The man who everyone in Hamilton was talking about during the mid-1800’s.
Hamilton has many old forgotten houses. They are long demolished and, in most cases, have been demolished for many generations, so they are also out our memory. There has always been an old house which intrigued me, as it looked so tiny on the old maps of Hamilton, but nonetheless it stood out! Quarryhall stood on the site of one of Hamilton’s older quarries and I wanted to know more about it and who lived here, so I decided to do some research to see what I could find.
When I had my first look at old records of the house and its surrounding area, my focus was quickly taken away from researching this little building as a man overshadowed everything that was connected to it. As I start to write about the history of Quarryhall, today, Monday the 28th of April 2020, I will try to tell you as much as I can about the house, however, I feel that most of this story will cover the life of Dionysius Onufri Marianski, a Polish immigrant who was exiled from his country and who found opportunity in Hamilton, when he met an older lady with a very rich and elderly father.
To put things into perspective for you, the exact location of Quarryhall was situated on the road in front of 8 & 10 Low Quarry Gardens, the house was built before 1819 and once owned by a man called A. Allan and we start with the man who at the time owned Quarryhall.
His name was Alexander Fairservice Esq, who was born 266 years ago to this day on the 28th of April 1754 “This was the correct date at time of writing”, at Kirkton in Blantyre, his father was called John Fairservice. Alexander married his wife Barbara Allan on the 1st of October 1786 at Hamilton. He was a Merchant and descended from a wealthy family and had the title of Esquire (Esq) which was a title historically used by someone within a higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry, or a landowner who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate. So, the title in itself tells gives us an insight into his wealth.
Alexander & Barbara had only two daughters in their marriage, who were called Janet & Elizabeth. Elizabeth born 1791 & Janet in 1794. Janet Married John Cairns of Netherhouse Esq. in Hamilton on the 28th of July 1822 and it’s important to take note that John Cairns was also an Esquire, so he may also have descended from a wealthy land-owning family, just as his wife, so perhaps an equal marriage from two wealthy families. These were happy times for Alexander & Barbara, but then Dionysius Onufri Marianski came along!
It is unknown why Dionysius chose to come to Hamilton but in 1839 Dionysius was a Quill Hawker and perhaps his trade brought him to the town. He may have had a cart which would have been ‘pitched up’ somewhere, or perhaps he went ‘Chapping’, knocking door to door selling his trade, it is unknown how and why, the Polish man crossed paths with Elizabeth Fairservice, but I sense that he found an opportunity to generate an income for himself. He must have either been a very good-looking man, or a charming man, or both; but for someone like Elizabeth who was the daughter of an Esquire and who had a step on the upper-class ladder to fall in love with a Hawker, well this was not a common thing and not even in an up and coming town like Hamilton. Did I mention that he was 20 years younger than Elizabeth?
Dionysius at the time would have only been earning enough money each day for his room and for some food and some days he would have been hungry and went without eating. When I read over his court documents, which I will explain to you soon, I found that he was doing jobs for Alexander Fairservice and perhaps this is how he got to know his daughter Elizabeth, but they eventually did tie the knot on not one, but two days! They married on the 10th & 11th of June 1839 he and Elizabeth were man and wife.
So, I mentioned that Dionysius was younger that Elizabeth and when they married, he was 28 and she 48. The first marriage took place on the 10th of June 1839 here at Hamilton and the second marriage was on the following day on the 11th of June 1839 at the Gorbals district of Glasgow. Now this may give us a clue in the social divide in this marriage! Was Elizabeth embarrassed of his family and did she not want his family to meet her extended one?
So, two weddings to solve the problem? Or was there another reason, was her elderly father too frail to travel to the Gorbals? Traditionally, the Polish are known to have weddings that last for two days but this is usually a wedding that continues going on into the early hours of the following morning and not in two days and in two different towns and before the wedding Dionysius was living in Glasgow and not Hamilton, but after the marriage took place, he did move here and moved in with his new wife and frail father in law at Quarryhall.
Dionysius Onufri Marianski was born in the poverty-stricken region of Pentouff, Poland in the year 1810 and his parents were called Dionysius Marianski & Katherine Evanoski and as I stated earlier, perhaps he moved to Scotland with his family, however, I have found no records to back this up and he may have set out by himself.
When I did a bit more research on Dionysius, I found that things were not adding up, why did he have connections to Glasgow? It was then that I found a marriage record for him! It turns out that Dionysius was already married. He married a lady called Agnes McPherson on the 1st of June 1835 at 22 Monteith Row in the Albion region of Glasgow. This was only four years before he married Elizabeth and it only left me with more questions, the main one was where was his first wife Agnes?
When I looked to see who the lady Agnes was, I found that she was a wealthy widower who married a man named Jasper Smith. Jasper smith was also a man of the cloth, he was more known as Rev Jasper Smith, and he was educated from a young age.
Jasper lived at 26 Great Hamilton Street, a street that no longer exists in Glasgow and he was a teacher of languages and before his death he was the treasurer to the Barony parish. Jasper & Agnes married on the 29th of December 1826 at Barony.
It is unclear what caused Jasper’s death, but he died on the 2nd of January 1832 at Barony. He was only 29 years old but had accomplished so much in his young life. I also have to note that a child was born from this marriage and on the 21st of September 1827 Agnes gave birth to a daughter who they named Agnes.
A pattern is now developing in Dionysius behavior, and it is now noticeably clear as to his intentions in marrying woman of wealth. Agnes at the time of meeting Dionysius would have had her own income and her own house and I would guess that she was older than Dionysius.
When Dionysius married Agnes, he wanted everyone to know, and he paid to have the announcement in the newspapers. This really tells us that he was a man who wanted his name to be known and the announcement even reached as far as Ireland as I found that the marriage announcement was printed in the Dublin Observer on Saturday the 13th of June 1835. This is the first time that Dionysius has had his name published in the paper, but throughout the rest of his life he was never out of them.
I also have to note that Agnes has become a mystery and there is no trace of her and her daughter after her wedding to Dionysius and as of now I cannot confirm what happened to her. I do know that Dionysius divorced Agnes not long before he remarried but for Agnes there is no death recorded and she does not appear on a census return or valuation roll, she seems to have just disappeared.
Dionysius travelled far in his days and in November 1837 he had travelled down to Leeds where he found lodgings at the White Swan Hotel, a hotel that still to this day stands on the same spot. It is likely that he was travelling down to Leeds for reasons to do with his work, as when he took up the residence in the commercial room and stated that he was a Quill manufacturer. On the first night that he lodged at the hotel, he found himself in bother with the police which lead to him having to attend court.
During the court case something comes to light, and he tells the judge that he was exiled from Poland, so this will be his reason for coming to Scotland. What could he have done that would make him not only leave his town, but his entire country?
So, Dionysius saw an opportunity to claim money from someone and he took the hotel owner to court. He arrived at the White Swan on Friday the 24th of November from Leeds, and being a Quill-manufacturer, he took up his quarters in the Commercial room. During the evening, a conversation arose in which Mr. Thomas Attwood, the radical member for Birmingham, was mentioned, and the Dionysius claimed that he was a friend of Thomas Attwood.
