Baron of Inchbrakie and
Tenth in Descent
from the First
Earl of Montrose
Born on 23rd May 1753, George Graeme first saw the light in the latter half of a century, the earlier part of which
had been rent by Scotland’s loyal, though vain, efforts to place the royal race (of Stuart), beloved of that nation,
on the throne. The country was now settling down to try and regain something of what it had lost from an agricultural view.
What had gone
in the best of its valour and blood was never to be replaced, and would surely recur, for as long as life and war continue,
so long will a valiant race send forth the best of its sons to meet them.
As far as the
efforts on the land of Inchbrakie went, they were a failure for the future welfare of the house. In the sketch of Patrick,
the eighth laird, one of his letters show he is hard at work on various plantings, and the formation of a "Water Meadow,"
which resulted in early crops of hay, which meant a second to follow, and advanced agricultural movement of 1750. George Graeme
followed his father’s lead and was known as the Laird of Inchbrakie who had sown gold in his trench ploughing, and who
to military service, he personally did not grudge to give of his best, but as his sons grew to man’s estate, he sent
them one by one to Liverpool, where, during his early service in the north of England, and while holding the appointment of
Colonel of the Perthshire Fencibles later on, he had formed friendships with various of the merchant princes of that city.
One by one the
boys laid down the pen, rose from the desks and buckled on their swords; their forefathers had heard too often and too long
the clash of steel and the sound of pipes screaming the "Blar Allt" to permit them to respond to the wish of their father that his sons should follow the
example of some of the best blood in the country, and exchange the scabbard for the quill.
began his military career when just twenty years of age. Like his father he joins the Dutch Brigade. His commission bears
the "Het" Regiment (eighth?) Scots Brigade, Lt. General Mackay, Colonel Majoribanks. Two years later he was admitted supernumerary
to the regiment under Colonel Riddle, and the following autumn, on the 27th August 1775, he
is commissioned to the regiment under Major-General Houston, commanded by Vandrig Murdoch Mackenzie.
The Dutch service
had no attraction for George Graeme; there was little active service to be attained, and beyond its being an excellent school
for the training of young officers, little advantage was to be gained from that now forlorn brigade, and in December 1777
George obtained a commission in the 72nd Foot (Manchester Volunteers) commanded by Colonel
Charles Mawhood. This was the period during which he formed the ties of what was to become a lasting friendship with the Sandbachs
and Shands of Liverpool. On the war breaking out with France and Spain he went to Gibraltar on active service. That fortress
was held under siege from the autumn of 1779 by the combined fleets of Spain and France.
An officer thus
describes the effect in September 1781 of the continual bombardment for twenty-three months: "Our town is totally destroyed;
even the very grass grows in the streets, as all the army and the inhabitants live in tents and caverns on the rocks, and
are not safe even there, being continually annoyed by mortars and gunboats. However on the 9th
June we had the satisfaction to see the enemy’s magazine blow up in the camp of St Roque, whereby above 5000 shells
exploded in the air, and a great number of barrels of gunpowder which killed and wounded a great many.
however, keep up the blockade, intercepting every vessel that comes in."
The writer gives
a list of the amount of ammunitionExpended by the defending garrison and the enemy.
Barrels of Powder
Round Shot 8796
Grape 1358 etc.
During all those
months the garrison held out bravely. In September 1780 George Graeme was gazetted Captain in the 72nd,
now commanded by Colonel Charles Ross.
who is the Governor, writes in 1781 also, reporting the above loss of the enemy’s magazine. He states that on calm nights
the gun and mortar boats repeat their nightly visits which do little harm beyond "depriving the troops of their natural rest,
which is no great evil in this climate, as evidently appears by the health of the garrison."
1782 affairs were working to a crisis. General Elliot saw his opportunity and took it. A combination of the land forces with
those of the sea after severe and continuous fighting, brought the matter to a close. Early in 1783 the Articles of Peace
On 23rd April 1783 The Right Honble. Sir George A. Elliot, K.C.B. delivered the thanks of both Houses of Parliament
to the garrison at Gibraltar for their services during a defence of over two years.
two years George had served as Captain in the 72nd and was wounded while (under very heavy
fire from the whole of the enemies’ gun and mortar batteries) he, as Captain of the main guard, saved a thousand casks
of flour on which the garrison food depended.
