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Robert McLaren 3x Great Grandfather 1879

Robert McLaren was my Great, Great, Great Grandfather, here we find he has just had his dog and a pair of trousers stolen:
As read in the Dundee Courier - Tuesday 20 May 1879

In the Sheriff Court, Cupar, yesterday—before Sheriff Bell—an intelligent looking girl, named Catherine Staig, who was stated to be fifteen years of age, but who looked much younger, was charged with stealing a collie dog, the property of her master, Robert McLaren, farmer, Falkland Hill, and a cloth jacket, vest, and corduroy trousers, belonging to her master’s grandson.
Mr McLaren stated that the girl had been six weeks in his service, and on the morning of Saturday the10th inst., she left unexpectedly. He could not say at what hour. About half past six in the morning the clothes belonging to his grandson, a lad nine years of age, were missed, and the dog was missed in the course of the day. The dog was brought back on the following day, and a few hours afterwards the girl was brought in, dressed in his grandson’s clothes, when “it took him a’ his time to mak’ her oot.” (Laughter.) She had behaved herself well while with witness, did everything that was desired of her, and this freak she had taken into her head was the only thing she had done amiss.
David Marshall, farmer, Leslie, said the “boy “— (laughter)—came to him on the lOth inst., and offered to sell him a dog for 1Os, but he refused to take it at that price. The “boy” afterwards came back, when he bought the dog for Is. On hearing that the animal belonged to Mr McLaren, he at once returned it.
The next witness, a young ploughman, named James Whitehead, upset the judicial gravity in a way that showed he had never before been in the “box.” The Sheriff, administering the oath, told James to repeat the words “I swear by the ----,” when,, with a complacency that heightened the amusement of his hearers, James bellowed forth, “I swear that I saw her sell the dog “James was quite surprised at the suppressed laughter with which his response was received, and seemed to regard those in Court as a rather mirthful set of people.

Alexander Staig, uncle of the girl, said his brother took Catherine with him to Huddersfield last year, but she would not remain there. She had a tendency to wander, but was not dishonest. He also stated that the girl was born while his brother and first wife were living apart, and said that his brother had always doubted the paternity of the girl.
Mrs Staig, Catherine’s grandmother, said she resided in Auchtermuchty. Her son’s first wife died about seven years ago, and on his marrying a second time she took charge of Catherine, and kept her for six years. Her son was not the girl’s father.
Police Constable Clark said the girl on being taken in charge admitted her sex. She gave her name as McQueen, and said she had been among the “tinkers” on Falkland Hill for three weeks. She also said that the dog had followed her from Mr McLaren’s farm. On being asked why she had run away from her master, she said she did not know what came into her head, as she liked the place well enough.
The Sherriff, at the close of the evidence, said there seemed to be a mystery about the girl’s birth which made her very unwelcome to the friends of her mother’s husband, and the poor girl had been passed from one to the other; but they did not find fault with her until she grew up, when she became discontented, began to wander, and at one time wanted back to her mother’s friends. That was not unnatural on the girl’s part. Unfortunately for herself, she had committed two acts of theft, and looking at the whole circumstances, his Lordship thought the best thing to do was to send her to a reformatory. She seemed to be a smart, clever looking girl, and if her education was continued she might do very well yet. He must however send her to prison for a few days, and afterwards she would be sent to school where she would be taught. He then sentenced her to ten days’ imprisonment, and thereafter be sent to a reformatory for five years.
The above from Dundee Courier - Tuesday 20 May 1879, Catherine is shown as a “Scholar” in the “Mount Street Reformatory for girls” Old Machar Aberdeenshire, during the Census of 1881.  
Robert McLaren was my Great, Great, Great Grandfather, who had his dog and his grandson’s trousers stolen in 1879. Robert lived in Falkland Hill cottage, which was up in the Lomond hills in Fife where there is now a car park and toilet block just up the road from Falkland. Ten days in jail and five years in reformatory school seemed to be quite harsh to me, for stealing the dog and a pair of trousers?


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