A gentleman in the room said Mr. Attwood would speak to any vagabond, upon which the Pole asked if the word vagabond was Intended to apply to him, and he was immediately told it was not. Politics then became the theme of conversation, and words became warmer, until at last the Pole threatened all the company in the room upon which the owner, Mr Lockwood was sent for, and told that if Marianski was not removed then they would leave the house; Mr Lockwood accordingly requested him to leave the room, but he obstinately refused, and in ejecting him by force the alleged assault took place.
The case occupied a considerable time, but it appeared that the facts were against him and the magistrates said they considered that Mr Lockwood was fully justified in what had done and dismissed the case. So, no compensation money for Dionysius.
There was more to Dionysius than meets the eye, why did he have connections to Thomas Attwood? This man after all was a member of parliament, political campaigner, and a banker. So, it was then that I did some further research on Dionysius, and I found the real story for him coming to Scotland.
PRINTED IN THE LONDON COURIER AND EVENING GAZETTE. 30th September 1833.
Polish Exile: A correspondent in Stirling requests us to mention that a Polish exile of respectable connections, named Onufri Marianski is at present travelling in that country (Scotland) endeavoring to support himself by selling a few quills. He has chosen thus honestly and honorably to do something for himself, rather than become a burden upon the funds which are being collected here for his countrymen in Switzerland.
Marianski was present in almost every battle of the late Polish Revolution and was several times wounded, and at last taken prisoner after the siege of Warsaw; after suffering for some time the horrors of damp and starvation, in a dungeon underground, he was removed to the hospital a perfect skeleton, from which in a few days, he contrived to make his escape.
He had certificates of his services and merits from the officers of his regiment, and from the Edinburgh and Stirling Polish Associations and our correspondent concludes his letter by stating that Marianski is “a modest and steady young man, who seems fully entitled to the good offices of the generous and humane.”
So, Dionysius was a young Polish war hero! He came to Scotland in 1833 and we now know that he fled his native country of Poland to avoid death.
Dionysius arrived in Scotland in 1833 and two years later, he was married to Agnes McPherson in 1835 and we know that Agnes vanishes from all records, and he then meets Elizabeth Fairservice around 1839. A few months after the wedding Dionysius moves into his father in laws house at Quarryhall and it becomes his main residence.
Quarryhall was quite an impressive house and it had seven rooms and a kitchen; it also had its own outbuildings for laundry. It had stables and coach house and not to mention a large garden. The family next appear on the 1841 census and Dionysius, Elizabeth & her Father Alexander are living at Quarryhall, and he states that he is still working as a Quill manufacturer.
It was not happy times for Mr Fairservice and documents and transcribes from a court case seem to indicate that Dionysius was taking money from his father-in-law, and it seems that was trying to live a lifestyle that he was not entitled to.
Dionysius had been carrying out work for his father-in-law and from what I read in the court transcriptions it appears that he was either trying to take over the work that his father-in-law honestly did on a day-to-day basis or he was siphoning money from the Quarryhall estate to pay for his quill making business. It was in people’s opinion that whatever he was doing, he was syphoning money from his father in laws accounts, and he was doing this by fraud, deception & intimidation.
Mr Fairservice at this time was not of sound mind, he was in his late eighties and frail and Dionysius took advantage of this and at the same time, Dionysius’s wife who was 20 years his senior probably could do nothing to control her husband.
Mr Fairservice was a man of frugal habits and lived in a humble way and before his death, he had amassed a respectable £20,000 fortune in property and to put this into perspective in today’s money he would have had £2,088,519.93; and not only did he own Quarryhall, but he also owned a little thatched cottage in High Blantyre, which was situated next to the Smithy at the Blantyre old parish church yard. The two houses were used as his main family residences, but he also owned a lot more property.
Mr Fairservice lived between the two houses and Quarryhall was the larger and grander one. Blantyre in the 1830’s & 1840’s was very rural and Mr Fairservice may have chosen to live at Quarryhall to be close by his work interests. Not only did he own properties, but he also owned the old Quarry and his house Quarryhall was built on the edge of it.
Alexander’s property & land portfolio consisted of Quarryhall, his cottage and yard at High Blantyre, 26 falls of ground on Leechlee which also had houses on its land. He owned two storey tenements at Gateside Street, he owned lands at Langmuir and in Uddingston and he also owned various houses and shops across Hamilton.
When Dionysius moved in with his wife and father-in-law, he was still a young and very fit man. He was military trained and would probably would have been quite a nasty character, the one that you would not want to get into a fight with, or cross paths and just as he moved to Quarryhall, someone did cross his path, or should I say his father in laws path and Dionysius who had only just moved to the family home started to get involved in matters that were not his own business.
Alexander Fairservice had a contract to lease the quarry with a local businessman. Called Robert Summers and the company, Robert Summers & Son who were local builders in Hamilton had been working the old quarry for some time and no sooner had Dionysius moved in, he was starting to take over his father in laws business and for whatever reason he unlawfully changed the contract between Mr Fairservice & Robert Summers. Robert Summers was then left with no other option but to take Alexander Fairservice to court.
Perhaps Dionysius was in the opinion that Mr Fairservice was being far too generous with the amount of ground being leased for the price that the builder was paying. So, on the 19th of October 1840 it seems that Dionysius forcefully took the original deeds from Robert Summers and fraudulently altered the contract of the 10-year lease. Robert Summers, Alexander & Dionysus had their day in court on the 5th of January 1842.
Dionysius had been living in Scotland for nearly ten years, he was technically still an immigrant, or in those days, he was known as an illegal alien. Scotland was indeed his home and in 1843 he applied for naturalization. He went through the courts and due to his run-ins with the law his application was refused. This would not stop him appealing this decision in later years and eventually, he became a Scottish citizen.
On the 15th of January 1845 Dionysius was living round the corner from Quarryhall at a house in the gas works. He had a run in with a man named Andrew Brand, who was the house factor & manager of the Gas Works. Whatever this man done to Dionysius is unknown, but he had a run in with a man who would never walk away from a fight.
Dionysius and this man crossed paths when they were both at Fairley’s Smithy at Townhead Street. The two men were in the company of a stonemason called Thomas Harvey and a few others and they had words which ended in Dionysius calling Andrew Brand a “Rascal” & “a Vagabond” along with other opprobrious names and then he threatened to “Inflict injury” on Andrew.
Dionysius was also have been reported to have circulated letters around the town of Hamilton to take action against Andrew Brand and the letters read “Another shot from the same battery was also played off by the manager of the gas company, who is a house factor. With a view to detach from the new gas company a member of its committee, and one of the best employed and most respectable grocers in Hamilton, occupying a very convenient shop under Dr Wharrie, the manager, without any authority from Dr Wharrie, told in an adjoining shop that the individual allowed to be put out of his shop if he did not give up the new gas company. The effect was that the landlord was likely to lose a good tenant, and the present occupant of his shop has become a more determined supporter then ever of the new gas company, besides being a greater favorite with the public.”
