Dysart Harbour: The first missionary arrives

By Sylvia Brown

Dysart Harbour

At the end of Hot Pot Wynd in Dysart (Fife) sits a harbour for small pleasure boats, mostly used by the local sailing club. But this is where the first missionary, George Darling Watt, arrived to preach the restored gospel in 1841. The first member who lived in the area, Robert Crookston, had been baptised by George Watt in Edinburgh. The first convert baptised in the area was George Crookston (Robert’s brother); he was baptised by George Watt in May 1841 just two miles away in Wemyss. And Wemyss was the first branch formed on the Fife coast.

The Biography of Robert Crookston records:

Robert Crookston, a young coal miner, waited eagerly for the passenger steamer to cross the Firth of Forth into Dysart harbour on a beautiful Spring morning in 1841. He had walked from his home in Wemyss to meet a special friend: George Darling Watt, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Robert’s local minister had been unable to satisfy his honest questions on religion so when his aunt and cousin in Edinburgh wrote to invite Robert to hear their minister he readily accepted. He was thrilled by the preaching of Elder Watt and said “I believed every word of it... I was converted on the spot and went the same night and was baptised in Duddingston Loch.”

Robert felt the sacredness of the occasion as Brother Watt disembarked. He said,

When he took my hand I felt that he was the only man that held the Priesthood on the north side of the Firth. I rented a large hall for him to preach in and… the people flocked to hear the gospel and nearly twenty were baptised then.”

Dysart and Wemyss became the nucleus of growth as the restored gospel was preached throughout Fife. Brother Watt said “The people of Scotland are slow to believe and embrace the truth, but after they have embraced it, they are firm. Yea! They would lay down their lives for the truth!”