Growing up, we always heard of “Cousin Anna”.
She married Lord Malcolm Steuart and lived at Tulliepowrie House in Scotland. I could never figure out the relationship – as in whose cousin or how she was related – but finally, my sleuthing paid off!
Anna was the daughter of the first Phoebe – Phoebe Jane. Phoebe Jane was the sister of my maternal Great-Grandmother, so Cousin Anna was my grandmother’s cousin. This stuff gets complicated.
Family lore has it that Anna – born in 1872 in Iowa – was a New York showgirl. She met Malcolm in New York and they were married in St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London in 1896.
From there, it was off to the Scottish Highlands.
Malcolm was Captain John Malcolm Skinner Steuart – 14th Laird of Ballechin. Not a bad catch for an Iowa girl…
Malcolm was 9 years older than Anna – who also went by Anastasia.
They did an around the world tour starting in 1905 and were in San Francisco coming back from Honolulu in 1906 when the April 18th earthquake struck.
These two pictures are screen shots of old 16mm film from the 1930s that my Aunt Phoebe had when she visited.
The first shows Anna and Malcolm on the grounds of Tulliepowrie House in the 1930s before the war.
This is Anna playing with a pet monkey – all the rage at the time.
Malcolm died in 1947 at the age of 85.
Anna died in 1957.
Ballechin House – the manor house – is purported to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland.
It seems, when Malcolm inherited the house, his uncle Robert had said he was coming back as a dog, so… Malcolm shot all the dogs on the estate. The legend continues that Robert Steuart haunted the house as a disembodied spirit.
The original house was built in the 15th century and the house Malcolm inherited was built in 1806. It was pretty much unused by 1932 and destroyed by fire in 1963.
Anna and Malcolm lived at the newer Tullipowrie House – which is still standing and owned by a Scottish author.
My mother had always dreamed of going to Scotland and see where Cousin Anna lived. If the travel gods are willing, we’d like to go over in 2024.
There’s a Ballechin single malt Scotch brewed nearby that I do think we should should sample and raise a glass to Anna and Malcolm.