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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part I - Scots in the Settlement and Development of The United States
Scots in Business and Philanthropy


AS has been noted elsewhere in Colonial and Revolutionary times, the descendants of Robert Livingston of Ancrum were at the forefront in everything that was for the patriotic and commercial welfare of the country. For generations the family exerted a powerful influence in shaping the destinies of New York State, and the names of its members are associated with many of its civic and philanthropic enterprises.

Another prominent merchant and philanthropist of New York City in Colonial times was John Watts (1715-1789), grandson of John Watts, of Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a founder and the tenth president of the St. Andrew's Society of New York; and one of the founders of the Society Library and of the New York City Hospital, and served for fourteen years as president of the latter. He was also one of the original subscribers to the Tontine Coffee House, and presented a clock to the New York Exchange in 1760. His large properties were confiscated during the Revolution on account of his British sympathies, but were in part restored to his sons. His statue stands in Trinity church-yard, New York.

Robert Lenox (1759-1839), one of the greatest merchants of his day, was a native of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and came to America with, his brothers David and William just before the outbreak of the Revolution. His brother, Major David Lenox (——1828), was a noted Revolutionary patriot and a

successful Philadelphia merchant. In 1817, Robert Lenox bought the so-called "Five Mile Post Farm" (between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Sixty-eighth and Seventy-first Streets) for $6,420, and a few mouths later, for $500, additional parcels extending to Seventy-fourth Street. This was afterward known as the "Lenox Farm." His son, James Lenox (1800-1880) succeeded to the Lenox fortune and endowed the Lenox Library and made large contributions to the Presbyterian Hospital and other institutions. The land that Robert Lenox bought for $6,920 in 1817 is to-day worth at least $70,000,000.

Archibald Gracie (1755-1829), founder of the great firm of East India merchants, was born in Dumfries. He was a lifelong friend of Robert Lenox and was associated with him in many financial and philanthropic undertakings. Both were presidents of the St. Andrew’s Society of New York.

Two other early presidents of the St. Andrew’s Society of New York and noted in the commercial life of the city were both natives of Ayr, William McAdam (1725-1779) and Robert Halliday (1770-1840). McAdam lost practically all of his fortune by confiscation in the Revolution. He brought up and educated his nephew, John Loudon MacAdam, who afterward became the famous engineer and road-builder. Halliday was a man of great physical strength and many accomplishments and was associated with many philanthropic enterprises.

David, or "Divie" Bethune, a native of Scotland, was another noted merchant of early New York. In 1795 he married a daughter of the accomplished and philanthropic Mrs. Isabella Graham, who came from Scotland to New York in 1785. David Bethune was the father of the well-known clergyman and poet, Rev. Dr. George W. Bethune.

Archibald Russell (1811-1871) was born in Edinburgh. His father, James Russell, was for many years president of the Royal Society, Edinburgh. Mr. Russell was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and settled in New York City in 1836, where he devoted his time and fortune to benevolent and educational enterprises. He was founder and president of Five Points Mission for eighteen years and aided in establishing the Half Orphan Asylum. He also gave largely to the support of the Christian Commission during the Civil War.

John Morin Scott (1730-1784) was born in New York City, the grandson of Sir John Scott, of Ancrum, Roxburghshire. His father came to New York in 1702. John Morin Scott was graduated in 1746 from Yale and became the most noted lawyer of his day in the Province. He was a brigadier-general with the American forces, held many offices in the Province and State of. New York, and was a most useful and generous citizen. He was one of the founders of the Society Library.

James Roy (1808-1888), a native of Alva, came to West Troy, New York, in 1834 and was the first to introduce into America the machinery for weaving fine woolen shawls. He was prominent in the financial and civic life of Troy, and gave liberally to many charities.

David Milne (1787-1873), of Philadelphia, a native of Aberdeen, was another pioneer in the textile business of the country, establishing in 1829 the large mills that are still operated by his descendants.

John McAllister, Sr. (1753-1830) and his son, John McAllister, Jr. (1786-1877), were also noted figures in the business and civic history of Philadelphia.

One of the most prominent business firms in Boston was the old house of Hogg, Brown & Taylor. They brought over many young clerks from Scotland, who in turn opened drygoods stores in almost every State in the Union, some of them the largest in the country to-day.

Alexander T. Stewart (1803-1876), the great drygoods merchant, was born of Scottish ancestry in Lisburn, County Down, Ireland.

Peter Cooper (1791-1883), the great New York philanthropist, was of Scottish descent; also Jay Cooke (1821-1905), the principal financial agent of the Federal Government during the Civil War.

The late John I. Blair, born 1802, who was directly descended from John Blair, who came from Scotland in 1720, built the first railroads in Iowa and Nebraska following the Civil War, and was interested in many industries. He was a liberal contributor to Princeton, Lafayette, Blair Academy and other educational and charitable institutions. His daughter married Charles Scribner, the New York publisher.

The late John Crerar was born in New York City in 1827 of Scottish parentage. He settled in Chicago in 1862, where he became an incorporator and director of the Pullman Palace Car Company. He contributed $2,500,000 for the library in Chicago now known by his name, $100,000 for a statue of Abraham Lincoln, and $1,000,000 to charitable and religious organizations, and presented the parsonage to the Scotch Church known as the Scotch Manse, in Ninety-sixth Street, New York.

John Stewart Kennedy (1830-1909) was a native of Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He began business at thirteen as a shipping clerk in Glasgow. He spent the two years following 1850 in America as representative of an iron firm, settling finally in New York in 1856, where he rose to the forefront of American banking and railway affairs. During his lifetime he gave $600,000 to the United Charities Association of New York, $1,000,000 to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, and $500,000 to Columbia University. At his death he bequeathed more than $30,000,000 to various educational and charitable institutions, including $100,000 to Glasgow University.

The first bank in Chicago was founded in 1839 by George Smith, a native of Old Deer, Aberdeen, assisted by Alexander Mitchell. The name of the firm, George Smith & Co., became almost a household word throughout the United States.


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