Alexander Speirs – Tobacco Lord (1714 – 1782) Part 2

Part 1 told of Speirs’ early life and his time in Virginia, his first marriage and his wife Sarah’s family and his early business career. It ended with his marriage to his second wife Mary Buchanan. This second part will look at his family life with Mary, her family, and the part they played in his commercial success, the growth of his business and his partnerships and his property purchases.

As told in Part 1 he married Mary Buchanan on the 2nd March 1755.[1] She was the daughter of Archibald Buchanan[2] a tobacco merchant (Archibald Buchanan  & Co.), and one of his partners in the tobacco co-partnery established in 1754, that  partnership eventually becoming known as Speirs, Bowman and Co. Her mother was Martha Murdoch the daughter of Peter Murdoch of Rosehill,[3] a sugar merchant and Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1730 to 1732.[4]

The Buchanan family had been prominent in Glasgow’s commercial activities for a considerable number of years. That activity included dealing in tobacco in the American colonies prior to the Union of Parliaments in 1707, up to which point Scotland was specifically excluded from doing so by various English Navigation Acts. Subsequently, when these restrictions were removed, they became, arguably, Glasgow’s most important and influential commercial family of the first half of eighteenth century.

The Buchanan Family

Figure 1. Mary Buchanan. (Mrs. Alexander Speirs). Photograph: G.Manzor by permission of The Merchants House.

Mary Buchanan’s paternal ancestry can be traced back to the 16th century at least, her progenitor being Walter Buchanan of Lenny, her great, great, great, grandfather. He had two sons Andrew and Alexander, her paternal line coming through Alexander, then his son Andrew.

Andrew’s eldest son was known as Alexander Buchanan of Gartachairn (various spellings), which estate was feud to him in 1673 by Lord Napier, his father having a tack (mortgage) on the property in 1660.[5]

Andrew’s second son George, Mary’s grandfather, moved to Glasgow where he was a maltman (brewer) and became a member of the Incorporation of Maltmen in 1674,[6] one of the fourteen craft guilds within the Trades House of Glasgow. (Merchants joined the Merchants House, both organisations being formally constituted in 1605 when local government was being reformed.)[7]

He became a burgess and guild brother in 1674 by right of his father in law, merchant Thomas Smith,[8] whose daughter Issobell he married in July of the same year.[9] He held the position of Visitor of the Maltmen in 1691, 1692 and 1694, the role being to ensure people in the trade were working within the craft’s rules in respect of prices, working practises, quality and market hours. Any ‘non-compliance’ he encountered he had the power to correct. He also supervised the training of apprentices and was involved in the Incorporation’s charitable activities which were aimed at the maintenance of elderly members and where required, the support of widows and children of deceased members. He became Glasgow Burgh treasurer in 1690[10] and was a Bailie from 1695 to 1705. He was also Deacon Convenor of the Trades House in 1706-1707.[11]

There is also some evidence that George was a covenanter who in 1679 bore arms at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, the last major conflict of the Covenanter War. He was outlawed, apparently had a price on his head, but subsequent events (pardoned?) allowed him to move back into his more normal life.[12]

His marriage to Issobell ended when she died, the date of her death not being established. A search for children of the marriage has also proved fruitless.

In July 1685 George married Mary Maxwell, the daughter of Glasgow merchant Gabriel Maxwell.[13] They had ten children as follows:

  • George jnr, b. 3rd June 1686.[14] Like his father he became a maltman, joining the craft guild in 1707 and in 1719, 1720 he was Visitor.[15] He married three times, had several children, including three boys named George, two of whom clearly died young.[16] He was a Glasgow Burgess and Guild Brother (1707)[17] and was Glasgow Burgh Treasurer in 1726, and a Bailie from 1732 to 1738.[18] He died in 1773, his daughter Cecilia by his third wife named as his executor.[19]
  • Gabriel, b. 5th August 1687[20].
  • Mary, b. 12th February 1689.[21]
  • Andrew, b. 29th January 1691.[22] He was one of the first of the Buchanans to take full advantage of the American tobacco trade opening up to Scotland after 1707 subsequently owning property and plantations in Virginia. By the 1720s he and brothers Neil and Archibald were fully involved in the trade through their company Andrew Buchanan, Bros. & Co., becoming in 1730 Glasgow’s largest tobacco importer at over 500,000 lbs per annum[23] and owning, in 1735, five ships, the Glasgow, Pr. William, Argyle, Buchanan and the Virginia Merchant.[24] In 1737 Neil left the partnership and it became known as Andrew and Archibald Buchanan & Co. In 1749 Archibald also left to set up his own company with John Bowman and others, the original company becoming Andrew Buchanan, Son & Co. this time with brother George as a partner.[25]

Andrew’s other business interests included the King Street sugar house in Glasgow, linen works, ropeworks and a sailcloth factory.[26] He was also one of the founders of the Ship Bank in Glasgow in 1749 and was also responsible for Robert Carrick joining the bank as a clerk at the age of 14, his father the Rev. Robert Carrick being Andrew’s tutor as a student.[27]

