King Charles I.—Charter of
Burgh of Barony—Barony Court—Gallows Knowe—Montrose-Sacking of Xewton
Castle—Donald Cargill—John Erskine—The Ghost of Mause : Full
Description—Prince Charlie and the Curlers’ Dinner—Duke of Cumberland at
Woodlands—Division of the Muir of Blair—Coble Pule—Boat Brae—Muckle Mill
Erected— Purchase of Blairgowrie Estate—Military Service in Blairgowrie—
Enrolment Returns, 1803 -A Rifle Corps—A Distinguished Officer— Burgh
Charters—Erection of Parish Church—Stage Coach—Introduction of Gas and
Printing—Visits of the Queen—Auld Brig o’ Blair—An Incident of the French
Resolution—The First Newspaper —Introduction ot Railway Service—A Good
Story—Burns Centenary Celebration—Inauguration of Volunteer Movement, 1859.
DURING his first visit to
Scotland, 1633-1634, King Charles I. granted a charter, dated 9th July,
1034, in' favour of George Drummond of Blair, by which Blairgowrie was
erected into a Burgh of Barony, whereby Barons or Lairds were empowered to
hold Courts in their own districts for the trial of thieves and other
characters disgraceful to society. A Barony Court was established at
Blairgowrie, and held sittings for a considerable time. The Courthouse is
supposed to have been on the “Hirehen Hill.” where the offices of the Parish
Church Manse are now erected, the place of execution being the “Gallows
Knowe,” immediately to the west of Newton Castle. Traces of the mound might
have been observed till within a few years ago, when the ground was ploughed
up. The fields still bear the name *Gallowbank.”
King Charles, seeking to
establish the Episcopacy of Scotland, as his father James I. vainly
endeavoured to do, roused the people of the land to form together an
Association for the Protection of Religious Liberty. A ‘Solemn League and
Covenant” was entered into in 1638, and none was more enthusiastic in its
support than James Graham. Marquis of Montrose, who ultimately became its
Montrose, for the
gratification of his own passions, as much as for the sake of the religious
liberties of the people, conceived the idea of subduing the kingdom, and
pursued for a number of years an excursive warfare against those who had so
bound themselves against Episcopacy.
Descending suddenly where
least expected, Montrose achieved many a victory, and took up residence for
some time at Dunkeld. Here he was informed that the army under Generals
Urrie and Baillie had crossed the Tay against him, but he thought it
advisable to “hie” out of the way, and on his march to Dundee sacked Newton
Castle, 1614. Urrie and Baillie, following up, encamped on the Blairgowrie
estate, passing eastwards through Forfarshire to Dundee, where Montrose had
posted himself, but the historian records that no engagement took place
between the rival armies at this time.
Newton Castle must have been
rebuilt again shortly after this, as it was once more burned down by Oliver
In the year 1033 the soldiers
of Glencairn were ranging through the parish. In 1679 the famous Rattray
Covenanter, Donald Cargill, while on a visit to his parents at the Hatton of
Rattray, was pursued by dragoons, and only escaped by leaping the Keith
In 1726 a Blairgowrie
gentleman, John Erskine, wae an unsuccessful candidate to represent
Perthshire in Parliament.
The year 1730 was a memorable
one for Blairgowrie, the whole parish being in a commotion regarding the
extraordinary proceedings caused by Soutar, one of the tenants of Middle
Mause, declaring he had been ordered by a supernatural being to seek for
human bones in a certain place. The place was known as the “ Isle,” situated
between two or three small streams on the estate of Roehalzie, near the
south-east march adjacent to the old turnpike road from Blairgowrie to Cally
which passes up by Woodhead.
Soutar declared that the
apparition was in the form of a dog, but spoke with a human voice, declared
itself to be a David Soutar who had left the country over a century ago, and
that he (David) had killed a man at the “Isle” 33 years before, whose bones
must now be disinterred and receive burial in a churchyard, assigning as a
reason for his bestial form that he had used his dog as an instrument in the
There is a tradition that the
man was murdered for his money; that he was a Highland drover on his return
from the south ; that he had arrived late at night at the Mains of Mause and
wished to get to Rochalzie; that he stayed at the Mains of Mause all night,
and left it early next morning, when David Soutar, with his dog, accompanied
him to show him the road, and that, with the assistance of his dog, he
murdered the drover and took his money at the place mentioned; that there
was a tailor at work in his father’s house that morning when he returned
after committing the murder, and that his mother, being surprised at his
absence and appearance, asked him what he had been about, but he made no
answer; that he did not remain long in the country afterwards; that he went
to England and never returned ; that the last time he was seen he went down
the Brae of Cochrage; and that in answer to the question by William Soutar
why the apparition troubled him, the apparition said, “ Because, after I
killed the man, yours was the first face I saw in your mother’s arms.”
