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The History of Blairgowrie
Chapter XII


Eminent Men, &c.—Drummond of Newton—George Drummond—May Drummond—Blair of Ardblair — Mercer of Meikleour—Admirable Crichton—Thomas Graham (Lord Lynedoeh)—Rattray of Rattray and Craighall—Grimond of Lornty—Professor Adams—Rev. John Baxter—Macpherson of Blairgowrie—Allan Macpherson—Dr James Neilson—Alexander Robertson—William Geddes—David C. Robb— John Bridie—Dr Robt. Lunan—Thomas S. Bisset—John Panton, &c.

Drummond of Newton.

THE family of Drummond of Newton is undoubtedly of great antiquity, but the race is now extinct in the district, their descendants being known by the name of Drummond of Blair Drummond. The family is traditionally traced to a Hungarian nobleman, who fled to Scotland in 1068, with Edgar Atheling, to avoid the hostility uf William the Conqueror.

Sir William Drummond was knighted by James II., and died 1455. George Drummond and his son William were murdered in 1554 at the Paroclie Kirke of Blair (see page 37). In 1634 George Drummond received charter from King Charles I. erecting Blairgowrie into a Burgh of Barony. A special lustre attaches to

George Drummond,

Who was born at Newton Castle, 27th June, 1687. Receiving his education at Edinburgh, he was requested by the Committee of the Scottish Parliament in 1705 to examine and settle the national accounts preparatory to the legislative Union of the two kingdoms. Iu 1707 he was appointed Accountant-General of Excise. He fought at Sheriffmuir in 1715, and was the same year elected to a seat on the Board of Excise. In 1717 he was appointed one of the Commissioners of the Board of Customs, and elected Treasurer of the City of Edinburgh. From 1722-23 he was Dean of Guild, and in 1725 he attained to the dignity of Lord Provost. He was named one of the Commissioners and Trustees for improving the Fisheries and Manufactories of Scotland in 1727, and one of the Commissioners of Excise in 1737. He was one of the chief promoters of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and laid the foundation-stone in 1738,

He took part in the ’45, joining the Royal forces under Sir John Cope, and was present at the battle of Preston-pans. In 1752 he was appointed one of the Committee for the improvement of the City of Edinburgh. In 1753 he was Grand .Master of the Freemasons in Scotland, and laid the foundation-stone of the Royal Exchange. In 1746 he was elected a second time Lord Provost, a third time in 1750, a fourth time in 1754, a fifth time in 1758, and a sixth time in 17C3, in which year he laid the foundation-stone of the North Bridge. He died 1760, and was interred in Canongate Churchyard, where a monument has been erected to his memory. The inscription is as follows :—

To the memory of George Drummond, Esq.,

One of the Honourable Commissioners of His Majesty's revenues of Customs and Excise in Scotland and

Six times Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, who died the 4th day of December, 1765, aged 79 years.

This monument was erected by Archibald Drummond of Rudgeway, Esq., his eldest son, 1797.

This energetic individual Ğas most strenuous in his support of religion and literature; was a member of the “Select Society,” which contained among its members all the illustrious Scotsmen of the age.

To him the University of Edinburgh was indebted for the institution of five Professorships, viz. Chemistry, Theory of Physic, Practice of Physic, Midwifery, and Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. A few years after his death, the Managers of the Royal Infirmary placed a bust of Drummond by Nollekens in the hall of the building, with the following inscription written by his friend Dr Robertson, the historian:—“ George Drummond, to whom this country is indebted for all the benefits which it derives from the Royal Infirmary.”

During Provost Drummond’s life, and especially when he was engaged in the preliminaries of founding and funding the Royal Infirmary, he was largely assisted by an eccentric sister—May Drummond—who adopted the tenets of Quakerism, and occasionally made tours through the kingdom, preaching to the people, who flocked in great multitudes to hear her, and so noted did her addresses become that Queen Caroline at length condescended to listen to one. In the “ Scots Magazine ” of June, 1773, is a poem written 011 a picture in which May Drummond of Newton was represented in the character of Winter—

Full justly hath the artist planned In
inter’s guise thy furrowed brow,
And rightly raised thy feeble hand
Above the elemental glow.

I gaze upon that well-known face ;
But, ah! beneath December’s frost
Lies buried all its vernal grace.
And every trait of May is lost.

Not merely on thy trembling frame,
Thy wrinkled cheek and deafened ear,
Hut on thy fortunes and thy fame
Relentless Winter frowns severe.

Ah ! \\ here is now the innumerous crowd
That once with fond attention hung
On every truth divine that flowed
Improved from thy persuasive tongue?

’Tis gone!—it seeks a different road ;
Life’s social joys to thee are o’er ;
Untrod the path to that abode
Where hapless Penury keeps the door.

Drummond! thine audience yet recall,
Recall the young, the gay, the vain;
And e’er thy tottering fabric fall,
Sound forth the deeply moral strain.

For never, sure, could hard or sage,
Howe’er inspired, more clearly show
That all upon this transient stage
Is folly, vanity, or woe.

Bid them at once be warned and taught—
Ah, no!—suppress the ungrateful tale—
O'er every frailty, every fault,
Oblivion, draw thy friendly veil.

Tell rather what transcendent joy
Awaits them on the immortal shore,
If well thy Summer’s strength employ,
And well distribute Autumn’s store.

Tell them, if virtue crown their bloom,
Time shall the happy period bring,
When the dark winter of the tomb
Shall yield to everlasting Spring.

Provost Drummond’s daughter was married to the Rev. John Jardine, D.D., one of the ministers of the Tron Church, Edinburgh, and was the mother of Sir Henry Jardine, at one time King’s Remembrancer in Exchequer for Scotland, who died 11th August, 1851.

Blair of Ardblair.

The family of Blair are now extinct in the district. They were a branch of the family of Blair of Balthayock. descended from Alexander de Blair, who flourished in the reign of William the Lion.