were stored in a building which had been set on fire by the explosion of shell, and George Graeme’s duty was to save
as much of it as he and his guard could manage; it was no easy task as the building was not only under the enemies’
fire but the burning rafters rapidly brought down the roof which continually fell in on the men, while accomplishing their
returned home to find he was the only son left to his parents of the group of three handsome boys who had started in life
a few years previously, both his younger brothers having died in their service to the country.
close of the year 1785 he loses his mother, Margaret Oliphant of Gask, and his engagement to Miss Oliphant of Condie takes
of Condie had purchased part of the estate known by that name from Mr Colville, the first husband of Lilias Graeme of Inchbrakie
during the earliest years of the seventeenth centure; at that period the other portion of the estate "Newtoun" of Condie was
held by Sir James Oliphant and another daughter of the House of Inchbrakie, Margaret, the niece of Lilias. This was the portion
where the mansion house stood. It had been built about 1545 by William, brother of the third Lord Oliphant. This William of
Newton had married Margaret, daughter of and heiress of Oliphant of Berridale.
Oliphant who bought Condie in 1601 from William Colville of Condie and Lilias Graeme (of Inchbrakie) his wife, was the son
of Alexander Oliphant who was Albany Herald in 1563, and who married Janet Oliphant. Thus the first Oliphant of Condie was
grandson of William of Berridale, younger son of the third Lord Oliphant, as stated by a deed in the Condie Charter Chest.
first Oliphant of Condie, is described as servitor to Mr William Oliphant, which would show he was a kinsman and probably
in the office of the King’s Advocate in 1631 when the discharge is signed. Laurence married a daughter of the House
of Tullibardine, Miss Murray; by 1643 Laurence Oliphant the first of Condie is dead. Mercer’s Chronicle says, Laurence
Oliphant of Condie "depairtet this lyffe in Edinburgh and bureit in the kirk of Forteviot upon 16 Feby, 1643. This interesting old record would
confirm the fact that there was no mansion at this date on the portion of Condie then owned by Laurence Oliphant. His will
passed over his eldest son to some extent in consequence of his displeasure at his marriage; his second son became of Rossie,
and Isabella, a daughter of that house marries Graeme of Orchill, and was the mother of the heiress, Beatrice Graeme of Orchill.
Rossie is represented
this day by the heir of the late Mr T.L. Oliphant of Rossie-Orchill, who after the sale of his estate settled at St Andrews.
The names of his two sons who took so prominent a part in the defence of the British Legation at Pekin, when besieged by the
Boxers in 1901 will always be honoured by their kinfolk and friends, the one for the heroism which gave his life in the defence
of his fellow-countrymen, and the other for publishing the Diary which told the details of so interesting an anxious a period.
To return to
the Oliphants of Condie, the second son having been accounted for, we find the third son of the first Laurence of Condie marries
Elspeth, daughter of Sir Henry Stirling of Ardoch, and the fourth becomes ancestor of the Oliphants of Kinneder, in Fife.
eldest son, who annoyed his father by marrying Marion, only child of Sir John Blackadder of Tullilian, was passed over in
the succession, to what purpose does not appear, as he is styled second of Condie in the genealogy. His son Laurence, third
of Condie, married Helen, sister of Sir James Wemyss of Bogie, and leaving several children, was in turn succeeded by the
fourth Laurence of Condie who married Jeanette, daughter of Meldrum of Lethers, of Aberdeenshire. He died soon after his marriage,
leaving a young widow; she married for the second time one of the Drummonds styled of Invermay, who left to her son, Laurence
Oliphant, fifth of Condie, a considerable fortune.
fifth of Condie, married Isobel Elgine; in 1743 she signs a receipt to Laurence of Gask which describes her as "relict of
the umquhile Laurence Oliphant of Condie". Laurence "now of Condie" is alluded to, and James Oliphant (Gask) witnesses it.
sixth of Condie, married Lilias Oliphant, daughter of James, sixth of Gask; their marriage contract is dated 21st
August 1718, in it the bridegroom is styled Laurence Oliphant of Condie, not yet infeft and seated in the lands of
the deceist Laurence Oliphant his father, to whom the contract obliged him at once to retour himself as heir. Three of the
witnesses are: James Graeme of Newton, Anthony Murray of Dollerie, William Murray of Ochtertyre, younger.