Figure 2. Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellier, Merchant and Lord Provost of Glasgow 1690 – 1759. Unknown Artist. National Galleries of Scotland. https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/114517/0/andrew-buchanan-drumpelier-merchant-and-lord-provost-glasgow-1690-1759

In 1716 Andrew became a Burgess and Guild Brother,[28] in 1729-1730 was Dean of Guild[29] and was Lord Provost of Glasgow, 1740 to 1742.[30]

In 1745 during the Jacobite rebellion he and others on behalf of Glasgow resisted paying to the rebels the sum of £15,000, successfully getting it reduced to £5,500. Andrew was also pressed to pay a personal levy of £500, the plunder of his house being threatened. He refused essentially telling them to plunder away, which in the event did not occur.[31]

He married twice firstly to Marion Montgomery in 1723[32] with whom he had two sons and four daughters. The sons James (b.1724) and George (b.1728) both became involved in the Virginia trade, James through Buchanan, Hastie & Co., George with Buchanan and Simson[33]. James was also Lord Provost from 1768 to 1770 and again from 1774 to 1776.[34] Andrew married his second wife Elizabeth Binning, the daughter of Edinburgh advocate Charles Binning, in 1744,[35] Marion having died the previous year

Figure 3. Thomas Annan (Scottish,1829 – 1887) Drumpellier, 1878, Albumen silver print 11.6 × 15.9 cm (4 9/16 × 6 1/4 in.), 84.XB.1360.36. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

Like most of his contemporaries he acquired property, his most significant probably being the Drumpellier estate which he bought in 1735, building Drumpellier House the following year.[36] He also bought three tracts of land near the Shawfield Mansion between 1719 and 1740 in an area called the Long Croft.[37] In 1753 this stretch of land became Virginia Street, named for the tobacco trade between Glasgow and Virginia.[38] It’s likely when he bought the land he intended at some future date he would build a mansion house, however that task fell to his son George who built the Virginia Mansion which was subsequently purchased by Alexander Speirs.[39]

Figure 4.Thomas Annan (Scottish,1829 – 1887). Mount Vernon, 1878, Albumen silver print 11.6 × 15.9 cm (4 9/16 × 6 1/4 in.), 84.XB.1360.76. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

George also purchased the estate of Mount Vernon (originally called Windy-edge) in 1756 [40].

Andrew Buchanan died in 1759,[41] son James inheriting Drumpellier. The estate was sold to Andrew Stirling in 1777 following the collapse of James’ company.[42] (see post Mrs Anne D. Houstoun of Johnstone Castle (1865-1950)).

  • James, b. 25th May 1693.[43]
  • Alexander, b. 17th October 1695.[44]
  • Neill, b. 3rd May 1698.[45] He married Anna Rae, daughter of George Rae a Glasgow merchant in 1719[46] and had a number of children, son George being the eldest born in 1721[47], the year he became a Burgess and Guild Brother of Glasgow.[48] When he left the partnership with his brothers in 1737 he moved to London and set up as a tobacco merchant there. He also acted on behalf of his brothers in London as well as trading in Virginia on both a retail and wholesale basis. He also became MP in 1741 for the Glasgow burghs.[49] His time in London did not last very long as he died there on the 14th February 1743.[50] It seems to have taken a long time to settle his affairs as it took until 1753 to finalise the situation, in Edinburgh, based on a will written in 1741. At the time of his death two sons and five daughters, plus his wife Anna, were named as beneficiaries and/or executors.[51] He had owned an estate in Hillington which passed to his brother Archibald.[52]

His son George took over the business in partnership with his father’s clerk William Hamilton being known as George Buchanan & Co. in London, and Buchanan & Hamilton in Scotland and Virginia. The company however did not survive for very long. Francis Jerdone, their manager in Virginia had advised the purchase of large amounts of tobacco rather than the shipment of goods to the colony for sale there. His advice was ignored and in 1752 the company was made bankrupt by its creditors.[53]

  • Archibald, b. 20th July 1701.[54] Alexander Speirs’ father in law. As indicated earlier Archibald left the partnership with his brother Andrew in 1749 and set up a new partnership with John Bowman, Thomas Hopkirk, James Smellie and others to trade in tobacco from the James River plantation in Virginia.[55] This was the company that Speirs formally became a partner of in 1754 (see Part 1), the partners being Archibald Buchanan, Spiers, John Bowman, Hugh Brown, Thomas Hopkirk, Alexander Mackie and James Clark, the partnership being pre-dated to July 1753.[56] However, there is some evidence in the Virginia Deeds Book 1 (1749-1753) to support the idea that Speirs whilst in Virginia had been acting for the Buchanans, not necessarily solely on their behalf, since the 1730s and that he had become a partner of Archibald’s when he broke away from his brother in 1749. Regardless of when Speirs and Archibald joined forces what is in no doubt is the significant impact Speirs had on the company. The partnership became known as Buchanan, Speirs & Co, in the early 1750s and by 1760 had become Alexander Speirs & Co. In that year, the company imported 3,792 hogsheads of tobacco, all from Virginia, only bested by John Glassford who imported 1153 hogsheads more from Virginia and Maryland. Speirs’ total was 16% of all imports to the Clyde.[57]

Note: One hogshead can vary based on the commodity being carried however it seems generally accepted that  a tobacco hogshead equals 1,000 pound weight.

