All authors have just one hero, that is the self they would have liked to be, the gallant boy they
were not, the fellow who defied the master when they whimpered to be let off, who fought the wounded tiger when they would have gladly shinned up a tree.
Samuel Rutherford Crockett (1859-1914)
Samuel Rutherford Crockett was born in the parish of Balmaghie, at Little Duchrae Farm on 24th September 1859.
Raised by his Cameronian grandparents William and Mary, the family attended the Cameronian ‘Kirk on the Hill’ in preference to Balmaghie Kirk– undertaking a round trip of nearly 20 miles each Sunday.
In 1867, the family moved to Cotton Street, Castle Douglas where Crockett lived until, on winning the Galloway Bursary, he went to study at Edinburgh University in 1876. His journalistic career began to support his studies.
Travels followed, as a tutor, through Europe and abroad. Returning to Edinburgh in 1882 he studied for the ministry, got his first charge at Penicuik Free Church in 1886 and married Ruth Milner in 1887.
They had four children, Maisie (known as Sweetheart) Philip, George (known as Toady Lion) and Margaret.
In 1893 Crockett’s sketches of Galloway life The Stickit Minister and some common men became a bestseller. In 1894 this was followed by novels The Raiders and The Lilac Sunbonnet and his reputation as one of the foremost Scots writers of the time was consolidated. In January 1895 Crockett left the ministry to become a full time professional author. He spent the rest of his life writing and travelling, publishing on average two books per year and many short stories. Most of his writing was also serialised. He died on April 16th 1914 in France and was buried, according to his wishes, at Balmaghie Kirk on April 24th along with other family members.
‘mayhap that is the best fortune of all, to be loved by a few greatly and constantly, rather than to be applauded and immediately forgotten by the many’.
HOME OF THE SAMUEL RUTHERFORD CROCKETT LITERARY SOCIETY
Honorary President: Richard D. Jackson. Founder: Cally Phillips.