Donald Mackay. 1860 - 9th November 1909.
Donald was the seventh child of William and Janet, and some six years older than my father. I remember him well. A good-looking chap, strong build, upright, not too heavy, balding early.
I have photos of each of the three brothers taken with their wives on their separate wedding days. Each had a presumably gold watch in a waistcoat packet, with a chain across the frontage and an albert or cairngorm stone attached, centrally hung, which latter they played with in their fingers. Donald had a pleasant twinkle in his eyes, and that was inherited by his two sons. He was of a gentle disposition.
After leaving the croft and coming to Glasgow he became a school attendance officer, going round houses in his allotted area to ascertain why some child had failed to attend school. Many a bitter tale must have been told to him. When I knew him he was already married, and living in the Maryhill district of Glasgow, within a mile of our house. His wife was a Miss Currie, from Brodick or Lamlash, in Arran. We often visited at his house, and I was welcomed with a piece of cake, and maybe a penny or two. Sometimes our two families would walk in the nearby Botanic Gardens on a Saturday afternoon. Alas, mary Currie came from a family with coughs, and she died early, to be followed not long after by her husband Donald, from cancer of the stomach.
After the death of their father, William Mackay, the three brothers, John (Ben Reay), Donald and my father George, possibly in association with their sisters, resolved to set up in Kincardine Churchyard at Ardgay a memorial to their parents and to their deceased brother Andrew. Quite a massive stone it is. I saw it in preparation in Gray's yard at the foot of Elmbank Street, Glasgow. My father went occasionally to see that it was just right!
It seemed to be agreed that Donald should go up to Ardgay with the stone and see to its erection, with the help of two local labourers. It was mid-summer. The day was hot. They placed a bottle of whisky at the base of the neighbouring stone, which covered the graves of Andrew Mackay and Elspeth Murray. Suddenly Donald and his two men heard a curious crackling noise. The sun had burst the bottle of whisky, and the precious liquid poured all over Andrew's grave, consecrating it still more. But some folk though that Andrew's wraith had reached out for the bottle, and, wraith-like, dropped it. I don't know. But Donald did his work well. The stone stands upright today. My wife, Margaret, and two of our grandchildren from London [RHM and Andrew] gave it a good clean-up last summer.