An old woman who died near
the end of last century used to say that “the siller of the drover paid for
the wood with which the west loft in the old Kirk of Blair ««s made,” but
she gave no explanation of her meaning.
About midnight on Wednesday,
23rd December, 1730, being in bed, “I (William Soutar) heard a voice, but
said nothing. The voice said, ‘Come away.’ Upon this I rosei out of bed,
cast on my coat, and went to the door, but did not open it, and said, ‘ In
the name of God, what do you demand of me now?’ It answered, ‘Go, take up
these bones.’ I said, ‘How shall I get these bones?’ It answered again, ‘ At
the side of a withered bush, and there are but seven or eight of them
remaining.’ I asked, 'Was there anyone in the action but you?’ It answered,
‘No. I asked again, ‘What is the reason that you trouble me more than the
rest of us? ’ It answered, ‘Because you are the youngest.’ Then I said to
it, ‘ Depart from me and give me a sign that I may know the particular
place, and give me time.’ The voice answered as if it had been at some
distance from the door, ‘You will find the bones at the side of a withered
bush; there are but eight of them, and for a sign you will iind the print of
a cross impressed upon the ground.’” On the 29th of December, William Soutar,
his brother, and seven or eight men met at the “Isle,” and on digging at a
particular spot, as indicated by the apparition, several human bones were
found, the unearthing being witnessed by the parish minister, the laird, and
other persons to the number of forty.
The bush described by the
apparition was found to be withered about half-way down, and the sign was
about a foot from the bush. The sign was one exact cross, thus X. each of
the two lines of which was about 18 inches long and 3 inches broad, and
impressed into the ground, which was not cut, for an inch or two.
The following is the “Account
by William Soutar, being extracts from the original MS. written by Bishop
Rattray, taken down at the time from William Soutar’s mouth ” :—
“In the month of December,
1728, about the skysetting, I and my servant, with several others living in
the same town, heard a shrieking, and, I following the horse with my servant
a little way from the town, we both thought we saw what at the time we
judged to be a fox, and hounded two dogs at it, but they would not pursue
“About a month after that, as
I was coming from Blair alone about the same time of the night, a big dog
appeared to me, of a dark grayish colour, betwixt the Hilltown and Knowhead
of Mawes on a lie ridge a little below the road, and, in passing me, touched
me sensibly on the thigh at my haunch bone, upon which I pulled my staff
from under my arm and let a stroke at it, and I had a notion at the time
that I hitt it, and my haunch was painful all that night; however, I had no
great thought of its being anything extraordinary, but that it might have
been a mad dog wandering.
“About a year after that (to
the best of my memory), in December month, about the same time of the night
and at the same place, when I was alone, it appeared to me again just as
before, and passed by me at some distance, and then I began to have some
suspicion that it might be something more than ordinary.
“In the month of June, 1750,
as I was coming from Perth from the cloth market, a little before skysetting,
being alone at the same place, it appeared to me again and passed by me as
before. I had some suspicion of it then likewise, but I began to think that
a neighbour of mine in the Hilltown having ane ox lately dead, it might be
but a dug that had been at that carrion, by which I endeavour to put that
suspicion out of my head.
“On the last Monday of
November, 1730, as I was coming from Woodhead. a town in the ground of
Drumlochy, it appeared to me again at the same place, and after it had
passed by me. as it was near Retting out of my sight, it spoke with a low
voice, but so as I distinctly heard it, these words, “Within- eight or ten,
days, do or die,' and it having then disappeared no more passed at that
“On the morrow I went to my
brother, who dwells in the Nether Aird of Drumlochy, and told him of this
last and all the former appearances, which was the first time I ever spoke
of it to anybody. He and I went that day to see a sister of ours in
Glenballow, who was a-dying, hut she was dead before we came. As we were
returning home, I desired my brother (whose name is James Soutar to go
forward with me till I should he past that place where it used to appear to
me, and just as we were come to it, at ten o’clock at night, it appeared to
me again as formerly, and, as it was passing over some ice. I pointed to it
with my finger and asked my brother if he saw it, but he said he did not nor
did his servant who was with us. It spoke nothing at the time, but just
disappeared as it crossed the ice.
