History based in part on interview with John Ednie Winter(1873-1969)
by Pat Winter Oakes, 1964—North Attleborough, MA
and on research by Mel & Pat Oakes and on
Theodore (Ted) Gommi’s The Winter Family Record
—Dedicated to the Memory of CHARLES FREDERICK WINTER (1874-1929)—a true Gentleman”
Ted Gommi was the husband of Beth Winter Gommi, daughter of Charles Frederick Winter and granddaughter of Charles Winter. Ted was President of Schenley Import Company as well as a Vice President and Director of the parent company, Schenley Industries. I like to think that he would have been delighted with the development of the computer and the internet which have made the gathering and sharing of information and photos so much easier. He wrote the following Preface to his book:
“These pages provide a record in chart and diagram form, of the descendants of James Scott Winter, born in Scotland in 1794. As a genealogy, it is incomplete. Many of the maternal lines are missing because the information concerning them is no longer available. Spaces have been provided for whatever information may come to light in the future.
The information contained in these pages comes primarily from family records, and I am indebted to those members of the present generation of Winter descendants for current information regarding their respective branches of the family.
Although not as complete, nor, I fear, as accurate as I wish this record might be, I trust that it will serve a useful purpose, and above all, give our children and grandchildren an appreciation of their fine heritage, which they in turn will pass on to their own descendants.” –Theodore Gommi, Chestnut Ridge Road, Mr. Kisco, New York, –December 1976
James Scott Winter 1797-1871
James Scott Winter (1797-1871) and his older sister Janet (1794-1830) were born in Clova and christened in Easter Bonhard, near New Scone, just north of Perth, Scotland. (click here for map). His parents Charles (b. 1768) and Jean Esplin (b. 1772) Winter were living in Bonhard. Parish records show an Alexander Winter living in Doll having a son Charles, probably James’ grandfather born in 1731. Doll is in the River South Esk valley, just north of the village of Clova. There is a marker in the Kirkton of Clova remembering Janet and her husband Alexander Robbie’s family. James, a gardener, and Ann Crane (1806-?) were married 20 December 1829 in Airlie, Angus, Scotland. They were probably farm servants as were most others in the parish according to records from 1790s and 1843. Ann was born in Glenkindie in Aberdeenshire north of the River South Esk valley. James and/or his father may have worked on the estate of Patrick Murray, suggested by the choice of this name for his youngest son. They started their family while living in Airlie. The parish records show the christening of their first child, Janet, in 1830 in “Lindertis”, which is near Airlie.
Transcription of Baptisimal Record for Janet Winter
Winter “10 October 1830
Winter James Winter and Ann Crane at Taindantis(sp) had a daughter born this day, baptized 2 November named Janet.” (Tain, Viking term meaning, “ place of assembly )
As the birthplaces of subsequent children show on the Google map at the end of this article, they migrated down the valley, eventually arriving in the area of Perth, Scotland. James and Ann had five sons and one daughter. The two oldest, Janet (1830-?) and James(1832-?). (There is a Janet 12 who appears in the 1841 Scotland Census with a Charles 50, Elspet 50, William 15. They live in Cortachy and Clova, Angus County, address is 278 Burnhead. Not sure who these people are and if they are related.) Son James is not in the 1851 Census and Janet does not appear in the James Scott Winter 1941 census. Whether she has died or now living with a relative is unknown. The estimated periods of their deaths suggest they might have succumbed to the scarlet fever epidemics which appeared in waves from 1840 to 1848. Scarletina was especially hard on the younger members of families.
In the 1851 Census, James is widowed and living with his sons John Bishop, William and Patrick in Taymount House, shown at right, which sits on the Tay River two miles NNE of Stanley in Kinclaven Parish, Perthshire. Presumably he is working as a gardener on the Taymount Mains (farm) of the Honorable David Murray. The Murray family lives in the house with a number of servants. There were 1945 residents in Stanley in 1846, over 800 (mainly women & children) employed at the Stanley Cotton Mills, located several miles down stream from Taymount House. The mill was established in 1785. Taymount Mains likely sold their produce to the mill workers.
In 1865, James is living in Brigend, Perth by himself. The valuation rolls list him as a gardener paying 6 pounds 10 shillings per year.