So, it seemed that Dionysius was sticking up for someone on the receiving end of eviction; perhaps the pole was not all that bad after all.
On Friday the 14th of March 1845 Andrew Brand took Dionysius to the Hamilton small claims court. He was looking to get a payment of £8,6s. 8d for injury done to his character and his feelings and the second charge was for distributing the letters throughout Hamilton. The court heard both sides of their stories and Dionysus was found not guilty for using the words “Rascal” & “Vagabond” in an abusive manner. Secondly, the letters were found to be true of what was about to happen to the tenant of the shop, therefore no lies were being written about the manager of the gas company and the judge favored Dionysius and the case was dismissed.
Alexander Fairservice died on the 16th of July 1846 and when he died, he left his two daughters everything but that never stopped Dionysius trying to get his hands on some of his father in laws money. Dionysius thought that he was entitled to something, so he did what he knew best and fraudulently made claims against his father in law’s estate.
Alexander Fairservice owned a house in High Blantyre and the house was situated right beside the old kirkyard cemetery and after his death he was buried in the family lair at the old kirkyard immediately behind his house. (My friend Paul Veverka Uncovered Alexander Fairservice’s Headstone in 2020 and on the inscription, Dionysius has his name above Elizabeth’s. This tells us the influence that he had over his wife at the time).
Mr Fairservice in his last few years was documented of being of “Weak & Facile Mind” and after his death matters had come to light when Dionysius made claims against Mr Fairservice’s estate and his wife Elizabeth found that he had been taking money from her father. It turned out that Dionysius had been taking the money through, fear, fraud, and intimidation.
This probably would have been the final nail in the coffin for Elizabeth & Dionysius’s marriage. They soon split; however, Dionysius was not going anywhere too soon, and he continued to live at Quarryhall along with Elizabeth. This was Elizabeth’s family home which she now would have owned after it was left to her in her father’s will and I firmly believe that Dionysius was continuing to live at Quarryhall as a way of intimidation. He would have no doubt been staying there, chipping away at Elizabeth trying to get as much money from her as he could and after all in Scots law during this time, he was entitled to it while married to her.
In April 1850 Alexanders youngest daughter Janet Cairns, and her husband took Dionysus to court where he was accused of Reduction, Probation and Count & Reckoning. Dionysius told the Jury that when he had taken up his residence at Quarryhall after the marriage of Mr Fairservice’s daughter he was asked by Mr Fairservice to assist him with matters in business which led to a current account being set up between them. There were several large sums of money drawn from Mr Fairservice’s bank account which Dionysius claimed was both ‘Gifted’ to him and was also used for matters of business. This current account was said to have been forged and that Mr Fairservice had not agreed form money to be taken from the business. Dionysius also claimed that he loaned money to Mr Fairservice, and he produced documents to show this, however these were also found to be forged. After the trial it only took the Jury five minutes to come with a decision that Dionysius was lying and that they were in favour of Janet & John Cairns and Dionysius was ordered to pay all the money back that he had taken.
In 1851 Elizabeth & Dionysius were both still living at Quarryhall and by now when the census was taken Dionysius was recorded as being the ‘head’ of the house and Elizabeth was recorded as being “formerly his Wife”. He was indeed chipping away at her and more than likely, he would have been trying to get his hands on the house!
Dionysius was so close to getting his hands on the money from Mr Fairservice’s estate and he had invested a lot of years living with Elizabeth; a woman 20 years his senior and he had been patiently waiting on the day for his father in law to die and he was not going down without a fight, so with one last attempt he appealed the court’s decision and another date was set for August 1854, where he would have another day in court.
For a second time, the courts favored Janet Cairns and Dionysius lost his appeal and had to declare himself bankrupt. I suspect that this may have been an intentional move by him to prevent Janet and her husband getting their hands on his money and I would say that he would have money hidden somewhere, but nonetheless he declared himself bankrupt on the in August 1854 and by then he told the courts that he had a few occupations which were a general traveling merchant: Quarrier, Grazer and cattle dealer.
When he declared himself bankrupt, it was widely reported in newspapers all over the UK but was Dionysius really broke? To pay his way, his assets were to be sold off at a public auction in Hamilton and a date was set on the 5th of September 1854 to sell his possessions at the Kings Arms Hotel (Now the Hamilton Museum).
It seemed that Dionysius did not sell all of his possessions at the Kings Arms Hotel and the pursuers of the debt were taking him to the cleaners and in January 1855 he had a meeting with his accountant called George Wink who was based in Glasgow. The meeting progressed to another court hearing for him and at 11:00 o’ clock on the 24th of April 1855 he appeared at the Hamilton Sheriff court for an application for Cessio Bonorum which was a voluntary surrender of goods. It was not however recorded what goods were being surrendered.
Unsure of what Dionysius had done, or if connected to the recent dealings at court, I found that he spent some time at the local jail in Hamilton, or better known as the Tolbooth. He was in jail on the 24th of April 1855 and on this day, they let him out to attend a court hearing.
On the Friday 19th of December 1856 at the Commercial Inn Dionysius and his wife Elizabeth eventually had to sell the properties that Elizabeth had inherited from her father. This was to cover the debts that Dionysius had run up during his bankruptcy proceedings. They sold the houses at High Blantyre, land in Uddingston, the houses and land at Leechlee, the lands and houses at Quarry Park, the lands at laighmuir, the houses at Gateside Street, the houses at Quarry Loan and the houses at Cadzow Street. Everything that her father had worked for, saved for, and built up during his lifetime was all gone in one day and Elizabeth was left only with Quarryhall. In February 1861, he was back at court again being pursued for a bill of £396.12s which was owed from when he first came to Scotland.
Dionysius was a real chancer and he had spent the last 28 years of his life in and out of court. You would think that after all of these court cases, the time he spent in jail and losing his wife’s inheritance that he would want to stay away from the courts. Well, this was not the case because in October 1861, he took none other than the Duke of Hamilton to court. He was fined for dumping rubbish in a stream that run through his land and again tried to appeal the court’s decision.
Dionysius was in a real financial mess and by 1856 he was broke and bankrupt and it is unknown how he managed to spend so much of his wife’s inheritance, perhaps he ploughed it into his failing quill manufacturing business, however, nonetheless, he was continuing to take as much people to court as he could. Of course, people were still continuing to take Dionysius to court as he had fraudulently taken money from other folk.
The 1841 court case involving the Hamilton builder Robert Summers was still giving Dionysius a headache. Mr Summers was not letting go of the wrong doings put upon him by Marianski and moving forward to December 1862 they were back in court once more, but this case was a very unique one to be presented before the sheriff in Edinburgh.
Dionysius was trying his best to get out of paying the Hamilton builder what was due and tried in vain to have the money owed included in his bankruptcy proceedings! Mr Summers fought this all the way and on the 29th of December 1862 they went to court.
