ALLAN GILMOUR and CO.
Opened 1828 Closed 1878
This firm was opened in 1828 by Mr. Allan. Gilmour,
subsequently of Glasgow and of Montrave. He had, during the earlier part
of the year, along with Mr. Allan Gilmour senior and Mr. Ritchie, made a
very extended tour, with the view to posting themselves as to the
capabilities of the several districts they went through, to meet the
requirements, not only of their own firms, but also of the needs of the
firms of the so-called lower ports —St. John, Miramichi, Bathurst and
Dalhousie. A copy of a portion of his log on this tour will be found in
Appendix II to this volume. In the light of to-day it is peculiar reading.
Those were not the days of express trains opulently equipped with
dining-saloons and sleeping-cars.
firm's timber storage ground and pond was at Wolfe's Cove, just above
Quebec (so styled because General Wolfe effected his memorable landing
there), near the very high ground of the equally memorable Plains of
addition to the timber business, he established a shipyard, and entered
upon a considerable building programme, which was continued by the firm
down to 1870. Probably the most successful vessel turned out was the
Advance, 1466 register— a leviathan of her day. The firm's business in
lumber extending, they established another and very extensive deep-water
cove at the extreme entrance to the port, on the Point Levis side of the
river, named Indian Cove. It was from there that in later years the bulk
of the business was conducted, though much of the preparation of the
lumber was still done at Wolfe's Cove, and the timber was towed down on
the tide by heavy row-boats, to be shipped at Indian Cove. In passing, it
may be of interest to mention that in towing spars or tapered timber,
instead of the narrow end being towed first, it was the butt or thick end,
justifying the old adage as to the true sailing-ship model—'Cod's head,
was at Indian Cove, the only place practicable on account of the lateness
of the season, that the English troops were landed in the early winter of
1862, at the time of the so-called ' Mason and Slidell,' or 'Trent' affair
with the United States. It was always the Cove that closed latest in the
winter, and opened earliest in spring.
In what year the senior Allan Gilmour carried
through his big 'corner' in timber, to which I have already alluded, I
After Mr. Gilmour came home to
Glasgow, his brothers John and David Gilmour, who had been associated with
him at Quebec since 1832, became partners.
The Gazette notice of date 2 June, 1857, refers
to the death of David, and to the retirement of James Gilmour, and sets
forth that 'the business heretofore carried on at Quebec under the firm of
Allan Gilmour & Co., and at Montreal under the firm of Gilmour & Co., and
the several subordinate establishments in Canada therewith connected,
would be carried on by Allan Gilmour, Glasgow; Robert Rankin, Liverpool;
John Gilmour, Quebec; Allan Gilmour, Ottawa.' Mr. John Gilmour was
thenceforward the resident partner at Quebec, Mr. McNaughten being his
right-hand man; and Mr. Nicoll, his co-equal, undertook the onerous duty
of visiting this country twice each year to sell their output.
There were probably more changes in the constitution
of this than in any of the firms, Montreal of course excepted, where the
partners were from first to last identical with those at Quebec.
In 1828 it opened with Allan Gilmour senior, John
and Arthur Pollok, Allan Gilmour and Wm. Ritchie as partners.
In 1838 Allan Gilmour senior retires, and John
and David Gilmour, of Quebec, also Robert Rankin, are admitted.
In 1841 Mr. Ritchie retires, and Allan Gilmour
(subsequently of Ottawa) and James Gilmour above named, are admitted.
In 1850 the Messrs. Pollok retire—by i January,
1858, the names of David and James had been withdrawn, the former by
death, the latter being retired on account of irregularity of habits—the
partners now remaining being Allan Gilmour, John Gilmour, Robert Rankin,
and Allan Gilmour of Ottawa.
1869, Mr. Rankin's name, by decease, is withdrawn.
31 December, 1872, Mr. Allan Gilmour of Ottawa
25 February, 1877, Mr. John
Gilmour died, and Mr. Allan Gilmour, Glasgow, all unwilling, becomes the
sole surviving partner.
I say all
unwilling, for I think there is not the slightest doubt that he had only
remained in from a sense of loyalty to the two firms he had taken part in
founding, and to his own brother. He continued his interest in the
Canadian firms (to his monetary disadvantage) after he had retired from
his own firm at Glasgow. Eventually he withdrew,
as from 31 December, 1877, alike from Gilmour and Co. and Allan Gilmour &
Co., in favour of Allan John and David Gilmour, Sons of
John Gilmour; John David, son of David Gilmour; and Peter McNaughten, the
This partnership was, I think, short-lived. John Gilmour, afterwards Sir
John, of Montrave, about 1878 found it necessary to visit Canada, and
there was a split.
