Taken from
Issue Number 67 Spring 2010


A Famous Author with Kintyre Roots
Earle Lockerby

She is certainly one of the best known authors that Canada has ever produced. She may also be one of the most celebrated authors whose ancestral roots are firmly embedded in Kintyre. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) in 1874 and during her lifetime wrote 22 novels, most of them based upon her beloved P.E.I. and on people that she knew, or had known, there. Her works have been translated into about 36 languages. Her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, was to remain the best known and most successful of all her books. In 2008 this book celebrated one hundred years of being continuously in print, the only Canadian book that can claim such an honour. In 1923 she became the first Canadian woman to be elected to the British Royal Society of Arts and in 1935 she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E).

Montgomery's great-great-grandparents, Hugh Montgomery and Mary MacShannon, emigrated to Malpeque, P.E.I., on the Edinburgh, which set sail from Campbeltown, Argyll, on July 27, 1771. The parents of Hugh are believed to have been Hugh Montgomery and Mary Boes, she being a daughter of James Boes (1667-1749), a minister of the Lowland Church in Campbeltown for some 57 years. Before leaving for P.E.I., Hugh and Mary (MacShannon) Montgomery are said to have resided at Lepenstraw (Lephinstrath), situated about two kilometers from the village of Southend. The voyage to Malpeque was sponsored by a Stewart family of Campbeltown that derives from the Rev Charles Stewart (1683-1765), a minister of the Highland Church in that town.

Children of Rev Charles Stewart who figured in the settlement of P.E.I. -- and in the emigration of the Montgomery family to that colony -- were Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Stewart (1729-1809), his brother Peter (1725-1805), and sister Annabella (1732-1818). Robert was a soldier in America during the Seven Years War (referred to in the U.S.A. as the French and Indian Wars). He became a good friend of George Washington, with whom he served in 1755 at the Battle of the Monongahela, near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, perhaps the worst British military debacle in North America during the Seven Years War. For military services rendered Robert was granted approximately 10,000 acres of land in P.E.I. Peter and Annabella's husband, also named Robert Stewart, were partners in a herring fishery business based in Campbeltown (Annabella's husband was a grandson of the celebrated Scottish philosopher, the Rev Dugald Stewart). Peter served as Provost in Campbeltown and, just before emigrating to P.E.I. in 1775, was appointed Attorney General of that colony. In return for the land grant, Lieut. Col. Robert Stewart had obligations to establish settlers on the land in which Malpeque was the principal port. In this he was assisted by Peter, Annabella and the latter's husband. It was Peter who chartered the 75-ton brigantine Edinburgh, which brought Lucy Maud Montgomery's antecedents to Malpeque.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was fiercely proud of her Scottish roots and on more than one occasion recorded the story of the Montgomery family's coming to P.E.I, based on tradition as had been related to her. It was in 1996 or thereabouts that a passenger list for the 1771 voyage of the Edinburgh to P.E.I. was discovered in the Scottish Record Office. From the information therein and from other research of recent years concerning the Edinburgh, it is now known that Maud's version of events pertaining to her family's arrival is incorrect in several respects. Tradition had erroneously claimed that the family emigrated in 1769 and that it had intended to settle in Quebec.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's grandfather, Donald Montgomery (18081893), was appointed in 1873 to the Canadian Senate, the upper chamber in the Canadian Parliament. He had nine children, of which one was Hugh John, the father of Maud. She was born at Clifton (now New London), P.E.I., on November 30, 1874, her mother being the former Clara Macneill. Unfortunately, Maud's mother died of tuberculosis when she was only twenty-one months of age. Hugh John was one of the least promising of the senator's sons and by the time of his wife's illness had already failed at several different businesses. When Maud's mother became ill, responsibility for rearing the young child transferred to Hugh John's parents-in-law who lived in Cavendish, P.E.I. Several years later Hugh John moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Lucy Maud Montgomery was thus raised by her maternal grandparents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill, who were both stern and strict. From the time of Hugh John's departure,. Maud would see little of her father during his remaining life, though they maintained an affectionate correspondence.