William Blair was an Abbot of the Monastery of St Marie, at Coupar Angus, in 1130. In 1554 John Blair of Ardblair was the chief instigator of the murder of George Drummond and his son William, and one Patrick Blair of Ardblair was beheaded for his share in it. Sir Thomas Blair hail the honour of knighthood conferred on him by Charles I. Rachel Blair of Ardblair was wife to Dr Joseph Robertson. Their only child, Christina Robertson, married, in 1795, Lawrence Olipliant of Gask (brother of the celebrated Lady Nairne), one of whose descendants now owns the estate.

Mercer of Meikleour.

Sir Andrew Mercer received a Charter for the Barony of Meikleour in 1440, and died 1473. His son, Sir Laurence, had a safe conduct to England from Edward IV. in 1473. Sir Henry Mercer was killed at the battle of Flodden, 1513, and regarding his son, Laurence Mercer, there is an inventory of his stock registered 26tli May, 1581—“ Twenty-two ky, each at £6; a bull at £3 6s 8d; seven young calfis at £1 each; and fifty draw and oxen at £8 each.”

There is also in the glebe stocking of James Mercer, minister of Clunie, included in his inventory in 1636, “ a cow valued at .£18.”

Colonel William Mercer died June, 1700, had a daughter, Jane, who married Viscount Keith, a distinguished naval commander. They had an only child, Margaret Mercer Elphinstone, born 1788. She married, in 1817, the Count de Flahault de la Billarderie, in France, a General in the army of Napoleon I., and French Ambassador at the British Court in 1861. (This lady was granddaughter of the Hon. Robert Nairne, second son of Lord William Murray, 2nd Lord Nairne. John, the 3rd Lord Nairne, was attainted for his allegiance to the Stuarts in 1745, but the title was restored to his youngest son, William Murray Nairne, by Act of Parliament, 17th June, 1824. On the death of William, 6th Lord Nairne, without issue, 27th December, 1837, the title became extinct.)

The daughter of the Count de Flahault, Emily Jane Mercer, born 1819, was declared heir to the title of Baroness Nairne (dormant since 1837) by the House of Lords, 1874. She married in 1843, Henry, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne, in Ireland, and died 1894. The estate is now possessed by their son, Lord Fitzmaurice, otli Marquess, at one time Governor-General of Canada.

Admirable Crichton.

The family of Crichton of Clunie, and Eliock in Dumfries, was collaterally descended from Murdoch, Duke of Albany, third son of Robert III., and uncle of James I.

James Crichton was born in the Castle of Clunie, 1560, his father being Robert Crichton, the Lord-Advocate of Scotland. He received his education at Perth, and at the University of St Andrews under the care of Professor Rutherford, his fellow-students being Buchanan, Hepburn. Robertson, and the future James VI. In 1572 he took his degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1574 that of Master of Arts, and, before reaching the age of nineteen, had mastered ten different languages, which he could read and write to perfection. He practised the arts of drawing and painting, and improved himself to the highest degree in riding, fencing, dancing, singing, and in playing upon allJ sorts of musical instruments. At the age of twenty he set out upon his travels, first directing his course to Paris and then to Rome, where he disputed in presence of the Pope, and refuted every argument all the professors, masters, or doctors propounded to him. Arriving in Padua in 1581, the Professors of that University assembled to do him honour, and, journeying to Mantua, he challenged a prize-fighter who had foiled the most expert fencers in Europe, and who had already slain three persons who had entered the lists with him in that city. Crichton encountered his antagonist with so much dexterity and vigour that he ran him through the body in three different places, of which wounds he immediately died. The victor generously bestowed the prize—1500 pistoles—on the widows of the men who had been killed by the gladiator. The Duke of Mantua, struck with his talents and acquirements, appointed him tutor to his son, Yineentio di Gonzaga, a prince of turbulent disposition and licentious manners. One night, during the festival of the Carnival in 1582, while he rambled about the streets playing the guitar, he was attacked by six persons in masks. With consummate skill he dispersed his assailants and disarmed their leader, who begged his life, exclaiming, “I am your pupil, the Prince.” Crichton immediately fell on his knees, and, presenting his swoi'd to the Prince, expressed his sorrow for having lifted it against him, saying he had been prompted by self-defence. The dastardly Gonzaga. inflamed with passion or wine, plunged the weapon into his heart. Thus prematurely was cut off the “Admirable Crichton”— (for so was he named)—and his tragical end excited a great and general lamentation.

Thomas Graham (Lord Lynedoch).