The brothers Allan and David Gilmour joined together
and assumed the management of the Trenton Mills, under the style of
Gilmour & Co. The cousins John and John David joined together and assumed
the management of Gatineau Mills, under the name of John Gilmour & Co.
Peter McNaughten retired. The
business thereafter, as indeed it had been during the immediately
preceding partnership, was largely, if not entirely with the United States
in sawn lumber, and in articles and accessories manufactured at the Mills.
Allan died 19 May, 1903, and his
brother David became established in the United States as a manufacturer of
David, usually known as Jack Gilmour, died 7 April, 1898, having
previously sold his interest to a Mr. Hughson, and the business was
carried on by Mr. John Gilmour and Mr. Hughson under the style of Gilmour
Gatineau Mills business is therefore all that remains in the Gilmour name
of the once well-known and extensive firms of Allan Gilmour and Co.,
Quebec, and Gilmour & Co., Montreal, and subordinate establishments—the
Trenton concern having gone into liquidation.
OF QUEBEC AND
Born 29 September, 1805
Married Agnes Strang, 1839
18 November, 1884
Allan Gilmour was born at Craigton, Mearns, 29
September, 1805, and entered the Glasgow office in 1818, or 1819, at the
same time as his cousin 'William Ritchie. It may be taken for granted
their income and expenditure accounts were as restricted as was that of
Mr. Robert Rankin. Allan Gilmour went to Miramichi in 1821. In 1824 he
went tp Bathurst, N.B.—I understand more from a desire to learn French
from the local padre than for any purpose of business there, and as French
would be still more requisite to him in Canada. In 1825 he came back to
Glasgow, and spent a year at Greenock learning ship-draughting, and in
1826-27 we hear of him in St. John, then the most advanced place in
shipbuilding in the colonies, though now the industry is dead there. In
1828 he founded Allan Gilmour & Co., of Quebec. His dwelling- house was
first at Wolfe's Cove, and subsequently at 'Marchmont' on the height just
resource, and of active habits, he would seem to have rejoiced in the
amount of work he overcame. Early each summer morning he might have been
found on his way up to Cap Rouge, some miles away, where the rafts, daily
coming down for the market, were first boomed. Any fresh arrivals he would
have personally gone over and inspected, to see if they worth purchasing,
and perhaps eight o'clock would see him back for breakfast.
He had early qualified in
ship-construction, in which he had great delight. Under his foreman
shipbuilder, Mr. McCord, and subsequently Mr. Dick, he turned out many
excellent specimens, certainly not lacking in strength, as their
subsequent history showed, and for the special purposes of the firm,
namely, the carrying of the largest cargo of timber practicable, they
could not be excelled. This purpose entailed lines that did not add to
their sailing capacity in light winds, but with a strong wind few craft
could hold alongside such vessels as the Advance, and some of the others.
They carried no figureheads. It is said that on one occasion when Allan
Gilmour represented to his uncle, A. G. senior, the improvement in their
appearance these would give, the answer promptly came, 'No, they won't
thereby carry any more wood.' As to knowledge pertaining to the build and
equipment of wooden ships, Mr. Gilmour was one of the most prominent and
efficient shipowners of his day. He was frequently requisitioned to give
evidence before Parliamentary Committees. I know of two, at any rate, that
on the Navigation Laws, and again that on the Tonnage Measurement of
Ships, but there were others.
He was a man of quick, possibly impulsive temperament,
and of strong will; somewhat irreconcilable if thwarted, but whatever
there was of haste in his temper it was generally quickly over.
As an instance of nerve, I have
heard from our old captains that when, as he regularly did, he was
examining the condition of the ships at the Clyde, and how they had been
maintained, instead of doing so by walking along the stringer by the 'tween
deck beams, he would skip down the centre line of the ship from beam to
beam, spaced 4 feet apart, with unerring certainty, and equally unerring
eye for anything that might be wrong. Of course, long practice on floating
logs of timber would lend some facility to this work ; still, it showed a
very strong nerve, as probably 14 feet lay below, and certainly nothing
soft to fall upon; this too, when he was well past middle age.