The loss of her mother, absence of her father, being raised in a puritanical home where she was often criticized by her grandfather, and a strong Presbyterian background were all factors that contributed to the shaping of Lucy Maud Montgomery's psyche and character - indeed her life. Cavendish was a rural community - it would have been a stretch to call it a village. Here and in several nearby communities she had various uncles, aunts and cousins, some of whom she bonded with closely. Spending time with them was often something of a respite from daily life with her Macneill grandparents. She attended the one-room school in Cavendish where she excelled in her studies and developed a keen love of reading and literature. She began keeping a diary as a schoolgirl, a practice she would continue throughout her whole life.

During her teenage years Montgomery had resolved to become a writer. To do so, she would have to surmount a variety of obstacles, not the least being a paucity of financial resources and lack of encouragement from within her extended family - her grandparents bitterly opposed her obtaining a higher education. Despite all, from 1893 to 1894 she managed to attend college for one year in Charlottetown, the provincial capital. Her studies focused on obtaining a teacher's licence. As a school teacher she would be able to support herself while she honed her skills as a writer. After a year of teaching, Montgomery attended Dalhousie College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for one year to further her education, particularly in the field of English literature. In the fall of 1896 she resumed her teaching career which would continue until the summer of 1898.

By this time Maud felt it her obligation to return home to look after her aged grandmother who had been recently widowed. During her three years of teaching, Maud derived some modest supplementary income from poems, short stories and articles she submitted to magazines, mostly in the U.S.A. More important than the supplementary income was the affirmation of her writing ability, as evidenced by acceptance of her submissions on a commercial basis. This reinforced her desire to pursue a writing career, and income from magazine submissions became increasingly important. In 1901 Montgomery took a year off from her duties in the family home in Cavendish to work as a journalist for a newspaper in Halifax. Here she further developed her writing abilities. It was after she had returned to Cavendish, and while caring for her elderly grandmother, that Montgomery began writing her first novel, Anne of Green Gables. Ten months later, by early 1906, the manuscript was completed. After several rejections from publishers, it was finally accepted and published in 1908 by a Boston publisher. The book was an instant success.

Lucy Maud Montgomery went on to write 22 novels over her lifetime. Most have been reprinted on various occasions, and all contributed to the establishment of Montgomery as an icon among Canadian writers of fiction. None, however, has enjoyed the same level of acclaim as Anne of Green Gables. During most of her life she struggled with bouts of depression and from time to time found herself unable to write for some weeks or months. In 1906 she became engaged to a Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Ewan Macdonald, a native of P.E.I., who was four years older than she. Unfortunately, he also was given to spells of depression that were more disabling than Maud's affliction. It was this illness that forced him in 1907 to quit the University of Glasgow at which he had enrolled the previous year to further his theological studies. Ewan's grandparents had emigrated to PEl from the Isle of Skye in the early 1840s, and Ewan was to retain a pronounced Gaelic accent throughout his life. Maud postponed marriage until 1911, after her grandmother had died. During their honeymoon in Great Britain they visited Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Abbotsford, Alloa, Ayr, Iona, Inverness, Kirriemuir, Melrose, Oban, Staffa, the Trossachs and Tullibody. Maud was especially fascinated by the old town of Stirling and with the Wallace Monument. While in Scotland she met George Boyd MacMillan, a 30-year old writer in Alloa with whom she had begun corresponding in 1903. They shared many interests and were, in Maud's words, true 'kindred spirits'. Over their 39-year friendship their epistolary conversations would range from the structure of the universe to the proper method of caring for daffodils.