Bridgend, Kinnoull and Barnhill were separate villages connected to Perth by a succession of bridges and/or by ferries. Development of the Perth side of the river and incorporation into the Burgh of Perth only happened after the opening of Perth Bridge in 1772. Before that, Bridgend and Kinnoull were burghs of barony entitled to hold weekly markets and four annual fairs.
Bridgend was settled from at least the 16th century. It was formerly a leper colony and a place for “less desirables” from the city. By 1736 it was described as a sorry village with a few thatched hovels except for the house at the shore where the ferry boat landed. This and the houses at Potterhill and Rosemount were said to be the only respectable buildings. James Winter’s son, John Bishop bought a house on Rosemount. His daughter Mardie was born there. The road to Scone was a narrow dirty lane lined with mean clay huts. However when Perth Bridge opened, Bridgend blossomed into a thriving village with many new houses. There were at one time 16 taverns including Cross Keys. In the early nineteenth century the “smart set” built villas in Bridgend and Isla Road.
It is not known what happened to Janet and James; parish records provide no information on any marriages or their deaths. The four remaining sons were John Bishop (1834-1905), Charles (1836-1903), William Clark (1838-1920) and Patrick Murray (1840-1901). The oldest of the four living Winter brothers was John Bishop Winter, grandfather of Mardie Winter; he was a hatter. He married Christina Darling, the daughter of a haberdasher. (Great-Aunt Chris was named for her—Christina Darling Winter.) John Bishop became part of the family business and remained in Scotland.
The other three brothers, Charles, William, and Patrick, came “across the water.” Charles came first in 1857 and worked as a gardner. He married Isabella (Bella) Bruce Smith of Edinburgh, Scotland. No record of when Bella immigrated from Edinburgh, her birthplace. In the 1870 Census, they are living in Fishkill Plains, N.Y. where their three children were born.
James Scott wrote a letter to his son Charles dated April 29, 1857, as Charles prepared to depart for America. Below is a transcription.
William Clark, an errand boy in Scotland at the age of 12, followed Charles in 1861 and settled in Boston, later moving to Mansfield, MA. In 1873, he married Mary Brown. He was a florist and grew prize-winning gladiolas. (See his 1906 ad with his son William Lewis in Mansfield City Directory.) John Winter remembers the swing in his yard for children and the short temper of Uncle Charles.
The youngest son, Patrick Murray, shown at left, came to the U.S. right after the Civil War (1866) at the age of 26. Immigration records show a Patrick Winters (sic) arriving in New York, March 20, 1866 aboard the ship, City of Washington, having departed Liverpool. In the 1870 Census, Patrick is living as a boarder in the mansion of Joseph and Rebecca Grinnell. Grinnell (1788-1885)was an immensely successful business man. His interests included, whaling, railroads, banking and textiles. Grinell, a Whig, served eight yers in the US Congress. In 1836, he built a impressive mansion It was that Patrick lived and worked as a gardener. He is one of four servants living in the house in the 5th Ward of New Bedford, MA. The Grinnell mansion is shown below.(See map of 5th ward below in gallery.) Joseph Grinnell lived to be 96 years old.
Patrick had worked at Scone Palace before immigrating. Supposedly he had an “understanding” with Isabella Ednie, daughter of John and wife Mary Ednie, so he returned to Scotland in 1871 for his bride. Isabella was 11 years younger than he, so he may have had his eye on her, but she was quite young (15) when he left. John Ednie was a gardener at Scone Palace near Perth, Scotland. The Ednies resided in a cottage on the palace grounds. Following the marriage, the couple returned to the U. S. According to John, Patrick loved children and was probably anxious to start his family.