Thomas Graham was born in Newton Castle, the family residence, in 1750. Succeeding to the estates of Newton and Balgowan, on the death of his father in 1766, he married, 1774, the Hon. Mary Catheart, second daughter of Charles, 0th Lord Catheart. From this period till 1792 he remained a private country gentleman, cultivating his two estates, indulging in classical studies and the enjoyment of elegant leisure. In 1792 his wife died, and his grief for her loss was so overwhelming as greatly to injure his health, awl he was induced to travel. After visiting Prance he went on to Gibraltar and fell into the society of the officers of the garrison, and thenceforth determined on devoting himself to the profession of arms. Lord Hood sailing to the south nf France, Graham accompanied him as a volunteer. In 1793 he landed with the British troops at Toulon, and served as extra aide-de-camp to Lord Mulgrave. On returning to Scotland he raised from among his own countrymen in Perthshire the first battalion of the 90th Regiment, of which he was appointed Colonel-Command-ant, 1794. In 1794, 179(5, 1802, and 1800 he was unanimously elected Member of Parliament for Perthshire, but was defeated in two contested elections of 1811 and 1812. In 1793 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the army. Obtaining permission, he joined the Austrian army, 1793, and continued in that service till the beginning of 1797. Attached to the Austrian army of Italy, he was shut up in Mantua with General Wurmser. During its investment, and the siege of the city continuing long and provisions getting scarce, a council of war determined that intelligence should be sent to the Imperialist General Alvinze of their desperate situation. This perilous mission Col. Graham volunteered to perform in person. Disguised as a peasant, he quitted Mantua on 29th December, and, after eluding the vigilance of the French patrols and surmounting numerous hardships and dangers, he arrived at the headquarters of General Alvinze at Bassano, 4th January, 1797. Joining his regiment at Gibraltar, he assisted at the reduction of the island of Minorca, and received high rewards from the King of Naples for his services in Sicily. From 1798 to 1800 he blockaded Malta, then held by the French, and obliged the garrison to surrender. The years 1801 and 1802 he spent in travelling through Europe. From 1803 to 1805 he served with his regiment in Ireland. In 1808 he acted as aide-de-camp to Sir John Moore in his unsuccessful mission to the assistance of the King of Sweden. lie served in Spain during the campaign of 1808, and was in the disastrous retreat to Corunna. He was promoted in 1809 to the rank of Major-General; commanded a division at the siege of Flushing in the Walcheren expedition, 1810; and was afterwards appointed to the command of the British and Portuguese troops in Cadiz, then blockaded by the French, with the rank of Lieut.-General. He was General in command, and defeated the French at the battle of Barossa, 1811, for which he received the thanks of Parliament, and was invested with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, entitling him to the designation of Knight. In 1812 the siege of Cuidad Rodrigo was under his immediate direction ; and in 1813 he commanded the left wing of the British army at the battle of Vittoria. During this year also he besieged and reduced San Sebastian. He commanded the left wing of the British army at the passage of the Bidassoa river. In 1811 he was appointed Commander of the Forces in Holland, and defeated the French at Merxem, for which he again received the thanks of Parliament. He was created a Peer of the United Kingdom by the title of Lord Lynedoch of Balgowan, but nobly refused a grant of £2000 per annum to himself and his heirs. In 1821 he was raised to the full rank of General; 1820, nominated Colonel of the 11th Foot; in 1834, removed to the Colonelcy of the Royals; and in 1829, appointed Governor of Dumbarton Castle. In his latter years Lord Lynedoch passed his time in Italy, but in 1842, when Queen Victoria visited Scotland for the first time, so anxious was he to manifest his sense of loyalty and his personal attachment to his Sovereign, that, though then in his 92nd year, he came from Switzerland for the express purpose of paying his duty to Her Majesty in the Metropolis of his native land. He died in London, 1843, when the title became extinct.

In the National Gallery of Scotland, the Mound, Edinburgh, is a full-length portrait of the Hon. Mrs Graham, and in the Catalogue is this notice:—

“Bequeathed by the late Robert Graham, Esq. of Redgortou, formerly of Balgowan and Lynedoch. —The Honourable Mary Cathcart, second daughter of Charles, ninth Lord Cathcart, was born in 1757, and died childless in 1792, after being married eighteen years to Thomas Graham of Balgowan, better known afterwards as Lord Lynedoch, one of the most daring of the heroes of the Peninsular War. Inconsolable for the loss of his beautiful and amiable lady, the gallant Graham, at the age of 43, entered on the arduous and chivalrous career in which he achieved such high honours. He died in 1843, at the age of 94. After Mrs Graham’s death, her husband, unable to look on her portrait, gave orders that it should be bricked up at the end of the room w here it hung, and its existence was forgotten, and only discovered fifty years afterwards during alterations made on the house by another proprietor. It was exhibited in the Biitish Institution in 1848, where it attracted very great attention, and again in 1857 at Manchester, among the Art Treasures, of which, by the general voice, it was pronounced one of the chief.” (No. 304. by Gainsborough.)

On the 8th December, 1896, a monument to commemorate the deeds of the 90th (Perthshire) Regiment, raised in 1796 by Lord Lynedoch, was unveiled on the North Inch at Perth,

Rattray of Rattray and Craighall.

The Rattrays are one of our oldest families, and it is difficult to ascertain when first they settled in the district. It is assured that they were possessors of the Craighall estate before the reign of William the Lion, and long ere that owned the neighbouring barony of Rattray.

An old monumental slab above the doorway of the place of sepulture in the Rattray Churchyard bears date, “ 1000 : Rattray of Rattray and Craighall.”

It is certain that Alan de Rattrief lived in the days of William the Lion and Alexander II., his son, Thomas, being knighted by the latter sovereign. He got the lands of Gleneaveryn and Kingoldrum with his wife Christian, the perambulation of said lauds in 1250 being recorded in the Registry of the Abbey of Arbroath.

Sir Thomas left two sons, Eustace and John. In 1280 Eustatius de Rattrie gave to the monks of Coupar—“Oinne nis liabeo duarum Drimmies in tenements meo de Glen-bethlac cum omnibus ritus.” Adamus de Rattrie, son of Eustace, swore allegiance to Edward I. in 1292 and 1296, and in 1299 likewise gave to the monks of Coupar the third or West Drimmie.

The earliest existing charters of the Rattray family is a charter of inspexisse by Gilbert Hay, Constable of Scotland, dated at Dunkeld, 5th October, 1300, in which is recited a confirmation by King Robert Bruce, to the Abbot of Coupar, of all grants to the convent by Adam of Glcnbathloch, of the lands of the two Drymmys, and of one by Eustace of Rattrief, dated at Dundee on Wednesday before the feast of St Clement, 1300, of right of cummonty on said lands.

Adam died before 1315, and his son Alexander wras one of the barons of Parliament held at Ayr in 1315, which settled the succession to the Scottish crown. Dying without issue, Alexander was succeeded by his brother Eustace, who was, in the Black Parliament held at Scone in August, 1320, charged with being accomplice in the conspiracy of Sir William Soulis and Sir David Brechin against the Bruce.

