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took hold of his arm, led him out of the shop and along one of
the principal streets, when, apologising for his neglect, he re-


leased Mr C 's arm, took his parcel, and departed, chuckling

like a "clucking hen."


At the time Sir John resided at Upper Bridge Street he kept
a large number of pigeons. Being at that time much afflicted
with sleeplessness, he occasionally rose very early in the morn-
ing and took a walk. One morning Mr Wordie's household in
Viewfield Place was awakened by a loud ringing of the door
bell. On one of Mr Wordie's sons raising the window and look-
ing over, he saw Sir John with a lighted lantern in one hand
and a bag in the other. On being asked what his requirements
were, he said he wanted some "peas for his doos." Sir John
had to wait until six o'clock, and go to the stables before he
got his supplies.

William Galbraith, Town Clerk.

Died 24th February, 1861.

William Galbraith, Esq. of Blackhouse, was one of our most
prominent citizens, as for many years he filled with much
distinction important public offices connected with both the
County and Burgh of Stirling. Appointed Town Clerk in
1820 (succeeding John M'Gibbon, Esq. of South Lodge, who
had been Town Clerk for 54 years) and Sheriff Clerk in 1835, he
thus for the long period of over 40 years discharged the onerous
duties, and that to the utmost satisfaction of the governing
bodies of Stirling. During his long term of office many difficult
questions came before the Boards, and in almost every case his
advice was found to be at once ready and correct. He gave
undivided attention to whatever was brought before him, always
showing anxiety to protect and advance the interests of the
burgh. Mr Galbraith not only served the Boards long, but it
may be said he died as he lived, in the midst of activity and
usefulness. In any sphere of life he would have exercised in-
fluence : in that in which he moved he was excelled by none.

An able lawyer, of literary taste, superior scholarship, cul-
tivated manners, possessed of much knowledge of the world,


full of kindly good humour, skilled in the art of influencing and
guiding the minds of others, and devoted to the interests of the
community of which he formed so distinguished a member, few
men have wielded so noiselessly and with such general satis-
faction a power such as that which, in his public position, Mr
Galbraith was entrusted with. His was one of those minds
which place their possessors in the van of other men with whom
they are connected ; and to which other men, whilst made to
feel their perfect freedom of agency, unconsciously adopt and
submit themselves. Mr Galbraith was for some time an officer
of the Stirlingshire Yeomanry.

Alex. S. Logan, Sheriff of Forfar.

A. S. Logan, Esq. (familiarly known, as "Sandy" by his
friends), advocate, Sheriff of Forfar, died in Edinburgh on 2nd
February, 1862. Mr Logan was the eldest son of an excellent,
much loved old man, long Relief Minister of St. Ninians, of
which place and its people his gifted son told endless and
delightful stories. Mr Logan studied both in Glasgow and
Edinburgh, was called to the bar in 1833, and died in his 51st

It is not easy to speak of him without being open to the
charge of exaggeration, as he was a man of unregulated powers
and strange mixtures. He could not be known without learn-
ing this ; and no one listening to him, for even ten minutes,
would ever forget him. He took a warm interest in the pros-
perity of Stirling and everyone connected with it.

His occasional visits to the courts here will still be remem-
bered by many with pleasure his wit, always ready to sparkle
out, and his quiet humour in questioning witnesses and address-
ing a jury being admirable. One of his earliest and most
splendid forensic efforts was in behalf of Alexander Millar, or
" Scatters," who, for murder, was tried at Stirling in 1837. Mr
Logan took particular interest in this man, who had from his
youth been of a wild, wayward, and impulsive disposition. The
great exertions he had made to save his life were, however,
unsuccessful, and Millar was executed ; but as an evidence of
the zeal Mr Logan manifested, and the fidelity, springing from


his warmth and nobleness of heart, with which he had defended
him, it may be mentioned that when he afterwards saw a bust
of Millar in the shop of Mr Forbes, bookseller, he stood for a
moment looking at it, the tears involuntarily dropping down
his cheeks.

As an example of the early genius of Mr Logan, and his
attachment to literature, in 1827, when Mr G. F. Stanley had
fitted up a theatre at the Shore Road, Stirling, Mr Logan, at
the time attending classes, produced a dramatic satire on the
temperance movement, which was accepted by the manager.
The satire, however, proved so keen, and the wit so pointed,
that the very ability of the production was the occasion of its
collapse, as it only appeared on the boards for a single night.
The manager fully appreciated it, and the players were loud in
its praise, but the ridicule and satire had such " telling " effect
that it had of necessity to be quashed.

