Scotty Smith - Jail


In 1892 Scotty Smith met 19 year old Miss van Niekerk and married. Together they raised a family of two sons and five daughters.

After a short time in the Military, Scotty finally left the to do his own thing. After a long career involved in horse and cattle stealing, he was involved in numerous illegal diamond operations again in the wider Kimberley area. In most of the stories about him, Scotty is victorious against all odds and always get away with it. Although there is a story that took place at a little place near Kimberley, in the Boshoff district, named Olifantsfontein where one of Scotty’s plans went wrong.

A merchant, Thomas Welford and his partner Gustav Herman and Gustav's brother Max, approached Scotty Smith to help them steal a packet of diamonds from Sam Kemp (a supposed diamond merchant) but who was apparently an illegal runner for a man known as Sam Weil. The plan was as follows; the group would ambush Sam Kemp and steal the diamonds. If he resisted, they would shoot him.

The plan was carried out, Sam Kemp resisted and was shot and the diamonds were stolen. Kemp recovered though, and rode back to Kimberley to report the theft at the police station. Police officers soon uncovered the whole plan and arrested Scotty and the others. This time, for once, Scotty did not attempt escape. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment and 25 lashes in the Boshoff circuit court. He never received the lashes though and after a year, his sentence was dropped and he was once again free.

It is a pitty that a man of your appearance should deal in stolen property. There is no excuse for you; it is a gross crime. The boundary line is getting dangerous for our people. It is quite an accident that Kemp was not killed. I took you for a man who knew better. I will punish you severely.

—Chief Justice Reitz addressing Scotty Smith during the trial,

During his imprisonment in Bloemfontein, it is claimed that Scotty Smith was permitted to visit the town bar daily. One day, he apparently came across a parade including the Official State President's coach, after successfully masquerading as the president, he took a ride in high style, before returning to prison later on. Again, it is not known how accurate these stories are.

After his year in jail, Scotty left for a more rural area, and from the early 1880s he was a bandit in the area of the Goshen and Stellaland Republics. He stayed in that area until shortly before the Anglo-Boer War.

Amongst the strange things Scotty did was a trek of several months by ox-wagon, accompanied by Dorothea Bleek (niece of Lucy Lloyd), to enable her to study Bushmen languages in the Kalahari.

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