Following the honeymoon, Maud and Ewan took up residence in the village of Leaskdale, Ontario, not far from Toronto. The previous year Ewan had accepted an appointment as the minister at the Presbyterian church in that community. In Leaskdale, Maud wrote 11 novels and raised two sons. Relative closeness to Toronto permitted her to become part of a broader literary world, to associate with other accomplished writers, and through writers' associations, to work to promote Canadian literature and offer encouragement to budding young writers. Her fame as an author resulted in many invitations for speaking engagements. In 1926 the family moved to Norval, a small town north of Toronto where Ewan served as a minister. Maud continued her writing and other literary endeavours. It was in Norval that Maud, always one to worry about things, began to have greater reason to agonize over family matters. Ewan's melancholia was becoming more severe and her elder son frequently got into trouble, performed poorly as a student, and sometimes brought disgrace upon the family. Unable to confide to an uncommunicative husband, or members of his congregation, Maud's only release was to confide to her journal. She also found solace in her writing.

Ewan finished an increasingly troubled ministerial career in Norval in 1935 and in that year he and Maud moved to Toronto. For decades both Maud and Ewan had taken medication of one kind or another to alleviate their bouts of depression, to cope with stress, to relieve insomnia, or all three. Barbiturates, bromides, chloral and tonics, sometimes combined with alcohol, were increasingly part of their lives. The medical profession in those days did not have a good grasp of all of the effects of such drugs, including the effects of long-term use, addictive properties, toxicology, etc. Maud and her husband became increasingly conflicted by their elder son's dissolute lifestyle, failed marriages, abandonment of offspring, troubled career, and manipulative, anti-social behaviour. Although an agonized Maud was able to continue some of her former activities, family preoccupations, along with over-medication, not only greatly reduced her literary productivity, but put her health and general wellbeing on a downward spiral. During the seven years she was a resident of Toronto she managed only two novels, finishing with Anne of Ingleside. She died in Toronto in 1942 and her body was interred at her beloved Cavendish, only a stone's throw from where she had grown up.

It was only after the posthumous publication of Maud's journals, beginning in 1985, that the world became fully aware of the burdens that so weighed upon her during her lifetime and of the extent to which she and her husband were afflicted with depression. Despite being often depressed and racked by anxiety, Maud had the remarkable ability to not let it show to the outside world, and to fulfill her many responsibilities as a minister's wife, as well as commitments to attend literary meetings and conferences and to deliver lectures. She had a strong will to succeed and to persevere. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than with a series of lawsuits involving herself and L.C. Page, her Boston publisher. Page proved to be an unscrupulous bully who cheated Montgomery out of tens of thousands of dollars concerning her earliest books, particularly Anne of Green Gables. Expecting Maud to give up against him, she surprised her opponent by doggedly pursuing what she felt was a just cause. After years of legal wrangling, she succeeded in besting him, but the gain was, to a great extent symbolic, since the financial settlement awarded her was largely consumed by legal fees.

Montgomery has had an exceptionally enduring literary legacy. Her books are still very much in demand and read throughout many countries. No Canadian author is as widely read internationally as Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables is on the curriculum in countless schools all over the globe. In no country outside North America has her work resonated more than in Japan. Japanese tourists in the thousands make pilgrimages to P.E.I. every year in search of Anne and Montgomery's childhood haunts. Some Japanese couples even travel to P .E. I. to take their marriage vows, and a local industry has developed to cater to them. Students of Montgomery's literature have debated why the Japanese, particularly females, are so attracted to Montgomery's books and characters. Perhaps the explanation is as simple as an admiration of Anne's feistiness in a society characterized by many restrictive norms, and by the fact that in a subtle way Montgomery was an advocate of women's rights. Beginning in the 1920s, and as a result of widespread interest in Montgomery, her novels and her characters, people from all over North America began to visit Cavendish and P.E.I. In effect, she made a very significant contribution to the Island's tourism industry, which now ranks second only to agriculture. A veritable 'Anne industry' has grown up on the Island, and perhaps the centrepiece for this is the delightful musical 'Anne of Green Gables' that has played every year at Charlottetown's Confederation Center Theatre since the musical's inception in 1965. It is the longest-running theatre production in Canadian history.