Mr Logan was highly esteemed by the legal profession in
Stirling, and was much resorted to for written opinions, and
many vexed questions were amicably settled on the strength of
his legal opinions.

The Rev. Dr Frew, St. Ninians, says " I remember walking
with him in my early time here, between this and Laurelhill
gate, by way of Torbrex. He pointed to Laurelhill House as
we passed, and said, ' I have two objects of ambition : first, a
seat on the bench ; second, Laurelhill and grounds, if they
should ever come into the market.' One part of his ambition
certainly would have been gratified but for his too early death.
He would have attained to the dignity of the bench, and his
mature and chastened age, with his great genius, might now
have been lending fresh lustre to a position which has been
adorned by so many great names. I remember him bringing
the judge and dignitaries of the Circuit Court, then in session
at Stirling, out here one Sabbath day to worship in the Auld
Relief Kirk, where his father had ministered so long."

Robert Sconce, Sheriff=Substitute.

Sheriff Sconce died at 19 Melville Terrace on 3rd October,
1878. Admitted a procurator in 1830, he entered into partner-


ship with the late John Sawers, and in 1835 was appointed
joint Procurator-Fiscal with him. After Mr Sawers' death
he continued to discharge the duties in an acceptable manner
to all concerned, besides conducting an extensive private legal

In 1861 Sheriff Robertson, previously stationed at Falkirk,
was appointed to succeed Sir John Hay at Stirling, and was
in his turn succeeded at Falkirk by Mr Sconce, who remained
there until 1865, when he was translated to Stirling. He was
a very retired gentleman, and took little or no part in the
affairs of the town, but those who had the pleasure of his
acquaintance esteemed him as a gentleman of a kindly disposi-
tion, and willing at all times to lend a helping hand to those
who solicited his aid. In his legal capacity he was also held in
great respect, not only for the great attention and care
bestowed upon matters brought before him, but also for his
amiability of manner and desire to discharge his duties in an
impartial manner.

Mr. James Mathie.

On 18th August, 1881, died Mr James Mathie, writer and
banker. Born near Craigend in the year 1797, he was there-
fore in his 84th year at the time of his decease. After receiving
his education at the parish school, which under the old regime
was capable of sending forth good scholars, he entered the
office of Mr Robert Campbell, writer, Stirling, grandfather of
Mr J. W. Campbell, banker. At the close of his apprentice-
ship he removed to Glasgow, where, in the Town Clerk's office,
he obtained a large insight into his profession. Returning to
his native district in 1825, he was admitted as a procurator
before the Stirling Sheriff Court on 4th November. About the
same time he commenced business on his own account in Baker
Street or Baxter's Wynd, as it was then called, a much more
important place for business than it is now his younger
brother, Mr John Mathie, being associated with him later, and
the firm of J. & J. Mathie took a leading position in the town,
which it continues to maintain at the present day.


The office of Town Chamberlain falling vacant in 1830, Mr
Mathie was appointed to fill the vacancy, and for upwards of
half a century he discharged the duties with much acceptance.
He also acted as Factor for Cunningham's Mortification ; and
when the Police Act was adopted, he was naturally chosen as
Police Treasurer.

On the removal of Mr M'Vicar, agent for the Union Bank of
Scotland, to Partick in 1858, Mr Mathie was appointed agent.
In 1863 he was appointed interim Sheriff-Substitute ; in 1874
a Justice of the Peace; and in 1866 the local Society of Solici-
tors and Procurators appointed him Dean, and every year
thereafter he was re-appointed.

While avoiding the more prominent path of life, Mr Mathie
was ever ready to take his share in any work for the public
benefit. He was Treasurer for the Caledonian Society ; he was
also one of the founders of the Ragged School, to which
he was a liberal contributor ; he likewise took great interest in
the Horticultural Society. He w^s long a member of Erskine
U.P. Church, and afterwards of Allan Park Church.