Archibald became a Burgess and Guild Brother in 1729[58] and in October 1739 was elected as a Bailie of Glasgow and a member of the burgh council.[59] Like his brother Andrew he was also a founding partner of a bank, along with twenty five others in 1750, the bank being the Glasgow Arms Bank.[60]

In 1728 he married Martha Murdoch[61], the daughter of an ex Lord Provost of Glasgow (1730-1732), Peter Murdoch[62] and owner of the King Street sugar house that Andrew Buchanan had an interest in. They had seven children, four of whom grew into adulthood: Peter, b. 1735, George, b. 1737, Andrew, b. 1745 and daughter Mary, b. 1733, future wife of Alexander Speirs, the sons all being involved in the trade with Virginia or the Caribbean to some extent. Archibald Buchanan died in 1761[63], his estates of Auchentorlie, Hillington and Silverbank being inherited by his son Peter.

  • Marie, b. 20th July 1701.[64]
  • Mary, b. 29th March 1704.[65] Married yet another George Buchanan, of Moss and Auchentoshan, in 1731.[66]

In 1725 the four brothers formed the Buchanan Society whose aim was to support poor clan members, in particular to assist their young in education and apprenticeships. The society is still in existence and continues to award educational and hardship grants.[67] The brothers membership numbers were George 1, Neill 11, Archibald 12 and Andrew 19.[68]

The brothers’ father George senior, who also had very successful career as a maltman died in 1719,[69] his wife Mary surviving him until 1741.[70]

Alexander Speirs

Figure 5. Alexander Speirs. Photograph: G.Manzor by permission of The Merchants House.

When Alexander married into the Buchanan family, knowingly or unknowingly, he was making an alliance with a family whose commercial experience was wider and greater than that of his own family, particularly in respect of the Chesapeake tobacco trade. His marriage with Sarah Cary had also joined him to a family whose tobacco interests were well established and who had been in the Americas for a considerable time. It’s not necessarily the case that his prime motive for these marriages was to further his career as a tobacco trader, however there is no denying that they were advantageous to him both from a business stand-point and also socially. It also should be said that his impact on the Buchanan’s business was very significant.

The timing of Speirs co-partnery with Buchanan, Bowman et al in 1754 could not have been bettered. The Buchanan brothers had been pre-eminent in the trade in the 1720s/30s however Speirs involvement with them coincided with an exponential growth in tobacco imports from around the 1750s to just before the War of Independence, tobacco imports in the early 1770s being ten times that achieved in the 1730s.[71]

Speirs tobacco interests during that period, eventually manifested as three co- partneries, the major one being Speirs, Bowman & Co., the partners being Speirs, John Bowman, William French, Peter Murdoch, Andrew Buchanan (son of Speirs’ father in law Archibald) and John Robertson. The others were Speirs, French and Co. whose partners include Speirs, French, Bowman and John Crawford, and Patrick Colquohoun & Co. with Speirs as a partner.[72]

The growth of the first two companies in a relatively short timescale, circa 10 to 12 years, was extraordinary. Speirs, Bowman capitalization in 1765 was £90,350, by 1776 it was £196,676,[73] equivalent in today’s commodity or project terms of £2.8 billion.[74] The Speirs, French numbers were less spectacular, and particularly flat for a number of years, however by 1779 they had a capitalization of £55,872 (£780m). In 1774 Speirs’ group imported 6,035 hogsheads of tobacco, around 15% of the total coming to the Clyde, with John Glassford’s companies, this time second best, importing 4506 hogsheads.[75]

The wealth generated by his tobacco trading allowed Speirs to invest in a number of other Scottish business activities. In common with John Glassford he was involved in a wide range of enterprises, which included:

  • Bells Tannery, Wester Sugar House, Smithfield Iron Co, Port Glasgow Ropework, Pollockshaws Printfield Co, The Inkle Manufactory.[76]

In more general terms his investments in 1770 totalling £131,437[77] were as follows:

  • Virginia tobacco trading: £55,057
  • Maryland tobacco trading: £7,411
  • Land: £49,050
  • Domestic Industry and banks: £18,141
  • Others including canals: £1,778.