“King Robert summoned a convention, and because the vicissitudes of a long war had confounded the rights of property, he ordered every one to producc the titles by which they held their possessions. This demand was equally vexatious to the old as well as to the new; because brave men thought they held by the best right those estates they had taken by their arms from an enemy and the ancient possessors, as scarcely a house had escaped the calamity of war, had lost their written rights—if ever they had any—along with their other effects. They therefore took a bold step—bold in appearance, but desperate and rash in the result. When the King in Parliament desired them to produce their titles to their possessions, they all drew their swords, exclaim ing that they carried their titles in their right hands. The King . . . concealed his auger for the time. Many of the nobility, conscious of the audacity of the action, entered into a conspiracy for betraying the Kingdom to the English. . . . Sir Eustace de Rattray, who, being invited to join with thes quho upon discontents against King Robert Bruce, conspyred to deliver him up to the King of England, refused, and quhen that treason was discovered, albeit they put- in his name among the rest, yet his subscription and seal, being not found with the writ, he was cleared, quhen others that were found guiltie were punished. Sir David de Brechin and five other knights with three esquires, Richard Brown, Hammeline de Troupe, and Eustace de Rattray are the only persons whose names have come down to us as certainly implicated in the conspiracy. When the whole conspirators were apprehended a Parliament was summoned at Perth, where the letters were produced, and, every one’s seal being recognised, Sir David de Brechin, along with Malherbe, Logie, and Brown, were convicted of treason by their own confession and executed. . . . Maxwell, Berklay, Graham, Troupe, and Rattray were also tried, but acquitted.”

Eustace was succeeded by his son, John, who vtas also succeeded by a son of the same name. This latter died about the close of the reign of James I., leaving a sou Patrick, who died in 1456, and was succeeded by his son, Sylvester, the most noted among his successors for generations, who in 1463 was appointed one of the Extraordinary Ambassadors sent to treat with Edward IV. about the affairs of the two kingdoms, and who negotiated with him the truce that was to last for fifteen years. By his wife, Alison Hepburn, he had a son, John, who was kniglited by James VI., and mariied Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Kennedy. There were three sons of the marriage—John, Patrick, and Sylvester. On the 18th May, 1506, he was appointed Joint-Bailie of the Regality of Scone, with such salai y and accommodation as were formerly enjoyed by Thomas Blair of Balthayock. John, who died in Holland in his father’s lifetime, nas an officer in the Dutch army, and, although married, left no issue.

The second son, Patrick, succeeded Sir John, and the only daughter, Grissel, became the Countess of John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Athole.

The following is an abstract from a copy MS. which refers to a disaster, which for a time marred the for-* tunes of the Rattray family of Craighall:—“ Sir John Rattray quho was killed at Flodden (1513), with King James IV!; his eldest soil called John had two daughters, bot he died before his father without heirs male. Always Sir John Rattray married for his second marriage Dam Elisabeth Kennadie, quho bar to him two sons, the one called Patrick, the other called Sylvester. Sir John Rattray being killed at Flodden, the Earl of Athol thought himself entitled to an equal portion of the estates of Rattray in right of his Countess, and this claim being resisted by his brothers-in-law, the Earl resolved to attain his end by force.

“Arraying a body of his clansmen, he marched down upon the castle of Rattray with the intention of carrying it by assault; Patrick, finding his few retainers unable to defend the place, made a timely retreat.

“The Earl broke into the old fortalice, ransacked and seized all the family documents on which he could lay hands. Also he took the two daughters, and married upon his son the oldest called Dam Grissell, and the other upon Sir James Stewart of Attemadies, in the north, and so possessed himself of the estate of Rattray and sundrie other lands belonging to that family.”

This Dam Grissell had many children. Her son John was Chancellor of' Scotland, and she had many daughters married to many honourable families.

“Dam Kennedie, for her and Sir John Rattray’s sons, pleaded for the ryt of the lands of Rattray, bot they were overpowered by the Earl of Athol—the eldest, Patrick, being killed by the Leslies of Kinrorie (emissaries no doubt of the Earl of Athol), when he was building a strength of his owne securitie upon a rock that had bot on passage to enter be. Sylvester, the other son, got a warrant under the King’s great seal to ye Lord Ruthven, Sheriff of Perth, to hold a court at Dundie (becaus of the Earl of Athol’s power), when he was served heir to his brother and to his father, Sir John; but the Earl of Athol being Chancellor made out of the way the charter of Silvester Rattray, who could not recover his right oyet.

“This Silvester atteir w ith the Laird of Ivinmonth of that Ilk assist and obtened by law the lands of Craighall and a fifth part of the barony of Rattray, becaus thes lands wer provyded to the children of Dam Elizabeth Kenuadie by the said Sir John, whilk continue with that family till this day.

“At length, in 1533, Silvester petitioned the King for a commission to have the service completed at Dundee, narrating that for the space of 12 years he had been hindered from getting himself served as heir to his father’s lands by the Eail of Athol and others, who slew his brother, Patrick Rattray, in the chapel of his house at Glenballoch, and he was informed that the Earl was meditating a similar fate for himself. The commission sought was granted under the great seal, 17th October, 1533, and the service accordingly took place under this special authority at Dundee. No proceedings appear to have been taken against Athol for the base part he acted, but the passing of the service at Dundee obviously brought about some amicable arrangement or compromise with him, for in December following, Grizella, Countess of Athol, granted a precept of clare constat in favour of Silvester Rattray as heir of Patrick Rattray, his brother, in the lands of Braidwalls and other parts of Rattray.”

Next year Silvester was infeft at Dundee in the barony of Craighall and Kynballoch. He died in 1554, leaving two sons, David, his heir, and William. Both were implicated in the death of Robert Rollack, Polcolk, and David Donald, Grange, under circumstances which have not been recorded, but for which they compounded by money payment.

David had two sons, George, who lived to the beginning of the 17th century, and Silvester, who was minister of Auchtergaven and the ancestor of the Rattrays of Dalnoon.

In 1587 George Rattray of Craighall binds himself and his dependants “ to serve the Earl of Argyle in all his actions and adoes, against al persons, the King's majesty only exceptit, and sail neither hear or see his skaith, but sail make him foreseen therewith, and sail resist the same sae far as in me lies, and that in respect the said Earl has given me his band of maintenance.”

George succeeded his father in the I’eign of James VI. He was succeeded by Silvester, who was infeft in all his father’s lands by a charter under the great seal 20th October, 1604. He died in 1613, and left two sons, David and Silvester. The latter, who was bred to the Church, was the progenitor of the Rattrays of Persie.