During this period of time Dionysius was imprisoned and was serving time at the jail. He was allowed out to go to court. The court case was on this day a case of considerable importance to the legal and commercial community, if not the community at large, and been decided by Lord Kinloch, as judge on the bills. The case was believed to be the very first of its kind that was decided under the bankrupt stature, and as the circumstances if it was of such to frequently occur, a copy of the judgment apart from being a precedent, was of the greater importance and was not subject to be reviewed. In the meantime, Dionysius was ordered to see out the rest of his prison sentence for his debts.
After Dionysius done his time at prison he was no longer out when next in line to take him to court was an old man named James Strang, who was a Hamilton fruit merchant. James Strang had provided Dionysius with goods and in return the fruit dealer was given a promissory note for the money due to him. Dionysius however had other ideas about paying his tick bill and refused to pay up and during the Hamilton court case Dionysius claimed that he had indeed paid the old fruit dealer. It’s at this point that I ask the reader, do you see an ongoing pattern developing here? Dionysius has a bad habit of defrauding & betraying older people! On the day of the trial James Strang was at a grand old age of 76, I feel sorry for him having to take someone such as Dionysius to court to get his hard-earned money back!
So, on the night of the 12th of November 1861 when the transaction was said to have taken place the two met at Binning’s Public House in Hamilton and Dionysius claimed that he had given James Strang the promissory note, however, this money was not for the said amount James told the court that this promissory note was for another previous bill that was also owed. On this particular case, the judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge Dionysius and James Strang not only lost his money due, but he also lost his fight with Dionysius, and I can only imagine that Dionysius felt untouchable on this most recent trip to the court.
During the next few years, things seem to be quiet for him and he seems to have stayed out of both the newspapers and the courthouses, this was quite unusual for him but nonetheless, disaster followed! Or was it a disastrous thing which happened? He continued to live with his “Wife” at Quarryhall and on the 25th of August 1864 Elizabeth died.
Elizabeth was 73 years old, and she had a tough hard life living with Dionysius. She had to stand by her husband and go to court against her only sister and also had to stand by her husband in all his court cases and she even moved out of Quarryhall for a period of time to get some respite from the man she married.
The cause of Elizabeth’s death was heart disease and paralysis. It us unknown what caused the paralysis, she may have had a stroke, or it could have been the result of some kind of trauma, however, we will never know. Dionysius registered Elizabeth’s death four days later at Hamilton and one thing that I have to note here is that I could not find the last will & testament for Elizabeth. I do not believe that Elizabeth would have lived to the age of 73 without having a will drawn up and to be blunt, Dionysius had a lot of previous accusations for forging documents, so I will leave the question out there for the reader, do you think that a well-off educated lady like Elizabeth would have chosen not to have a will drawn up?
After Elizabeth died Dionysius was now a very rich man and now owned all of her properties. His father-in-law had spent his whole life building up this business portfolio and now the Quill Hawker owned everything, the properties at Gateside Street, Quarry Street & Low Quarry. All had land, buildings, houses & offices, and I can only imagine that he would have walked with his head high and would have thought that he was now the Esquire of Hamilton. One thing that I have to note is that in 1865 a year after his wife had passed, there was still a property registered under her name and Elizabeth was still recorded at the owner of a house in Gateside Street. I wonder what the reason for this was.
After Elizabeth’s death I found that Dionysius managed to stay out of court for a respectable seventeen months and when you think that this man’s badness could not steep any lower, then think again however, before I begin to tell you of his next crime one thing that I have to mention is that also in 1865 he purchased two properties and hall in Garnock Street in Dalry, Ayrshire.
Now why he purchased these properties here is a mystery and I have no idea for his reason to buy a property in this street in Dalry, however, I do suspect that he would have bought these houses and hall from money that he “inherited” after his wife’s death. It does seem that he was using the Hall for his own use and living in his three other houses was a widow who went by the name of Wood; a man named William Sinclair who was a clerk and another man who went by the name of William Hamilton who was a contractor. One other important piece of information taken from this valuation roll was a side note in the observations section that stated that a man called William Brown – writer (Solicitor) was acting as the factor. Something does not sit right with this whole set up and I did not find any further reference to him owning these properties, so perhaps he sold them after owning them for a short period of time. The following year he was known to have kept a lot of money on his possession, as I will now tell you about his next bad deed.
On the 8th of January 1866 the records tell us that Dionysius has found himself another new wife, but this time wife number three was not a lady who was 20 years older; in fact, she was much younger than he was and he was 45 and she only the tender age of 18, what was this girl’s father thinking letting an ogre of a man marry his little girl? It was also on his wedding day that he stooped to another lower level than in his past and he committed a crime that would stay with the children who were involved for a very long time Helen Jackson lived with her father at Barnhill in Blantyre and her father was called John Jackson and her mother was called Martha Young. Now, this family were very much embedded in the Blantyre community, and they had many friends in many different circles. John Jackson was also a very wealthy landowner and again he had a title of Esq.
When I looked at the Jackson family, I first found that John Jackson in 1861 was recorded as a farmer of 75 Acres and he lived at Barnhill; now this farm was very much indeed a family business where he had his 6 children working for him at the farm. Arthur (26) William (22) were both ploughmen. Martha (17) was recorded as an assistant to her mother and Robert, Helen & Agnes were still at school. In 1861 they had two live in servants who were called Alexander Jackson (a Ploughman) & Christina Fleming who was the dairymaid.
MALICIOUS MISCHIEF AT WEDDING.
On Monday the 8th of January 1866 Helen & Dionysius big day had arrived and the couple were due to be married at the little tavern on Bardykes Road in Barnhill, Blantyre and I am unsure of why the wedding did not take place at John Jackson’s main farmhouse but nonetheless, the wedding took place at one of John’s other houses which was called Greencroft. This house was just up the road from the local tavern.
As Helen was getting ready for her big day on the morning of the 8th of January 1866, Dionysius was starting his day by lighting a red-hot fire nearby the tavern. On his possession, he had a bag of coins that was to be used for the scramble at his wedding.
Now I have to ask myself here, why was Dionysius sat by himself on his big day an hour just before his wedding took place? Did he not have any friends that would have wanted to be by his side? If so, this could tell us a bit about what kind of a man he actually was! He and Helen surely would have had a very different circle of friends, with her being only eighteen and he old enough to be her father at the age of forty-five. On the marriage certificate for their wedding, he had a best man who was called Walter McLay, so did this guy assist Dionysius with his evil deed that was about to take place, we will never know!
So, ahead of the wedding Dionysius heated up his coins to a state that they were nearly at melting point and before the wedding started, he threw the red hot coins in the direction of the exited children who were all waiting patiently for the scramble and then, there was soon cries of pain from the poor kids as the red hot metal coins burned and stuck to the hands of the boys and girls. The little children were in unbearable pain, and he left some scarred for life!
Looking on at the harrowing faces of the children brought amusement to Dionysius and I can only imagine what his wife and her family were thinking of him! The wedding did however take place on that day but as they were married, the angry parents showed up along with the police who escorted Dionysius to the local police station, depriving poor Helen of her honeymoon with her new husband.