It was the sixth
Laurence of Condie who came to the assistance of "Mr Whytt" his brother-in-law, the Jacobite Laird of Gask, and with Inchbrakie,
Lawers, and Orchill formed the "Gask Trust", of which the "Concerts" were held at Inchbrakie, where Amelia Nairne, "Mr Whytt’s"
wife, was arranging matters; Laurence of Condie is given authority to buy it when the Barons of Exchequer put it up for sale
on 16th Feb. 1754.
of the sixth Laird of Condie, the seventh laird of Gask (the elder Jacobite) and the tenth laird of Garvock, were all first
cousins to each other, for Catherine Oliphant of Gask, sister of Mrs Oliphant of Condie, married Robert Graeme of Garvock,
the Jacobite "Glaud" : they included the seventh Laurence of Condie; James the eleventh of Garvock and his brother Robert;
Laurence Oliphant, the younger Jacobite laird of Gask, with his sister Margaret, "Leddy Inchbrakie" and many others.
from the hands of the outlawed James Oliphant (who committed the terrible crime of stabbing his mother in a fit of passion
and had fled from the country) into the hands of his kinsman James Graeme the Solicitor General, son of Black Pate of Inchbrakie,
who obtained sasine of Newton in 1691-92. His son sold these lands in 1744 to James Moray of Abercairny; they were held by
Abercairny for a very short period, for in 1750, Lawrence the sixth of Condie buys them and incorporates them with that estate,
of which they now become part, the house called Newton now designated Condie.
In 1753 Jacobite
"Glaud" of Garvock is apprehended, and writes urgently to Oliphant of Condie; the letter runs as follows:
"I am just
now at your house on my way to Perth with a party I hope so soon as this comes to hand you will see to come and meet me and send a message to Abercarnie and
ane other to
Balgowan and beg they will come into Perth and Do what they can to get me put at Liberty.
I need say
no more just but I am your most Humble"
NS 15 March
the Serveants consent to stay at this place till you come so heast. To the Laird of Condie make heast."
The Laird of
Condie was possible residing at Gask with his wife Lilias; by 1759 he is dead and his son Laurence succeeds as seventh laird;
he seeks his wife (1759) across the Strath at Dollerie, and married Grizel, the daughter of Anthony Murray of Dollerie, descended
from the House of Murray of Tullibardine, the first Anthony of "Dullerie" as it was then called, obtaining his lands, circa
1490, from his father, second Murray of Ochtertyre.
laird’s life ended in a most untimely matter; the river May was in flood, and he was drowned while riding across it.
His two elder sons by Miss Murray of Dollerie died while young; Ebenezer succeeded, and Margaret, became the wife of the ninth
of Inchbrakie (the subjects of the present sketch); we cannot leave this brief record of the Oliphants without a few words
carrying them on to the present time. Mrs Graeme’s sisters Lilias, Grace and Helen all died unmarried, the latter in
EBENEZER, EIGHTH OF CONDIE
had issue by his wife
Mary (whom he married in 1790) daughter of Sir Wm. Stirling of Ardoch.
Laurence, who succeeded:
his second son William who was born in 1792, was in the H.E.I.C’s Artillery; he never married and had the reputation
of being shy and reserved; the Journals of Grace Graeme of Inchbrakie give a very pleasant description of him. Grace was his
first cousin and was an acknowledged beauty, clever too, an artist of some talent,and a great favourite in society.
Anthony, his third son,
became Chief Justice of Ceylon and was knighted in 1840. Sir Anthony married Maria, daughter of Colonel Campbell; their only
son Laurence, or Lawrie, as he was called in his family, showed great mental powers during the early years of his life; a
diplomatist, a clever satirist, a brilliant author, he has left behind him books as varied and diverse in style and subject
as his career was in its many changes and occupations. The reader must be referred to his memoirs for particulars of his career.
James, the fourth son of
Ebenezer, eighth of Condie, was Lieutenant Colonel of Madras Engineers and a director of the Honble. E.I. Company. He married
Miss Maidment in 1823 and had three sons and two daughters, the eldest son being James Erskine Oliphant, born 1826, of the
Bombay Civil Service, he also married twice; his first wife was Margaret, daughter of General Robert Alexander. The present
Mrs Erskine Oliphant is Jane Lloyd, daughter of Maurice Cooke Collis, D.D., of Castle Cooke, County Cork. Colonel James Oliphant’s
second son William, Gen. Maj.R.E. served in the punjaub campaign of 1848-49, including siege and capture of Mooltan, surrender
of force and garrison and battle of Gujerat; medal with two clasps. He married Miss Chapman, daughter of John Chapman Esq,
For the rest of Lieutenant-Colonel
James Oliphant’s very numerous family by his second wife, we must refer those interest to Burke’s "Landed Gentry",
where a very full and excellent account is given of the younger branches.
