THIS fine old mansion was situated on the north side of what is now Eastern Duke Street, at the new suburb of Dennistoun. The centre part of the House was erected by the well known John Glassford about the middle of last century. Subsequent owners made additions to harmonize. The approach was through an antique looking gateway, which was flanked by an equally old fashioned lodge. The grounds extended to about thirty-three acres.
In those old days there was no Duke Street. An ancient, narrow, suburban road, called "the Carntyne Lone," led from the east past Whitehill Gate, and terminated at Drygate, so that the route from the heart of Glasgow to Whitehill House was up High Street to Drygate, then down that steep street and out along the green old "Lone" just mentioned - a course very circuitous and inconvenient, but not remedied till 1793, when Duke Street was opened.
Previous to the purchase of the lands by Mr. Glassford they formed part of the possessions of the Merchants' House, and were known as "Easter Craigs." "The Whitehill Park" was a portion of them, and Mr. Glassford re-named the whole Whitehill.
John Glassford was a native of Paisley, his father James Glassford having been one of the Magistrates. He rose rapidly to be one of the principal merchants in Glasgow. He was one of the Virginia Dons, so well known in old Glasgow story. Smollett alludes to him prominently in "Humphry Clinker." Mr. Glassford was likewise an original and leading partner of "The Glasgow Arms Bank," which began in 1750 and ceased in 1793. He dispensed in Whitehill House princely hospitality, and was universally respected.
Mr. Glassford sold Whitehill in 1759 to John Wallace of Neilstonside, another eminent Glasgow merchant, and likewise one of the Virginia Dons. He was lineally descended from the great Scottish patriot, and was father of the well known Robert Wallace of Kelly, who represented Greenock in Parliament, and married a daughter of Sir William Forbes. (1)
John Wallace resided at this fine old mansion about twenty-three years. In September 1782 he sold Whitehill to Nathaniel Gordon, then a retired London merchant. This gentleman lived at Whitehill till his death, eleven years afterwards. In 1797 his son John Gordon, who was also proprietor of the adjoining estate of Kennyhill (on which the new North-East Park is in course of formation), sold Whitehill mansion and lands to the well known Robert Grahame, long one of the principal lawyers in Glasgow. Mr. Grahame resided at Whitehill nearly half a century. He was chosen first Provost of Glasgow after the Reform Bill of 1832, and died at Hatton Hall, Northamptonshire, in 1851, at the age of ninety-three. (2)
Some years before Mr. Grahame's death, he sold Whitehill to John Reid, merchant in Glasgow, and on his death it was sold to Alexander Dennistoun, the father of the present proprietor, A. H. Dennistoun of Golfhill. The house is now taken down.
A GROUP OF VERY OLD GLASGOW GENTRY
John Wallace of Neilstonside had by his third wife, Janet Colquhoun, seventeen children. He died at Kelly, aged ninety-two; one of his daughters, Mrs. James Murdoch, died in her ninety-sixth year; Robert Wallace, M.P., died in his eighty-sixth year; another daughter, Lady Cuningham Fairlie, died in her ninety-sixth year; and Sir James Maxwell Wallace, K.C.B., died at the age of eighty-four; and the longest liver of the family, Ann Wallace, his eighth child, died in her 103rd year.
She was one of three old Glasgow ladies who each attained to over 100 years of age:-Isabella Euing (Mrs. Smith of Jordanhill), born 25th March 1755, died 28th September 1855; Jean Brown (Mrs. Ewing Maclae of Cathkin), born 15th November 1774, died 27th November 1874; and Ann Wallace, born 1st July 1770, died 25th February 1873. The births and deaths of these old ladies are all registered, and there is not the least doubt about their being genuine centenarians, let any dead or living anti-centenarian say what he may.
Mrs. Ewing Maclae left no descendants, and Ann Wallace was unmarried, but Isabella Euing (Mrs. Smith) had five children, one of whom died an infant from the effects of an accident. The others were - James Smith of Jordanhill, who died in 1866 in his eighty-fifth year; Isabella Smith or M'Call of Ibroxhill, who died in 1871 in her eighty-seventh year; William Smith of Carbeth Guthrie, who died in 1871 in his eighty-fifth year; and Archibald Smith, formerly West India merchant in Glasgow, now living in good health and spirits at Artarman on the Gareloch in his eighty-third year.