Dionysius was kept in prison until his trial, and he was put in the dock in front of sheriff Veitch; one of Hamilton’s most well-known judges of the time. Blantyre & Hamilton were outraged at his crime, and it was even reported in newspapers all over Scotland.
On the 3rd of February 1866 Dionysius was at Hamilton Sheriff court and before him was another tough procurator fiscal who went by the name of Dykes (The Dykes family were all doctors & solicitors who lived in Hamilton and were very well known in the area)
The kids who were burned by Dionysius’s coins were s follows: • Helen Harvey (12) daughter of Robert Harvey (Labourer) Parkneuk.• Margaret Lamb (10) daughter of James Lamb (Shoemaker) High Blantyre.• Elizabeth Lyon (7) daughter of William Lyon (Dyer) Barnhill.• Marion Herd (10) granddaughter of William Brownlie (Labourer) Barnhill.• Janet Templeton (11) daughter of John Templeton (Blacksmith) Barnhill.• James Forrest (6) grandson of Robert Forrest (Carter) Barnhill. • Elizabeth Berry (13) daughter of Thomas Berry (Labourer) Barnhill.• Maxwell Forrest (12) son of William Forrest (Carter) Larkfield.• Amelia Frame (11) daughter of David Frame (Carter) Auchinraith. Dionysius showed no remorse during the trial. His solicitor was a man named William Brown and when asked why he did this to the kids, he told the court that it was an old polish tradition to throw hot coins to the little kids who were eagerly waiting on the scramble.
William Brown told the packed courtroom that the case was one of a very novel nature and that there had not been a similar case at court for the last fifteen or sixteen years! The charge divided itself properly into two parts, first, there was the actual throwing out of the coppers; and second, there was an aggravation of the charge, that Dionysius had heated the coppers, or caused them to be heated. With regards to the first part of the charge, he did not wish to make any observations upon the evidence which had been lead for the prosecution, further than to say that those witnesses who spoke to Dionysius being the man who threw out the coppers, had never seen him before the day of the marriage, and only once in court afterwards.
Dionysius was found guilty of the charge, and he was given an option of either paying a fine of £5, or to spend 21 days at the Hamilton prison. (£5 in 1866 would be roughly worth £599.08 in today’s money).
Brazenly at this point Dionysius opened his purse and produced a £5.00 note which he threw down on the bench and then turned to the packed courtroom and made the bold statement that he was also going to pay each and every child who was burnt a £1.00 note each for damages caused by him! This was of course so that no more cases could be brought before him.
Not one of the astonished parents of the injured children accepted a single penny from Dionysius. The case lasted for four hours, and he walked out of court a free man.
Dionysius was now a man of great wealth and he also married into money when he wed his young bride Helen. It is still unknown as to how Dionysius had so much money on his position that day, but I suspect that he would have been expecting the large fine. In 1866, he no longer owned Quarryhall but did have his properties in Hamilton and at Garnock Street in Dalry, so perhaps he was living a very comfortable lifestyle had perhaps he had more money that he was letting on or, money left over from his inheritance from his last wife, nonetheless, this man was the richest bankrupt person in Hamilton!
Married life with his third wife was good! He had settled down a little and Helen’s father moved to Barnhill House and had let Dionysius & Helen live at Greencroft in Blantyre and this was now home for the couple. They lived here and had a live- in house servant called Sarah Mooney and it wasn’t long before trouble had come looking for Dionysius again.
Whoever employed Sarah Mooney either did not check her references, or the girl was started by a good word of mouth, but she wasn’t a girl to hold her tongue and especially not towards anyone who mistreated her! Sarah Mooney did not take well from taking orders from her mistress. She was a tough girl and when Dionysius & Helen threw insults her way, she threw them straight back. Sarah was accused of not cleaning her employers house to their standards and things got very petty between both parties. Helen ordered Sarah to obey all of her instructions, however, the fiery Sarah fought back and refused and when Dionysius got involved in the situation, he was told that he was a ‘Rascal’.
Dionysius tried on three occasions to have Sarah removed from Greencroft by the local police constable and on the three occasions, the local bobby favored Sarah and did not eject her from the house.
The ongoing fighting between the three continued to occur at Greencroft and things came to a dramatic deadlock where on the 3rd & 4th of May 1869, Sarah aired her master’s dirty laundry in public and had an all-out verbal war in front of a local dress maker who went by the name of Miss Stark! Sarah again shouted that Dionysius was an “Old Rascal”, and that her Mistress Helen was no better!
It was said that at this point there was threats of violence from the Marianski’s and in return Sarah had retaliated in the most violent & rude way, yes, this girl was up for a fight! I get the feeling that there was more than a working relationship between the three that was spoken of.
Sarah was taken to court by the pair and the judge heard both sides of the story and she was accused of the said crimes which she admitted to, however on another charge of disobedience, she told the judge that she was not guilty of this! She told the court that she was only guilty of using the foul language because she had repeated taunts, oaths and other curses were applied to her from her master & mistress. She also told the courtroom that she frequently was on the receiving end of paroxysms of rage & violence from her employers.
Sarah told the court that she was willing to leave Greencroft, but only if her employers paid for her wages & board and this was said to have been refused by Dionysius on three occasions. The judge reviewed both sides of the argument and after very careful consideration, he found that there were faults on both sides and found no money was due from both sides, the case was dismissed! Sarah had to go and find a new place to live, and Dionysius needed to find a new house maid to look after the pair at Greencroft.
THE HIGHLAND SHOW.
Later that year in July 1869 Dionysius had fancied a trip to the Edinburgh Highland Show. When we was living at Quarryhall in Hamilton, one of his hobbies was dealing in Cattle and for a period of time Dionysius was a cattle dealer with his own flock on the grounds of his Hamilton home! Dionysius ended up coming home with some livestock after the show and as this was him, he did not return home with any farm animals, but a new dog!
So, on Thursday the 29th of July of that year he boarded a train to Edinburgh for his day out. It is not documented who went with him on that day and in most of his newspaper appearances, there is very little information of him in the company of friends. He may have gone by himself on that day. So, he had his day at the Highland show, back in 1869 it was called the Highland and agricultural society exhibition.
In the course of his day, he met a man named Mr Frame who was a farmer at Holytown and by the man’s side, he had a large Newfoundland dog with him. Mr Frame said that the dog had followed him all afternoon. The two men parted company and after the Highland Show had ended, Dionysius headed for the Caledonian Railway Station to catch his train home.
He had been standing for around a half an hour, when the dog that he saw with Mr Frame approached him and began licking his hand. He said to himself, “Are you the dog I saw with Mr Frame?” He looked around and could not see any person who would take charge of the dog, and as he was afraid it would get hurt amongst the trains, he thought that it would be cruel to leave it. He decided that he would take the dog home with him and bought a ticket for it which cost him 1s 6d.
