William George “Will” Robertson
So You Want To Marry My Daughter
July 2003 Digest Excerpt
This is a letter written by Dr. John G. Douglass in response to Will Robertson’s request for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
7719 Normal Ave.
July 22, (19)01
Your favor of the 18 inst duly received and contents noted and considered and in reply would say, that perhaps none of us are very much surprised at the question or request you make. At all event we think it would be almost useless to make any serious objections, or say you na. I have questioned Bessie regarding the matter and she seems willing to try the experiment for six months and if at the expiration of that time or any future period she makes complaint of your treatment of her, or you do not treat her as you should do, she returns to us with all her belongings. But of course in your case we do not fear any ill treatment, having known you so long and favorably. Though you may not be in possession of an abundance of this world’s goods, yet many a pair has set out in life with much less and I am much deceived and disappointed if both of (unreadable) other and better riches than this world can give.
But while we consent to your request we as parents at least feel that you are taking from us our best house and home help. One on whom we have depended for some years, consequently we shall miss her very much. The other girls are good and kind but they have been from home so much that our dependence as far as house and home are concerned has been placed more on Bessie. It is not our duty or our intentions, however, to stand in the way or object to her settlement in life, as we know we cannot expect to keep her or any of them (the girls) around us all our days, we wish to see them all well settled, ere we depart this life if God so wills it –you say you have seriously considered this step.
I trust you have and that you may never regret taking our daughter from us and that she may never have the least occasion to regret leaving loving parents, sisters and brothers.
Take her my boy and may God’s blessing and rest remain and abide with you both from this time henceforth and forever.
Sincerely yours, J.G. Douglass
Beatrice “Bessie” Douglass and William Robertson were married October 2, 1901 in Chicago, IL. William was born in Scotland and was 27 when this correspondence took place. Would you not like to see the letter this Scotsman wrote to his future father-in-law? I would.
Jennifer Trerise, having done some research on this family, wrote that William was the son of Andrew and Grace (Deas) Robertson of Scotland. Part of the family moved to Australia and part to Canada. The parents moved to Australia. Thomas, William and a younger sister emigrated to Canada in 1889 and settled in Southhampton, which is undoubtedly where William and Bessie met. William followed Bessie to Chicago in 1900. He was head of the Prudential Insurance company headquarters there. Unfortunately, only eleven years later, the couple had to move to California for William’s health. They moved shortly before Christmas 1912. William died a year later. So did Dr. John. What a heartbreak it must have been for Dr. John to send his daughter’s family so far away knowing it was their only chance and yet knowing that William had TB.