By 1780 it had risen to £190,439.[78]

Of all the tobacco lords he was the most prolific purchaser of land, between 1760 and 1782 acquiring estates in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire, his two key objectives being to create a single large estate (Elderslie) from adjoining smaller properties and to provide land specifically for members of his family to make them financially independent.[79] During this period he also purchased George Buchanan’s Virginia Mansion in Virginia Street as his town residence.[80]

Figure 6. Thomas Annan (Scottish,1829 – 1887) Elderslie, 1878, Albumen silver print11.6 × 16.2 cm (4 9/16 × 6 3/8 in.), 84.XB.1360.40. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

The two main constituents of what became by Crown Charter the “Barony of Elderslie” were the estates of Kings Inch, bought in 1760 and Elderslie, bought in 1769. He subsequently built Elderslie House there, which took five years, it being completed in 1782.[81]

Alexander and Mary had nine children, four sons and five daughters:

  • Martha, 2nd March 1756.[82] She married a colleague of her father’s, George Crawford, her dowry being £5,000.[83]
  • John , 1st March 1757.[84]
  • Archibald, 6th March 1758.[85] Merchant in Glasgow, was Alexander’s heir, John having died in 1773 whilst a student at Glasgow University.[86] He married Margaret Dundas, daughter of Lord Dundas in 1794.[87] They had fourteen children, five sons and nine daughters[88]. As a young man he was a lieutenant in the 3rd Dragoon Guards, 1781-1782 and in 1804 was a major in the Renfrew Yeomanry.[89] In 1802 he was one of the founding partners in the Renfrewshire Bank based in Greenock as was his brother Peter. The bank failed in 1842, Archibald having resigned from the co-partnery in 1809.[90] He also had political ambitions which, despite a number of attempts he failed to achieve until 1810, when he became M.P. for Renfrewshire, a position he held until 1818.[91] He died in 1832 at Elderslie whilst dressing for a dinner to be held in his honour at Johnstone.[92]
  • Alexander, circa 1759. Died in 1772, age thirteen, whilst a student at Glasgow University.[93]
  • Peter, 15th May 1761.[94] Merchant in Glasgow. Attended the Glasgow Grammar school[95] following which he had seven years education/training in “languages, commercial skills, dancing. riding and fencing” on the Continent at a cost of £1,000.[96] He married Martha Harriet Graham, the daughter of Robert Graham of Gartmore, in 1792.[97] They had nine children, three sons and six daughters.[98] One of the companies he was involved with was the Culcreuch Cotton Co. whose business was cotton spinning. It was so named after the estate left to him by his father, more of which later. It first appeared in the Post office directory in 1799[99] being listed at least until 1838.[100] His eldest son Alexander Graham was listed with the company from 1827 to 1838,[101] Peter’s last entry being in the directory for 1829,[102] the year he died.[103]
  • Mary, 26th January 1765.[104]
  • Helen, 8th July 1768.[105]
  • Grace, 28th July 1770.[106] She married William Murray in 1805[107], his third wife.
  • Joan Isabella, 24th June 1772.[108]

Just as Alexander’s fortune and the tobacco trade generally peaked an existential threat manifested itself in the form of the American War of Independence which began in 1775. It was to last until 1783 with the Americans freeing themselves from British rule, changing how the tobacco trade was conducted permanently.

Some individuals suffered badly from these changes, in particular John Glassford whose fortune did not really survive the war, although other issues played their part. (see John Glassford post Part 2).

So, how did Speirs fare? Like most of the tobacco importers on the Clyde, Speirs thought the war was a temporary inconvenience, but also an opportunity to make more money. The years 1773-1775 had been relatively poor in respect of the price achieved for tobacco per pound, in 1774 it was      1 3/4d., driven down by the main French purchaser, however the general feeling was that despite anticipated difficulties in procuring and importing tobacco, demand would cause the price to rise significantly. The threat of the closure of colonial ports in 1775 helped reinforce that view.

In the beginning he encouraged his factors to keep acquiring tobacco and selling goods, and not to chase debt to maintain the good will of the planters. Most of the stores that Speirs, Bowman had were located on the upper James River and they were able to increase their purchases from there by 598 hogsheads to 5,471 hogsheads in 1775, compared to 1774. This at a time when only four out 27 Scottish exporters from the James River increased their purchases, some of them experiencing 50% reductions.

Such was the credit situation for the Glasgow tobacco companies that there was no great pressure to sell their stock to clear debt owing to their creditors. In March 1776 John Glassford and two others sold their tobacco for 3 3/4 d. per lb. Speirs waited a few more weeks and achieved 4d per lb from the French. By August of that year prices had risen to 1s 6d per pound for the best quality and 8d for the lowest quality. Speirs had 2,000 hogsheads in store at that time these prices valuing it at somewhere between £4,000 and £10,000.

The profits accruing from these sales was put to good use by him as he continued to buy land, spending £85,338 between 1776 and 1783, the estates purchased included Yoker and Blawarthill, Culcreuch and Houston.

