Grandfather Wearing His Kilt
Finding an ancestor proudly wearing the clothes of his native country is not something everyone can have in their photo collection. I am pleased to see my paternal grandfather wearing his kilt and I do know he owned a set of bagpipes and that he was known to go down to the railroad tracks and play them. Even though it is not my memory, it is something to think about.
He and his wife and four children lived in this house for quite a number of years. Just behind him to the right of the upper part of thedoor is the house number. He is in his middle forties in this photograph and lived here at the beginning of The Great Depression. He no longer worked in the quarry but was employed by the Bradford Dye Works as a calenderer, which is a machine with rollers between which cloth is run as to give it a smooth or glossy finish. I know that Tom was fond of polishing granite to make curling stones.
Tom came to America from being a car conductor in Edinburgh. His oldest sibling was married to a railway guard and probably that's how he got the job. Tom left home at before he was seventeen and traveled to his step-mother's brother's house and was living there in Edinburgh in 1901 working as a clerk. He finally had enough money for passage to America and arrived at Ellis Island, alone, in 1904. His destination was to see his uncle, Thomas A. Broadfoot, who was living in Westerly, Rhode Island and was a quarry worker with a full household of his own.
Built From Stone: The Westerly Granite Story is a wonderful coffee-table type hardcover book, that is filled with clear photos and well-researched text all about this industry in Westerly. Westerly blue-white and blue-gray granite is some of the finest in the world. The men who discovered the richness of the quarries there came, (you guessed it) from Dalbeattie, Scotland. No wonder all the men in my family from Dalbeattie left the quarry there to come to America. The name Broadfoot does appear in the list of workers in the book.
Tom was the 5th child and 4th son born to John Broadfoot,monumental mason and his first wife Jane Hannah. He was only eleven when his mother died and a little more than twelve when his father remarried and started to produce four more children. Most of his full siblings came to America. I don't think this says much for Tom's early years in Scotland. His father was a stern looking man and if it wasn't for my family that lived in California, I would not have an photos of him at all.
Somewhere along the line, my grandfather became addicted to alcohol. After his wife died, his depression and his addiction over came his life and he died at the age of fifty-three by suicide. My father, age nineteen, close to the age his father was when he left Scotland, found his father dead of gas asphyxiation in the kitchen at 116 Bowling Lane in Bradford. The family continued to live there for many years after Thomas and Annie died. Their gravestones (hers), bought by their children, are granite hewn.
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