Touching tale of Minnie’s cherished love letters

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On Monday (August 18) at 1.30 p.m., Radio Scotland will reveal a heartbreaking story of unrequited transatlantic love.

On May 12, 1902, Alex Middleton wrote a letter from America to his sweetheart Minnie Lindsay, waiting for him in Glenesk.

It began: “Dear Minnie. I now take up my pen to fulfil my promise of writing to you.”

He was on his way to seek his fortune in the Klondike Gold rush of Canada’s Yukon Territory. He wrote to Minnie regularly as he endured the hardships of a gold digger so he could make enough to return and marry her. He never did.

Over 100 years later, his letters were found at the back of a tall cabinet at the Glenesk Folk Museum. They were folded neatly and pressed into a small wooden box, one of the many prizes Minnie won for her needlework. They make engrossing reading and Radio Scotland is featuring extracts, to tell the story of a small rural community in Angus in their ‘Our Story’ series.

“The letters are important social history documents giving details of the Canadian gold rush,” said Agnes Lowden who with husband Gilbert has spent decades learning the history of Glenesk. Both feature in the programme, Gilbert with childhood memories of Minnie.

Alex never returned, dying in Vancouver in 1959, unmarried. Minnie died in the glen in 1964, unmarried.

Within its fascinating collection, the Glenesk Folk museum looks after over 1,000 objects which belonged to Minnie from a tiny ‘birthday book’, to examples of her sewing, often referred to in the letters.