Around 148 years ago, in the seaside town of Robe, a little lady named Mary Ann Bryan, came to live.
No-one was sure if she was married or single, as no-one asked and she never introduced herself as such, only as “Dolly”, and that is the only name she became known by.
Dolly ran the local school, near what is now the Robe Hotel, and also a small shop from the same building which was a haberdashery, offering linen, clothing and other materials and also eventually included dress making as one of her items of sale, which in turn brought in a tidy profit.
Her school was the third school to be located in the town after the previous school mistresses passed their licences in upon getting married.
Dolly soon attracted the female squatters and settlers of the area and made a great deal of profit from them from her dress sales, but in the late 1860's she fell deathly ill, and called her maid servant, who took care of a lot of her business, to her bedside, telling her to give her desk to Mrs Peter Roberts
Dolly soon succumbed to her illness and passed away, the local papers ran notifications looking for next of kin, but no-one came forward. Mrs Roberts, concluding that the desk being given to her gave her some right to Dolly's estate made a claim for Dolly's we wealth and belongings. She was awarded a grand sum of £700 (pounds), the family up and left Robe and were never seen again.
This left about £12,000 (pounds) in the Estate curators hands, unclaimed. The money sat untouched for several years.
Eventually someone did come forward to claim the money, a young man and woman, and it was paid unto them, only for the Auditor General to discover that the young man was an officer within his won branch who took the money and his lady friend and absconded to Mexico along with three months of “Leave of Absences” pay.
|Church of England Dolly's Ghost was seen within|
England had no treaty of extradition with Mexico at the time so the young man was untouchable, this didn’t stop the law at the time trying to coax him out on “fishing trips” to the three mile open waters, where he could be arrested.
The young man was far to clever for the police and stayed well away from their nets, living like a king in Mexico on Dolly's hard earned money.
Meanwhile back in Robe, Dolly's body lay in the local cemetery, with no family visiting, she was a forgotten soul in the lonely cemetery until one day, whilst folk were cleaning the Robe Church of England, Dolly was seen praying inside the Church.
She stood, walked to the cleaning lady and said “I will come again”...
Dolly's grave can be found in Robe Cemetery, it is surrounded with a large, hand-hammered, iron railing....
© 2013 Allen Tiller
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