High in the esteem of all who knew him, and well-known as
a useful member of the community of Stirling, the close of his
long and honourable career created a general feeling of regret,
which was shown by his funeral being one of the largest ever
seen in Stirling, deputations being present from the Free-
masons of all the surrounding district, the Society of Solicitors
and Procurators, and the Provost, Magistrates, and Town
Council. The shops were closed on the route, and a large
number of spectators lined the streets as the cortege passed.

Mr. John Dick Mathie.

Little more than a year after the death of Mr James Mathie
died his brother, Mr John Dick Mathie, the date of his death
being 29th November, 1882. Born in Port Street, where his
father carried on the trade of a dyer close beside the town's
burn, the name, John Dick, was that of his paternal grand-
father, the late Provost Dick being his cousin.

After receiving his education at Stirling Grammar School,


he entered the office of Mr Robert Campbell, writer, where his
brother also served his apprenticeship. Thereafter he went to
Glasgow, where he devoted some time to his profession, in 1828
joining his brother in partnership. He was an excellent
business man and successful pleader in the law courts.

His extraordinary talents as an election agent brought him
into fame, and in this work he stood pre-eminent. He took an
active interest in local politics in 1828, when what was called
the " Young Party " entered the Town Council through the
Guildry, and were the means of destroying for ever the power
of the Fleshers' Incorporation. He took great interest in the
revival of the Stirling Races in 1836, and succeeded Mr Robert
Sawers as Secretary of the Race Committee ; he was also
Secretary for the Fishing Club, and Clerk to the Guildry.

He was kind and obliging, and in social intercourse a most
agreeable companion. He was the last survivor of a small
circle mostly belonging to the legal profession which in the
olden time used to meet in "Noah's Ark" (Johnny Buchan's,
a famed house in its day, now 7 St. John Street, but greatly
improved), for the purpose of spending the evening together.
He was a capital story-teller, and his electioneering experiences
supplied him with an infinite number of amusing reminiscences.
The sayings and doings of the Stirling " characters " he would
often relate with great gusto and a keen appreciation of their
peculiarities all, however, in a kindly way, and with no desire
to hurt anyone's feelings, however humble he might be.

Rev. Dr. John Smart.

Died 4th November, 1845.

Dr Smart was born at Eckford Moss, Roxburgh, on 23rd
February, 1764, of very humble parents, his father being a
labouring man, but one who was greatly esteemed for his
intelligence, probity, and sturdy independence by all who
knew him. Dr Smart entered the University of Edinburgh in
1781, and was licensed by the Presbytery of Kelso on 23rd
September, 1788. After receiving several calls, he accepted


that from Stirling, where he was ordained on 24th June, 1789.
Dr Smart received many calls, among them one in January,
1797, to be colleague and successor to the celebrated Rev. Mr
Shirra of Kirkcaldy, but nothing could make him break with
his first love, with whom he continued until laid aside through
illness in the beginning of 1845, one of his last acts being the
baptising of his grandson, the youngest son of the Rev. Mr
Smart of Leith.

Dr Smart died at Elm Row, Edinburgh, the house of his son,
Campbell Smart, and was buried in front of Erskine Church.
The scene in Stirling at his funeral was exceedingly solemn as
the great procession moved through the streets, all the shops
being shut. In short, every one seemed to feel that he had lost
a friend, and the community a leader and guide. He was only
the fourth minister who presided over this congregation since
the famous Disruption in 1732, when the Rev. Ebenezer
Erskine left the Established Church with his congregation,
and he was in the eighty-fourth year of his age and the fifty-
seventh of his ministry.

s Rev. Alexander Leitch, M.A.

This reverend gentleman died at 7 Albert Place, Stirling, on
17th April, 1868, in the 66th year of his age, and forty-third
of his ministry. Born in Glasgow in February, 1803, he
entered the University of that city when only 10 years of age,
and, after a regular course of study, took the degree of M.A.,
and was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow in 1823. For
some time he taught a school at Broughty Ferry, and preached
his first sermon in St. James' Church, Glasgow. Afterwards
Mr Leitch, on 25th July, 1825, was ordained minister at Gart-
more. In November, 1832, he was translated to the third
charge at Stirling, and as minister of that charge preached
once each Sabbath in the East and West Churches, but when
the North Church was built, in 1842, he became minister of
the West Church. Leaving that church at the Disruption in
1843, he preached in the Guild Hall where he gathered a
large congregation and afterwards in the South Church.


