“Do you know me Dan?” and he nodded his head and that was a couple of seconds before his last. He died on the 11 June just at twelve O’clock".
Mary Ann "Polly" Scott - 6 July 1892
|Excerpt of Last Will and Testament of Donald "Dan" Scott of Kiata East - dated 11th June 1892|
He died that same day
|Excerpt of Death Record of Donald Scott - 11th June 1892|
Kiata East July 6th 1892
"My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I take my pen in hand to write these few lines to you with a heart full of sadness for I have lost your Brother and my all. Oh my Dear sisters you might think like I used to, that I could feel what others feel when they were separated but I could not tell you the blank that falls one’s life for we lived a very happy life together and the blow came very hard to bear.My Dear Sisters, my poor husband has been failing for the past eight months but he did not think he was bad enough to get a doctor’s advice but I took it upon myself to get the doctor up to him for he said “I can eat and drink well and at my time in life it is better to be thin than fat”, but I did not feel satisfied but the doctor could do nothing for it. Was the miner’s chronic bronchitis and Pleurisy that was the matter with him. The doctor gave me no hope of him ever being strong again but that he might live for years or go any time but that he would never work again but the pain was very severe from Wednesday till Friday and he told me that it was all over with him but I tried to do as the doctor told me, to keep his spirits up. You will know how hard it was for me. He took everything I gave him and I thought he was going to rally but the cough was gone and I heard him ask the doctor to give him something to ease the cough and he told him that it would be worse for him so I sent for the doctor again and he told him there was no hope for him. He told him that he knew from the first but told my mother and them to keep it from me. He said when my mother asked him if he knew who to look to for strength, he said yes mother but don’t let Polly know.If it was not for the happiness of knowing that he went home safely and that he went so quiet as a child. I was with him to the last and he knew us all dear sister and the last drink my mother gave him, she asked him “Do you know me Dan?” and he nodded his head and that was a couple of seconds before his last. He died on the 11 June just at twelve O’clock. I send you this so that you will see that I am trying to be the same as when he was here, for he used to say write the same as when I am here. He did not like writing. When we got our likeness taken he said they will see that we are both failing. I wanted him to write but he was waiting till he heard from you, but we will have to leave the all wise maker will be done. We will never see each other, but we can help each to bare the trials and bye & bye meet each other on the other side.
Dear Sisters I have 7 children now. The last two are boys, baby is 6 months. I have to struggle to keep them as we have had no crops for some time. I think I will draw to a close with love to you all from us all. I remain your loving sister. M A Scott "
Donald Scott was born on the of 10th December 1829 in Leith South, Scotland, the eldest child of tailor, Adam Bisset Scott and Catherine Glass. Dan, as he was known, grew up in Leith South before emigrating to Australia in 1852 at age 23.
His family seems to have been reasonably wealthy, owning several properties in Leith, so it is unknown what prompted Dan to come to Australia. Maybe it was the lure of the goldfields? Dan spent many years mining until becoming a farmer. He married Mary Ann (Polly) Warrick in Stawell, Victoria in 1877 at age 48 (not 45 as listed on the certificate) and soon after leased 300 acres of farm land at Kiata in 1879. It seems that he was an unsuccessful farmer as there are many notices of arrears.
When Dan died in 1892 at age 63 (not 60 as listed in death record), he owed £272 to his father in law, William Warrick, and £113 to the National Bank of Australasia. William Warrick and his son Frederick Warrick were executors of the estate of Donald Scott. In 1897 they wrote to Donald's sister in Scotland requesting an advance of rental to prevent the banks foreclosing on the farm land.
"Nov 1st 1897Dear Madam,
In the capacity of executors in the Estate of the late Donald Scott, we beg to inform you that owing to the failure of crops for the last two years, and the loss of stock during the last year, it has been necessary to mortgage the estate to a great extent, and as the present outlook is far from promising, it is scarcely likely that the interest on the mortgage which falls due next March, will be met out of the proceeds of this year's crop.We may also mention that there is a yearly rental of fifteen pounds which, however, will cease after another two years as the land will then become freehold.Owing to the depreciation in the value of land in this district during the last few years, there is danger of foreclosure on the estate, if the interest mentioned about is not paid.Our object in writing to you is to gain some information respecting the property in Scotland, and request you
to sendwrite to us as to the value of the property there at present and what is the yearly rental and if you have any money on hand collected from rents, if would be very acceptable to your late brother's widow and family as they have had a hard struggle to keep the wolf from the door.During the last year they have lost seven cows and three horses, principally through starvation, which means a heavy loss, as the cows have been their main source of living not having had any grain for sale for the last two years so you can see by this that they cannot be in any other than straitened circumstances.
It seems that my Great Great Grandfather lived a very difficult and challenging (short) life. As a young man he likely left Scotland dreaming of a better life and riches exceeding those of his family? However it was not to be. Did he regret coming to Australia? Did he yearn to return to Scotland, where his siblings remained?Hoping you will answer this at your earliest convenience.
We remain yours respectfullyWilliam WarrickFrederick John Warrick"
We will never know but I am glad that he made that decision as otherwise I would not be here!
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This weeks post has been inspired by Sepia Saturday. The young boy, unwell in bed immediately reminded me of my Great Great Grandfather, who signed his Will on his death bed. According to the letter, he had been sick in bed for some time prior to his death.
|His Final signature 11th June 1892|
Donald signed his Will on his death bed.