Colonel James Oliphant
held an important post as private secretary to his Highness the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh, which duty he carried out in a manner
so satisfactory to the Government, that it was years after in a measure transferred to a son of his second marriage, Mr Arthur Craigie Oliphant,
who previously had been given the post of private secretary to the H.H. the Nizam’s minister.
Colonel Oliphant was a
well-known resident in Wimbledon, and resided for many years at Elvedon, Suffolk, with the Maharajah. He died at Worlington
To Thomas, the fifth son
of Ebenezer Oliphant, some of the earliest information is due, as he drew up a family pedigree; he had exceptional musical
talents and many of his compositions were accepted by the Madrigal Society of London.
Ebenezer, the eighth laird
of Condie, died in 1807, his son Laurence, ninth of Condie, was born in 1791; his first wife, Miss Ross of Rossie Castle in
Forfar, died without issue. His second wife was the widow of Samuel Barrett Esq. Her two children, Samuel Barrett and Henrietta,
found a happy home at Condie, for Laurence, the ninth laird, was a second father to them. I well remember as a child hearing
my mother and "Sam" Barrett, a very handsome old man with great charm of manner, conversing, and recalling many happy memories
of Condie in the old days.
Laurence, the ninth laird,
was well noted for his warm hospitality and kindly heart. He and my father were first cousins and were like brothers, and
Laurence Graeme and his wife ever found the doors of Condie open when they returned on leave from his various appointments
in the West Indies.
Mrs Laurence Graeme was
a great friend during their husband’s life of both the last Mrs Oliphants of Condie (Mrs Barrett and Miss Oliphant of
Rossie), though after their respective widowhoods, their lives drifted apart. Many a happy hour, when a tiny child, was spent
by me at the home of my grandmother before the death of Condie’s eighth laird, who died in 1862. By his third wife,
Marianne Oliphant of Rossie, he had several children. Their eldest daughter married Thomas Walker, Esq., of Marnby Hall, Yorkshire;
their youngest, Susan, married in 1894 J. Maitland Thomson of the Whim (son of the late owner of the Balgowan Estate.) Their
only son, Laurence James, succeeded as ninth laird; he was born in 1846, joined the Grenadier Guards, which regiment he afterwards
commanded, and married in 1878, the Honourable Mary Gerard, daughter of Robert Lord Gerard.
Major General Oliphant
was C.V.O. in 1902 and M.V.O., fourth clasp, in 1897. He served in the Soudan campaign in 1885, late Colonel commanding Grenadier
Guards; afterwards commanded a brigade at Aldershot. Held a command in South Africa, and on return was given the command of
the Home District. In 1903 his name appeared in the New Year Honours List as having obtained a C.B.
He has three children:
Laurence Henry, born 1879; Francis, born 1883; and a daughter Helen.
A small room in Condie
House was known as the Ghost Room, it was said to be haunted by a lady who carried her head under her arm and went by the
appellation of Lady Green Sleeves. In 1864 when the house was being altered, some workmen found in the wall of that room a
small skull, which from its size belonged to a woman; the family were absent and the men sang psalms round it, and without
waiting for further orders built up the skull again in the place where they had found it. In 1866 the house of Condie was burnt to the ground!
The house of Condie was
formerly known as Newton. It was there Marian Graeme of Inchbrakie had been stabbed and died. Is it possible that her spirit
haunted the room where the crime was committed? It is a curious coincidence that the name Lady Green Sleeves is associated
with the Condie or Newton Ghost, for from time immemorial that has been the spirit which walked at Kincardine and Inchbrakie
when sorrow impended!
The lands of Condie was
afterwards sold, but General Oliphant retained the "Path of Condie", the oldest bit of property bought from the Colvilles,
and thus retains the appellation of Oliphant of Condie.
We now take up the thread
of our sketch at the engagement of George Graeme and his bride Margaret Oliphant, daughter of the sixth laird of Condie. The
marriage took place in 1786. A very voluminous contract is drawn up between Captain George Graeme and Margaret Oliphant; the
latter’s father is dead, and her "brother German," Ebenezer, acts for her. The contract is signed at Dollerie, where
Margaret’s first cousin is laird; numbers of witnesses attest it.
Laurence Oliphant of Gask
(the bridegroom’s uncle) William Graeme of Orchill (Inchbrakie’s brother-in-law), Captain Robert Drummond of Lintibert,
Sir William Stirling of Ardoch (a brother-in-law of Condie and Curator for the Bride) and of course Anthony Murray; Ebenezer
Oliphant of Condie, and the bride and bridegroom, besides Patrick Graeme, Laird of Inchbrakie.