“On the Saturday night
thereafter (5th December, 1730, as I was at my sheep cotes putting in my
sheep, it appeared to me again at daylight, betwixt da}' and skylight, and
upon saying these words, ‘Come to the spot of ground within half ane hour,’
it just disappeared, whereupon I came home to my own house and took up a
staff and also a sword with me, off the head of the bed, and went straight
to the place where it formerly used to appear, and after I had been there
some minutes, and had drawn a circle about me with the staff, it appeared to
me, and I spoke to it, saying, ‘What are you. that troubles me? ’ and it
answered me, 'I am David Soutar, George Soutar's brother; I killed a man
more than five-and-thirty years ago, when you were but new born, at a bush
be east the road as you gu into the isle;’ and as I was going away I stood
again and said, 'David Soutar was a man, and you appear like a dog,’
whereupon it spoke again and said, ‘I killed him with a dog, and am made to
speak out of the mouth of a dog and tell you, and you must go and burry
“When breaking up the ground
at the bush we found the following bones, viz. the nether jaw with all the
chaft teeth in it, one of the thigh bones, both arm bones, one of the
shoulder blades, one of the collar bones, and two small bones of the fore
The bones were carefully
wrapt in linen and placed in a coffin made by a wright, who had been sent
for from Clayquhat, and they were deposited in a grave in the Kirkyard of
Blairgowrie the same evening.
It has generally been
supposed that this William Soutar was labouring under a delusion, or that it
was a trick played on him by one of his neighbours. As for the bones found,
they have been supposed to be the remains of a calf which had been buried
there some years before. The story is, even to this present time, believed
as true by a few credulous and superstitious beings.
The winter of 1745 was hard,
and the ice was keen, and the curlers of Blair, taking a day on the ice at
the “Lochy” (now a thing of the past), had a dinner of beef and greens
preparing for them at Eppie Clarke’s Inn, at the Hill o’ Blair, when Prince
Charlie and some of his Highlanders invaded the place, ate up everything,
and departed, refreshing themselves again and washing the dinner down at a
small well near Lornty Cottage, now known as “Charlie’s well.”
The army of the I >uke of
Cumberland, on the march to the north against the rebel forces, encamped on
the Muir of Blair, the Duke, with his officers, occupying the old house of
Woodlands, while his cavalry and ontposts were garrisoned at Newton Castle.
The Beech Hedge.
Early in the spring of 1746
the now famous Beech Hedge of Meikleour was planted.
About the year 1770 there
were large muirs—some of them many hundreds or thousands of acres in extent—
attached to many parishes both in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland,
and, with a general belief, with the object of promoting draining,
cultivation, and the general improvement of the country, it was highly
desirable that these muirs should be divided amongst all persons having any
interest in them, in proportiop to the extent of their respective interests.
The law of the time favoured
this view of the question by empowering the Sheriffs or the Sheriffs’-Depute
of the various counties of Scotland to make such partitions on submissions
or applications being made to them by all persons having any interest
whatever, either large or small, in any particular muir, and to apportion
and divide it accordingly.
In terms of a submission to,
and a decreet-arbitral by, John Swinton, Sheriff-Depute of Perthshire
(proceedings with reference to which were commenced in 1770 and concluded in
1774), it appears that all persons having any interest in “The Common Muir
of Blair” made application to have it divided among them in proportion to
their legal interest therein.
It was accordingly so
divided, in terms of the decreet-arbitral referred to, amongst the then
proprietors of the estates of Meikleour, Rosemount, Ardblair, the two
Well-towns, Parkhead, Carsie, and the then proprietor of Blairgowrie and his
feuars. At this time the feuars numbered eleven in all, who (together with
the minister of the parish, who got his share) represented the village of
Blair congregated around the Parish Kirk.
The block allotted to and
subdivided among them consisted of nearly fifty Scotch acres, divided into
twelve lots of different sizes in proportion to their respective rights of
each person concerned. On this block now stand the villas of Woodlands,
Heathpark, Brownsville, Shaw-field, and a number of smaller cottages.
Leaving the glebe out of the reckoning there is not one of those eleven
separate holdings now belonging to the descendants of the original feuars of
Blair—from whom, or their assignees, the present owners have acquired their
rights to purchase. The above described block was what the then feuars of
Blair got for their interests, in terms of their charters, in exchange for
their “ servitude of pasturage, fewal, foull, divot, &c., in the ‘Great
Common Muir’ of Blair recently divided.”