The trip back to the U.S. in 1871 following their marriage enabled Patrick and Isabella to bring some valued family household items. Prominent among their baggage would have been the grandfather clock shown at left. Marion Winter Thomson said the clock belonged to Patrick and Isabella. The picture were provided by Lowell Jr. and Marie Raymond who now own the clock. The Raymonds had the face of the clock professionally restored to its original condition. They have been faithful stewards of many items related to the Winter family. For more see the Winter Brothers memorabilia page....here. The clock was made by James Gordon of Perth who operated a shop in Perth from 1771-1796. (Information kindly provided by Colin Proudfoot, A. K. Bell Library, Perth.) Whether the clock belong the Winter family or the Ednie family is not known. Either way the clock would have likely been purchased used or if originally purchased it would have been done so by James Winter, Ann Crane, John Ednie or Mary Allan’s parents. A silver service that belonged to the Ednies was also brought over and survives. The Raymonds also own an old Scottish Hymnal which belonged to Mary Ednie (see below.) To hear this 18th Century clock strike and click the small image of the clock below.
The silver service above is owned by Paul and Joanne Raymond Cummings. The inscription on the set says, “Presented to John and Mary Ednie on the Occasion of Their 50th wedding anniversary by a Few Friends and Fellow Servants, A. D. 1898." They were married in 1848. Joanne Cummings is the daughter of Beth Winter Raymond who was a granddaughter of Isabella Ednie Winter, who was the daughter of the above Ednies.
This hymnal, owned by Loel and Marie Raymond, originally belong to Mary Ednie of Perth. The title page above has no copyright date on it. The wording is very similar to the 1871 and 1885 versions seen here also. The 1871 version, published by Blackwood, is missing some of the wording that is present in the 1885 version. The 1885 version however is published by T. Nelson and Sons. It would suggest that the Ednie hymnal was published sometimes between 1871 and 1885. The numbering of the hymns in the 1885 version matches perfectly the Ednie hymnal while the 1871 has small differences..
Patrick’s brother Charles was a nurseryman who started his business originally in Poughkeepsie, NY, but moved his business to Mansfield, MA. (His greenhouses are shown on the map of Mansfield in 1895 at the end of this article). Patrick worked with a fellow named Brown in Mansfield in the horticulture business. They raised tomatoes, grapes, and other produce in greenhouses and used the train which went through Mansfield to send the vegetables to large hotels in Boston and New York. Later he came to work for a Daniel Brown in his greenhouses in Wrentham. The Patrick Winter family moved to Wrentham in 1899. Charles married the Smith Brothers’ cough drops niece, Isabella. (Smith Brothers Cough Drops originated in Poughkeepsie in 1852.) John said, “When Charles and Isabella came to Mansfield, they had had an indoor bathroom in New York. When they got to Mansfield, they built one onto Uncle Charles’ house giving them the first indoor bathroom in Mansfield. They used a windmill to pump the water.” Their greenhouses were near the S. W. Card Die and Tap Works, also seen on the 1895 map. Charles suffered from ill-health, and could work only intermittently, fortunately Isabella had an income.
Following the birth of her first three sons, John, Murray and Allan, Isabella began having problems with hemorrhages (according to Uncle John), so she took the boys and went back to Scotland for a year. She was her parents’ only child and certainly would have wanted to take their only grandchildren back to get to know them. (The story I always heard was that she had gone home to die, but she was probably dying of homesickness—it would have been 10 years since she had seen her parents—and it was certainly a form of birth control!). Murray turned 7 on the way over (that would have been June 6, 1881) and 8 on the way back. John (born in 1873) was 1/1/2 years older, and Allan would have been about 3. The name of the ship on the way over was State of Georgia and the trip took ten days. They came back on the Scandinavian (see picture), and that trip took 14 days, complete with icebergs. They arrived back in Boston June 8, 1882. John was seasick over and back, but Murray and Allan were fine. They landed in and departed from Glasgow. Through letters from home they learned that there was such a severe winter in Massachusetts that while they were gone there was sleighing on Boston Harbor. Though John was young, he regularly wrote letters home. A photo of the boys ca. 1883 is shown below at left, L to R: Murray, Allan and John.
While they were in Scotland they lived with Isabella’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John (Mary) Ednie on Blairgowrie Rd, in Scone just outside of the city of Perth, where, as mentioned earlier, John was a gardener. (See picture at right.) The family story is he was Chief Gardener, however there is no official verification, (see more detailed information regarding the Ednies and their cottage at the end of this page.) The black thorn walking stick that Uncle John Winter used and later Bob Winter, Jr., was originally John Ednie’s. (A picture of the stick is on the Web site.) Uncle John remembered that the Ednies had a high feather bed in their house, which he and Murray slept in. John said they were in Scotland for about a year. So far we are unable to find a record of their travels over and back. Both the State of Georgia and the Scandinavian were in service during this period bringing immigrants to New York, Boston and Quebec.
