Elizabeth was born at Tannadice on 11/2/04, the daughter of a ploughman on Findowry estate. Her father John was widowed in 1808 and his children had from early on to become self-reliant. The fifth of six daughters and two sons, Elizabeth went into service aged seven then returned home. At this time she attended the village school, briefly, learning to read; it’s said she ‘did one quarter in the white seam’ – presumably some schooling in plain sewing – then aged nine went into service again.

Her talent for nature poetry developed through time spent reading in the laird’s library. She held various posts including one with an Indian potentate, and with a family who took her to St Malo, France, for two years.

In 1832 she married William, a flax dresser, and had eight children of whom two sons died in infancy and another two as young men. She lived in Brechin, then in Arbroath where her husband died in 1873. At this time she arranged a private printing of her poetry, and sold it to raise money to support the family. She and two daughters then moved to Lochee.

The Reverend Gilfillan ‘discovered ‘ her through the intervention of local poet and customs official Peter Whytock; Gilfillan greatly admired her piety and tenacity, and encouraged her to publish her autobiography and poems in 1875. Her poems are based on her knowledge of nature, and of the griefs and hardships endured by the poor; for her town readers, she brought nature poetry into their lives. There were several reprints. Three years later she died in Lochee.