In accordance with the terms
of their Charters they had also similar servitudes on certain parts of the
Blairgowrie Estate proper, and, for the convenience of themselves and the
then proprietor, they jointly petitioned the Sheriff that these rights
should also be valued, and that another block (or blocks) of land should be
taken out of the Blairgowrie Estate and divided, in terms of law, amongst
those having claim. Accordingly, 011 the 21st January, 1777, another
submission was made and a decreet-arbitral was issued thereon by John
Swinbon, Sheriff-Depute of Perthshire.
It is described as being
between Thomas Graham, Esq. of Balgowan (then the Superior), and William
Raitt, feuar, Hill of Blair, and others, “the vassals of the town of
Blairgowrie below the Hill.”
To William Raitt and another
were allotted eight acres on the Lornty Road, and to the vassals below the
Hill “fourty acres” on the Perth Road, divided into different lots, as in
the case of the feuar’s share of the “Common Muir.”
Before 1777 there was no
bridge over the river at Blairgowrie, all vehicular traffic having to cross
by a ford where the “weir” is now erected, access being had from Lower Mill
Street, down by where Mr Pell’s slaughter-house is, while foot-passengers
were taken across in a small coble or boat, which ceased to ply when the
bridge was built. The part of the river where the boat crossed was known as
the “ Coble Pule,” and the ascent on the Rattray side as the “Boat Brae,”
which name it retains to this day.
The year 1778 saw the “Muckle
Mill” erected, in which tlax was first spun here by machinery.
On the 20th September, 1788,
the estate of Blairgowrie was purchased by a predecessor of the present
proprietor, Col. Allan MacPherson (17—1817), from Thomas Graham, Esq. of
Newton and Balgowan, the purchase, of course, including Graham’s share of
the “Common Muir ” of Blair, in terms of the decreet-arbitral of 1774,
situated immediately to the east of the fejiars’ share of the same.
At the time of the threatened
invasion of Britain by Napoleon in 1804, service in the British Army was
compulsory, and those drawn for it could only obtain exemption on paying
either a penalty or finding a substitute. In the following list of the
“Military Service in Blairgowrie, 1803,” the first name in each couple is
that of the principal, where a second name is given it is that of the
substitute, whose age is stated :—
“Subdivision of the
Blairgowrie District in the County of Perth.
“Return of Enrolment, dated
the eleventh and twenty-eighth days of February, eighteen hundred and three
James Dufftis, merchant,
William Blair, shoemaker, do. (39).
James Duncan, weaver, do.
Henry Henderson, weaver, do. (22).
John Fleeming, weaver, do.
James Dowuie, weaver, do. (24).
John Donaldson, weaver, East Banchory.
George Robertson, weaver, Dundee (24).
William Isles, weaver, Weltown.
David Yeaman, weaver, Rattray (18).
Robert Straiton, weaver, Blairgowrie.
Thomas Bog, weaver, do. (36).
John Playfair, saddler, Blairgowrie, was found unfit, and there was balloted
in his room Duncan Keay, weaver, Blairgowrie, who paid the penalty of £10.
William Cowan, wright, Blairgowrie, paid penalty of £10.
Patrick M'Pherson, surgeon, Blairgowrie, did not appear.
In 1801, a corps of
Volunteers was raised in the town to assist, if required, the regular army
The corps comprised 8
officers, 65 privates, and 1 drummer.
One of the officers of this
corps (2nd Lieut. James Dick) rather distinguished himself one morning by
showing his readiness for action. It happened during a wet and stormy night
that the meal mill took fire, and the flames rapidly spreading threatened to
destroy the whole building.
In order to alarm the
inhabitants and obtain assistance, the Volunteer drum was beaten through the
streets. The rattle of the drum and the confused noise suddenly awoke the
Lieutenant from his sleep, and, hastily getting out of bed, he seized his
sword, rushed out into the street in his trousers and, shirt, and,
flourishing his sword to the passers-by, exclaimed, “Where are they landed,
boys! Where are they landed?” the gallant officer being under the delusion
that the Freuch had really crossed the Channel.
Early in the beginning of
this century (18—) the Superior of the town, “ by reason of the great
increase of the town, judged it necessary to put the police and government
thereof under proper regulations, and for this purpose selected and made
choice, from among the most respectable inhabitants, of a Bailie and four
Councillors, with a Treasurer, Clerk, and other officers of Court, by way of
trial, for the management of the funds and common good of the Burgh,
administration of justice, and maintenance of peace and good order.”