This situation however was not to last. Between 1778 and 1783 Speirs imported a total of 1284 hogsheads, one fifth of his previous annual imports from Virginia. Following a poor year in 1778  Speirs turned his attention to the Caribbean in 1779. He instructed a former factor of Speirs, Bowman in Virginia, Robert Burton, to go there and provided him with £10,000 to purchase tobacco, sugar, rum and coffee. By 1782 Burton had become a major merchant in the Caribbean, transaction funds totalling £50,000 per year.

So how did Speirs fare? Remarkably well considering. He understood risks, mitigating where he could, and identified and exploited opportunities effectively.

This success however did not prevent him from hoping that the war would end. In the year before he died he wrote to Leland Crosthwaite; “I would we could get peace with the Americans”.[109]

About ten months after the war started Speirs had received a hand delivered letter dated the 16th February 1776 from his sister-in-law Judith Bell in Virginia. Its first lines are remarkable in that she comments on the Revolution and castigates the then Royal Governor of Virginia, John Murray the 4th Earl of Dunmore. In it she hopes that Alexander is “not among the herd that think us all rebels because we have been obliged to take up arms in our own defence” She added that “the king has not better subjects in Britain than the Americans, tho they will not willingly be made slaves they would still be dutiful subjects”.[110]

Figure 7. John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore. Artist Sir Joshua Reynolds. National Galleries of Scotland. https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/8802/0/john-murray-4th-earl-dunmore

The  Earl of Dunmore in her view was a villainous and cruel individual and was the cause of the disturbances in the state and the resultant bloodshed. History has certainly painted him, correctly in my view, as one of the British villains of the Revolution. His rash approach in the three years before hostilities began, he had suspended the Virginia Assembly in 1772, 1773 and 1774, hardened the attitude of those colonists who had thoughts of independence.

He had also got involved in a successful war against the Shawnee Indians in 1774 which probably caused him to give scant regard to the growing antithesis towards him. The day after war was declared in 1775 he removed the store of gunpowder held in the public magazine at Williamsburg which resulted in an armed uprising. He also offered slaves their freedom if they fought on the British side.[111]

The rest of her letter told him of family matters, her financial situation, which was not particularly good, and closed by wishing him and his wife and children well; “I pray God that they may be a comfort to you in your old age.[112]

Alexander Speirs died on the 14th December [113]1782. On the  day of his death at Elderslie House a meeting was held by his Trust disponees (trustees responsible for the disposing/granting of property, real or personal, legally). They were:

  • Patrick Colquohoun, Glasgow Lord Provost
  • John and William Bowman, both ex Lord Provosts of Glasgow
  • Archibald and Peter Speirs, sons
  • George Crawford, son-in-law
  • Peter and Andrew Buchanan, merchants
  • John Robertson, merchant.

They opened Speirs’ repositories which contained two deeds of entail, one in favour of his eldest son Archibald, the other in favour of his second son Peter, plus a Trust disposition of his whole personal estate not included in the deeds of entail. The Trust was dated 23rd May 1782 and named the above individuals plus Mary Buchanan, his wife, and her brother George as trustees.

Archibald as the eldest son, got the estates in Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire, including Elderslie. Alexander also specified that the final payment for purchase of the Glenns estate and others in Stirlingshire should be made and that his son Peter should inherit, this being agreed with Archibald previously. The deceased specified that the workmen and labourers of the Renfrewshire land should be dismissed on 1st January 1783, thereafter the “upkeeping of the policy” would be Archibald’s responsibility, the Trust deed providing £200 for that purpose. He also specified that the factor of all the Speirs estates should be retained for the ensuing year to ensure the collection of rents.

His personal property was detailed which totalled £123,236 which included £46,510 due to him in the colonies of Virginia and Maryland, and £28,275 owed to him.[114]

The Trust Settlement was dated 23 May 1782 and essentially laid out the entail details plus other bequests and requirements that the named trustees were required to act upon.

Archibald’s entail was dated the 9th December 1779 specifying the estates in Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire. Peter’s entail was dated 13th September 1780 and covered the estates in Stirlingshire including Culcreuch.

To his wife Mary he left £12,500 and she was given liferent of the estate of Yoker and Blawarthill and also of his dwelling house, office houses and pertinents at the head of Virginia Street, son Peter to inherit on her death or if she remarried.

His four youngest daughters were also bequeathed £2,500 each on marrying with their mother’s consent. Failing that they would only get the interest on that sum, the capital being given when both parents had died. He also specified which trustees would be tutors to them. His married daughter Martha was given £5,000.

He made other family bequests, £50 to his sister Helen and £50 to his sister-in-law Judith Bell should she survive him. If she did not then £500 would go to her brother Archibald Cary for her children, less any monies that Cary owed Speirs.

Other bequests included:

  • Merchants House of which he had been a member – £20.
  • Marine Society in Glasgow – £50.
  • Kirk Sessions of Fintry, Neilston and Fintry – £10 each
  • George Wilson’s Charity – £30
  • The English Chapel in Glasgow – £50.

