In the eighteenth century, Dumfriesshire and Galloway, and the southern
counties of Scotland generally, were particularly prolific in the production of
what are called "worthies" or original characters. No district, perhaps, in the
whole of Scotland, had a greater plethora of really interesting characters than
had Dumfriesshire and Galloway, and in the articles contained in this book,
which have been reprinted from the Dumfries and Galloway "Courier and
Herald," an attempt has been made to depict the outstanding characteristics of
the more prominent "originals", all of whom enlivened, if some of them did not
grace, the stage of life, during the nineteenth century. As can well be understood, the authentic information available regarding some of them is very meagre at this far-distant date. Therefore, a number of the sketches are necessarily brief, care having been taken to allow nothing that is not authentic to appear that would mar the life stories of these people.
For the information regarding the "worthies" extant during the first half of
that century, we are principally indebted to the old files of the "Courier," and for many of the facts concerning some of the later ones, to the files of the "Herald," and later still to the "Courier and Herald."
The book does not pretend to give a complete list of last century's "worthies."
Such an attempt could not be accomplished within the scope of a single volume,
and therefore the production has been confined to what, it is hoped, will be
found a judicious selection.