This system was further
extended in 1809, when Colonel MacPherson granted a charter conferring
certain privileges on the burgesses holding feus or building-stances in the
village under him as Superior, and empowering the Bailie, who should be
elected in terms of that charter, to hold Baron Courts for the trial of
offences not exceeding £2 in value, and petty criminal offences. This
charter held good until further extensions were made in 1829, and again in
Under the Charter of 1809,
James Scott was elected the first Bailie of the town in 1810.
In 1824 the present Parish
Church on the Hill of Blair wais erected on the site of the old “mercait
gate,” the foundation stone being laid with great ceremony by William
MacPherson, Esq. of Blairgowrie.
For a number of years,
beginning in 1831, a stage coach, named “Baron Clerk Rattray,” ran twice
a-week between Blairgowrie and Coupar Angus.
In 1833 the householders
resident in the Burgh adopted part of the Police Act III. and IV., William
IV., cap. 46, by which certain powers were vested in the Chief Magistrate
and four Commissioners for the management and regulation of the Police
Department of the town, and the jurisdiction of the Chief Magistrate in
criminal matters was enlarged.
The town in 1834 was first
lit up with gas, when the present gas works were erected, and 1838 marked
another epoch when the first printing press was introduced.
The temperature, in common
with all districts bordering on the Highlands, is subject to frequent and
sudden variations. On the 23rd October, 1839, a most severe shock of
earthquake was felt throughout the district about 10 p.m., and was
accompanied by a noise resembling distant thunder, or the rapid passage of a
heavily-loaded vehicle over a newly-metalled road. The motion at the
commencement of the concussion was of a waving or undulating nature, and,
terminating in a vibration or tremor, becoming gradually less distinct until
it ceased altogether.
In 1842 Blairgowrie was first
honoured by a visit from royalty in the person of Her Majesty Queen Victoria
on her way to Balmoral. On her progress through the estate of Glenericlit,
then possessed by General Chalmers, a Peninsular hero, she conferred on him
the hem out of Knighthood (Sir William Chalmers of Glenericlit).
During the great spate of
October, 1847, one of the arches of the “Auld Brig o’ Blair” gave way, but
was speedily and substantially repaired.
About the time of the
outbreaking of the French Revolution in 1848, the village of Blairgowrie,
obscure and insignificant as it then was, shared in the general excitement
of the nation. At the time that the Militia Act first came into operation
the class of persons who were liable under its enactments, and the lower
ranks in general throughout the country, were greatly discontented with the
measure, and on the day when the Justices of the Peace for the district met
in Blairgowrie for the purpose of balloting for those who should serve, this
discontentment broke out into open violence. Great crowds from this and all
other parishes collected in the district, made prisoners of Colonel
MacPherson of Blairgowrie, Sir William Ramsay of Bamff, and other gentlemen
assembled, and confined them in the Inn until they got hold of the only
writer in the village, whom they compelled to draw out a bond, to be
executed by the Justices, by which they should be bound to abstain in future
from any measures for enforcing the obnoxious Act. This document was
subscribed by the captives under the threats of the mob. Satisfied with
this, in the belief that they had effectually extinguished the Militia Act,
they allowed their prisoners to go free, and themselves dispersed peacefully
to their respective homes. But a week had not passed over their heads when a
body of the Sutherland Fencibles made their appearance and seized on the
most active rioters. This vigorous proceeding quelled the disturbance, and
the provisions of the Act were thenceforward carried into effect without
On the 28th of April, 1855,
the first number of a local newspaper was issued by Messrs Ross & Son from a
very small office in the High Street. The paper bore the title: —“Ross's
Compendium of the Week’s News, to be issued occasionally,” and consisted of
a single sheet, 12|- inches long and inches wide, printed on both sides.
Occasionally the wreek’s news was so scant that one side was sufficient both
for news and advertisements.
On the 28th July of the same
year another epoch in the history of the town was the opening of the
Blairgowrie branch of the Scottish Midland Junction Railway. Up to this time
all cartage of goods had to be done from the neighbouring town of Coupar
Angus or from Perth and Dundee. For passenger traffic the first train
started at 8 a.m., consisting of two first class, one second class, and two
third class cars. There was a rush to secure tickets long before the hour of
starting, and the train was well filled.