This last bequest had conditions, namely that no one beneficiary would receive more than 10s. and that the Chapel had to account for their spend annually to Archibald. If they refused he had the right to take the money back.[115]

Alexander’s wife Mary died on 24th December 1818; her estate mainly being left to her unmarried daughters, Helen, Mary and Joanna.[116]

During April 1850 Helen and Joanna, Mary had died in 1849,[117] through their nephew Captain Speirs of Culcreuch contacted the Dean of Guild of the Merchants House to advise him that it had been the desire of their mother Mrs Mary Speirs that the sum of £1,000 should be held by them for the House until it reached the sum of £2,000 whereupon it would be given over to help “decayed members of the Merchants House”. That sum being reached the sisters were now ready to hand the money over. The main terms of the donation were that the money would be paid on Whitsunday 1850, the interest on the capital to be shared among four needy members, or their widows or children, and that the donation was in perpetual remembrance of the sister’s father Alexander Speirs.[118]

As far as I can tell Helen and Joanna were the last survivors of Alexander and Mary’s children, Helen dying in 1854[119] and Joanna in 1860.[120]

References.

[1] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 2 March 1755. SPEIRS, Alexander and BUCHANAN, Mary. 644/01 0250 0157. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[2] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 13 June 1733. BUCHANNAN, Mary. 644/1 110 197. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[3] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 3 March 1702. MURDOCHE, Martha. 644/1 80 127. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[4] The Glasgow Story. Peter Murdoch. https://www.theglasgowstory.com/image/?inum=TGSA02084&t=2 and Glasgow City Council. Provosts of Glasgow. https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/article/16556/Provosts-of-Glasgow
[5] Smith, John Guthrie. (1896). Strathendrick and its inhabitants from early times. Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons. pp. 303 to 306. https://archive.org/details/strathendrickits00smit/page/n7/mode/2up.
[6] Douie, Robert. (1879). Chronicles of the Maltmen Craft in Glasgow 1606-1879. Glasgow: Aird and Coghill. p. 91.
http://www.tradeshousemuseum.org/uploads/4/7/7/2/47723681/maltmen_craft_in_glasgow_1605~1879.pdf
[7] Trades House of Glasgow. Who we are. https://www.tradeshouse.org.uk/who-we-are/
[8] Anderson, James R, ed. (1925). Burgesses and Guild Brethren of Glasgow, 1573-1750. p.201. https://archive.org/stream/scottishrecordso43scotuoft#page/n5/mode/2up.
[9] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 14 July 1674. BUCHANAN, George and SMITH, Issobell. 644/1 230 257. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[10] Marwick, James D, ed.(1905) Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Glasgow Vol. 3, 1663-1690. p. 520. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/glasgow-burgh-records/vol3
[11] Trades House of Glasgow. Maltmen. https://www.tradeshouse.org.uk/crafts-maltmen/
[12] Electric Scotland. The History of Glasgow. Volume 3 – Chapter XXVII – “The Tobacco Lords” https://electricscotland.com/history/glasgow/glasgow3_27.htm
[13] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 2 July 1685. BUCHANAN, George and MAXWELL, Mary. 644/1 230 289. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[14] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 3 June 1686. BUCHANAN, George. 644/1 60 220. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[15] Douie, op. cit. p. 95.
[16] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 1712-1738. BUCHANAN. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[17] Anderson, op cit. p. 275.
[18] Electric Scotland. The History of Glasgow. Volume 3 – Chapter XXVII – “The Tobacco Lords” https://electricscotland.com/history/glasgow/glasgow3_27.htm
[19] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 7 January 1774. BUCHANAN, George. Glasgow Commissary Court. CC9/7/69. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[20] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 5 August 1787. BUCHANAN, Gabriel. 644/1 70 6 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[21] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 12 February 1689. BUCHANAN, Mary. 644/1 70 32. . www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[22] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 29 January 1691. BUCHANAN, Andrew. 644/1 70 83. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[23] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[24] Gibson, John (1777). The History of Glasgow etc. Glasgow: Chapman and Duncan. p. 210.
[25] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[26] Russell, Iain F. ‘Buchanan, Andrew (1690-1759)’. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view//article/3829
[27] Cameron, Alan. (1995). Bank of Scotland 1695- 1995. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company. pp. 54,67.
[28] Anderson, op cit. p. 322.
[29] Ewing, James (1866). View of the Merchants House of Glasgow. Glasgow: Bell and Bain (reprint) p. 556.
[30] Glasgow City Council. Provosts of Glasgow. https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/article/16556/Provosts-of-Glasgow
[31] Russell, Iain F. ‘Buchanan, Andrew (1690-1759)’. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view//article/3829
[32] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 30 January 1723. BUCHANAN, Andrew and MONTGOMERY, Marion. 644/1 240 230. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[33] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[34] Glasgow City Council. Provosts of Glasgow. https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/article/16556/Provosts-of-Glasgow
