Well Taught the Value of a Shilling
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Scottish Diaspora Tapestry


Well Taught the Value of a Shilling -- 
Numeracy, Financial Literacy, Earning an Honest Living & Related Ramblings 
With George Edward McCowan 
(March 21, 1922 – February 9, 2021)

 (80 pages, over 50 illustrations)


In this lively and evocative narrative, which shows the interweaving of family and place, George Edward McCowan imparts his vast knowledge and enthusiasm in dialogue with D.B. McCowan. Drawing on oral history, maps, printed and manuscript material and a wide range of material culture, including furniture, they tell stories of Scotland and Scarborough through the prism of family life. Along the way, readers learn about nineteenth century pedagogy, the Scottish coal industry and the country’s vibrant financial sector, as well as the operation of farm insurance in the risky venture of immigrant settlement in southern Ontario. This is a tender but also rigorous exploration of diverse experiences in Scotland and Canada that illuminates local life and history—and also much beyond.

Kevin James, PhD, Scottish Studies Foundation Chair
Director, Centre for Scottish Studies
Professor, Department of History, University of Guelph

A former Chair of the Professional Engineers Ontario Education Committee, D. Bruce McCowan has produced a valuable and well researched publication in association with George McCowan (1922 –2021). This publication documents the McCowan family’s progress in both Scotland and Canada where they became very successful. The title ‘Well Taught the Value of a Shilling’ reflects the economic pressures present in the background of the Scottish coalfield in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire in the early nineteenth century. It is amply illustrated with original documents and excerpts from relevant sources. Readers will find this publication both interesting and useful in understanding the background to many Scots Canadian families.

Jane Jamieson, Editor, Ayrshire Notes (Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society) and freelance researcher.

...He [George] took his house keys from his pocket and then said “oh heck, here, (handing her his keys) you are family, go down and get one yourself”, explaining step by step how to navigate in order to locate the squash. George was a trusting soul...
Our entire community has reaped bushels of benefits from our dear friend, relative and good neighbour, George Edward McCowan.

            From the Foreword by Janet Lawrie Whiteley

...This story allows the reader a chance to garner valuable insight into the lives of members of a Scottish family in areas of Scarborough that parallels many other families in Canada, as we grew to become the nation we are today. In addition to seeing the “value of a shilling”, we are treated to gaining a better appreciation of the people who helped build our community and the value of knowing their names.

From the Preface by David Rowan, Principal, R.H. King Academy, 2019

...We are forever grateful to George for believing that philanthropy has an important place in society and for choosing to make Markham Stouffville Hospital a priority in his life.

From the Afterword by Elaine Bernard, Senior Development Officer,
Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Publication Date:
October 1, 2021

Price per copy: $18.00 (includes postage) ($2.00 discount if payment is received before Sept. 1)

Please make cheque payable to: “James McCowan Memorial Social History”

Send cheque to: D.B. McCowan, 19 Monarchwood Crescent, Toronto, Ont., M3A1H3

If you wish to pay by e-transfer, please phone D.B. McCowan at 416-447-4895.  (email bmccowan@netrover.com)

The purpose of the James McCowan Memorial Social History Initiative is to contribute to a growing body of work celebrating the endeavours, achievements, trials and tribulations of Scots and Scots’ descendants in Canada.

PS: The George McCowan Award for Math Literacy has already had one well-deserving recipient at a Toronto high school. (This award is underwritten by D.B. McCowan.)


Also Published by the   
James McCowan Memorial Social History Initiative

http://mccowan.org/publicat.htm -- Please print and fill in the order form.