Montgomery always maintained that her novels were aimed at a general audience and it rankled when critics suggested that her work was aimed at younger readers, particularly girls. One thing that can be fairly said is that her works appealed more to younger readers than did the books of many other authors. Thus many readers have gotten introduced to her novels at a relatively early age, but have maintained their love of the books through their adult years. Montgomery relished the fact that she was sought out by governors-general and prime ministers who wished to shake her hand and who counted themselves among her literary fans. Great Britain's prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, made a point of meeting Montgomery during his 1927 tour of Canada, and his successor, Ramsay MacDonald, is reported to have said that he read all of her books that he could find - not just once, but several times.

Throughout her life, Lucy Maud Montgomery was very proud of her Scottish heritage. She felt that her personality and her writing skills reflected a delicate balance between what she regarded as the 'hot', impetuous Montgomery blood and the more tempered qualities of the Macneills who were her maternal ancestors. She unquestionably had a unique genius and during the last quarter-century, scholarly research has demonstrated that her writing has been a very powerful agent of social change. The celebrated American author Mark Twain once remarked that 'Anne' was 'the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice [in Wonderland]'. Kintyre can be proud that it is the ancestral home of one of the world's great English-language writers of the early twentieth century.

Many books have been published about Lucy Maud Montgomery. Among the most useful and definitive are: Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, eds. The Selected Journals of L.M Montgomery, Oxford University Press, Toronto, Vol. 1 (1985) through Vol. 5 (2004); Mary Rubio, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings, Doubleday Canada, Toronto, 2008.

Earle Lockerby grew up on Prince Edward Island and now lives there during the summer months. He specialises in 18th century history of the Maritime Provinces of Canada, particularly Prince Edward Island, and his articles are published in a variety of popular and scholarly periodicals. In 2008 his latest book, Deportation of the Prince Edward Island Acadians, was published. He is descended from the Hugh Montgomery who emigrated from Kintyre to PEl. in 1771; from Peter Stewart who was formerly a provost of Campbeltown; and from John Ramsay of Ugadale, Kintyre, a passenger on the emigrant ship, Annabella, which sailed to PEl. from Campbeltown in 1770. Mr. Lockerby can be reached at

Argyll's Forgotten Whisky Barons
by Robert Haydock

The great names of Walker, Dewar, Mackie and Buchanan are well established in the lore of the whisky industry. Less well known now, though leaders and innovators in their own day, are the Greenlees Brothers, whose brand Old Parr is still a major player today in markets such as Japan. Subsumed into the Distillers Company (now United Distillers) shortly after the 'great amalgamation' of 1925, Greenlees Brothers had a proud history which began in, and never lost touch with, Campbeltown. What follows is a short history of this remarkable firm from its infancy until the retiral of the two founders of the business in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

The Greenlees family came to Kintyre in about 1640, when a miller of that name moved from Lochwinnoch (Renfrcwshire) to Southend. In 1810, James Greenlees, farmer at Peninver (north of Campbeltown), married Catherine Galbreath. Peninver was the farm originally worked by Catherine's father, Samuel Galbreath. The couple had 11 children, the first born son (b. 1812) being named Samuel, after James's father. James died in 1850 leaving £186 18s 7 d, of which £137 18s 9d represented cattle, horses and farm implements.

