Eaglesfield Octogenarian

By the death of Mr Archibald Downie, which took place at Flosh Cottage, on Sunday at a quarter to twelve, Eaglesfield has lost one of it's oldest residents - if not it's oldest - and one who was highly esteemed in the district.

Mr Downie, who was 87 years of age, was born at Breconbeds, ( situated on the left hand side of the Eaglesfield/Annan road. A modern bungalow occupies the site.) and in 1866 went to Eaglesfield as a gardener and coachman at Blackwoodhouse, of which Mr E Bradshaw-Smith was then proprietor. The connection then formed between Mr Downie and the Blackwoodhouse family remained unbroken and during the intervening 57 years Mr Downie served the various generations of employers with untiring loyalty and devotion. In the view of his advancing years his work for some time has been less onerous and exacting, but he was justly proud that his term of service had continued unbroken for more than half - a - century.

Blackwoodhouse for many years held a high reputation for Dandy Dinmount terriers, and from forty to fifty years were regularly kept. Whatever Mr Downie did he did it well, and he became a recognised authority and breeder of Dandy Dinmonts, A good many years ago his brother, Mr Alexander Downie, sold to an English breeder a Dandy Dinmont terrier at a figure sufficiently high to attract a good deal of attention at the time. This terrier was got by " Little Birkie," bred by Mr Archibald Downie.

Highly intelligent and gifted with a retentive memory, Mr Downie was an interesting conversationalist, and he could recall long forgotten events with vividness and accuracy, and especially those connected with the estate, and the changes that the passing of time has brought.

His disposition was kindly, and if he could render an obligement it was done freely and with the greatest of goodwill. There is no one in Eaglesfield but what takes a deep interest in the Show, but Mr Downie's interest in it was deeper than that of many. He made it his endeavour to carry out with fidelity every duty laid upon him, and his example in that, and in many other respects had a strong and excellent influence on those with whom he came in contact.

He was a devoted member of Kirtle Parish Church. In politics, as well as in other matters, he took his own line, and was a pronounced Conservative, and acted on the Conservative Committee at election times. He is survived by his widow, and his four sons and one daughter, all of whom are married.

The daughter is Mrs L Graham, Steel's Road, Newcastleton, and the sons are --- John, residing at Beechwood; Charles, who lives in Springburn, Glasgow; Thomas, who is a gardener at Edenmount, Wetheral; and James, who is resident in Carlisle.

The funeral took place on Wednesday to Pennersaughs Churchyard.

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