When he arrived back in Hamilton, he met a gentleman that he knew and told him how the dog had become to be in his position. The next morning (Friday) he went to the Hamilton Advertiser offices and put out an advert and gave instruction that it should appear in three successive Saturdays. The first advert was printed on the same night so that it would appear the next morning in the Saturday edition of the Hamilton Advertiser.
On the subsequent Sunday a man named Mr Christison who was the Hamilton police superintendent arrived at Greencroft House to speak to Dionysius, the dog in heel, he was standing at the door along with his new master. Dionysius proudly said to Mr Christison “Here is the boy I got in Edinburgh,” never suspecting that the officer had indeed come to talk to him about the dog.
Superintendent Christison asked whether he had seen an advertisement in the Glasgow Herald printed the previous day. Dionysius said that he had not. Mr Christian read out the advertisement in question and it read. “If the Pole (with the Magenta jacket) who took away the Newfoundland dog from the agricultural show in Edinburgh does not return it within three days he will be prosecuted”
Dionysius was furious, but not showing this to the officer, he told Mr Christison, that he was greatly concerned, and had asked where he could send the dog to and whether he could send it back to Edinburgh. Mr Christison after hearing Dionysius’s story and how the dog had come into his possession, said that he was quite satisfied and that he would not interfere.
Dionysius put out an advert in the same paper where the accusation was written and, on the 3rd, 5th, and 7th of August he tried to find the person who had written the article accusing Dionysius of stealing the dog. He was still furious about the advert and as he was the only and very well-known Pole living in Blantyre at the time, no one in the neighborhood would doubt that the advertisement of the 31st of July referred to him! (To me this does say a lot about his character! He had spent all of his adult life never out of the courts and never out of the newspapers local & nationwide. Why now was he worried about what people thought of him? I do believe that in his older years he was trying to settle down and with his new wife’s family who were rich landowners, perhaps he was trying to behave himself.)
So, he was angry about being accused of stealing the dog, but he was also angry about something that may seem trivial matter to us! Dionysius was clearly eccentric and the person who had the article written got the colour of his jacket wrong and he corrected the person by telling everyone that his jacket was not ‘Magenta’ but was indeed a colour of Australian Blue and was not near the colour of magenta. He also went on to say that he did not know anybody who wore a magenta jacket but the professor at a college!
After this happened, Dionysius was on the receiving end of abuse by several people. They were shouting things such as “Are you the Pole with the magenta jacket that stole the dug from Edinburgh?” The dog had still not been claimed but he still looked after it and the shouts of abuse were given even more when he was out walking with the large dog.
Dionysius was not a man to sit back and accept that he was being accused of theft, and especially an accusation for once in his life was not true! So, to fight back, he did what he knew best, and he was going to take someone to court!
Firstly, he needed to find out who made the accusation, and he contacted the Glasgow Herald to try and track down the person who put out the advert. George Sutherland, a clerk at the Herald office was the person who handled Dionysius’s enquiry and he informed him that he received the advertisement in question from a young man. Back then the Glasgow Herald was not in the habit of asking advertisers to give an address. The clerk had asked the young man to sign the advertisement, and this was done because he suspected that the advertisement contained something of a personal nature.
Dionysius was suspicious of this advertisement and things did not add up, he was thinking that someone was out to get him or was trying to ruin his not so good name! Then on further investigation the name that was taken turned out to be a false one! Why would someone who had lost their prize dog go to the trouble of putting out an advert in the Glasgow Herald to try and get it back and then not leave their correct name or a forwarding address for the dog to be returned?
This was clearly someone out to get Dionysius and it could have been anyone! He had crossed paths with many people not only in Hamilton & Blantyre but had fall-out’s with people all over the UK and not only did he cross paths directly with people, but he was known to all the newspaper editors too. So, someone who had heard about Dionysius now owning a big new fancy dog was going to stir up trouble and accuse him of stealing it. So, believing that the Glasgow Herald had played a part of this, he decided that he was going to sue the newspaper and he went to court.
The trial was held at the small debt court in Glasgow on the 15th of July 1869 and before Sheriff Galbraith both parties told their side of the story. Dionysius’s claimed that the newspaper had ruined his ‘Good Reputation’ and that people in Blantyre now saw him as a thief.
At court before Sheriff Galbraith, Alexander Frame, the farmer at Overton was asked to give evidence. He explained that he was at the Highland Agricultural society’s show on the 29th of July, and this is when he last saw Mr Marianski. He told the courtroom that on the day he had seen the large Newfoundland dog roughly 2 hours before he spoke to Mr Marianski. Mr Frame went on to explain how the dog had followed him for most of the day, sometimes it would lose him and then come back to him again. He told the court that when he was speaking to Mr Marianski at no point did Marianski take the dog from the farmer.
Mr Frame then went on to explain that dog followed him all the way to the train station and when he boarded the train, the dog tried to get on the carriage with him and at this point he closed the door on the dog. Asked if he had seen the advertisement which was printed on the 31st of July, he explained that he did not see this in the paper. When he was shown the article, he told the court that it would certainly apply to Dionysius. Superintendent Christison who was also giving evidence asked if he thought that the advertisement applied to Dionysius which he confirmed that it certainly did.
So, the newspaper was being sued for slander and in their defense, they stuck to the story of the dog being stolen from Edinburgh. Mr Christison said that he saw the advertisement in the Hamilton Advertiser on the same day. The courtroom was told how Mr Christison went to Dionysius’s house on the Sunday afternoon and that he had asked him what’s the scrape that he had gotten himself into. Dionysius explained that at the time, he was not aware of the Herald’s advertisement until Mr Christison had shown him. It was a matter of public talk that Dionysius was in possession of a new dog.
A man named Mr Pattison was acting defense for the Glasgow Herald newspaper, and he turned the courts attention to the fact that Dionysius before boarding the train did not attempt to take the dog to the Station master’s office; and that he did decide to take the dog away with him on the train shows that he had intent of taking the animal with him. Without going the length of saying that was a justification of the advertisement, he might advance the conduct of the pursuer’s afforded grounds of the advertisement in question to the party who inserted it. So, he Mr Pattison pleased that the newspaper had a reason to allow the advertisement to be printed in the paper that day. The Herald’s defense also told the court that the newspaper did look upon the advertisement as a mere ‘Skit’ (Humorous Writing) which appeared occasionally in the newspaper.
The Glasgow Herald also explained that they had taken the name of the advertiser on the day which the man asked for the article to be printed; but this turned out to be a false one. They also went on to argue that the fact that they took the advertisers name showed that they were not negligent in the matter. He went on to say that they should not have gone further by taking the man’s address; but as it was impossible, where there were many advertisements and to take a name and address appeared to them to be ‘bona fide’.
Dionysius’ Lawyer told the court that the advertisement was clearly libelous and was so peculiar in its terms that it should have put a newspaper on its guard. The publishers clerk thought it peculiar, and deemed he should have some means of relief, so he made the person presenting the advertisement sign his name to it. But there was no good in taking the name without also taking the address. The talk was quite general about Mr Marianski taking the dog away and that he naturally felt aggrieved. He was not however, unreasonable about approaching the publishers. He did not demand a large sum of money for damages. As the advertisement had been published without proper cautions, he was not disappointed to deal with the matter too strictly.