He and Alexander Rankin were
summoned to Glasgow at the time of the dissensions between Allan Gilmour
senior and the Polloks, to confer with the Polloks and act for the other
foreign partners. In the result he ultimately remained there to succeed
his uncle in the active part of the management of Pollok, Gilmour & Co. In
1839 he made a further short trip out to Canada, but I do not know that he
made a subsequent one. On this occasion he married Miss Agnes Strang, of
St. Andrews, N.B. His dwelling-house at Glasgow was 18o St. Vincent
Street, which is now given over to legal chambers. Much devolved upon him
there, and yet his work cannot have been anything like so exacting as it
was abroad. If he missed his moose hunting during the winter in Canada, he
was able here to take an hour or two, once or twice a week, with his gun
or rod, for he too, like his uncle, was a keen sportsman.
I remember in 1856 spending a
summer holiday with the Hutchisons, by invitation, at South Walton, and
Mr. Gilmour at that time (before the Twelfth) often came out to fish the
Snipe's Dam, or the Hairlaw Dam. The tradition of us boys was that, keen
for exercise, he had lead filled in the butt end of his rod, so as to give
him more work. On one occasion we had got a loan from a neighbouring farm
servant of an 'Otter,' and were working the illicit instrument with fairly
satisfactory results on the Snipe's Darn, when our look-out man reported
Mr. Gilmour as coming down upon us. We were scared to a degree, bolted for
home, and regardless of supper went to bed. Much to our relief next
morning there was only a very quizzical look and nothing said. Perhaps it
reminded him of some of his own early escapades.
He had greater opportunities for
enjoying the gun after he had rented Ardlamont, in the Kyles of Bute. He
had no use for driven birds, nor yet for the breech-loader, but shot over
and watched the working of his dogs, in the selection of which he took
great care. To him the dogs were a part of the sport, and fair-doing
required that the dog should have some little rest while the gun was being
loaded, and not as with the breech-loader, be quickly rushed along after
rapid re-loading. He probably took, at this period, somewhat more leisure
than did his compeer, Robert Rankin, of Liverpool. In different ways they
were each fond of the country, and of the land from which they had sprung.
Shortly before his death he
acquired the estates of Lundin and Montrave in Fifeshire, which he
bestowed upon his only remaining son, John, who, till ill-health
supervened, lived, though in a different way, the strenuous life his
father lived and loved.
He was a partner in all the concerns both home and
foreign, until the date of his retirement (from all except those in
Canada), 31 December, 1870; and he died at 4 Park Gardens, Glasgow, on 18
I wish I had known
more, and thereby could have written more about Mr. Gilmour. As a builder
of the firm, and as regards share interest therein, he was co-equal with
Mr. Robert Rankin.
GILMOUR, BART., J.P., V.D., D.L.
OF LUNDIN AND MONTRAVE, AND
24 July, 1845
September, 1873, at Quebec, Miss Henrietta Gilmour
Created Baronet, 1897
Died 21 July, 1920
The son, and only surviving member of the family of Allan Gilmour,
Glasgow, John Gilmour was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh Academies, and
Edinburgh University. I do not think that he undertook any regular work in
Pollok, Gilmour & Co.'s office, but from time to time kept himself posted
with what was passing there. He entered the Argyllshire Volunteer
Artillery, Kames Section, March, 1868, and was Second Lieutenant there for
nearly six years, in fact till on leaving the neighbourhood. He joined the
Fife Light Horse in April, 1874—a very distinctive and strong regiment—as
Second Lieutenant; Captain, June, 1881; Honorary Major, June, 1890;
Lieutenant-Colonel, October, 1895; Honorary Colonel Commanding, 1900. Then
the regiment merged into the Fife and Forfar Imperial Yeomanry; he was
their Colonel till 1904, when he accepted the Hon. Colonelcy. It will be
seen, therefore, that his total commissioned service is over thirty-six
years, not counting his Honorary Colonelcy after relinquishing active
command in 1904. He therefore well earned his V.D.
