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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


218 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CCXLIV. JAMES GILLESPIE, ESQ., OF SPYLAW, AND HIS BROTHER, MR. JOHN GILLESPIE. AS the founder of “ Gillespie’s Hospital,” JAMEthSe, elder of the two brothers, is well known ; yet it is rather surprising that no record of their history has been preserved. It is believed they were born at Rosslyn, about seven miles from Edinburgh; but, with respect to their family connections, no accurate information is to be obtained. They had a sister, mother of the late Mr. Richard Dick, tobacconist, who succeeded to his uncle’s shop ; but whether they had any other near relatives is uncertain. If they had, no communication was maintained with them. The early years of the MESSRS. GILLESPIE are understood to have been the reverse of affluent j their steady and industrious conduct, however, overcame all difficulties, and by a fortunate speculation, during the American war-when the price of tobacco experienced an unexampled rise-their good fortune was effectually augmented. The retail shop, a short way east of the Cross, on the north side of the High Street,’ was attended by JOHNth,e younger brother, while James (L‘ the Laird,” as he was styled), constantly resided at Spylaw: a property which he purchased at Colinton, and where he erected a mill for grinding snuff. Although frugal and industrious, they were by no means miserly.a On the contrary, James, in particular, is described as one of the best and kindest of men ; living amongst his domestics in the most homely and patriarchal manner. He invariably sat at the same table with his servants, indulging in familiar conversation, and entering with much spirit into their amusements. Newspapers were not so widely circulated . Neither of the brothers was ever married. season to put on the cocked hat used on such occasions, by pis lordship holding up his first gigantic digit. He, in consequence, was good-naturedly termed by the bar, with the members of which he was a great favourite, the “Judicial Fugleman.” Their first shop, on the same site, was taken down and rebuilt. It is situated on the banks of the Water of Leith, at the he% of the hollow or strath occupied by the village of Colintou. The house is of a somewhat antiquated form, but in excellent repair ; and the courtyard and walks around are tastefully kept in order. After Mr. Gillespie’s death the snuff-mill, immediately in the re.= of the house, was purchased, and long busily employed by Messrs. Ralph Richardson and Brothers, tobacconistg 105 West Bow. a Many of the last century charwtera of Edinburgh were eupplied with snuff gratia by the Messra. Gdlespie. The shop is No. 231, and is at present occupied by George Cotton, tobacconist. * This pleasant residence is distant about four miles welit of Edinburgh. Among others, Laird Robertson and Jean Cameron had their ‘‘mulla” regularly filled.
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