The judge found that the Glasgow Herald were being slanderous & Libelous, and they refused to apologise for what was printed. The malice of the advertisement was also found to be very apparent, because the owner of the dog never appeared to have stepped forward to claim it. It was believed that the advertisement was done by a malice person who wanted to cast imputation on Dionysius. The judge therefore awarded £12 in damages (1,437.78 in today’s money) to Dionysius. He won the case but afterwards, his name was still mud as it was before the whole Newfoundland dog incident took place.
BACK IN COURT (AGAIN)
On Thursday the 7th of July 1870 Dionysius must have been craving the attention that attending court brought to him. Prior to this court date he had instructed on several occasions for a female servant to come to his house and help him and his wife. These servants were booked through his solicitor, a man named William Henderson, who was based in 118 West Nile Street in Glasgow. Now the reason for the bookings to be made through an agent rather than a direct booking through a local newspaper advert was most likely down to the fact that he and Helen were known for mistreating their female servants.
So, out of the seven servants that were sent for, only one showed up and even at this the girl refused to work for Helen & Dionysius. Not happy about this whole situation Dionysius blamed William Henderson for not fulfilling his end of the contract and they went to the small debt court to get 2s in damages. Now this was a very small amount that he was asking for and in fact the amount that he claimed to be out of pocket by was only around £60 in today’s money.
So why would he want to go to the effort of all this hassle to claim such a small amount back? He was a man living on his own means and this money would be nothing but ridiculously small change to him. During the trial at the small claims court, he also told the parties involved that it was not about the money but was about the principle of the matter. Dionysius was really enjoying the “hunt” and let us face it, this was after all a hunt! He enjoyed going to court to see if he could win and in this particular case, he did win, which must have been a real triumph for him.
THE MAN WHO SUED GOD.
It was not too long before he was back at court again; and this time his ruthless got to the extent that he was going to see a poor man who was down on his luck homeless and with nothing!
A man named Walter McLay who was a former Reverend of Strathaven somehow managed to be unfortunate to cross paths with Dionysius and previously he borrowed money from him. Things for Walter McLay got to the stage where on the 6th of December 1869 he entered into a trust deed. The person who Walter appointed to look after his financial affairs was a local Strathaven accountant who went by the name of Robert Wiseman and Walter’s property and all of his belongings were signed over to Robert Wiseman for him to oversee the trust deed. On the 17th of December 1869 Walter sold all of his belongings including his household furniture and he managed to raise a fair amount of £429, 10s 6d.
All of Walter’s creditors apart from Dionysius agreed to accept the terms of the trust deed, but Dionysius was having none of it! So, on Saturday the 11th of March 1871 Dionysius took Robert Wiseman to the Lanark Sheriff court to try and get his money back. He was trying to get £499 plus interest from Robert Wiseman, however the judge told him that the money raised by the sale or Walter’s belongings was not solely for Dionysius but had to be equally split between the rest of his creditors. So, he was defeated at court that year and never got all of his money back that he was pursuing.
It was at this point during my research of Marianski that I started to realise that in his older years he was starting to become angry or agitated with the people around about him. He had taken so many people to court since his lucky arrival in Hamilton and I get the feeling that no one was entertaining him anymore! He must not have been a very much liked person and perhaps the few friends that he did have had now turned their back on him. His first wife Agnes had disappeared without any recorded trace of her and her daughter! He had taken everything from the Fairservice family and lost all of his second wife’s inheritance and after marrying Dionysus I believe that she led an incredibly sad and miserable life. Elizabeth Fairservice’s sister was also a thorn in his side she would have been constantly reminding him of what he had done to tear the family apart!
I also firmly believe that Dionysus had a reason for marrying Helen Jackson who was 27 years younger than him. I do believe that he thought that Mr Jackson was going to be as much of a pushover as Mr Fairservice, however, he met his match with Mr Jackson, who was a real hard-nosed businessman in Blantyre.
John Jackson saw Dionysus for what he was and from the newspaper accounts of Helen, it tells a story of what she was like. Helen was just as nasty as her husband, so perhaps John Jackson was going to financially cut her off to stop Dionysus getting his hands on any of his money.
By May 1872 and only six years after joining this family, relations between Dionysus and his father-in-law John Jackson had already broken down to an extent where they were speaking to each other through lawyers at court. Dionysus & Helen had a 19-year lease on their house at Greencroft. The couple did not have any decent servants working for them and mainly because of the way they treated people. So as a result, the house was falling into disrepair. Dionysus was trying to get John Jackson as his landlord to fix repairs which he did not see to. So, doing as he knows best, he took his father-in-law to court.
Dionysus argued that the house was no longer in a habitable state, and he had asked the Sheriff to respond to his request and put the house in tenantable repair. A Glasgow builder who went by the name of Mr Findlay was asked to examine the house to see if in fact any repairs were needing done.
Mr Findlay reported that certain repairs must be executed to put the house in a habitable condition. The Sheriff ordered the execution of some of these repairs, but he held that the lathing and strapping of two rooms (which Marianski stated to be necessary) was not such a repair as the landlord was bound to make, as the walls of these rooms had not originally been lathed and strapped. The Sheriff adhered and Marianski appealed, and the court recalled the interlocutors of the Sheriffs and found that all repairs which Dionysius had stated to be necessary to make the house habitable must be executed, the report of the man of skill being a final as to what repairs were required in the circumstances.
On Friday the 25th of June 1875 John Dionysius was at it again! He had such a dislike for his father-in-law that he took John Jackson back to court for something really petty. He was clutching at straws and trying to pin anything on him that he could and finding a chance, he took him to court for not looking after and maintaining a footpath at Greencroft, or not even maintaining the footpath, it was more of a little pothole that needed to be filled.
Lord Young heard proof and gave judgement in the action in which John Jackson, recorded as being a farmer of Barnhill in Blantyre, sought to suspend a charge at the instance of Dionysius, who was still living at Greencroft to repair and keep in good condition a footpath leading from the house to the Cambuslang turnpike road under pain of imprisonment.
This was the fifth charge at the instance of Dionysius against John Jackson, who had let Greencroft to his son in law for 19 years; and Mr Jackson had told the court that he had kept the footpath in proper repair, and that Dionysius had entered into the proceedings he complained of I’ll-Will and Malice, and to annoy Mr Jackson.
Dionysius, on the other hand, stated that his proceedings had been necessitated by Mr Jackson’s regularly and systematically evading his obligation in regard to the footpath; and that he had already been apprehended twice under these charges and immediately had already mended the footpath and made to turn it into a proper state of repair.
The judge had said that this was a matter on which the parties might dispute at any time, and it was not rational that a man in Marianski’s position should force his landlord into court with threats of imprisonment, and effectual threats, unless the charge should be plainly implemented, or his landlord should raise an action in this court to settle the question whether some more buckets of ashes should or should not be put down in a particular season.