John remembered that his Aunt Chris worked too hard. John Bishop and Christina’s son James was the father of Mollie and Mardie Winter. (Mardie Winter was the last Winter left in Scotland—many of us knew her—and visited her in Scotland or hosted her during her trips to the USA.). Agnes Winter, the daughter of Christina and John, taught art and came over once to the U.S. with her father. They arrived in New York, August 6, 1894, aboard the Arania from Liverpool. She could beat Uncle John at tennis (she was about 2-4 years older than he). During WWII the Auntie Twins sent food packages to Mardie in Scotland, she particularly requested spam and prunes.
John’s uncles, Charles and William Clark, both had two boys and a girl. Ship records show that William Clark took his wife Mary and three children, William L., Alfred R. and Hattie Bruce back to Scotland for a visit, returning in 1887 aboard the State of Nevada. By 1965, Charles and William Clark’s children had all died.
John thought the Winter name perhaps originated in Germany as Wonterer. The family was associated with Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland (they were gardeners). See print below of Scone Palace.
His Ednie grandparents’s cottage (see below) was on the Palace grounds. His grandparents drank tea all of the time—not water. Grandma Ednie made tea about 6 in the morning and kept adding hot water to the pot all day long. His grandfather was one of the gardeners at the palace. There were 110 rooms with 100 fireplaces in the palace. After WWI, it was used as a girls’ school. By 1965, the Earl of Mansfield was back in residence.
John remembered the Tay River and Kinnoull Hill. During another visit he told of how he went to first grade that year in Perth (see picture of school) and how he corresponded with a classmate for many years after that. There were nine children born to the marriage of Patrick (Pat) and Isabella. They were John, Murray, Allan, Christina, Elsie, Charles, Robert, Isabella, and Mary. When the twins (Mary and Isabella) were born on April Fool’s Day, 1896, friends told Pat, “Pat, you’ve got a fine April Fool!” Isabella turned 45 years old on the 7th of April that year. She had her first child at 20. John remembered hearing people say that Isabella would serve supper and then have the next baby! Isabella made all of the children’s clothes. Patrick Winter lived in New Bedford, Mansfield, and Wrentham, MA, and died at age 64 of cancer of the stomach. Isabella lived to be 84. The twins were only 5 when their father died.
John and Murray took advanced math through the International Correspondence School of Pittsburgh. Allan would not go to high school, so went to work with his older brothers. They earned five cents an hour. Based on the knowledge and skills learned at the S. W. Card Company, a tap and die manufacturing firm, in Mansfield, Murray and John started Winter Brothers Tap and Die Company in 1900. (Simon W. Card came to Mansfield in the employ of John Birkenhead, who himself had come from Providence in 1868 to make spindles and lathes. With the invention in 1871 of machines to cut internal and external screw threads, Card set out to manufacture taps and dies, forming by 1894 the S. W. Card Manufacturing Co. The Card company served as a school for numerous die makers. John and Murray Winter, owners and operators of the Winter Brothers tap and die works in Wrentham, received their training there, as did several of those who in 1903 established the Bay State Tap and Die Co. in Mansfield. In 1913 S. W. Card merged with the Union Twist Drill Co. of Athol, but by that date, tap and die production was already a major Mansfield industry.) A medallion celebrating the 250th anniversary of the town of Wrentham is shown at right.
By 1900, John had saved $500 and they borrowed $2000 from Daniel Brown (more about Daniel Brown below) in Wrentham, MA . Patrick was looking after the Brown estate in Wrentham (the family had moved there from Mansfield in 1899). Mr. Brown told John and Murray that he would let them use the empty jewelry shop on the grounds. With 3 or 4 employees and the borrowed capital they began. The first ten years were a struggle. They all worked 6 a.m. till 10 p.m. for 2-3 years to get the company going. John had originally gone to Providence, R.I. as a foreman (and then came back to work in Wrentham). His wife Minnie didn’t want to leave her home in Providence and didn’t like Wrentham, so they compromised by moving to North Attleboro. Charles, was the company’s chief engineer.(Footnote 1) Allan, restless for change, was only there for a short time, finally moving to Florida with his family in the 1920s. The first year Murray set everything up. He was not married yet and had the time. John was earning $25.00/week. The photo below shows the staff in about 1910, John is third from right on back row, Murray is second from right on back row. Charles is fourth from the right on second row.