The elder son, David, did not long survive his father, and left a son, Patrick. Upon his own resignation he got a charter under the great seal from King Charles I., of date 2-Stli February, 1618, of the lands of Craighall, Kyn-balloch, and others, containing a novodamns and erecting them into a free barony to be called Craighall and Rattray for all time coming.

By his wife, Anne Drummond, daughter of John, 2nd Lord Madderty, he had a daughter, married to Ogilvy of Balfour, and a son, James, who also left a son, Dr Thomas Rattray, a man of singular piety and learning, who was served heir to his father before the Sheriff of Perth, 13tli July, 1692. He was a Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and distinguished himself by his literary abilities, and especially by his writing on liturgical subjects. He married Margaret Galloway, daughter of Thomas, Lord Dunkeld, and died in 1743, leaving two sons and three daughters.

The eldest daughter, Margaret, married the celebrated John Clerk of Pennicuik, for four years President of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and more than thirty years first medical practitioner in Scotland. He died in 1757. James Clerk, his eldest son, succeeded to the Clerk-Rattray estates in right of his grandmother, and assumed the surname of Rattray in addition to his own. He was an eminent member of the Scottish Bar, and was constituted a Baron of the Scottish Exchequer. He died 1831, and was succeeded by his son Robert, who died 1851, leaving four daughters and two sons—James, his successor (the present proprietor), and Adam, an officer in the Gordon Highlanders.

Janies Clerk-Rattray entered the army in 1851, and served with great distinction in the Crimean and Indian Mutiny campaigns, having been wounded in the Redan, and engaged in the relief and defence of Lucknow. In 1871 he was created a Commander of the Bath, and has held rank as Hon. Lieutenant-General since 1879. In 1897 he had the honour of knighthood conferred on him by Her Majesty the Queen. (See chapter XIV.)

Grimond of Lornty.

The family of Grimond have long been resident in the district. David Grimond was one of the pioneers of the flax-spinning trade. His brother, James Grimoud, who died in 1862, was the first spinner Watt got to make trial of jute fibre. David Grimond of Oakbank was born at Lornty, in 1816, and received his education at Blairgowrie. His father dying in 1833, he succeeded him, and carried on a successful and extensive business. In 1843 he built Brooklinn Mill, and in 1862 he succeeded to the business of his uncle, James Grimond of Oakbank, with which mill his name was mostly associated. He was extensively known as an energetic, enterprising, and trustworthy gentleman. He died 18th June, 1889.

Joseph Grimoud, fourth son of David Grimond of Lomty, was born in 1821, and received the rudiments of his education at the Parish School of Blairgowrie. While but a youth he entered the service of a company of cloth merchants in Dundee, and, after serving his apprenticeship, proceeded to Manchester, where he founded a business—one of the most successful and extensive in Scotland. Returning to Dundee in company with his brother, Alexander, he erected the Bowbridge Mills, which, with Max well town Carpet Factory and Dyeworks, employ over 3000 hands. The newest machines and best appliances were constantly added, and the comfort and health of the work folks were always cared for as of prime importance. He established offices in London and New York for the sale of the varied productions of their looms ; founded in Manchester an important industry for the manufacture of oil cloth for packing purposes; and to have a careful selection of the raw material, he visited Calcutta and established an office with staff for the purchase and selection of the fibre. In the course of his business he visited nearly every capital of Europe and America, and brought home some object of beauty and of interest. His leisure he devoted to his friends and his flowers. In politics he was an ardent friend of John Bright whom he knew and loved. He wras for many years a Director of the North British Railway; a Deputy-Lieutenant for the County of Dundee; a Magistrate for Forfarshire, with residence at Kinnettles, and took a warm interest in the public business of the county. He died 2nd November, 1894.

Professor Adams,

David Laird Adams was a native of Blairgowrie, where he was born in 1837. He received the rudiments of his education at the Parish School, studying afterwards at the Church of Scotland Training College, Edinburgh, and at the University there. He also studied abroad, chiefly in Germany. Taking the degree of M.A., he acted for some time as teacher in Dollar Academy, Merehiston Castle School, and Anderson’s College, Glasgow. Graduating B.D. in 1871, he was ordained to his first charge, St David’s, Edinburgh, and in 1875 elected minister of Monimail, Fife. From 1874 to 1880 he acted as Examiner for the degree of B.D., and in 1880 was elected to the Chair of Hebrew and Oriental Languages in the Edinburgh University, which position he occupied till his death in 1892.

John Baxter, D.D.

John Baxter was born in Blairgowrie in 1809, receiving his education at the parish schools of Blairgowrie and Rattray; then in Dundee under Mr Campbell (afterwards Dr John Campbell of London); and subsequently at the Grammar School of Dunkeld under Mr M‘Culloch (afterwards Dr M'Culloch of Greenock). He matriculated at the University of St Andrews, 1822-23, and took his M.A. degree in 1826; licensed by the Presbytery of Meigle in 1831, he was ordained to his first charge in Persie; transferred to Hilltown Church, Dundee, in 1838, “came out” with his congregation at the Disruption, 1843; and in 18.">8 accepted a call to the First Free Church, Blairgowrie, where he continued till his death in 1893. In 1881 he received the degree of D.D. from St Andrew's University, and in 1887 was proposed for the Maderatorship of the Free General Assembly.

Macpherson of Blairgowrie.

This family is descended from Donald Macpherson of Xoid (or Nuide), who in 1635 married Isabel, a daughter of Alexander Rose of Clova. They were the common ancestor of the following families of Macphersons, viz.:— Cluny, Ralia or Glentruim, Blairgowrie, Belleville, and Philadelphia.

Allan Macpherson, who was a Colonel in the East India Service, bought the estate of Blairgowrie in IV02 and built Blairgowrie House, dying in 1817. His son, William (born in 1784 at Barrackpore, near Calcutta), succeeded to the estate, and continued to reside at Blairgowrie House till 1829, when he left for New South Wales, having been appointed by Sir George Murray, then Colonial Secretary, as Collector of Inland Revenue for that Colony, from which he succeeded to other and higher appointments. He died 1806.