There had been a pretty
general impression that the line would be inaugurated by several excursion
trains, gratis, but, as hope turned to disappointment, “no demonstration was
made, no flags were waving, no shouts were heard, and no wish was expressed
that the Blairgowrie branch railway would flourish.”
A good story is told
regarding the railway on its first introduction to the town. One day a party
of clergy had been in town from Dundee attending a Presbytery meeting,
dressed in black, with “white chokers.” They arrived at the Station just
before the 4.30 p.m. train should start, for the purpose of taking their
places to return to Dundee. Suddenly, one of them recollected he had
forgotten something, and the others promising to wait for him, he started to
get the forgotten article. Train time was up, and the Station officials
tried to get those who remained into the carriages, but they woidd not stir
until their friend had returned. In vain they were told the train would
start without them. They knew better; the train would not go off and leave a
dozen well-dressed individuals standing on the platform. The guard’s
patience being exhausted the train did start. Just as it was leaving the
platform, the individual appeared running down the bank at the foot of Rorry
(Reform) Street, and, seeing the train on its way, took a slanting direction
across the fields as if to intercept it. On seeing this, the whole party
jumped upou the line and started in pursuit. The railway officials and the
guard had some amusement watching them, but the pursuit of the “iron horse”
was fruitless, the whole party losing the train.
Once again, on 29th August,
1857, did Her Majesty Queen Victoria and suite honour Blairgowrie by passing
through it en route to Balmoral. The Royal train arrived at Blairgowrie
Station at half-past twelve. A company of soldiers, partly of the 1st and
partly of the 21st Royals, many of them decorated with medals, were in
waiting at the terminus, and presented arms on Her Majesty’s armyl.
On alighting from the
carriage, Her Majesty was received by Captain Campbell and Lady of Achalader
and a numerous party of the principal farmers. After receiving a beautiful
bouquet from Captain Campbell’s six-year-old son, Her Majesty retired to the
waiting-room, which was beautifully fitted up under the direction of Mrs
Campbell. After a stay of a little over five minutes, during which she
partook of biscuits and fruit, the Queen entered her travelling carriage and
drove off at an easy pace for her Highland Home. The road from the Station
to New Rattray was lined with a crowd of spectators, who welcomed Her
Majesty and Consort with enthusiastic cheers, which were gracefully
acknowledged. Along the route, more especially at Glenericht, floral arches
and banners were very abundant. The Royal party partook of lunch at Spittal
of Glenshee, and reached Balmoral at six o’clock.
* * * * * *
The morning of Tuesday, 25th
January, 1859—“a red-letter day” in the history of Scotland—dawned bright
and beautiful in Blairgowrie. .This day, long looked forward to by Scotsmen
in all parts of the world, had come round, and Blairgowrie prepared to
celebrate the centenary of the birth of Scotland’s own Poet in its own way.
In celebration of the
centenary of the birth of Burns, a party of 40 gentlemen, belonging to the
town and district, met in - the hall of MacLaren’s (Royal) Hotel, about 4
p.m. The hall was decorated with evergreens, arranged upon the walls in
various tasteful figures. The instrumental band, under "Willie' Scrimgeour,
was in attendance for some time, and the music added greatly to the effect
and enjoyment of the meeting. Mr Alexander Robertson, banker, presided, and,
after a sumptuous supper, gave the toast of the evening, “The Memory of
Robert Burns, Scotland’s Immortal Bard,” which was drunk to in solemn
silence. A most enjoyable night was spent, enlivened with song and
A demonstration was also held
iu the Malt Barns at “The Hill,” which was perhaps the most successful
meeting ever held in Blairgowrie up to this time. Between four and five
hundred persons were present, from the youth of tender years to the sire of
grey hairs, drawn from all ranks of society. Mr Allan Macpherson occupied
the chair, and spirited addresses were given by the Chairman, Messrs Thomas
Mitchell of Greenfield, William Davie of Millbank, John Bridie, and Thomas
Steven, while a glee party and the Westfields Flute Band delighted the
audience with music, the whole concluding with the singing of “There was a
Lad was born in Kyle.”
The year 1859 also saw the
inauguation of the Volunteer movement; and the first meeting for the
formation of a Rifle Corps in Blairgowrie was held 13th December, 1859. They
were embodied under duly approved officers, 16th March, 1860. The corps was
present in Edinburgh on the 7th August, 1860, at the review of the Scottish
Volunteers by Her Majesty the Queen.