In 1916, pay was $.30/hr, 10 hour days and 5 1/2 day weeks. That year they added two large lathes, new mills and 14 automatic machines.2 Fifty people were out with influenza on October 3, 1918. In 1933, the bank notified them there would be no more money and they were forced to lay off workers. From 1933 to 1938, diary entries describe the impact of the depression: “July 14,1937, business is falling”, Sept 17, “no work for days”, Oct 14, “shop closed Thursday, except tool room”, Nov 27, “there isn’t much work, very dull”, Feb 8,1938, “business is still poor”. At the end of 1937 with the economy deteriorating President Roosevelt responded with an an aggressive stimulus program, $5 billion for WPA and public works creating 3.3 million WPA jobs. The conditions improved dramatically at Winter Bros. Diary entries now read, Dec 8 1938, “building new addition”, Sept, 1939, “enough work for five years.” Although their product was higher-priced than the cheaper grades available, they could advertise that their product was truly superior. At normal speed their taps and dies lasted longer than ordinary taps and dies. “When the operating speed can be increased,” they argued, “the gains resulting from increased production and the long life of the tools much more than compensate for the high first cost.” They stated flatly, “We have made records of productions increased from five to fifteen times by their use.”
Their arguments, hard work and persistence paid off and it became a very successful and nationally respected company employing more than 1100 employees by 1942. Among their buildings was a unit which produced centerless ground bolts, which were rather new in that era, and studs for most of the major engine manufacturers. This building, which face Depot and Minot Streets , was known as the “stud plant.”
Their logo, seen on the orange box displayed here, was well-known and depicts the three founding brothers. On their “Thistle Brand” taps and dies they had a thistle stamped into the metal and on the box, reminding all of their Scottish roots. The thistle is the official emblem of Scotland. It is seen on the end of the wooden box shown at right. Occasionally one will find these tools for sale on eBay today at reasonable prices. They sold the company in 1929 to National Twist Drill of Rochester, MI, but they continued to run it for 13 more years until it was moved to Detroit. The plant was taken over in 1948 by the Crosby-Ashton Valve Company. The company was unionized during WWII. Lois Brown worked there in the late 1930s and John said that she was a “handsome girl.” Doris Brown recalls working on the line. Youngest Winter brother Bob did not work for Winter Brothers—he went to Michigan and worked as one of Rickenbacker’s right hand men. Robert Winter, Jr., said of his father, “That redheaded Scotsman was too independent to join his brothers in their venture.”
The three founding brothers are pictured here, left to right, John, Murray and Charles. Patrick Murray Winter’s daughters all lived in the Wrentham or Boston area. The twins, Isabella and Mary, worked for many years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Christina lived with them and kept house. Elsie married Walter George, who worked as a jeweler in Attleborough, and they had five children whom they raised in Wrentham.
In 1965, John Winter had lived in his house for 49 years and had lived in North Attleborough for 56 years. He was a great walker—walked to and from work in Wrentham, enjoyed using bicycles, motorcycles, electric cars, trains and buses. John had custom-made ice skates made for himself when he was 18 and skated until he was 82!
Uncle John was a bright, lively man when I met him in 1965. For some reason, I had met him only once before. His daughter Dorothy used to bring him to visit in Wrentham and would sit outside in the car. One day Aunt May went out and invited her in—and from then on she was part of the visits, too. Mary Alice Raymond remembers seeing Uncle John walking to and from Winter Brothers back to N. Attleborough, a round trip of 13 miles. He stayed active until the end of his life, dying at 96. (1873-1969). His daughter Dorothy lived from 1901-1995 and never married. She gave me a plate from her china set on that visit in 1964. She told me how she and her mother had gone into Boston to Jordan Marsh to shop for her hope chest. and had started her china service. –researched and written by Mel and Pat Winter Oakes. Any errors are theirs.
