James Brand was a son of
John Brand, merchant, and Jean McQueen, of the Parish of Crawford,
Scotland, and was born on the 31st January, 1822, at Dumfries, Scotland.
He died on the 12th May, 1897, at his residence, Xo. 27 West 47th
Street, New York City. His maternal grandmother was Elizabeth Baillie,
of Clydesdale, and his mother was a first cousin of Mrs. Welsh, the
mother of Mrs. Thomas Carlyle (Jean Baillie Welsh). This branch of the
Baillie family is at present represented by Lord Lamington.
Mr. Brand was educated at
the Dumfries Academy and as a young man entered the office of his uncle
in London, who was a West Indian merchant. A few years later Mr. Brand
went to Colombo, Ceylon, where he remained for two years and then
returned to England on account of his uncle's death, to take charge of
his own business affairs.
After some travelling he
finally sailed for America, but returned to England in a short time, and
in 1850 became a partner in the firm of Mairet, Barber & Company,
representing this house in London until after the outbreak of the Civil
War. In 1863 he once more returned to Xew York, where he took up a
He commenced business in
this city in an office on lower Broadway, removing successively to
Beckman Street, to Cliff Street, to Burling Slip, and finally to Fulton
He was one of the early
members of the New York Produce Exchange and imported the first cargo of
coffee which came from Cevlon to New York. In later years he had no
associate in his business, and from 1877 acted as agent for the firms of
W. J. Turney & Co., of Stourbridge, and of Sir John Turney at
Nottingham. Mr. Brand was also one of the chief importers of Portland
Cement into this country.
In later years he became
a member of the Building Material Exchange. lie was also a director in
the American Cement Company and in the Chesebrough Vaseline Company.
A firm believer in the
strict religious principles which have ever flourished in Scotland, Mr.
Brand took an active interest in church work and was Chairman of the
Board of Trustees of the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church.
From 1859 he was a fellow
of the Royal Geographical Society and in later years became a member of
the New York Geographical Society.
The subjects of travel
and history always attracted him, and in the course of his early travels
he gave time to acquiring French and German, both of which languages he
spoke well. His chief interest, however, lay in Scottish subjects, and
both in character and temperament Mr. Brand was a fine representative of
the race of Celts.
One of the organizers of
the Burns Society, he took a prominent part in the erection of the
bronze statues of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns which flank the main
promenade on the Mall in Central Park.
Throughout his career in
this country, Mr. Brand was remarked for sturdy independence of thought
and act, absolute integrity in business dealings, and high moral sense.
His personal charm of manner was greatly due to a characteristic modesty
and old-fashioned courtesy that is too rapidly disappearing at the
Mr. Brand was elected a
member of Saint Andrew’s Society on the 30th November, 1850; served as a
Manager from 1867-1871; as Second Vice-President from 1871-1872; as
First Vice-President from 1872-1876; as President from 1876-1879, and as
a member of the Standing Committee from 1880-1897.
He married on the 1st
February, 1860, at St. James Church, Piccadilly, London, Julia Marianne
Wilson, daughter of William Wilson and Eliza Rimington Campain, but had
His portrait is
reproduced from an old photograph now in the possession of the Society.