Minnie and Tom Watson

This month’s free Lunchtime Talk will take place on Thursday 7th December. The topic will be Minnie Watson and her husband Tom.

Minnie Cumming was the daughter of a Dundee sea captain. She left Dundee in 1899 to travel to Kenya to marry her fiancé Rev Thomas Watson. Tom had been a missionary at Kikuyu since 1898. Sadly Minnie’s marriage was  cut short when Tom died just a few weeks before their first wedding anniversary.

Now alone in an African village she decided to stay and help provide education and healthcare to the local people. She retired from the Church of Scotland Mission in Kikuyu, Kenya in 1931. By the time Minnie left the Mission Station, there were 2 churches, schools, dormitories for pupils, and a hospital.  There was also training available for teachers, nurses and carpentry.

Mrs_Watson_and_learner_Kikuyu_Kenya_ca1911
Minnie teaching an African child, c. 1911

The talk will be given by Friends member Paddy McFarlane, Minnie’s great-niece. Minnie’s belongings and records were left to Paddy. Earlier this year Paddy decided to make her great aunt’s life and works accessible to all by donating the archive to the National Library of Scotland. They form part of the Church of Scotland’s Missions Collection.

Find out more about this extraordinary woman at 1pm on Thursday 7th December at the Glasite Hall, by St Andrews Church, Dundee. Find out more about the lunchtime talks. The talk is free to attend and everyone is welcome.

All pictures are copyrighted to the National Library of Scotland.

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