1 The notes below written by Pat Oakes, are from Elsie Winter George as told to Ida George Meikle (Pat also has a Historical Society Newsletter with some memories by Calista Jamison.)
In the early l850s, two George brothers, William and Lyman, began a straw business, one of many that flourished in the town of Wrentham. The business failed in the panic of 1857 but William reestablished it and was successful for a number of years, when it was taken over by Daniel Brown and Hiram Cowell, who was William George's nephew. They were very successful, with a huge shop, a large boarding house for the workers, and Mr. Brown had a sumptuous home on Common St. (the Hope Hall house)
with property running clear through to Taunton St. Behind his home, Mr. Brown had, as a hobby, several greenhouses where he grew huge Concord grapes.
Now let's tie in Grandfather Patrick Winter and his two brothers, who came from Scotland to Mansfield, in 1866, where they established a good business growing produce for the Boston hotels. They were known for their outstanding table grapes, which were a specialty. Daniel Brown hired Patrick to prune his grapes, so Grandfather Winter made regular trips on his bicycle from Mansfield to Wrentham. Then he went on to one of the Attleboros to do the same for another hobbyist and back to Mansfield. His daughter, our Aunt Chris (who must have been quite a tomboy) begged to ride the loop with him sometime. I found in Aunt Fannie's genealogy book a penciled note that said "Ask about Aunt Chris and the chicken." I asked Mom if she knew what that meant, and she laughed. Apparently on one of these trips, a hen ran across the road and Aunt Chris's bicycle spokes beheaded the chicken. Grandpa took the remains to the house nearby and offered to pay, but the woman laughed and declared that it was OK--now they could have chicken for dinner and they had saved her from the distasteful job of chopping its head off!
Besides the straw business, Mr. Brown also had an interest in a jewelry shop in town. Making jewelry was a thriving business in the Plainville/Wrentham area, but the shop in Wrentham center was not doing well and closed. Mr. Brown took over the building as his part of the shares and he was trying to find something to bring a business back to town. Uncles Murray and Allan were home from Providence for a weekend and met Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown asked them why didn't they start a business in Wrentham and offered to give them free rent for a year. The steam and piping and pumping were all usable for making taps and dies, and Murray adapted some of the machines. Uncle John continued working at Brown & Sharp in Rhode Island to bring in some money while Murray and Allan got the shop going. Later Allan moved to Florida and John gave up his job at Brown & Sharp to join Murray full time at Winter Brothers Tap & Die shop.
Aunt Chris did the office work for a short time, but it was not to her liking. She went on to graduate from Boston University, and Elsie took over the office. Young Charles joined the company later when he was old enough.
Mr. Brown also owned rental property on Taunton St. and for a small rental fee, he made it possible for the whole Winter family to move to Wrentham in 1901 before Grandpa Winter died. Lois Brown was 16 then and in high school.
2 “A total change from English to metric measurements in this industry, if made on short notice, say one year, would cost each plant, as a first cost, at least one-third of plant valuation. If five years were given it would still be at least 20% of the plant valuation. In succeeding years the maintenance of tools and parts to keep machinery made to English measurements in repair, the obsolescence of machinery due to inability to secure repair parts, the time consumed in determining whether a hole was threaded to metric or English figures and consequent errors, etc., would amount to figures that would stagger any manager. Also, every man in the shop, particularly among tool makers, has personal tools valued at sometimes several hundred dollars, many of which would be useless after a change." * Winter Brothers response to a 1921 National Industrial Conference Board study on implications of switching to the Metric System.
5th Ward in New Bedford, MA, where Patrick Murray Winter was a boarder in mansion of Joseph Grinnell in 1870 before returning to Scotland to marry Isabella Ednie in 1871. Green arrow shows location of Grinnel Estate.
Above we see an 1895 map of Mansfield, MA. In the upper right hand corner, you can see the layouts of the Winter Brothers Greenhouses. Charle's snd William Clark's names are included.
