Annie Dobie's (nee McNicol) letter
Ann Dobie's (nee McNicol) letter
Anne Dobie's (nee McNicol) letter
Agnes Dobie's (nee McNicol) letter

This letter was apparently written by Annie Dobie (nee McNicol ) in approximately 1880's (after 1875 and before 1888). Original source of the letter is unknown to me. Minor changes made to the punctuation to make it more readable.

Scarsdale Hotel

My Dearest Nephew

I received your kind and welcome letter. I was pleased to hear from your dear Father and so pleased to think he called his first Malcome.

My youngest is James Malcome. He is something like your brother James.

They were all so pleased to see your portraits. My daughter says Malcome is a noble looking young man. I will send some of my boys and girls in my next letter.

My dear nephew I have three married and three single. My oldest daughter Kate (Catherine) is married to a Head Teacher and the mother of four fine boys. She will send you their portraits. I have two daughters single - Mary and Agnes. My youngest is James Malcome.

Is your father as fond of his gun and dogs as he was long ago? Many a time him and me went out hunting and fishing. One night he killed a deer, as he thought, but it was only wounded. He put it on my back and he ran after another and when I was near home the beast gave a baw and I gave one also and run home and left it there. Some of the rest went after it. Another night I went out with him fishing …… the salmon. I was picking up as they caught. At last the light went out and I sat down and when they went home they asked if Annie was home. They were all alarmed and all turned out to fish for me. They found me fast asleep.

Oh how I would like to see my brother John or some of his family. He might take a trip over to see me. I cannot leave the place. Had I money, as I have not, I would heartenly take a trip to see you all.

My poor husband left in his will all he was possessed at of my decision to be sold and equally divided and that is the Hotel and Garden and paddock to grow hay for my cow. Let me know what sort of place is America. I might go there by and by.

I have had several offers of marriage but I think I am better as I am. Ask your father's opinion.

My poor husband made money aplenty but he backed bills for people being good natured. He lost hundreds. He lost a thousand pounds upon one man and I am the sufferer but I get a good living and no rent to pay. I am thankful as I am (these Morrisons are at Prince Edwards Hand 7).

My dear nephew remember me kindly to your dear father and mother and all your brothers, not forgetting yourself. My family join me in hoping to see you all some day. One of my sons is a farmer (Matthew*) and the other a grocer (James*) and the other a butcher (Thomas*). I think this is all I have to tell you this time. I must now conclude with kind love to you all.

Your loving aunt ,
Annie Dobie

Mrs. T Dobie
Scarsdale Hotel
Via Ballarat

* Betty Hansen, who has done extensive research on the Dobie family reports that in "Ann's letter - Thomas was the butcher, Matthew the farmer and James the grocer, at that time. Occupations changed, Thomas snr, being a farrier would have known a lot about horses, no certificates for being a veterinary surgeon in those days and the hotel at Scarsdale was a staging post."

Update on this letter.

I received a letter and a copy of a McNicol family tree from Jeanne Davies in Florida, USA. Jeanne is a direct descentant of one of Annie's brothers, Malcolm McNicol. It appears that the nephew Annie wrote to may have been John McNicol the son of John McNicol and Margaret McDearmid.

The wording of the letter supports this interpretation....

".... he (your father) called his first Malcome" - referring to John's oldest brother Malcome McNicol born 3 May 1855 and the first born son of John McNicol and Margaret McIntyre

".....something like your brother James" - John McNicol had a younger brother called James McNicol

".....My daughter says Malcome is a noble looking young man" - possibly referring to John's oldest brother Malcome McNicol born 3 May 1855

John McNicol's (Senior) first wife, Margaret McIntyre, died on 14 May 1855 - just 11 days after the birth of Malcolm (referred to in the letter). John McNicol (Senior) remarried 5 years later to Margaret McDearmid on 19 January 1860. They had three boys - John, James (referred to in the letter) and Peter.




Dobie Family Web Site