John Strachan, a coal miner who lived in Crosshouse near Kilmarnock, was the only Strachan in Ayrshire to have written a will prior to 1900. What he detailed gives a lovely picture of the possessions of a coal miner at the turn of century, as he died in 1896. How I wish I knew if that Family Bible survived!
John would have lived in a two roomed miner’s cottage – the room and the kitchen are mentioned in the will- which seems to have been furnished with quite a few tables and chairs. He had earned enough to buy gold jewellery and a clock. He left his estate to a Trust, which was authorised to ensure his wife, if she survived him, had enough to support her, and then after her death to leave his children the following:
“(First) to give my daughter Mary the chest of drawers and looking glass in room and low chair in kitchen and one plain ring and brooch, (Second) to give to my son Robert my gold chain and the large chair and five small chairs and the small table in the kitchen, (Third) to give to my son John the eight day clock and large kitchen table and gold scarf pin belonging to me, (Fourth) to give to my daughter Elizabeth the dresser and large standard table in kitchen and the mirror in bedrooms and two stoned rings, and (Fifth) to give my son Alexander six chairs, small standard table, bed and blankets and mat in room and gold chain belonging to my wife and the Family Bible.”
John’s wife did survive him, by 5 years.