As a minister of Stirling he is affectionately remembered.
His ordinary pastoral visitation, and his visits to the bedsides
of the sick and dying were assiduous and persevering, and were
both tenderly and heartily rendered. He was a faithful pastor
and teacher, and was familiarly known by the affectionate
name of " Daddy."

Rev. Robert Henderson.


Died 16th February, 1875.

Mr Henderson was born in 1797, his father being a physician
in Dundee. He entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in
1818, and took his ordinary degree of M.A. in 1821, no
University career being, in those days of strict seclusion, open
to the very few Scotchmen then undergraduates at Cambridge.
In 1822 he was ordained Deacon and Priest by the Bishop of
Bangor and Lincoln, acting for the Archbishop of Canterbury,
in whose diocese he served for six years as curate of Little
Chart and Hadlow. In 1828 he was brought to Scotland by
family affairs, and became curate to Bishop Gleig, Stirling.
On Bishop Gleig's resignation in 1832, Mr Henderson was
appointed his successor. During his incumbency the congrega-
tion grew and flourished, and a new church was built and filled.
Mr Henderson achieved the difficult task of living on kindly
terms with Christians of all denominations, without sacrificing
his principles or his attachment to his own church. In 1868,
after 46 years of service in the church forty of which he spent
in Stirling he resigned the incumbency.

Rev. William Findlay.

Died 4th November, 1881.

A native of Kinclaven, Perthshire, after his University career
Mr Findlay went to Canada, returning to this country about the
time of the Disruption, when he was presented to the third
charge of the Parish of Stirling by the Town Council, his in-
duction taking place on 18th January, 1844. Mr Findlay con-


tinued to occupy the North Church pulpit until 1855, when lie
was promoted to be minister of the second charge ; later on
receiving the appointment of Chaplain to the Garrison.

Mr Findlay was of tall and commanding stature, with robust
and well-knit body. His utterance was rapid, vehement, and
impulsive, and his whole bearing in the pulpit indicated a quick,
fiery, energetic nature which would not be trifled with, but
would resent every encroachment upon his dignity, or inter-
ference with his rights. The preaching of Mr Findlay, though
a little behind the fashion, was by no means behind in point of
weight or practical influence. There was no playing at fast
and loose with the grand old verities of the Bible, and in his
heart he was not so stern as his outward appearance denoted.

With the military Mr Findlay was a great favourite, and he
ever manifested kindly interest in their welfare.

Rev. Dr. Paul M'Lachlan.

Died 21st August, 1883.

Monsignor M'Lachlan, D.D., died at Doune in the 79th year
of his age and the 53rd of his priesthood. This venerable priest
was born at Bellachnochan, Braes of Glenlivat, Banffshire. In
his youth Dr M'Lachlan was noted for his piety and precocious
talents, in consequence of which his ecclesiastical advisers re-
quested him to enter the seminary of Aquahorties, as an
aspirant to the priesthood. This he did, and was soon after-
wards transferred to France, where he continued during the
remainder of his studies. He was ordained priest in August,
1831, and returned to Scotland, shortly after his arrival being
appointed missionary in Edinburgh. After spending some time
there he received the charge at Falkirk, and afterwards at
Stirling, where he laboured for many years, discharging the
duties of a missionary with unremitting zeal and fidelity, and
also making himself useful as a member of the Parochial and
School Boards. He opened a mission in Doune, where he
built a splendid church and presbytery. Ultimately he took
up his residence in Doune. Monsignor M'Lachlan's piety and


devotion to his duties, his talents and his refined manners made
him very popular in Stirling and Doune. In 1878 the Pope
conferred on him the honour of Doctor of Divinity, and after-
wards the dignity of Monsignor.

Rev. John Steed man.

Died 20th February, 1884.

Mr Steedman was born at Milnathort, Kinross-shire, in 1814,
and received the elements of his education in his native place.
On making up his mind to become a minister, he went to the
University of Edinburgh, and on the completion of his course,
he accepted a call to Erskine Church, Stirling, as colleague of
Dr Smart and Mr David Stewart, his induction taking place on
17th August, 1842.