During the time he resided at Blairgowrie he took an active interest in the progress and advancement of the town and district, making himself very popular by many acts of kindness to the community, of which he was feudal superior. He gifted to the town the large market square known as the Wellmeadow, along with the market customs of the burgh, and the “ Waulk Mill,” besides other properties and privileges to assist the town’s revenue.

Allan Macpherson was born at Blairgowrie House in 1818, and journeyed to New- South Wales in 1829 with his father, and received his education in that colony.

He came home in 1851, and returned in 1856 to New South Wales, where he resided many years.

Being repeatedly elected representative of one of the divisions of the colony as a member of the Legislative Council, he took a leading part in the proceedings of Allan Macpherson that body. In 1860 he became proprietor of the estate of Blairgowrie on the death of his father, and in 1869 took up residence in the family mansion. He was a Justice of the Peace and a Depnty-Lieutenant for Perthshire, and acted upon nearly all the executive Committees of the County of Perth. In politics he was formerly a Liberal, but latterly he became associated with the Conservative party. He died 6th November, 1801. In 1892 a memorial fountain was erected to his memory, by Mrs Macpherson and family, in the Well meadow.

James Neilson, M.D.

This gentleman w as born in Blairgowrie in 1841, and received liis early education in the Free Church School. After a distinguished academical career at Edinburgh University, he assisted Pi-ofessor Simpson for some time, and afterwards was appointed resident surgeon of Maternity Hospital, and while there he took his degrees of M.D. and L.M., 1S62. In that year he settled down in Blairgowrie.

In his professional capacity he hail all the requisites for a successful doctor ; his great skill in grappling with disease and his dee]) knowledge of the technicalities of his profession caused his patients to have unbounded confidence in him.

He took a deep interest in all that appertained to the moral and social advancement of the community. At the election of the first School Board he was returned at the head of the poll by a large majority; he was also Chief-Magistrate for more that one term. He was an ardent and pronounced Liberal. The assiduous attention which he paid to his very large practice, and the exposure to which he was at all times and in all weathers subjected, hastened his untimely death, 8th February, 1886.

Alexander Robertson.

This gentleman was born in Blairgowrie in 1813, and died in Edinburgh, 12th November, 1889. His father was originally a merchant and afterwards a banker in the town.

Having been educated to the law, he carried on an extensive and successful practice, as well as the agency for the Bank of Scotland. For many years he held the office of Town Clerk, in which capacity he was very useful to the burgh and the community. He was an active and available public servant, and took considerable part in all the local affairs of his time. As a speaker he was able and successful, and several of his happy public appearances are still remembered.

For more than twenty years he was President of the local curlers, and, by his skilful management and scientific playing, he was perhaps the means, more than any other, of bringing the Club into the proud position of one of the foremost, if not actually the most successful, in Scotland.

Of the 22 silver medals won by Blairgowrie a large proportion were gained under his renowned Presidency.

He was the principal promoter of the Blairgowrie Gasworks, and to him the town was largely indebted for enjoying this great boon of modern civilisation long before its neighbours.

He was one of the leading members of St Mary’s Parish Church, and rendered much valuable service in connection writh the building of the new place of worship.

He was a man of much tact and good sense. He had a generally well-stored and cultivated mind, and was of an agreeable, genial, and obliging disposition.

William Geddes.

This well-known artist was born in Blairgowrie in 1840, and vt as trained to the house-painting business, but the bent of his mind was always towards the Fine Arts, to which he assiduously devoted his leisure time and ultimately all his efforts. His early studies were of the genre class, mostly figure groups illustrative of Scottish life and manners, many of them containing fine touches of humour. To these and kindred subjects, still life and groups of trout and salmon, with an occasional landscape, his time and talent were devoted, and in some of these departments—notably those of fish painting—while he had many imitators, he had no rival. His genius was conspicuous in many directions; as a sculptor he would undoubtedly have excelled had he chosen, and he was possessed of literary ability of a high order. Socially he was a genial and brilliant spirit, original and sometimes eccentric, a clever mimic, and kindly-hearted fellow. His pictures were exhibited and admired for many years in Edinburgh and elsewhere. He died 31st October, 1884.

David C. Robb.

This gentleman was born in Blairgowrie, 7th February, 1851, and was educated at the parish schools of Rattray and Blairgowrie. After completing a course of study at the High School of Dundee, he entered the University of St Andrews in 1866. Here he concluded a highly-successful curriculum by graduating M.A. in 1870, and at the same time gained by competition the much-coveted honour of being appointed Guthrie Scholar, the Scholarship being £250. From St Andrews he went to Worcester College, Oxford, where he graduated in due course, securing first class honours in Classics; but, though thus proving himself an excellent classical scholar, the bent of his mind led him towards natural science, and he selected Chemistry. In this new work he soon distinguished himself so much that he was appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry, a post which he occupied for about seven years. In 1879 a translation of Pasteur’s “ Studies on Beer ” was published for Frank Faulkner, of the Brewery, St Helens, under Robb’s editorship, and at the time of his death he was similarly engaged upon Dr Landolt’s work, “ The Optical Rotation Power of Organic Substances.” He possessed a superior knowledge of botany and natural science generally. He died 2nd June, 1881.

John Bridie.

This gentleman settled in Blairgowrie in 1855, and for over 30 years was identified with public life. In 1867 he became a member of the Town Council, and under the old regime he rose to the position of Baron-Bailie. In the Police Commission he was for several years a Junior Magistrate, then Senior Magistrate, and when the Act of 1892 came into force he obtained the title of Provost. In November, 1893, while re-elected a Commissioner he retired from the Provostship, and was re-elected Baron-Bailie. He took a hearty interest in everything connected with the welfare and happiness of the community, and devoted much time and thought to public business.

A discriminating judge of pictures—who could himself sketch and paint with no mean ability—he, for several years, criticised the Royal Scottish Academy Exhibition in the columns of the “ Dundee Advertiser.” To the local press he wrote much in the form of vigorous articles on current topics, happy paragraphs and graphic accounts of travel, and clever sketches. Of his poetical pieces several have obtained a well-merited place in the volume, published 1893, of Edward’s “Modern Scottish Poets.” John Bridie hail a keen appreciation of the beau tiful, and these varied qualities gave to the works of his hands grace and beauty, and among the best painters in Scotland he was respected. His genial temper and bonhomie made him friends everywhere, and he was altogether a man of wide and varied sympathies, and no question of human interest came to him amiss. He died 2Gth June, 1894.