Samuel worked with his father on the small farm at Peninver; at some point between 1836 and 1839 he joined with his brother-in-law Daniel Greenlees as a partner in the Hazelburn Distillery, Campbeltown. The distillery, built in the eighteenth century, occupied lands rented and feued from the Duke of Argyll. The partnership was known as Greenlees, Colvill & Co. 'Possessed of great natural energy and unwearying perseverance, he [Samuel Greenlees] ... soon made the business one of the most extensive and successful in the town.' Samuel Greenlees was in particular responsible for selling the product of the Hazelburn Distillery, and travelled widely on its behalf. In 1881 Samuel bought out his brother-in-law's interest in the business and became sole partner in Greenlees, Colvill & Co; his share in the firm was valued as £14,711 6s 9d when he died in 1886. It was estimated at this time that the distillery had an annual capacity of 250,000 gallons, and an actual production of 192,000 gallons. The wash still, holding 7,000 gallons, was the largest in Campbeltown. The distillery workforce was around 14 men. By 1881 Greenlees, Colvill & Co had also acquired Moy Farm which was extensively improved by Samuel Greenlees, 'his early experience in agriculture being of great use to him in the improvements he made ... '

Samuel Greenlees married his cousin, Agnes Greenlees, in December 1840. The couple had five children, including sons James (b. 1848) and Samuel (b. 1850). Agnes died at some point between 1850 and 1861, when Samuel married Isabella Ralston, by whom he had a further six children. Isabella Greenlees died in 1897 at the Greenlees family home, Hazelbank. James and Samuel Greenlees were both educated locally in Campbeltown at the United Presbyterian Academy. On leaving school Samuel joined his father working in the distillery whilst his elder brother James was an apprentice in the offices of Baird Brothers, the coal masters and ironfounders at Glasgow and Gartsherric. In 1871 both brothers moved to London where they established the firm of Greenlees Brothers at Gresham Buildings.

At 21 and 23 years of age they were remarkably young to take such a step; it seems unlikely that it would have been without the encouragement (and possibly financial assistance) of their father, although it is possible they had also received an inheritance from their mother. The business they set up had a firm base in the agency for Hazelburn whisky; they also had agencies for another Campbeltown distillery, Dalaruan, and for Lagavulin. However, their intention in London was to exploit the market for blended whiskies, still very much in its infancy. Taste in London was still geared towards the lighter Irish whiskies - in their early years Greenlees Brothers sold three vats of Irish whisky to one of Scotch: 'It took some time to get it [i.e. Scotch] into the trade and the public favour,' recalled James Greenlees in 1908. Their endeavours, particularly within the London market, were pathfinding both in terms of 'educating the public up to a blended whisky of a pleasant description', and also in developing brands: 'If you buy a bottle of whisky with a brand on it the public know the firm's name is on it, and they depend on it ... ' Their earliest blend carried on the label the distinctive signature 'Greenlees Brothers', a style subsequently much imitated. 'Greenlees Brothers may', wrote the Campbeltown Courier, 'be regarded as pioneers of whisky blending as well as the pioneers in popularising Scotch whisky throughout the world.' 'To Messrs. Greenlees Brothers,' wrote Wyman's Commercial Encyclopaedia in 1890, 'belongs the credit of having made the trade in Scotch whisky, and of having introduced that beverage to the British public in a wholesome and agreeable form, blended with the utmost nicety and judgement, so that delicacy of flavour and absolute purity are, as far as possible, combined.'

Greenlees Brothers' principal brand of blended Scotch was Lorne Highland Whisky. They had begun selling this in 1871, and applied in January of that year for copyright of a trademark (St Andrew's Cross, Lion, Thistle and GB quartered on shield), and also of a showcard which featured a portrait of the Marquis of Lorne and the words 'Highland Whisky' and a background of Argyll tartan. In addition they sold a Fine Old Irish Whisky and Connaught (1879) Irish whisky, which must have accounted for the bulk of their sales in these early years. The firm also sold a single or self whisky under the name Hazelburn (1872), North British Very Old Scotch Whisky (1873) and another blend, Glenlussa (1875), named after a glen three miles north-east of Campbeltown. Argyll associations were also used with Davaar Scotch Whisky (1885), celebrating the island at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch with its famous cave painting, and Dew of Ben Gullion (1885), the iconic hill which looks over Campbeltown Loch. Other nineteenth century brands included Dunblane Very Old Highland Whisky (1885), Club Whisky (1885), Peacock Brand Old Scotch Whisky (1886), Deeside Scotch Whisky (1886) and the Golfer's Special Whisky. In the early twentieth century, in the heat of the 'what is whisky' crisis, Greenlees introduced a Matured Scotch Grain Whisky (1907). By 1909 they had also introduced (Ancient) Old Parr, and in 1911 The Old Admiral Finest Highland Whisky. In addition to these trademarked brands, the firms also sold other 'patriotic' blends, such as Death or Glory and Thin Red Line. By 1885 Greenlees brothers had apparently achieved a dominant position in the marketing of blended whisky in England, and also had some success in exports. James Buchanan recalled that 'the wants of the licensed Trade in London were pretty well met by Messrs. Greenlees, whose Lorne Whisky practically held a monopoly of supply'.

