Friday, July 9, 2010

The Will of Alexander Anderson, 1925

Reading through old documents is really interesting but is also often confusing. I have found correspondence and the will of Alexander Anderson written in 1925. Alexander Anderson, born in Dundee, Scotland, January 8, 1850, was writing his final will. His wife had died. His sister, Mrs. Janet Graham Gardiner, nee Anderson, has also died at Errol, Scotland, January 21, 1921. His daughter, Mrs. Joseph C. Kile, nee Mary Anderson, had died in Chicago, June 21, 1922. His previous will had included his wife, daughter and sister. So, a new will is now necessary.

Mr. Anderson had lived in Liverpool, Halifax, Nova Scotia and finally in Chicago. From 1892 until 1913, he was employed as a “confidential clerk with Swift & Company and Libby, McNeill and Libby.” Not sure what that position would be, but sure sounds important.

He writes: “Being about to undertake a long, arduous, and possibly eventful journey in many countries I hereby wish and direct that, in the event of my death, my possessions, personal and real, be disposed as follows:” I wonder where he was going on this “arduous and possibly eventful journey?”

I won’t list all the points in his will, but here are some interesting ones.

“My house and contents known as The Retreat, Cars Orange, Errol, Perthshire, Scotland” was to be sold at auction. The old Anderson family residence, at No.5 Pomarium St., Perth, Scotland, was to be sold. (If anyone in Perth reads this, please let me know what is located on this property today.)

Various items like books, furniture, pictures, etc., was given to some 17 relatives all living at the time in Scotland. Here is one example: “To Mr. Alexander Reid, 15 Muirend Gardens, Glasgow", he gave his Great Grandfather’s horn snuff box, engraved John Anderson, 1812.

He added an interesting memorandum - “All keys to locked drawers and desks are in small drawer in dresser or book case in small center bedroom, key of that drawer I carry on my person.” I hope he didn’t take the key on his arduous and eventful journey if indeed it was ever taken.

One fourth of his final estate was given to the Scottish Home in Chicago, IL. USA.

Who was Alexander Anderson and what mysterious journey was he starting? It is thought he died in September or October, 1925.. No obituary in Chicago papers, so where did he die and where is he buried?.

Can any of our readers in Scotland help us solve this mystery?


  1. Hi Wayne - I live in Edinburgh but visit Perth regularly and think Pomarium is now all high rise flats and the bus station :-( If you know William's wife's name (and parents' name ideally) I can check the death records in Scotland in case he died here while on his long, arduous and eventful journey! Jo

  2. There is also a church and a house just in front of the high risers could be something to do with that I will check next time I pass. Sam

  3. There is also a church and a house just in front of the high risers could be something to do with that I will check next time I pass. Sam