If it were necessary, his Lordship would hold that the charge was utterly incompetent; but it was not necessary to do that, as he thought that, even on the facts presented in the proof, the charge could not be justified. He accordingly suspended the charge and found Dionysius liable in expenses.
After losing this latest court case, he was left out of pocket and let’s be honest, he had wasted everybody’s time. His name was mud once again and all that he had in his life was his wife and his father in laws rented house and his money. He had no members of staff to help run Greencroft, no one would work for the pair and his circle of friends, if he had any would have been even further reduced. He would not have been a very liked man in Blantyre or Hamilton.
So, what was Dionysius’s options? Well, he had very few and eventually he had had enough of living in Blantyre & Hamilton. He would have been tired of the constant fight that he had with people in the area. He would also have been tired of the people who he crossed over the years and had to face almost on a daily basis, so putting the Fairservice & Jackson family behind him, he moved away one last time and he moved away from the place that he called home for the last 36 years.
Dionysius & Helen packed up and left not only Blantyre, but they left Scotland. They travelled south down to Warwick and why they went there is unclear! One theory that I have is that Dionysius may have had connections to the area through his quill manufacturing days. He did after all frequently travel down to England his journey being well documented through newspaper articles when he attended court. Did he also have another family down in England somewhere? We will never know, but he was capable of this.
At the time, the area in Warwick where he travelled to was known in the 1870’s to have been a place for the wealthy to retire. Being now at the age of 66, he was really slowing down. The couple rented a house called Emscote Lodge and they lived here, and Dionysius saw out his last days.
23rd of June 1876
On Friday the 23rd of June 1876 Dionysius Onufri Marianski passed away, he was 66 years old. He died at his house in Emscote Lodge and by his side was his wife, Helen. He died of tuberculosis, otherwise known as ‘TB’, and he had carried this illness for around four years, so at the time when he decided to move away from Greencroft, he would have known that his days were soon to come to an end.
So, perhaps this was his reason for moving away and perhaps he had so many enemies that he did not want to be buried at either Hamilton or Blantyre.
On his death certificate his rank or profession was recorded as a ‘Gentleman’, so he was living off his own means. When he died, there was no mention of him in any local newspapers of the time and there was not even a death notice for him, so this indicated that he was indeed keeping a very low profile.
Probate was granted to the Rev. Thomas Dickins, who was an executor. He was the longstanding vicar of All Saints Church, built close to the Emscote Road in 1854-6. However, this was in England! Here he had around £6000 in his will which in today’s money was around £704,68.06 This was an extraordinary amount which he had, and I have to ask myself the question why was he still renting houses and not purchasing?
WHO DID HE LEAVE ALL HIS MONEY TO AFTER HIS DEATH?
So, it is after Dionysius had died, that we learn of his final trick which he played! However, the trick was not on a few children at a scramble, but the last trick that he ever played was to be on his wife Helen.
From his £6000 fortune, Helen only received a measly £500. Why would he do this to her and after all, she gave up her life and her family to be with him! But nonetheless, he did only leave her enough money to allow her to get by. Even stranger, he left his money to people who were not recorded in the local newspapers of the time, people who he must have considered to be so called friends of his. So, he left money to the people listed below. 1. £2000 was given to the Church of Scotland Jewish Mission. 2. £1000 to the Glasgow Royal blind asylum. 3. £1000 to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 4. £200 to the Poor of Blantyre Parish.5. £1,500 to William Barclay Solicitor in Hamilton. 6. £200 each to William Barclay’s children.
Things were not adding up, so in June 1878, Helen took the beneficiaries to court claiming that the money that was to be given to them in Dionysius’s will was not done in a correct or lawful way. So, for whatever reason it was looking like Dionysius, or someone had stitched up not only Helen, but other people who ended up out and in of his will.
So, at the court case things quickly changed and the money due to be given to the Glasgow Royal blind asylum, the Jewish mission and the Barclays was revoked. Instead, a legacy of £3000 and a silver plate along with other plated goods which belonged to Marianski were now given to a Glasgow restaurant keeper who went in the name of Andrew Stark! Where did this guy appear from?
In another turn during this trial, Marianski’s wife was given a further £1000 from the will, but she was still not happy with this amount and it was argued that over and above the £1500 given to her that she had a right under a contract of marriage, exclusive of ‘Jus Mariti’ and right of administration of her husband to £3000, and that this whole sum was never received by her, or if received, was repaid by her to him without onerous consideration. Helen also claimed that certain jewels were her own property, however Dionysus had gifted Andrew Stark’s wife with these jewels. The Jewish Mission & the Church of Scotland then put in counter claims against Andrew Stark.
The whole scenario was a shambles and Dionysus’s last will, and testament was 100% designed to cause upset and anger amongst those who he chose to include in his will and for those who he chose to leave out. Yes, he certainly did have the last laugh and even after his death he managed to piss people off, he crossed paths with most when he was alive and, in the end, he pissed off the people who should have been close to his heart! Perhaps Dionysius was indeed bad to the bone!!!!!
But in the end, it was Helen who had the last laugh! She was free of Dionysus, but this had come to her at a very high cost! She had lost everyone closest to her. She and her father’s relationship had ended and she had fallen out with the rest of her family in Blantyre.
The court had decided that Helen should be awarded the following: 1. That She was to be given the full £3000 estate that belonged to Dionysus with interest dated from Dionysus’s death. 2. That she had to be ranked equally with the other trustees. 3. She has to have the jewels given to Andrew Stark’s wife returned to her.4. That Andrew Stark was to be liable for expenses due to her for the whole court case.After the court case, Helen was not seen or heard of again! She said goodbye to Scotland, and it is unknown where she retired to, possibly England somewhere, or perhaps abroad it is not known at this time, but she kept a very low profile wherever she went to. END OF AN ERA.
I do get the feeling that Dionysius always tried to fit in with people in his community. The polish are very family orientated and perhaps his reason for falling out with so many people was down to them either rejecting his friendship, or perhaps because they classed him as a second-class citizen and never took the man seriously!
He was not a silly man and after all, who else in Hamilton could speak in two different languages in the mid-1800’s? Did they all think that Dionysius was a fool? Well, he proved the doubters wrong when he took them to court and by law, he showed them that he was no fool and very clever indeed. Dionysus used the old Scotts Law Jus Mariti to legally own his wife’s movable estates and became a very wealthy man for doing so. Yes, he was a fierce man, he was.
He was a man who was military trained but nonetheless, he was also Military hero who was exiled from his country when only in his early twenties. It is when I have followed in this man’s footsteps and been with him step by step when reading through each court case that I have come to the conclusion that Dionysius was indeed bad at times, but above all, he just wanted to fit in with his community be loved by a family unit and to be liked by his so-called “friends & peers”. His inscription on his headstone says it all. “We cannot wish him back again to share our troubles here. Though we may have an aching heart and drop affection’s tear”