Robert Lunan, Surgeon.

After a highly-distin-guislied career at the University of Edinburgh, a few years’ practice with his uncle, Dr Smith, Provost of Forfar, and a six months’ voyage on board a whaler in Davis Straits, Robert Lunan came to reside in Blairgowrie in 1836. and from the first gave evidence of that | energy and independent / outspokenness which characterised everything he did ever after. In his early years he was one of the best rifle shots of the county, and Dr Robert Lunan. succeeded in winning the £30 Challenge Cup for Fife and Kinross at the St Andrews "Wapenschaw of 1862. In connection with his shooting exploits he had a splendid record, trophies of one kind and another having fallen to his lot at nearly every competition in which he took part. On one occasion when, with an ordinary Enfield rifle, he came very nearly beating the cracks with their Winchester rifles at Montrose, he was presented on his return with a rifle and case. On another occasion he was presented with a silver snuff-box, with a eulogistic inscription on a gold plate on it, from the ladies of the Stormont.

On the 22nd January, 1891, he had special honours paid him by the Blairgowrie Curling Club, of which he had then completed his fiftieth year as a member. He was entertained to a banquet in the Queen’s Hotel, and presented with a massive silver dinner service, together with an illuminated address. The address spoke of the Doctor’s “ fifty-five years of unremitting attention to his professional duties, and the desire of the subscribers to recognise specially his unwearying kindness to the poor of the district, and the manner in which, without consideration of self, he had always been ready to devote his time and skill to those in distress.” The tureen of the dinner service bore the inscription—“ Presented to Dr Robert Lunan, Blairgowrie, by the public, as a token of the universal esteem in which he is held, and in grateful recognition of his valuable professional services, and his invaluable kindness to the poor during the last 55 years. Blairgowrie, 1891.”

As a judge of violins Dr Lunan occupied a foremost place, and owned a splendid collection, including a valuable Caspar di Salo. His opinion on the merits of a violin were highly valued, and the possessor of more than one valuable violin is indebted for it to the Doctor’s discriminating judgment. He laboured for 58 years in Blairgowrie, and died 24th April, 1894, aged 82.

Thomas S. Bisset.

This gentleman was born at Marlee, near Blairgowrie, in 1889. After receiving the rudiments of education at the Parish School, he was trained to work in iron, and early in life he gave evidence of an intellectual interest and practical skill in mechanics. As the result of a visit to the Exhibition in London, 1862, he designed his first self-acting back-delivery reaping machine. In 1867 he patented the steel-lined fingers for reapers and mowers which are now used by every maker.

In 1868 he constructed a bicycle, and claimed to be the first maker and rider of these machines in Britain. In 1878 the firm, finding their premises at Marlee too remote from railway transit, acquired ground at Greenback, and erected extensive buildings thereon for the carrying on of business. In this year (1878) the firm constructed their “ Scotia ” mower—the first machine with enclosed gear made in Britain—and in 1880 the now famous “ Speedwell ” was designed. In 1887 Mr Bisset commenced the manufacture of self-binding reapers, realising that they would soon come into general use. The perfecting and practical manufacture of these machines cost Bisset much labour and attention, but he had unlimited courage and perseverance.

He was for a number of years a member of Blairgowrie School Board, and took a keen interest in all branches of education. He died 27th August, 1896.

John Panton.

This gentleman was born at Blairgowrie in 1834, his father,

William Panton, being overseer for many years on the Blairgowrie estate. Receiving his education at the Parish School, and choosing the law as a profession, he served his apprenticeship in the offices of Duncan & M'Lean, Perth. Returning to Blairgowrie, he commenced practice along with Dallas, writer, but the partnership was of short duration. Prom this humble start his energy soon developed itself, and he extended his operations in every direction. He was appointed factor on Blairgowrie estate in 1855, and retained the office till his death.

In 1857 he opened a branch of the Royal Bank at Millbank House (transferred to present buildings on their erection in 1872). His law offices, in connection with the Royal Bank, were the centre of a wide and varied activity, the moving spirit of which was “ The Factor.” This term was the usual form in which he was addressed, and arose from the large number of properties he was agent for—Blairgowrie, Bamff, Parkhill, Glenericht, Dru-more, Coupar Grange, and Clayquhat estates, &c. He was agent for the Royal Bank; a Director and Valuator of the Royal Insurance Society; Director of Blairgowrie Gas Company; Director of Westfields Spinning Company; Chairman of Blairgowrie Water Commission; a County Councillor, Parish Councillor, and member of other bodies. He engaged in extensive concerns as maltster at Blairgowrie Arbroath, Craigie, Perth, Stirling, and other places; and carried on a successful cattle mart in Blairgowrie.

He bought the estates of Dalnagairn in Strathardle ; Inchmartine (2800 acres) in the Carse of Gowrie; and Buttergask (1250 acres), and Carsie in Strathmore. He also farmed Blacklaw and Gormack. He rented the extensive sheep grazings of Glenfernate, Daliyunzie, and Old Spittal of Gleusliee. He was one of the leading partners in Newtyle Chemical Works; was Superior of Rattray; and owned a large number of properties in Blairgowrie, Perth, Glasgow, &c.

In 1808 John Panton took an active part in the political campaign which broke up the Tory yoke in the shire. In recent years business rather than politics occupied his brain, but his sympathies and his vote were in the Conservatives’ favour. He was for long a Free Churchman, but a good many years ago he joined the Established Church, of which he was a regular attender.

As a solicitor a large share of the business of the district fell into his hands, and, in difficult arbitrations and in the management of trust estates, his skill and strong common sense made him an indispensable adviser. In the midst of his extensive and varied business John Panton found time for much kindly social intercourse, lie was a keen curler and a genial friend, and was ever inspired by a simple desire for the public welfare and, the general good. He died 29th September, 1898.