Like other firms they exploited advertising whenever possible, often obtaining exposure in novel ways. In November of 1889 they secured the sole contract to supply whisky at Olympia during Barnum's residency there. By 1884 they had opened bonded and export warehouses in Osborne Street, Glasgow, where they claimed to have handled over 1.3 million gallons of whisky in 1886. By this time they had also moved from Gresham Buildings in London to 31 Commercial Street, 'one of the finest buildings' in the East End. The additional capacity afforded by these new premises was not simply to cope with the increasing sale of whiskies, but also to house stocks held under agencies for a wide range of champagnes and wines. By 1890 the Osborne Street site had been extended to cover an acre and a half, the warehouses holding 15,416 casks and 10,000 cases of whisky. The monthly turnover of the Osborne Street warehouse was 72,000 gallons, in excess of 3.5 million gallons for the year. Greenlees Brothers brands were supplied, claimed one advertisement, 'to His Majesty the King, His Excellency the Viceroy of India, and to the Courts of their Highnesses the Gaekwar of Barodas, the Maharaja of Rapur, the Nizam of Hydrerbad, and the Nawab of Patudi, etc. etc.'. Another claimed that Greenlees Brothers whisky was 'used by all nationalities all over the world'.

In 1886, following the death of Samuel Greenlees Senior, the two brothers took over the Hazelburn Distillery, converting it into a limited liability company, with a capital of £25,000. In 1888 they then took over the business known as Colvill, Greenlees & Company at the Argyll Distillery, Campbeltown, which they formed into a limited company with capital of £12,000; here they planned to build a new mash and still house and raise annual output to around 150,000 gallons. Both of these firms came under the general supervision of Samuel Greenlees, who for some time was based in Campbeltown, where in 1893 he guided a party led by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Albany around the Hazelburn plant. By 1900 the firm's distilleries were said to have an output of half a million gallons of whisky a year. Both Samuel and James were prominent in a variety of trade pressure and benevolent organisations; James gave evidence to at least two parliamentary enquiries into whisky, making the most of the opportunity for advertisement. 'The production of a beautiful electro-plated model of the still from which runs the silver stream, which changes into a golden one, by the time Mr. Greenlees has done with it, completed a useful piece of testimony, with just a not too predominant flavour of advertisement.'

By this time the brothers were arguably past their peak, and there were to be no successors to follow them. James Greenlees retired from the business in 1910, aged 62. By 1926 he had died. Samuel continued as a director of Greenlees, Colvill & Co Ltd until 1919, when he sold his majority shareholding to the distillers Mackie & Co. He had already moved to London to play a more prominent role in Greenlees Brothers and was no doubt responsible for the decision to merge that business with those of Sir James Calder to form Macdonald Greenlees Williams Ltd, initially a rival to the DCL' s increasing domination of the whisky trade. It was to be this business that merged with the DCL, taking with it Old Parr, the Greenlees Brothers' (and Argyll's) lasting contribution to the world of whisky.

The above article was first published in Loch Fyne Whiskies' Scotch Whisky Review. Thanks are due to the author and editor for kindly agreeing to its reproduction here.