[35] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Edinburgh. 1 July 1744. BUCHANAN, Andrew and BINNING, Elisabeth. 685/1 480 23. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[36] Smith, John Guthrie and Mitchell, John Oswald. (1878) The Old Country Houses of the Glasgow Gentry 2nd ed.  Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons. http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou063.htm
[37] Senex et al. (1884) Glasgow Past and Present. Vol.3. Glasgow: David Robertson and Co. p. 517
[38] Foreman, Carol. (2007) Glasgow Street Names. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd. p. 162.
[39] Senex et al, op. cit. pp.516-522.
[40] Smith and Mitchell, op.cit.  http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou076.htm
[41] Russell, Iain F. ‘Buchanan, Andrew (1690-1759)’. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view//article/3829
[42] Smith and Mitchell, op.cit.  http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou076.htm
[43] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 25 May 1693. BUCHANAN, James. 644/1 70 161. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[44] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 17 October 1695. BUCHANAN, Alexander. 644/1 70 244. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[45] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 3 May 1698. BUCHANAN, Neill. 644/1 70 340. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[46] Marriages (OPR) Glasgow. 1719 BUCHANAN, Neill and RAE, Anna.
[47] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 16 March 1721. BUCHANAN, George 644/1 100 93. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[48] Anderson, op. cit. p.355.
[49] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[50] Testamentary Records Scotland. 10 May 1753. BUCHANAN, Neil. Wills and Testaments. Edinburgh Commissary Court. CC8/8/114. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[51] Ibid.
[52] Clan MacFarlane and associated clan genealogy. Archibald Buchanan https://www.clanmacfarlanegenealogy.info/genealogy/TNGWebsite/getperson.php?personID=I9601&tree=CC
[53] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[54] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 20 July 1701. BUCHANAN, Archibald. 644/1 80 99. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[55] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[56] Deed of Contract 1754. Alexander Speirs. Mitchell Library Archives Glasgow. Reference Number B10/15/6653.
[57] Price, Jacob M. “Buchanan and Simson 1759-1763: A Different Kind of Glasgow Firm Trading to the Chesapeake” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan. 1983). pp. 3-41. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1919526
[58] Anderson, op cit. p. 395.
[59] Renwick, Robert, ed. (1911). Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Glasgow Vol. VI, 1739-1759. pp. 34,35. https://www.tradeshouselibrary.org/uploads/4/7/7/2/47723681/burgh_records_1739_to_1759.pdf
[60] Senex et al. (1884) Glasgow Past and Present. Vol.1. Glasgow: David Robertson and Co. p. 473.
[61] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 4 December 1728. BUCHANNAN, Archibald and MURDOCH, Martha. 644/1 240 283. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[62] Glasgow City Council. Provosts of Glasgow.
[63] Deaths (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 17 March 1761. BUCHANAN, Archibald. 644/1 480 70. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[64] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 20 July 1701. BUCHANAN, Marie. 644/1 80 99. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[65] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 29 March 1704. BUCHANAN, Mary. 644/1 80 230. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[66] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Old Kilpatrick. 18 November 1731. BUCHANAN, George and BUCHANAN, Mary. 501/  10 536. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[67] The Buchanan Society. https://www.buchanansociety.com/about-the-society/
[68] Buchanan, Robert MacNeil. (1931) Notes on the Members of the Buchanan Society. Numbers 1 to 366. 1725-1829. pp. 5, 10, 11, 14. https://archive.org/details/notesonmembersof00buch/page/n5/mode/2up
[69] Deaths (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 14 April 1719. BUCHANAN, George. 644/1 450 306. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[70] Deaths (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 8 September 1741. BUCHANAN, Mary. 644/1 470 30. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[71] Devine, T.M. (1990). The Tobacco Lords. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 73.
[72] Devine op. cit. p.187
[73] Price, Jacob M. (1980). Capital and Credit in British Overseas Trade. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 155, 156.
[74] Measuring Worth (2020). https://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare
[75] Pagan, James (1847). Sketch of the History of Glasgow. Glasgow: Robert Stuart & Co. p.80. https://archive.org/details/sketchhistorygl01pagagoog/page/n6/mode/2up/
[76] Devine op. cit. p.183
[77] Devine, T. M. “The Colonial Trades and Industrial Investment in Scotland, c. 1700-1815.” The Economic History Review, Vol. 29, No.1 (Feb., 1976). pp. 1-13. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2594504.
[78] Devine, T. M.  “A Glasgow Tobacco Merchant During the American War of Independence: Alexander Speirs, 1775 to 1781.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3 (July 1976). pp. 501-513. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1921545
[79] Ibid.
[80] Senex et al. (1884) Glasgow Past and Present. Vol.1. Glasgow: David Robertson and Co. p. 520.
[81] Smith, John Guthrie and Mitchell, John Oswald. (1878) The Old Country Houses of the Glasgow Gentry 2nd ed.  Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons. http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou063.htm
