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William McAngus
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Birth: 1842
Tain, Scotland
Death: Dec. 2, 1932
Travis County
Texas, USA

By: Ruth McAngus Jackson

I think that I shall always remember my granddaddy as a grand old patriarch, truly the head of his family, loved and respected by everyone. Many times have I spent pleasurable weeks with him in his old fashioned, country home.

He was a rather short, stocky man with iron gray hair that was cut very short. In the days gone by, he had been very active, but I remember him as a man of leisure. It may be that I think he was such a remarkable old man because he was my grandfather, but I know many others who share my opinion.

His life was begun in 1842 in the little town of Taine, Rosshire, Scotland. Times were hard and his family was very poor. His mother struggled also with a determination that could not be daunted, in order to give him what education she could. He took great delight in his studies and became well versed in the Gaelic language, and during those early days he showed his interest in religion. His father had taught him that a person was born either saved or lost, it made no difference what sort of life the person lived, his fate was already settled.

Granddaddy was forced to go to work for him self very early in life because of his father's death. For a time he worked on a neighboring farm where he tilled the soil and fed the cattle. He could tell very amusing stories about cooking turnips to feed the cattle. He said that they seemed to enjoy the cooked turnips, but I had never heard of cattle eating cooked food. Later, he assisted his teacher by taking over the classes in the Gaelic language.

One day some pamphlets came by mail to this little town. They were distributed throughout the village. If one could believe the things these pamphlets told, then a great opportunity for everyone had come. There was a large amount of fertile land in Texas to be had for almost nothing, wild cattle roamed the plains, in fact, Texas was the next thing to Utopia. There was one thing lacking in this wonderful land, and that was settlers. Being of adventurous spirit, Granddaddy talked to his friends about this opportunity, and he decided to take advantage of it if he could settle one question that was worrying him. He was engaged to a young lassie of his native village. Her parents finally agreed to let her go with him; if they liked the new country, they would be married and live there; if they did not like it, they would return to Scotland as soon as possible.

This question settled, Granddaddy joined a party of thirteen young people, who had signed contracts that came with the pamphlets, agreeing to work on the farms of large landowners. This gay party sailed from Liverpool, England in October 1866.

The ship was a sailboat, but not a very good one. The cabins were divided into two parts; one was for all the men and the other was for all the women. After a certain time at night the women went to their cabins and the men went to theirs.

The ship made good progress until it reached the Irish Sea. It encountered a big storm that lasted several days. The wind tossed the boat about as if it were a chip; the water poured over the sides in torrents. All the men were called on to help dip the water up and keep the things from washing away. Of course, the rule regarding separate quarters was not observed during this distressing time. Again, Granddaddy's religious inclination came to the surface. He prayed that he and his companions might be saved. If this wish should be granted him, he promised that he would try to live a better life.

The boat landed at Galveston, Texas in February 5, 1867, after three months of braving stormy seas. Here the party boarded another boat and sailed up the Buffalo Bayou to Houston. They were very glad to see land once here, but the land was all there was to see. Houston was not the thriving city that it is today; it was not even as large as the little villages that these people called "home". Here the immigrants purchased a wagon and a pair of oxen, and a long over-land journey was started.

The women rode on the ox-cart, while the men walked. Since the men had only one pair of shoes each and since they were Scotchmen, they saved their shoes and walked barefoot. I am sure that they could not afford to buy any thing extra but food along the way, because Granddaddy had only ten dollars when he landed. The others did not have any more than he did, and some did not have as much.

At last they reached Hempstead, where the little party was broken up and sent in many directions. Granddaddy was first brought to Austin. When he was told that the capitol of this great state was located here, he was very disappointed. When he saw the capitol, he was more disappointed than ever, the town was just a mud-hole with a cattle trail running through the center of it for the main street. The capitol was a wooden shack built on the bank of the Colorado River, just about where the Becker Lumber Company is located. He said the town was so small that he could easily have thrown a rock across it.

Captain Carrington, the man for whom Granddaddy was to work, lived at a place known as Walnut Creek. The land was rich and black, with grass growing waist high all over it. At first it was fun to watch the land transform itself under his labors but he became restless and would have gone back to the old country, if he had had the money to spend any way he preferred.

On April 15, 1867, Granddaddy and his sweetheart were married. They were at another farm that belonged to Captain Carrington in Pflugerville. Grandmother was dressed in a calico dress that she had made from material that cost thirty-five cents a yard. She was eighteen years old and Granddaddy was twenty-five.

Granddaddy obtained a job in the flourmill. He was a good worker because of his strength and he received good wages. Before long, he started renting land for himself, he worked hard and made good. He bought the land he had been renting and soon he added another farm. He became a very large landowner.

Do not think he had forgotten his God during this period of struggles and successes. One of the most outstanding features of his life was that he never failed to hold family worship twice each day. Every morning he read a chapter in the bible and offered a prayer before he ate his breakfast. In the evening before the family retired for the night, he would read and comment on a portion of the scriptures and offer another prayer.

