Margaret Speid - A Dutiful Daughter,
Margaret Speid was born in
1802, the eldest daughter of Robert Speid of Ardovie.
The family inherited a small estate near Brechin
but had very little money. Margaret shared the
fate of many eldest daughters: she was expected
to help care for all the other members of the
family. When her youngest sister Helen was sent
to school in Edinburgh, Margaret accompanied her
to assist Aunt Catherine in looking after Helen
and the three brothers already at Edinburgh.
Her letters home to her mother in Ardovie are
full of rich domestic details about food, clothes,
travelling, her home, and family squabbles. They
provide an insight into late Georgian family life.
After her father's death in 1846 Margaret continued
to live with and care for her mother in Crieff.
She never married. Amongst the many letters that
have survived both to and by her, there is only
one hint of any romance with a mysterious visitor.
After her mother's death she returned to Ardovie
to act as housekeeper for her unmarried brother
John. She outlived all but one of her brothers
and died of heart disease, alone at Ardovie in