Of whom shall I further write? To sketch shortly the lives of the worthy citizens—natives of the town and district—would fill a volume alone.

James Anderson of Bleaton (1797-1868), solicitor and banker.

George B. Anderson, son of the former (18 -1868)— a banker and popular Captain of the Volunteers.

John Baxter of Ashbank (1799-1860)—flaxspinner.

John Bisset of Marlee (1808-1890)—farmer and agricultural implement maker; the founder of the world-famous firm of Bisset & Sons, makers of reapers and mowers.

David Brown of Tliorngreen (1800-1863)—lessee of the principal hotel in town, then Brown’s Hotel; proprietor of a coach, “ Braes of Mar,” which ran between Perth and Braemar; who also ran stage-coaches to Coupar Angus and Dundee; carried on distilleries at Blairgowrie, Ballied, and Pitcarmic; and farmed Marlee, Tliorngreen, Grange of Airlie, Auchteralyth, besides having sheep grazings in Inverness, &c.

Peter Chalmers (1799-1887) of Gowaulea—for over fifty years leader of psalmody, first in the Parish Church and afterwards in First Free Church.

Robert Cowpar of Falcon House (1822-1887), J.P.—a distinguished officer in the service of H.M.E.I. Company, rising gradually from Ensign to honorary rank of Lieut.-Colonel; who farmed Wester Essendy, Drummellie, and Cottarton.

William Culross, native of Welltown (1798-1889) wood-merchant.

James Leslie, the Thorn (1808-1894) (after whom Leslie Street is named) — a very successful breeder of black polled cattle.

Jacob Low, of Welltown (1809-1883)—an extensive sheep farmer in Queensland, and for several years member of the Legislature.

William M'Farlane (1854-1886)—journalist, occupied important positions on the staff of the “Scotsman,” on the press in China and Japan, published a book on Chinese character, which was much appreciated, sub-editor of the “ Portsmouth Times.”

James Peters (1766-1860)—appointed first postmaster in Blairgowrie about 1810.

William Robertsou (1810-1879)—bookseller, who set up the first printing press in the town about 1838.

James Ross (1789-1875)—bookseller, started in 1855 the first newspaper iu town, under the title of “Ross’s Compendium of the Week’s News.”

James Struth (18 -1891)—began life as a mill lad, with a natural bent for mechanics fostered by his employers, rising step by step until he was chief of one of the largest and best jute industries in India.

Peter M'lntosli (17 -1831)—spinner, the first to introduce spinning by machinery into the district.

Thomas Clark of Heathpark—publisher in Edinburgh.

William S. Soutar—solicitor and banker.

James Crockart—angler, gunsmith, and a crack rifle shot.

James Chalmers of Boglea (18—1897) J.P. — draper, farmer, and Provost of BlairgowTrie.

William Craigie (1821-1897)—slater, Town Councillor, &c.

Thomas Mitchell of Greenfield (1820-1884) — draper, Baron-Bailie.

William Pan ton of Maryfield—farmer and maltster.

George Saunders (1807-1873)—manufacturer.

George P. Cochrane—teacher.

William Cowan (1806-1989)—wright.

John Fleming (1807-1876)—builder, a member of Town Council, and Bailie in 1859 and 1863.

George G. MacLareu—a distinguished military surgeon, served over 22 years in India; for many years Medical Supervisor of the important Civil Station of Dehra Doon, N. W. Province, who performed in 1880 a successful operation on the right eye of Yakoob Khan, ex-Ameer of Afghanistan; retired on a pension with honorary rank of Lieut.-Colonel.

James F. MacLaren (brother of the above)—appointed, 1881, Surgeon to Her Majesty’s 2nd (Prince of Wales’ Own), Goorklia regiment, permanently stationed during peace at Dehra Doon, N. W. Province. (It was this regiment who so markedly distinguished itself along with the 92nd Highlanders, at. the battle of Candahar, under Sir Frederick Roberts, during the Afghan War.)

Charles Templeman, M.D., B.Sc., Medical Officer of Health, Dundee.

Alexander M'Farlane, M.A., B.Sc., D.Sc., LL.D.- -acted as Assistant Professor of Mathematics in Edinburgh University, 1879-1881 ; in 1885 appointed Professor of Physics in University of Texas.

James Isles, J.P., F.S.A., Scot.—wine merchant, antiquarian, and art connoisseur.

James Stewart, coal merchant, ex-Provost.

Isaac. Henry-Anderson of Druidsmere, S.S.C.; factor on the estates of Ardblair, Craighall, Marlee, &c.; Clerk of Eastern District Road Trust; for many years agent of Commercial Bank.

Robert Robertson, solicitor and banker, for many years Town Clerk.

Peter Chalmers—a distinguished soldier, saw active service in the Crimea, Adjutant of the Stirling Volunteers, retired on a pension with honorary rank of Major.

David Chalmers, timber and coal merchant, for nearly 30 years an enthusiastic, volunteer and popular Captain.

William Davie, ironmonger and seedsman, donor of the Public Park to Blairgowrie.

David Farquharson, A.R.S.A., artist.

William Dickson, artist.

John Craigie, M.A., LL.B., advocate.

Thomas Steven, J.P., wright, for many years a Bailie and Chief-Magistrate.

James Ogilvy, brewer, a County Councillor, and proprietor of Parkhead estate.

William Robertson, baker, first music teacher of James Durward Lyall (Durward Lely) Scotland’s famous tenor.

Thomas T. M‘Laggan, M.A., teacher of Classics, High School of Edinburgh.

James Moncur, Superintendent of Scottish Prison Stores, Edinburgh.

James C. Anderson of Aikenhead, late Resident Magistrate, Bengal Civil Service, India.

James Moir, Professor of Conveyancing, Glasgow.

David Templeman, flaxspinner, Provost of Blairgowrie.

James Kynocli, Chief Engineer, Canadian General Electric Company.

Sir Willifum Laird of Gartsherrie, &c-., &c.


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