Ednie Cottage Number 6 at Stone Palace estate ca. 1880
Ednie Cottage Number 6, 2011
(Many thanks to Bertie Robson for the recent picture of the cottage. He spends a portion of the year in Perth and generously explored the background of the cottage. His comments are below, along with a letter from the Scone Palace Archivist to the current tenant.)
Bertie writes, “I'm happy to report success in locating John Ednie's cottage. It is one of a group of 12 cottages built in the early nineteenth century for workers on the Scone Palace estate and is on the road from Perth to Blairgowrie, now the A93. Since the cottages are all slightly different it was easy to identify the Ednie cottage (No. 6) which is unique in having two chimneys. I found it first on Google Earth and then went there to take a picture, which is almost identical, as you would expect. It still belongs to the Mansfield estate and I spoke with the present tenant, Kathy Price, who herself has been trying to find out some of its history. All she could find was contained in a letter from the Scone Palace archivist [below]. She was intrigued by your photograph and I left a copy with her. I followed the archivist's suggestion and looked in the Valuation Rolls in the Perth Archives but the cottages were all lumped together in the Mansfield estate with no individual occupiers noted.
I have a subscription to Ancestry.com and looked up John Ednie in the Scottish census records. Ancestry does not have permission to reproduce the actual images (these are to be found on scotlandspeople.gov.uk which is a pay-per-view site) but has transcribed them, with the usual opportunities for errors. I have summarized the records from 1861 - 1901. Note that in 1891 John's address was given as Old Scone Cottage No 9, which is a distinctly different cottage. It may be a transcription error. In 1881 and 1901 it just says "Blarigowrie Road" which could be No.6. No.6 is a detached cottage, with a larger plot of land, and his seniority may have qualified him for it after 1891. One of the pleasures of this kind of research is using one's imagination to fill in the factual gaps.
The census records never show him as anything more than a gardener's labourer (sic) up to 1901, close to his death. His cottage is about 0.37 miles from the Palace and it is likely that the Head Gardener's house would have been closer.”
John E.Winter Poems
John, Allan & Murray Winter, Mansfiled, MA, ca 1886
Murray Winter, a well known manufacturer of Wrentham, established business there in January, 1900, as a member of the firm of Winter Brothers Company, their output being taps and dies. With thorough understanding of the trade in every department, Mr.Winter has been active in the building of a business of extensive proportions, in which he operates a splendidly equipped plant:
A native of Massachusetts, he was born in Mansfield in June, 1875, a son of Patrick Murray and Isabella Ednie Winter. He attended the public schools of Mansfield and throughout his entire business career has been identified with industrial activity. At length he became active in the organization of the Winter Brothers Company for the manufacture of taps and dies and the Wrentham factory was opened in January, 1900. They sell their products throughout the entire United States and also have a large foreign trade. Their business has reached extensive proportions. They have a well equipped, modern factory, supplied with the latest improved machinery for work along that line, and their business has now reached gratifying proportions, something of its extent being indicated in the fact that they have more than two hundred people in their employ.
On the 2d of October, 1915, Mr. Winter was united in marriage to Miss Ethel Black Kirkton, and to them has been born a son, Wilfrid Murray. Mr. Winter gives his political allegiance to the Republican party and is serving as a member of the Republican town committee. He is also filling the position of secretary of the Water Commissioners. His fraternal relations are with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and his religious faith is indicated in his membership in the Congregational church, of which he is serving as the treasurer. His aid and influence are always given on the side of progress and improvement, of reform and advancement, and thus he has contributed to many other interests of public worth aside from his business.
Transcription of newspaper article above.
By JUDI HEBERT
I’m crumbling at the corners,
“I’m an old decrepit member
Of those who once were active
Too far back to remember
When I went out to conquer
With my youthful effervescence
Nowadays I’ happy if folks
Tolerate my presence.”
This excerpt is from a pessimistically humorous poem penned by John E. Winter of 205 South Washington St., one of several in which he describes the predicaments of his senior standing. Poetic comment on his own problems of age has become an amusing hobby for the 94-year-old gentleman.
Exhibiting a delightful sense of humor, Winter writes verse to pass away the time.
“I’m crumbling at the corners
My hair’s not much to comb
By ones and twos and threes
It has been moulting from my dome”
I have all this time hanging on my hands, I can’t go out but I feel well, “ says the partially blind retired businessman, who liked poetry as a young man but didn’t start writing it until after his retirement.
