This week I went through to Forfar in Angus where my GG grandfather lived most of his life. The object of the exercise was to get my hands on copies of his published poems which are in the reference section of Forfar library.
I found in two of the 4 books dedications in his own hand, so my gg grandfather must have handled these very books.
It seems that his poems about the people, the folklore and the places he knew were published weekly in various local papers and were so popular that many locals funded the publishing of at least one of the books. Benefactors included the Countess of Strathmore - the grandmother of the future Queen Mother.
He acknowledges that he takes his ideas from other works and offers his works in a spirit of "take it as you find it". When writing in prose he demonstrates a fine style and eloquence, quite remarkable for his circumstances.
A touching poem "Robin's awa" laments the early death of a brother. He certainly had a brother Robert but he didn't die until 1901 aged 76, so this is a mystery. He mentions a sister and her Johnnie. I think this refers to Isabella who married John Smart.
This page is from "The Bards of Angus and Mearns" and, what a thrill! has a photograph of him. He seems to have been highly thought of at the time.
First post about Colin here