He had become one of the most influential men of the county in religious and business matters. He helped build several churches around the community and remained an active member as long as he was physically able.

Then his health failed, his eyes were dimmed and he had to use a magnifying glass in order to read, thus he was handicapped in what seemed to be the greatest pleasure in his life.. He still perused book after book seeking each moment of the cause he loved.

This grand old man had eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. He closed his life on December 2, 1932. Ninety years of hard labor had met with success. He firmly believed that the Lord prospers those that loved him. And kept his commandments. Granddaddy left us a beautiful memory and a heritage to cherish as long as we live.

The following is a letter that Ruth McAngus Jackson wrote:

I wish I could remember more of the stories that he told me because he told me lots of them. You know I used to go home with him often and the ride in the buggy with fat old Molly jogging took a great while and I think we chatted every step of the way.

I do remember a few other things besides teaching school, he had been in the navy before he came over to America. He learned English on the way over here by reading the captain's English bible. His speech was always colored by the King James version of the bible.

During the times that he was working for Captain Carrington he worked in the blacksmith shop, which he said accounted for his exceptionally strong hands. He also told me he always used the bible instead of the dictionary, both for spelling and the meaning of words. I remember too, that he said you should never tell a child to do something unless you took the time to see that he did it.

Wouldn't it be fun to hear from someone who knew the family in Scotland I think I told you that I have friends in the University of Edinburgh who hope to go to Taine, and let me know what they think about it. You know, I used to correspond with one of grandpa's nephew' but he is now dead. I have several gifts that he sent me at different Christmases when I was a kid. His name was Vass.


By: Zadie McAngus Stewart

The old farm homestead of William McAngus, my grandfather, has many very pleasant childhood memories for me, as I lived near it for the first thirteen years of my life. Almost every day we were on the premises. During school terms we passed by it twice a day and always stopped by each afternoon to get our mail, which was delivered to
Grandpa's box, at his front gate. In summer it was our privilege to go once each day to get our mail.

The old fashioned house was one of the finest in the community at the time it was built. It is still a curiosity in my mind. Other houses may have been built as it was, but I don't recall ever having been in another like it. The kitchen and dining room were separate from the main house. There was a porch at the back on the north side of the house, and after a couple of steps down one was on a covered walk way to the dining room door. One actually had to go outside the main house and then into the cooking and eating area. There were porches also on the east and south sides of the house.

As we arrived in warm weather to go on our way to school, or to get the mail, grandpa would be sitting on the east porch, morning or evening. His favorite chair was an old captains chair, both feet would be firmly planted on the floor. His legs were so short, I doubt he could have crossed his legs comfortably in that chair, at least I don't believe I ever saw him sitting with legs crossed. He would always be looking out across his farm, puffing audibly on his old clay pipe. Many times I saw him take up a shaving from the mantle, light it in the fireplace, and touch it to his pipe, puffing all the while so loudly that he could be heard all over. The thrifty habit of saving matches was a hangover from the days he had to save.

There was a huge barn and loft surrounded by immense pens. The large pens were necessary to care for the many cows he had to milk when all the children were at home. I am sure it took many a pail of milk for so large a family when the thrifty families provided the greater part of their food at home. There was a place at the barn for his farm mules and a special place for Old Molly the red mare that pulled him about over the country-side in his buggy. During the times we met for church at Grandpa's, we children had a ball after church, playing in that old barn. We would jump into the cottonseed bin, play on the unshucked corn, or climb over bales of sweet smelling hay. Once in a while we would locate a new hens nest for Aunt Laura. I am sure we must have been a trial to Grandpa and Aunt Laura even though we had marvelous times there.

Besides the huge barn, there was also a pigpen, a buggy-house, tool shed, henhouse and a combination smokehouse and milk house. The milk house held a peculiar fascination for me, it was some twenty or thirty steps from the kitchen door and must have caused many an extra step to be taken. The water had to be drawn with bucket and chain from the cistern, carried to the kitchen and heated. Both the hot water and more cold water were carried to the kitchen and milk house to be used in washing up the milk things. There was a clean buttery smell that I think I can still recall. Huge flat crocks held the rich sweet milk which we allowed to set over night in a screened series of shelves, then the next morning the cream was skimmed off and churned, making sweet country butter. Enough skim milk, buttermilk and clabber were put away for the family's use for one day and the surplus was poured out to the pigs and chickens.

In winter we met for church in Grandpa's room. The room was large by today's standards. I would guess it was sixteen feet square, however it may have seemed large to me because it was so sparsely furnished. There was a fireplace, which opened into two rooms, Grandpa's and Aunt Laura's so that both rooms could be heated by using only one chimney. We brought in chairs from the parlor and from the dining room table for people to sit There was a large, dark painted wooden trunk sitting in the corner with McAngus stamped on its side. This made a fine seat for two or three of us. I've wondered many times since being grown if we all left with out returning so many chairs to their proper places, if we did church must have been quite a chore for Aunt Laura.