“Young men didn’t like poetry in those days, but I did. But for 50 years, I never thought of it—I was too busy.”
Now he “just writes it to take up time. I didn’t intend it for publication.”
Winter, who retired at 70 from the Winter Brothers Company which he formed in partnership with his brother in Wrentham, worked for 55 years and was reluctant to give up then, but was working out a contract.
He reminisces about his days as president of the company. He didn’t like traveling, but did a lot of it in those days and met many leaders in the automobile industry which makes use of the taps and dies produced by Winter Brothers. He once had lunch with Edsel Ford and remembers him as “a very nice gentleman.”
His company, which became the second largest of its kind in the industry, employed around 1,100 people when he left in 1943.
Following his graduation from high school at 16 in Mansfield where he was born and educated, he went to work within three days. After serving his apprenticeship in the tool department of the the S. W. Card Manufacturing Co, he left to work for the Frank Mossberg Company as an expert toolmaker.
Chuckling as he recalls his starting pay of five cents an hour, Winter notes that a first class toolmaker now makes four or five dollars an hour.
“After the first three months you got 7 1/2 cents if you were doing all right. The top was 30 cents an hour for a first class toolmaker.”
Comparing conditions of today with those of his working days, Winter points out that now “they complain if they don’t get two weeks or more for vacation—then it was hard to get a day off!
“I was a toolmaker at 20 and a foreman at 28. Seniority rules wouldn’t let me do that now, but there were no unions then,” he recalls.
The following is his most recently finished poem:
Winter keeps his mind alert by listening to talking books sent to him from the Perkins School for the Blind. They arrive three or four discs at a time, via postage-free mail service. Interest in his most recent favorite of these books, “Queen Victoria,” was enhanced because he saw the queen and Princess Beatrice when he was 9 or 10.
“At that time, she was about 64”, he remembers. He saw the royal personages at Perth, Scotland, where he spent a year visiting his grandparents and attending school.
Besides writing poetry, his other major interest now is his transistor radio which keeps him informed. “I have it on a continuously –right up till I go to bed.”
Though he claims his memory is failing, he remembers names dates and events far better than many of his younger peers and since he is unable to write anymore, he carries his verses in his mind until his daughter, Miss Dorothy Ednie Winter, can write them down for him. Miss Winter has them typed up as they are finished to send copies to relatives who are anxious to read them.
Winter has a television in his sitting room, but seldom watches it. “It’s no good to me. I can’t see what’s going on, but I like the Lawrence Welk Show. You don’t have to see that to enjoy it.” Of today’s popular music, he says: “I don’t like it. I don’t understand it.”
The former director of the Attleboro Savings Bank is disgruntled with the political situation, too. Speaking of the current presidential candidates, he comments: “I am a little disgusted with all of ‘em. I’m a strong Republican on the conservative side—I was a Goldwater man. I’m inclined to think Nixon and Hubert Humphrey will get the nomination. It can change a lot before next November. I don’t see how McCarthy can fit in and Wallace—that’s a foolish thing. I don’t know what he’s up to, unless he trying to break up the Democratic party!”
As for government in general Winter says tersely: “They government is mixing in a lot of thins they’ve no business to be in.”
If Winter has one lament, it is the fact that he can no longer go for walks. “I’m very fortunate not to have any suffering— I’m just hung up. I can’t walk much.
It seems quite ironic that walking was one of my hobbies and now I don”t walk well.”
He has also logged more than 100,000 miles on his bicycle and in his 20’s, took up bicycle racing for three or four years. He and his wife used to ride a tandem with their daughter in the middle between them.
Ice skating is another sport once enjoyed by Winter and his custom made skates with his name etched on the runners and flowers engraved on them gave service until he was 82. The skates made around 1881 and the tandem are new possessions of the North Attleboro Historical Society.
Winter, who will be 95 on Oct. 13, lives alone with his daughter, Dorothy, who is assisted by a visiting nurse, Mrs. Isabel Maddock of Plainville, three times a week.
The poet feels he has quite a few years left and plans to continue to write his verse as a means of “whiling away the time.”