23 July 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Was called up at 2 a.m. for Mrs Moncaster1, Faldonside who had pretty bad haemorrhage. Shortly after I left a message came for Mrs Anderson2, Craighill + David3 went + when I was at Faldonside in the middle of the day there was a message to Mrs Walt. Currie4, West Essenside. Dora5 got D. at Lilliesleaf. I cycled to Faldonside. There were some nice [?] showers in the afternoon. John Elliot6, Blackhaugh, was found guilty + was fined £600 + got 12 months, too light a sentence for killing two men7.

1 Frances Martha Moncaster née Batty, wife of John Norman Moncaster, chauffeur (domestic), who had a daughter on 24 June 1921 at Faldonside

2 Margaret Anderson née McCliskie (1867-1234), wife of John Laidlaw Anderson, shepherd; they had married 1904 at Dunbar and were at Riskenhope, Ettrick in 1911 Census while John L Anderson, shepherd, was recorded at Craighill, Ettrick in the 1920 Valuation Roll presumably with his wife

3 David Charteris ‘Dav.’ Graham (1889-1963), M.B., medical practitioner and Dr Muir’s business partner

4 Andrina Dorothy ‘Dora’ Muir (1882-1978), nurse and Dr Muir’s youngest daughter

5 Walter ‘Walt’ Currie (fl.1921), ploughman, inhabitant occupier not rated at a house at Wester Essenside, Ashkirk [1920 and 1921 Valuation Rolls 1921 VR011700009-/303, Selkirk County, page 303 of 611]

6 John Elliot, farmer, Tenant Occupier of farms at Blackhaugh and Knowes, Caddonfoot [1922 Valuation Roll, VR011700009- VR011700009-/306, Selkirk County, page 306 of 611]

7 This case of two fatalities at Galashiels in 1921 attracted attention because of inconsistencies in the narrative, recorded in a ‘Report of Proceedings at Inquiry re the Conduct of the Galashiels Police in connection with the Trial of John Elliot’, 5 January 1922 [Scottish Borders Archives SBA/243] the catalogue entry for which is reproduced in full here
“Evidence taken by John Chisholm, Provost Dalgleish, and Bailies Ruthven, Dorward, Ferguson and Miller about Galashiels Police behaviour in relation to the deaths in a Road Traffic Accident of Thomas Henderson Peden and his brother-in-law Herbert Dickson. On 30 April Peden was travelling home from a wedding in Edinburgh and, as he left the railway station with Dickson, he was hit by a car driven by John Elliot, farmer, of Blackhaugh, Clovenfords. Elliot had allegedly been drinking in the Commercial Hotel, more controversially it later became clear there was a ‘missing’ 20 minutes or so in the evidence during which it is alleged he may have been drinking with key police officers. Peden died on 1st May 1921 at the Cottage Hospital and Dickson on the 6th May. Elliot was alleged by the police officers first on the scene to have been fighting drunk. Officers later on the scene gave evidence that he was not. Inspector James Scott made remarks implying that he expected junior police officers’ evidence to match his own. There were suggestions that some evidence was ignored, suppressed or ‘lost’.” [Photocopies of the death registration of Peden and Dickson and a report from the Southern Reporter are attached to the file, along with its original sealed oilcloth wrapper]

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/24, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1921]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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