John Younger was a poet and writer by nature, a shoemaker by trade and an inveterate angler. Born in Longnewton in 1785, his father was a small-holder and shoemaker, who, finding earning a living hard, moved to Elliston when John was 13 years of age. There John grew up with all the pleasures that roaming Elliston allowed. Already a keen angler, who had learned to fish on the Ale Water, knowledge of the wildlife of the plantations and woods was now added to his love of nature.
A local hedger had told John about the works of Robert Burns and he could not rest until he had read the work of this poet for himself. He read everything he could get his hands on, and, by chance, came across a copy of Thomson's "Seasons". This he found very enjoyable, being in blank verse. From then on he tried his hand at writing. Living close by, at Whinfield, was Andrew Scott, the Bowden poet, who having met the young John, encouraged his scribblings and, despite the disparity in their ages, became a firm friend.
It was some time before he managed to get the chance to read Burns' poetry. The local Subscription Library had a copy, but the cost of joining was more than he could afford.
John settled in Lessudden in 1811, married and continued to write. His first published poetry was in 1834. He wrote "River Angling for Salmon and Trout" in 1840, and its publication brought him the handsome sum of £30 - a fortune to him.
For three years, from 1852 - 55 he was Postmaster in Lessudden, but returned to his trade until his death in 1860.
He is buried in Lessudden Graveyard - now Benrig Churchyard.
His autobiography, published in Kelso in 1882, is a fascinating account of his life and times.
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