BELLA GARTLY (b. Wrightstone, Glass 1883 – d. Huntly, 7th July, 1944)
I very much regret that I do not have more photographs and a longer story to tell for Bella, especially as she played such a large part in bringing up my mother. I suppose that this is partly to do with the fact that she stayed at home to look after her mother, Elizabeth. I do, however, have this early portrait
, by Norrie of Fraserborough, which, according to the inscription on the reverse of the triple portrait of ‘Maggie, Lizzie (and) Bella’ which we have already seen, in connection with Betty’s story, represents Bella.
There are a considerable number of photographs featuring Bella, at Heathcot, 13, East Park Street, Huntly from the 1930s period.
However, most of these show her as one of a group as other members of the family visited.
A typical example is this one
taken in the front garden with Bella on our left, her sister Betty in the centre and her brother-in-law James on our right.
Perhaps it is appropriate to end with this portrait, taken inside Heathcot by my dad in the 1940s, showing Bella, the oldest of the children of James and Elizabeth Gartly, with a large portrait of her deceased youngest brother, ‘Beely’ behind. Also hung on the wall is the certificate marking his sacrifice in WW1 in 1918, more than twenty years earlier.
Bella, who suffered from ill health, particularly asthma, for a number of years died in July 1944 and is buried in Glass churchyard in the same grave as her father and in which her mother was to buried a year and a half later.
As I have dug deeper into the cache of old family photographs I have uncovered this double portrait.
Of the two women, the one on the our right is certainly Elizabeth Gartly (nee Rae). I assume that the older woman would be her mother, Mrs Rae, for whom I do not have a first name.
Setting the previous photograph against this triple portrait, it seems that the woman might well be the same as the older one above, in which case it seems likely that the seated man would be her husband and the older, standing one either her own father or her husband’s father.
I have searched through Godsman’s book on Glass and have not been able to find anyone called Rae, but I could easily have missed such a reference. Of course, the Rae’s may have belonged to a neighbouring parish in which case they would probably not appear in Godsman’s book.
At this point things are definitely getting a bit vague and I conclude with this picture of a very large gathering on a hillside on which I have no information whatsoever except that it was found among all the other photographs and documents relating to the Gartlys and Glass.