Notes on Greenlees Families
by Angus Martin

In September, 2008, James and Margaret McNair, Smerby, were on holiday in Cornwall. Entering the Ship Inn, Fowey, they noticed a framed poster of a horse and coach and tartan-clad figures, advertising Lorne Whisky, a blend manufactured by Greenlees Brothers. Since the firm's connection with Kintyre was obvious from the poster, Mr. McNair was intrigued. His daughter Jean later searched the internet and found the above article on the Greenlees Brothers, hence its appearance here. That Greenlees family almost certainly appears in Mr. McNair's own genealogy - his paternal great-grandmother, Susan Greenlees, was born at High Peninver.

Samuel Greenlees of Greenlees Brothers, though he died at his home in London (on 24th January 1939, at the age of 88), was buried in Kilkerran, Campbeltown. His monument, indeed, is almost certainly the biggest though not the tallest - in the entire cemetery, which isn't lacking in ostentatious memorials. The monument boasts three stone tablets, but only the middle one has been utilised. It commemorates Samuel himself, his wife Jessie Eliza Weir (born 1858, died 1908) and his son Weir Loudon (born 1882, died 1975). His second son, J Walter S Greenlees, is not represented on the stone.

Jessie Eliza Weir belonged to the tragic family of the Rev Walter Weir, minister of the Lowland Church from 1854 to 1864. In December 1863, the year before her father's death, four of her five siblings - Robert, Agnes, James and Walter - died of typhoid, one after the other, through drinking from the Duchess's Well at Castlehill Manse gate.

Samuel Greenlees's obituary in the Campbeltown Courier of 4th February, 1939, stresses his unfailing interest in Kintyre and its affairs, despite his long residence in London. He was prominent in the London Argyllshire Association, was a benefactor - often anonymously - of 'innumerable good causes in Campbeltown and Kintyre', and was active in the interests of local fishermen, which services were recognised by his being made an Honorary President of the Clyde Fishermen's Association. Samuel's 'principal recreation' in his later years was the theatre, an interest which he certainly didn't inherit from his Covenanting ancestors. In 1923, he sank £1000 - a fortune in those days - into 'Ned Kean', a romantic play he admired. His money kept the play running for a fortnight after audiences at Drury Lane Theatre had given it an emphatic thumbs' down.

His father, also Samuel, was connected with the farm of Moy, which he purchased in 1856 with his business partner and brother-in-law, Daniel Greenlees, after whose retirement, in 1881, Samuel bought both the distillery at Hazelburn and the farm. They commissioned the first vessel to be built at the Campbeltown Shipbuilding Company's yard at Trench Point. The 84ft-long schooner, named the Moy, after the partners' estate, was launched in 1878, but foundered with all hands off Pladda in the terrible storm of 23rd January 1884.

Another notable Greenlees born at Peninver Farm, in 1822, was John, but his -relatively modest business interests were confined to Kintyre. He was a general merchant at Lintmill village, where a son James died on 20th July 1857 aged two. In 1860, he moved to nearby Stewarton and continued his business there. After retirement, he built at Machrihanish a villa which he named 'Craiglussa', after his place of origin. He died there in July 1892. He was a keen golfer and a founder-member of Machrihanish Golf Club. Stewarton Stores was taken over by his son, Archibald, who died at Swallowholm, Machrihanish, in August 1932. Archibald's brothers William and (a second) James Greenlees were partners in the firm of John Ross & Co., which owned Longrow and Kintyre distilleries. James afterwards became a partner in the firm of Bennet & Co. and moved to Uddingston. One of his sons, Major R Wallace Greenlees, MBE JP, was Provost of Campbeltown from 1950 to 1952 and died in 1964. On the eccentric side, there was Gavin Greenlees, Campbeltown-born metal merchant in Glasgow, 'profound scholar' of 'the truth of Scripture as regards Egypt, Babylon, Nineveh, etc', and author of 'two volumes by way of controverting Max Muller's views as expressed in his Gifford lectures'. (Campbeltown Courier, 18/11/1905)