He was out in Canada—sometimes on
pleasure, and on other occasions on his father's affairs, and closing his
partnerships—in 1868-69, 1872, 1873, 1877-78. In 1873 he married his
cousin, Miss Henrietta Gilmour, second daughter of David Gilmour, Quebec,
deceased. He succeeded to the Lundin and Montrave estates and South Walton
in 1884 (about 4,500 acres) but long before that we find him actively
engaged in all matters specially connected with his county, also in wider
affairs connected with agriculture, stock breeding, etc. Especially into
these latter matters he threw a great deal of interest, and at his own
expense, and on a large scale, carried out experimental and research work,
the information culled therefrom being freely at the disposal of all
interested. He contested East Fife in the Conservative interest in 1885,
in the Unionist interest in 1892 and in 1895. In the last two contests, in
a distinctly Radical and Miners' Division he fought Mr. Asquith, the late
Prime Minister, and the poll he made is indication of the esteem in which
he was held in the county. His hearty, cheery manner endeared him
everywhere. Had his politics been Radical it would have been a poor chance
for any Conservative. His portrait, by Sir George Reid, was presented to
him in December, 1886, by his political and other friends and supporters
in the county.
held many honourable positions, of which I may mention: Convener of the
Commissioners of Supply for Fife; President of the Scottish Union of
Conservative Associations; Member of the Royal Commission on Horse
Breeding; Member of Royal Commission on Agriculture, 1893-97; a leading
Director, and Hon. Secretary of the Highland and Agricultural Society of
Scotland; and also a Member of Committee of the Royal Agricultural Society
in England. He took an active interest in the County Council of Fife, of
which he became Chairman. In 1886 he was made Deputy-Lieutenant of Fife.
Sir John Gilmour was brought up
to the use of the gun, was a keen sportsman, a good shot, and an
enthusiastic stalker. Long ago an unfortunate accident, while out
shooting, deprived him of the use of one eye. He was joint-master of the
Fife Fox-hounds, along with the late Captain Middleton, for the season
1896-7. After the latter's death that year he became sole master, which
position he held for six seasons. Of his fishing prowess on the Godbout I
It is hard to assess the value in a country district—removed so far as his
sphere was from my own—of such an active and enthusiastic worker as Sir
John Gilmour. Of him, as of Sir James Rankin, it may be said, he did as
much for the county and country in which he lived as any man. Neither he
nor Sir James Rankin lived to enjoy the leisure they had so well earned.
He died 21 July, 1920.
Married Miss Caroline White
Made partner 1840
Died 25 February, 1877
Miss Matilda White
Made partner 1840
Made partner 1840
Died about 1850
Messrs. David and John Gilmour, Quebec, and James
Gilmour, Montreal, were brothers of
Mr. Allan Gilmour. Their mother, I am told, had three sets of twins; and
one account claims that John and David were twins, but I have authority
for the dates given above. Scotch parents were strangely persistent in
repeating the name of a deceased child, and it seemed part of their creed
to stick to family names. I believe these three, with Mr. Allan Gilmour,
were the male portion of the family of John Gilmour of Craigton, Mearns,
that survived infancy. Though one account makes it 1830, I believe that
David and John went out to the Quebec concern in 1832, and as their
brother James, with Allan Gilmour of Shotts, went out to the Montreal
concern in the same year, it would seem likely they all went in one party.
Under their brother, Mr. Allan, at Quebec, Messrs. David and John would
not find their work lacking. The Quebec business had so developed that
there would be plenty of work for them at the booms and the office.
Whether Mr. David took any part in the shipyard I do not know—Mr. John
did. This work was mostly conducted in the winter months when other
business would be closed, and labour cheap.
Mr. David I have heard spoken of
as a very capable, light-hearted, attractive man, quick in despatching his
work, also quick-tempered like all the Gilmours of that period. His death,
through sudden illness at Rutland, on his way to New York en route for
England, about 1857, was a heavy loss to his firm. His widow, afterwards
Mrs. Farquharson Smith, died 4 June, 1904, at Thorngrove, Worcestershire,
then the home of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Walter Chamberlain.
Mr. John was in manner more
reserved. He was not a man that you readily got much further with. Outside
of his home he immersed himself in his work and seemed somewhat careworn,
severe and suspicious. His death occurred shortly after the McDuff
defalcations. Neither Mr. David nor Mr. John had the old prospecting to do
that Mr. Allan had in former days undertaken with such zest, but each
winter—if not wanted on this side—they undertook visits to the Camps, and
weary work shoeing over the snow it must have been. Combined therewith,
however, they had a good deal of Moose hunting. Like all the Gilmours they
were of wiry constitution and keen hunters, and the day's work
snow-shoeing they would put in would put to shame most of our modern
sportsmen. On the ground a hole scraped in the snow, with some fir boughs
over it, was good enough bed for them. Human warmth below, and the heat
from the breath, would ensure an effective breathing hole above should
further snow fall.
Of Mr. James, at Montreal, I only gather he was a
genial soul—for his own good a too convivial one; of his work I know