[82] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 2 March 1756. SPEIRS, Martha. 644/1 121 176. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[83] Settlement 23 May 1782, Registered 16 December 1782. Alexander Speirs. Mitchell Library Archives Glasgow. Reference Number B10/15/8453.
[84] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 1 March 1757. SPEIRS, John. 644/1 130 9. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[85] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 6 March 1758. SPEIRS, Archibald. 644/1 130 88. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[86] Addison, W. Innes. (1913). The Matriculation Albums of the University of Glasgow 1728 – 1858. p. 90.
https://archive.org/details/matriculationalb00univuoft/page/n7/mode/2up/search/speirs
[87] Burkes Family Records. SPEIRS. P. 541.  https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/1860/1860_BurkeFamilyRecs-00549?pid=26506&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/
[88] Births. (OPR) Scotland. Renfrew. 1794-1815. SPEIRS. Parish No. 525. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[89] The History of Parliament. Speirs, Archibald (1758-1832), of Elderslie, Renfrew. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/speirs-archibald-1758-1832
[90] Senex et al. (1884) Glasgow Past and Present. Vol.1. Glasgow: David Robertson and Co. pp. 496,497.
[91] The History of Parliament. Speirs, Archibald (1758-1832), of Elderslie, Renfrew. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/speirs-archibald-1758-1832
[92] Gentleman’s Magazine . July to December 1832. Vol. CII. Archibald Speirs death notice. p. 486.
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hw29a5&view=1up&seq=514
[93] Addison, op.cit. p. 96.
[94] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 15 May 1761. SPEIRS, Peter. 644/1 130 350. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[95] Senex et al. (1884) Glasgow Past and Present. Vol.1. Glasgow: David Robertson and Co. pp. 404-410.
[96] Devine op. cit. p.8.
[97] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Port of Menteith. 7 April 1792. SPEIRS, Peter and GRAHAM, Martha Hariet. 388/  10 489. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[98] Births. (OPR) Scotland. Edinburgh and Fintry. 1793-1806. SPEIRS. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[99] Directories. (1799) Scotland. Glasgow Post Office directory. Glasgow: W. McFeat and Co. p. 27. https://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/archive/87869810
[100] Directories. (1838) Scotland. Glasgow Post Office directory. Glasgow: Post Office. p. 67. https://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/archive/90160183
[101] Ibid, p.204.
[102] Directories. (1829) Scotland. Glasgow Post Office directory. Glasgow: Post Office. p. 236. https://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/archive/83783748
[103] Burkes Family Records. SPEIRS. P. 542.  https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/1860/1860_BurkeFamilyRecs-00549?pid=26506&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/
[104] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 26 March 1761. SPEIRS, May. 644/1 140 233. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[105] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 8 July 1766. SPEIRS, Helen. 644/1 140 319. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[106] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 26 July 1770. SPEIRS, Grace. 644/1 150 206. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[107] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. St Ninians. MURRAY, William and SPEIRS, Grace. 488/  50 395. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[108] Births (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 24 June 1772. SPEIRS, Joan Isabella. 644/1 150 334. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[109] Devine, T. M.  “A Glasgow Tobacco Merchant During the American War of Independence: Alexander Speirs, 1775 to 1781.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3 (July 1976). pp. 501-513. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1921545
[110] Letter dated 16 February 1776. Judith Bell to Alexander Speirs. Mitchell Library Archives Glasgow. Reference Number TD 131/18 Bundle 8.
[111]Selby, John E. (2009) ‘Murray, John, 4th Earl of Dunmore’. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/19631
[112] Letter dated 16 February 1776. Judith Bell to Alexander Speirs. Mitchell Library Archives Glasgow. Reference Number TD 131/18 Bundle 8.
[113] Deaths (OPR) Scotland. Glasgow. 14 December 1782. SPEIRS, Alexander. 644/1 0590 0115. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[114] Deeds of Entail. Alexander Speirs. Mitchell Library Archives Glasgow. Reference Number TD 131/13.
[115] Settlement 23 May 1782, Registered 16 December 1782. Alexander Speirs. Mitchell Library Archives Glasgow. Reference Number B10/15/8453.
[116] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 30 August 1819. SPEIRS, Mary. Stirling Sheriff Court. SC67/36/5. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[117] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 6 November 1849. SPEIRS, Mary. Stirling Sheriff Court. SC67/36/30. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[118] Ewing, James (1866). View of the Merchants House of Glasgow. Glasgow: Bell and Bain (reprint) pp. 466,467.
[119] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 29 June 1854. SPEIRS, Helen. Stirling Sheriff Court. SC67/36/35. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[120] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 16 November 1860. SPEIRS, Joanna Isabella. Stirling Sheriff Court. SC67/36/42. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

 

Author: harmonyrowbc

Ex aero engineer with a life long passion for Glasgow History

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.