It is quite remarkable the number of major industrialists whose family origins were in the Lowland Plantation farming community of Glenlussa. Aside from that Greenlees family, there was James Templeton (1802-85), founder of the carpet-manufacturing firm, whose family connection was with Drumgarve. Colvilles were heavily involved in whisky-distilling, but also prospered outwith Kintyre, e.g. John Colville (1844-1924), of the Glasgow Cotton Spinning Company, and David Colville (1813-98), iron and steel-master, who founded David Colville & Sons, Motherwell. The first known Colvilles in Kintyre were recorded in the farm of Gartgreillan, during the decade 1663-73.

Notes on Glenlussa

The following notes were written in September 1982 by Mr. Alex Kelly and passed on to me last year by his niece, Mrs. Catherine Brodie. The notes occupy merely five pages, but contain several snippets of interest. Mr. Kelly, who belonged to an old South Kintyre farming family, was born at Whitehill Farm and died 2nd February 1990, aged 88. Editor.

Mr. Kelly refers to the 'water mill' near Calliburn Farm and the ruins there, which he associated with a 'crofting village'. He says that about 1880 a new farm house was built 'about a mile away', an obvious reference to Drumgarve, which still exists, but as a dwelling-house. 'I knew a shepherd who was carried as a baby from the crofting village to that new house. His name was Alex Wilson. I think that the crofting land would be turned over to sheep at that date and the village deserted. '

He continues: 'I have another story told to me by another Farmer who lived in the district. His name was Daniel Sillars. He retired in 1939. He said when he was in his twenties - I think that would be in the 1870s - he lived in a farm near Campbeltown. He said that he had a friend of his own age who worked in that crofting village. A dance was to be held and he asked Daniel Sillars to take up his good suit, so he got the suit and set off on horseback. When he reached the Lussa there was a high flood and there was no bridge, only a ford. However, at that point the Lussa runs through a gorge. It was deep but not broad. So my friend made up the suit with a rope, swung the bundle round his head a number of times and managed to throw it to the other side. This would enable his pal to get dressed for the dance. Have just set down this story as it was told to me.'

Books and Magazines for Sale

  • Do you require any back copies of The Kintyre Magazine?
  • Numbers 6 to 49 are available at 3 for £1 plus p & p, though some issues, e.g. Number 48, are now sold out.
  • Numbers 50 to 64 are available at £ 1.50p each plus p & p.
The following books published by the Society are also available by mail:
  • Kintyre in the 17th Century by Andrew McKerral - £9 plus p & p.
  • Meanders in South Kintyre by James McNeill- £5 plus p & p.
  • Kintyre Birds: Notes, Quotes & Anecdotes, a 60-page compilation by Angus Martin - £2 plus p & p (UK).
  • The Place-Names of the Parish of Southend, 40 pp. - £2 plus p & p.
  • The Place-Names of the Parish of Campbeltown, 60pp. - £3, plus p & p
  • Kintyre at War, 1939-1945, CD-Rom in Microsoft 'Word' edition for PC computers, compiled by Donald Kelly - £5 plus p & p.

For further information and exact costs, if required, write to or e-mail Elizabeth Marrison at Glunimore, 7 Fort Argyll Road, Campbeltown, Argyll PA28 6SN, or, stating if you wish 1st or 2nd class mail for the UK or surface or airmail for abroad. Cheques to be made payable to the Kintyre Antiquarian & Natural History Society.

Copyright belongs to the authors unless otherwise stated.

The Kintyre Antiquarian & Natural History Society was founded in 1921 and exists to promote the history, archaeology and natural history of the peninsula.
It organises monthly lectures in Campbeltown - from October to April, annually - and has published its journal, 'The Kintyre Magazine', twice a year since 1977, in addition to a range of books on diverse subjects relating to Kintyre.

CLICK HERE for Correspondence and Subscription Information.

ISSN 0140 0762

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