The Grantidote and Calderglen High School English Department worked together to discuss the importance of women’s stories and experiences and how both are so often overlooked when we consider the fact and fiction-based storytelling surrounding our lives. This forward-thinking school’s English department runs a yearly project for second years, asking pupils to research and write-up family history around World War I and teachers had observed the stories coming back were never about women. So, to address the missing archive and representation, Calderglen High’s Herstory Project was bravely born.
Margaret’s story of immense strength, resilience and love is told here by her great-granddaughter, Cara.
I am writing about my Great-Grandmother Margaret Hargin because she was a strong woman and her story deserves to be told.
My great-gran grew up in Thornliebank, Scotland, with her mum, dad, and as one of the middle children between eight siblings. When Margaret was 10 or 11 one of her brothers went to war and never returned. We think he was shot a couple of months after he went.
My great-gran apparently always loved being outside as a child, she told my mum she was always playing with a skipping rope when she was young. She went to Rothesay for a holiday, most of my family members have been and hopefully I will soon too. When Margaret left school she helped her mum look after children her mum had unofficially adopted.
My great-gran had an extremely sad period in her life. Her first fiancé Joseph died when she was pregnant. She had a daughter called Josephine Jones Thomson, who also sadly died when she was six weeks old. My great-gran was nineteen when she’d met Joseph, her first love. They’d got engaged and were going to emigrate to Australia. When they’d found out my great-gran was pregnant they were over the moon but sadly Joseph became very ill and died of a stomach ulcer during Margaret’s pregnancy. She named her baby Josephine after Joseph. Then, when Josephine was six weeks old she got colitis and died in her sleep.
Once Margaret got older she worked in the local shop. She then got married and had two step-sons, four daughters, and one son, the oldest girl being my gran. She looked after the children half the time and worked in the shop the other half.
Margaret had nine grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren and four great, great-grandchildren. I’m told everyone loved going to stay at my great-granny’s; she used to take them to the Wimpey burger place. She lived in the Westwood in East Kilbride and when she was fifty she became a Mormon. She’d invite people around from the church and they would make American meals and snacks together way before they became popular in the UK.
I chose to write about my great-granny because I think she was the most important person in our family. Everyone was always at her house either all together or in small groups and since she died the family don’t see each other as much anymore. Her story deserves to be told because she was so strong, she lost a fiancé and a daughter and still managed to raise five children and make everyone she met smile.
I really enjoyed learning about my great-gran. My mum, aunties, my gran and I all sat and spoke about memories of Granny Hargin. Sadly I never met her, she passed away before I was born, but I love hearing about her.