Mr Steedman was no ordinary man. Possessed of a natur-
ally strong intellect, which, along with a commanding appear-
ance, a firm grasp of Gospel truth, and a powerful utterance,
he became one of the most distinguished ministers of the
United Presbyterian Church, and a worthy successor of the
able men who had filled the pulpit of the mother Secession
Church in Stirling. Mr Steedman was &, keen controversialist,
and found employment for his energies in this direction in the
great discussions which took place on the subject of volun-
taryism. One of the latest of his appearances was in 1879,
when he preached on a Sabbath afternoon in his own church at
a special service in commemoration of the origin of the con-
gregation of the Secession Church, on which occasion he gave
a very interesting narrative of Ebenezer Erskiue's life and
times. For several years he was laid aside from active duty
on account of enfeebled health.

Charles Rogers, LL.D., F.S.A. (Scot.).

Although not a "Son of the Rock," there were few more
devoted citizens than the Reverend Dr Rogers, and the im-
portant part he played in municipal politics, together with the


active interest he manifested in the welfare of Stirling, entitle
him to honourable mention in a volume such as this.

The son of the parish minister of Dunino in Fifeshire, he was
born there on the 18th day of April, 1825. After a preliminary
training in the parish school he passed to the University of St.
Andrews, where he prosecuted his studies with a view to the
ministry. On receiving license he acted as assistant in various
charges, and was subsequently appointed minister of the North
Church, Dunfermline. After a short term of office there, he
resigned, and, following a brief stay at Kinross, removed to
Bridge of Allan, where he remained for some years. In 1855 he
was appointed to the chaplaincy of Stirling Castle, and he
accordingly took up his residence in the royal burgh.

One of the best works of Rogers' life was, what he terms in
his autobiography, " The Restoration of Stirling." He took a
prominent part in the formation of the " Valley Cemetery," and
he also devised "The Stirling Improvement Society," but this
movement collapsed. In 1861 he was returned to the Town
Council, and for some time assisted in municipal matters.

The great work in which he was interested was the erection
of a National Monument to Wallace. It is unnecessary here to
enter into the controversial point as to whether he actually
originated the movement which ultimately attained success,
but it may be said, with perfect fairness to all concerned, that
he did no little to carry the work to a completion, and the bust
placed in the Entrance Hall of the Monument on the Abbey
Craig was a well-merited recognition of services rendered.

In Stirling he was unfortunate in his relations with some
other public men, and on that account the labours in which he
was engaged on behalf of the burgh have either been obscured
or forgotten, and indeed it may be said that, to many of the
younger citizens at least, Dr Rogers is not even a name.

In literature he occupies an important place, and we have
space here merely to mention some of his works. In 1844 he
edited a volume of Sir Robert Aytoun's poems ; and during his
residence in Bridge of Allan he issued " A Week at the Bridge
of Allan," and conducted a magazine for some time " The Spa
Directory." He edited "The Modern Scottish Minstrel," a
work extending to six volumes, and giving information regard-


ing very many Scottish poets. During his residence in Stirling
he established " The Stirling Gazette " a weekly which did not
long survive. In 1869 he published " Scotland : Social and
Domestic," and "The Life and Songs of the Baroness Nairne."
Two years later he produced " Monuments and Monumental
Inscriptions in Scotland ; " and in 1874 he edited "Boswelliana :
the Commonplace Book of James Boswell." These were fol-
lowed by a number of volumes of antiquarian interest relating
to Scottish ecclesiasticism.

After leaving Stirling he resided in various places, sub-
sequently removing to Edinburgh, where he died on 18th
September, 1889.

His is one of the " old faces ; " he took no little interest in
the " old places ; " and he could tell with effect some of the
" old stories " of Stirling.

Rev. Alexander Beith, D.D.

For well nigh forty years this reverend gentleman was one of
Stirling's most prominent citizens, and his death on llth May,
1891, in the 93rd year of his age was deeply regretted by a
wide circle, as, not only was he, at the time of his decease, the
" Father '' of the Free Church, but he was the oldest ordained
clergyman in Scotland. Of a commanding figure, he will doubt-
less be remembered by older residents as he walked to and from
church, with plaid of shepherd check thrown over his shoulder,
and a rustic walking-stick in hand, as well as by his pulpit
ministrations, which were ever full, rich, fresh, and telling.
No one could listen to him without being convinced of the
earnestness of the preacher, whilst the energy he displayed in
the pulpit was such as is not seen nowadays. His sermons
were ever of a truly evangelical type, and as a lecturer he

Online LibraryWilliam DrysdaleOld faces, old places and old stories of Stirling (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 25)