Another very old Glasgow lady was Catherine M'Lehose (Mrs. Roberton of Lauchope), who died in 1869, aged ninety-eight years. She was the daughter of Bailie M'Lehose of Newlands : her brother, William Hozier (to which name he changed M'Lehose), died an old man; and her nephew, the late James Hosier of Newlands and Mauldslie, also died at a great age. Nor must we omit from this group the venerable Elizabeth Oswald of Scotstoun, who died in 1864, aged ninety-seven.
The Grahames of Whitehill
The Grahames of Whitehill are descended from Robert Grahame, who married about 1710 Margaret Buchanan of Ballat. Ballat is a cadet of Carbeth, and Carbeth is an early cadet of Buchanan of Buchanan.
I. Robert Grahame and Margaret Buchanan had a son, Thomas, who married Jean Robertson, daughter of John Robertson, merchant in Glasgow, who was a son of Robert Robertson, Commissary of Glasgow, and his wife Helen Hill, Robert Robertson being himself the son of Edward Robertson and Christian Hamilton of Woodhall (see Barlanark).
II. Thomas Grahame was a writer in Glasgow and a member of the Faculty in 1751. He had three sons and two daughters - Robert, afterwards of Whitehill; James, the author of "The Sabbath"; Thomas, who married Hannah Dunlop, and left one son, Alexander, now resident in London; Margaret, who died unmarried; and Jean, who married Archibald Grahame (see Dalmarnock).
James Grahame, the second son, was born in 1765, and started in life in 1791 as a W.S. He soon, however, abandoned this profession, and in 1795 was admitted advocate. But his heart was not in the law, and in 1809 he was ordained by the Bishop of Norwich deacon in the Church of England. He acted as curate in one or two parishes, but his health, never good, soon began to fail, and in 1811 he died at Whitehill when on a visit there along with his wife. He was a pleasing writer, and "The Sabbath," which was published in 1804, went rapidly through a number of editions. By his wife, a daughter of James Graham of Blattwood, he left two sons and a daughter.
Thomas Grahame died in 1791. His first partner was his son-in-law Archibald Grahame, and the firm was Thomas and Archibald Grahame. This continued till 1781, when the latter retired on being appointed Cashier of the Thistle Bank. In the same year Thomas Grahame assumed his son Robert, who had just entered the Faculty, and the style of the firm was then Thomas and Robert Grahame. On Thomas Grahame's death in 1791, Robert Grahame carried on the business alone till 1802, when he assumed as partner Andrew Mitchell, the firm then being Grahame and Mitchell.
No firm ever stood higher in Glasgow than Grahame and Mitchell, and though both partners were of very pronounced politics - and in those days politics interfered with friendships in a way they happily do not now - both strong Whigs and high Tories found good friends and trusty advisers in the excellent members of this old house. Andrew Mitchell is represented in Glasgow by his surviving sons Andrew and John Oswald Mitchell (see Cessnock).
The old firm has, since Andrew Mitchell's death, undergone several changes. But under the excellent guidance of James Mitchell, LL.D., a fine old gentleman of the old school and a truly worthy man, and his partners, the business (now under the firm of Mitchells Cowan and Johnstone) continues to flourish. It is the oldest of its kind in Glasgow, save one - Hill, Davidson, and Hoggan - which was founded by James Hill in 1740.
III. Robert Grahame of Whitehill and Helen Geddes, his wife, had two sons and two daughters - James, advocate, of whom afterwards; Thomas, who married Hannah Finlay, daughter of Kirkman Finlay of Castle Toward, and had three daughters - Jessie, who married Thomas Cobbe; Helen, who married Colonel Nugent of Clonlost; and Hannah; Anne, who married James Donald (see Mountblow); and Jane, who married Mr., afterwards Sir John Robison.
IV. James Grahame married Matilda Robley, and had Robert, of whom afterwards; and Matilda, who married John Stewart of London and Pau.
V. Robert Grahame, now resident in Brighton, is married but has no children; and the next male representative of the Whitehill family is James Grahame, a settler in Manitoba, Canada. He is grandson of James Grahame, author of "The Sabbath." He married his relative Janet Hill, daughter of the late Laurence Hill, LL.D., and has issue.
(1) See Note - "A Group of Very Old Glasgow Gentry."
(2) See Note - "The Grahames of Whitehill."
NOTES: Updated for 1st March, 2010.
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