about a drink but I was beginning to get a bit tired of creating a disturbance.

Granny Hunters Pub was next, and as we were running short of pubs, this time he made no mistake, slapping down a sovereign he called for whiskey, from then on he did all the buying and all the taking: quite a proud old man. He was then 72 years old and could still walk a mile or two.

Later he was still to be more proud, when David and Jock made their visits. David being the older and named after grandfather, put on a royal celebration. He hired a carriage and pair of high stepping horses, an he and the old man toured the town, both well lubricated and laying back on the upholstery smoking big cigars.

One thing I forgot to mention, he was quite a rifle shot in his younger days, going to England to shoot in the army competition. Tom McEwan told me that he won the Kings prize, this my father denied, but he did win some prize in the competition.

So ends my recollections of Grandfather,

David Peden

a fine independent old man.

William Peden