When summer came, we met in the parlor the room being on the west was as hot as an oven at about two p. m. on a hot summer afternoon. We all sat summer and winter through bible reading, singing, communion and praying listening to Grandpa or someone else give his views on the interpretation of the chapter that had been read. We were as quiet and attentive in his home as if we had been in the church building. But, oh, how we children wished he would hurry so we could go on outside and get on with our playing. When one had so many small cousins and friends whom we had not seen for a whole week, there was lots to be talked over, new games to be played or even old ones to be replayed. I'm sure I have hopped many a mile on one foot just playing hop-scotch on a Sunday afternoon.

In the years just prior to 1920, when we moved to Eldorado, we had a church building on Onion Creek. The building was destroyed by a tornado, which also tore up huge pecan trees. When the congregation decided to rebuild they erected the new building at Colton a few miles away, people from Colton. Creedmoor, Bluff Springs, Del Valle, Carl, Elroy and other nearby communities met with us and we had a larger congregation.

Grandpa and other elderly men usually presented the lesson. They were by no means preachers but all could and did give excellent biblical sermons. I still recall a few names of the old timers, other than relatives, among them were Sam Brownlow, Mr. Cowan, Ed McGrand, etc. Not all the faces accompany the names now after all it has been more than forty years.

Later when all of us had automobiles, Grandpa still drove about in his buggy with Old Molly between the shafts. I can remember our passing him in his buggy and he would always be nearly to the church house, sitting very erect with his plaid wool lap robe over his knees. He would be chuckling like fury at Old Molly who had an auto get to church before she and he had left home a full hour before we had.

Almost every summer we had a camp meeting or at least we had a meeting out under the pecan trees. Our method of lighting these out door meetings was a kerosene device hung on a nearby tree trunk. It consisted of a kerosene tank from which extended downward, a pipe with a burner on it. The open flame from this burner lighted our way. When things became more modern we used Coleman lanterns to furnish light both inside and outside the church. I am sure everyone enjoyed the get-togethers ever so much more than we enjoy our new modern neon lighted well heated and air conditioned church buildings. Just outside the group of seats, pallets were made down on the ground and all the younger children slept soundly through singing, preaching, praying and bugs.

Have you ever attended church at an outdoor meeting on a warm drowsy Sunday morning? Those of you who have not have missed such a pleasant experience, there you are with the warm sun beaming down on you while you slowly jog in the buggy or surrey. When you arrived in the dense cool shad of the trees, the katydids and locust are striking up their choruses and the music mingles with the songs of the congregation so that it is hard to tell to which music one is listening.

One of my earliest recollections is of watching Grandpa laboriously writing a letter. He always wrote faithfully to his loved ones from whom he was separated. He wrote very slowly but with a good legible and very firm hand. I was always so happy to have a long new pencil that I was astounded to see him take up his new pencil and cut it into two or three pieces. He would sharpen each piece to almost a needlepoint and then bear down with all his might. The entire imprint of the letter could be read even through to the third or fourth page.

The fact that I have so thoroughly enjoyed this reminiscing only goes to further prove that I too am getting older. This has been such a happy revere I wish I could recall other incidents and experiences to help etch the childhood memories more plainly in our minds. Will each of you, after reading my feeble and crude attempts at preserving some things from the past, add a few pages of your recollections or experiences to the back of your book. We are letting the old days fast slip away without writing down anything for our descendents to enjoy. They would enjoy reading our every day experiences fifty years from now as much as we enjoy reading of our ancestors from fifty or one hundred years in the past. While you are about it, why not leave it in your own handwriting. Your children and grandchildren would be so happy to have a sample of your handwriting and composition. So pleasant reminising and happy compositions to each and every one of you.

Submitted by great niece (AG): My great uncle, Frank M Ross lived with us on our farm for a short while in the early 1950's. Uncle Frank would talk about the McAngus family as well as the Ross and McKenzie families. I wish a lot of his stories had been recorded.

Family links: 
  Jessie McAngus (1849 - 1906)*
  Daniel D McAngus (1868 - 1934)*
  Jessie McAngus Chapman (1870 - 1958)*
  Barbara Ellen McAngus Doherty (1871 - 1929)*
  David McAngus (1873 - 1957)*
  Andrew McAngus (1875 - 1940)*
  Laura McAngus (1877 - 1948)*
  Will McAngus (1879 - 1937)*
  Alexander McAngus (1881 - 1960)*
  Hugh McAngus (1883 - 1961)*
  Annie Belle McAngus Bradshaw (1887 - 1971)*
  Murdow Kenneth McAngus (1889 - 1954)*
*Calculated relationship
Charles F. Austin Cemetery
Travis County
Texas, USA
Plot: South
Created by: GCA
Record added: Jan 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33182622
William McAngus
Added by: Billie Blackstock
William McAngus
Added by: Billie Blackstock
William McAngus
Added by: GCA
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The stories written about William McAngus life in Scotland and here in Texas have been such a joy to read. The stories were passed to me by Nancy Mokry and I have shared them with many family members now they are here for anyone to read that might visi...(Read more)
- Billie Blackstock
 Added: Aug. 19, 2009

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