Thomas Stalker, Gamekeeper – Part 2 – the children, 1875 – 1900
From January 1875, when daughter Catherine’s name is first recorded in the Register, all the Stalker children would become borrowers. Except for Thomas jnr. who was aged 16, the first time their names appear they were all between 9 and 13 years of age. Many of the dates recorded indicate that several family members often visited the library together.
Catherine (Katie) borrowed books on nine dates during her first year. Throughout her borrowing her reading choices were nearly all stories for older children and some light novels. Her name appears only once in both 1876 and 1878, twice in 1880 and then disappears from the Register until she is borrowing again between July 1896 and March 1897. She borrows once in December 1898 and then from January to March 1900, her last entry. It was probably around 1880 that she left home to go into domestic service and her later borrowings were most likely when she was at home again, either between jobs or working more locally.
John’s name is first recorded in the Register in October 1878, joined by William in 1879, and their names appear regularly each year until 1885. They both borrowed stories for older children, such as ‘Alfred in India’, ‘The Swan’s Egg’, ‘Little Robertson’. They also regularly borrowed Chamber’s ‘Book of Days’ and Chamber’s ‘Repository’. Their interests began to widen over the years and by 1882 William was borrowing predominantly history books, including Samuel Fergusson’s ‘The queen’s visit and other poems; with copious historical notes’ and the novels of Sir Walter Scott, whilst John had progressed to reading Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott’s novels.
In January 1885, John’s occupation is recorded in the Register as a Clerk, living at home, but this is his final entry. On the 1891 Census he is lodging in Glasgow and is recorded as a ‘Coalmaster’s Clerk’. After 1885 William’s name does not appear again until an entry in July 1891 and another in June 1893, when he was, presumably, visiting his parents. On the 1891 Census he is recorded as lodging, seemingly with a Stalker relative in Glasgow, and his occupation is recorded as a ‘Light Porter’.
Jessie’s (Janet) name first appears in September 1886 when she borrows Parley’s ‘Christmas Tales’, and she continues to borrow regularly until July 1900. However, in September 1892, she had obviously moved out of the family home and is recorded in the Register as the ‘Housekeeper, North Mains, Innerpeffray’. This would remain her address until 1896, when she returns to living with her parents at Parkneuk Cottage. Her reading choices were almost all light novels, with an occasional delve into Chamber’s ‘Book of Days’ and Sir Walter Scott’s Poems. In the later 1890s she was borrowing, as were the rest of the family, numerous magazines which the library was obviously acquiring on a regular basis, such as Harmsworths, The Royal Magazine, The Windsor Magazine, Longman’s Magazine and My Picture Magazine.
‘Cleopatra’ by Rider Haggard was the last book that Jessie borrowed.
Margaret (Maggie) began her borrowing in February 1891
and was joined by her sister Jane in July 1891. Maggie repeatedly borrowed both
Chamber’s ‘Papers’ and ‘Repository’ and in 1893 ‘The Glasgow Infant School
Magazine’, whilst Jane read various novels for older children, ‘Poems for the
young’, Robertson’s ‘History of Scotland’ and Rapin’s ‘History of England’.
Maggie continued to borrow until August 1898, after which she probably went
into Domestic Service. Jane’s final entry in the Register is January,
Thomas (junior) began his borrowing in December 1891, with Sir Walter Scott’s “Tales of a Grandfather’, and his occupation is recorded as a Clerk. That was the only record for him that year and this was followed by three entries in 1893, four in 1894 and then none until a further three in the autumn of 1898 and a final entry in November 1899. Others of Scott’s novels, ‘The Life of Nelson’ and Buffon’s ‘Natural History’ featured on his reading list.
Buffon’s Natural History series ‘Birds’
The Stalker children borrowed too many books for them all to be listed here but the following extracts from the Borrowers Register, give an insight into their choice of reading and illustrates how several members of the family often visited the library together. (Note: Extracted entries are transcribed as they appear in the Borrowers Register.)
Unfortunately many of the books that they borrowed are no longer in the collection and, as we have no evidence to suggest that they were not returned, we can only suspect that they were ‘read to death’. Nor does the library have any of the many magazines that are recorded in the Register.
1891 (Full entry for all the family for this year)
|13-1||Thomas||‘Arighurst tu tuk’ and ‘Woodstock’|
|17-2 /||20-3 / 18-6|
|1-7||Thomas||‘Memorials of the Late War’ and Allan’s ‘Life of Nelson’|
|John||The Swan’s Egg|
|9-7||Thomas||Life of Wellington|
|13-7||Jane||Poems For Young|
|16-7||Mrs Stalker||Cave’s Lives of the Twelve Apostles|
|27-7||Jane||History of Scotland|
|Mrs Stalker||The Family Expositor|
|5-8||Maggie||The Swan’s Egg|
|18-8||Maggie||Book of Days|
|22-8||Jane||Alfred in India|
|Mrs Stalker||The Family Expositor|
|2-9||Jane||History of England||Paul de Rapin|
|8-9||Maggie||Duty and Affection|
|18-9||Mrs Stalker||The Family Expositor|
|5-10||Jane||Sunbeams on the Cottage|
|19-10||Mrs Stalker||The Family Expositor|
|24-10||Maggie||Sunbeams on the Cottage|
|12-11||Thomas||Tales of a Grandfather||Sir Walter Scott|
|20-11||Mrs Stalker||The Family Expositor|
|10-12||Jane||Old Mortality||Sir Walter Scott|
|14-12||Thomas jnr||Tales of a Grandfather||Sir Walter Scott|
|21-12||Jane||Tales of a Grandfather|
|22-12||Mrs Stalker||The Family Expositor|
1893 (Extracts from this year)
13-6 Jane Chambers Repository Jessie Summer Time in the Country
Maggie Anderson’s Story of my Life
20-6 Mrs Stalker Apolisticia Cave
1-8 Thomas The Scots Magazine
4-9 Jane Chambers Repository
Mrs Stalker Apolisticia
Thomas jnr Castle Dangerous
Jessie Success of Mohamet Washington Irving
Maggie Chambers Papers
Thomas The Scots Magazine and ‘Essays Moral and Humorous’ 26-10
Mrs Stalker Burnets History of the Reformation
Jane Wide Wide World Thomas jnr Tales of a Grandfather
31-10 Maggie The Glasgow Infant School Magazine
8-11 Maggie Dora
19-12 Thomas School Magazine and Nation’s History
Maggie Sheltering Arms
Mrs Stalker MacCaulay’s St. Kilda
Thomas jnr. Buffon’s Natural History
1899 (Extracts from this year)
17-2 Thomas jnr. The Bride of Lammermuir 28-2
Jane Robert Martin’s Lesson
Thomas jnr. Life of Sir William Wallace
27-3 Thomas jnr. Our Trip North
Jane Pearson’s Magazine and The Lady’s Christmas 2 vols.
Jessie Eugene Aran
15-4 Jane Windsor Magazine and The Munsey Magazine
31-8 Jessie Cleopatra
Thomas jnr. Nickolas Nickleby
2-10 Jessie The Windsor Magazine
17-11 Thomas jnr. The Kings Own