A goodly gathering met
that third of May at the old house of Dollerie to wish the bride god speed; she is in her twenty fifth year, having been born
at Newton in the Parish of Longforgan, on November 22nd 1760, the bridegroom is eight years
Three years later they
are staying in Perth where their eldest son is born on 9th June 1789. He is named Patrick in
obedience to the unwritten decree for the heir’s Christian name, but the succession is once again to be broken, this
time by the death of a soldier boy.
In 1793 orders are issued
by Government to raise seven regiments of Fencibles in North Britain, and by May the following year, George Graeme is captain
in the regiment he has assisted to raise, and which is commanded by Charles Moray of Abercairny. Perthshire raised two troops
of this cavalry which were under Abercairny’s command; by some error, when the men were enlisted, it was not fully explained
to them that the pay of 1 shilling a day would partly be paid in kind; this misunderstanding led to what might have a very
serious mutiny, had not Graeme of Inchbrakie used stern measures to quell it; hearing rumours of discontent, he decided to
explain matters clearly, and accordingly at evening parade he read a statement to the troops; 6d a day was the cash paid.
Grass money and other allowances amounted to the 1 s. promised.
The men were greatly disappointed,
and one named Marshall, more insubordinate than the others, informed their captain in offensive language that he for one would
not submit to it. George Graeme, who with the Quarter-Master was the only officer present, instantly ordered two corporals
to arrest the offender, which caused a rush to be made from the ranks. However, discipline prevailed after a few moments,
and the men reformed into line, were marched up and down the Inch by the Quarter Master while George Graeme rode to Perth Barracks and brought out
a detachment of the 4th Dragoons, ordering the whole of his Fencibles under arrest. The ringleaders
were detained, and the rest dismissed for the night. Abercairny and the other officers were summoned by express and Marshall
was ordered 700 lashes but was respited, as, though he ran away on seeing the Dragoons, he surrendered to his officers next
day, and the matter ended in smoke, thanks to Inchbrakie’s promptitude, who was made a Burgess of the City of Perth
the same year on the 17th June.
While her husband is engaged
at Perth with his military duties, Mrs Graeme visits at Orchill her sister-in-law, Aemilia, and Mr William Graeme, and on
the 5th May 1794, there is born a daughter, the bright, witty Grace Graeme of Inchbrakie, who
in after years is toasted as the "Fair Maid of Craig Rossie!"
A friendly letter from
George Graeme to Mr Rutherford, his man of business in Perth, is dated from Aberdeen, where he is quartered in September 1795,
sending messages from Mrs Graeme and Patrick, the eight year old son and heir.
In October he receives
orders to move his troop south; letters show that, on 17th October, beyond knowing they are
to be reviewed, he has no information of his destination, but will sent his "equipage" as soon as possible to Perth, and on
12th November he and his family are settled at Stirling Castle, where they remain till June
1796. Meantime, as we know, early in the spring of that year, his father Patrick died, and in February Colonel Graeme and
his wife are summoned hastily from Stirling by express to attend his father’s deathbed. George Graeme can only be spared
from his command for a short time; his wife remains to comfort poor Margaret Graeme for the loss of her father, but soon rejoins her husband
at Stirling, where on 17th April 1796, their second son, George Drummond, afterwards the heir
to Inchbrakie and Aberuthven, is born.
Meanwhile, the correspondence
shows that Margaret’s brother entrusts much of the management and arrangements of his estates to his sister, who superintends
the removal and replacement of documents from and to the charter chest. Margaret Graeme is an exact lady and very businesslike;
numerous papers show these visits to the charter chest are all witnessed by the estate bailiff or the man of business. By
August the Graemes have moved to Musselburgh, and one of George Graeme’s letters to his lawyer states, that their late
landlady in the castle yard at Stirling merits a tenant being put in.
Leaving his old aunts at
Inchbrakie with his sister Margaret, Colonel Graeme in October quits Scotland for the north of England to take up a command
in the County Durham.
Wherever George Graeme
was quartered he seems to have won universal respect and esteem; Perth, Brechin, Aberdeen and Stirling, all in turn present
him with the freedom of their respective cities, and, added to his fine manly character and sterling worth, he bore the charm
of a handsome person. His daughter Grace twenty years after was at a wedding dinner given by Mrs Scott Kerr of Chatto, then
described as an old lady. Grace seems by some lucky chance to have been seated next to the great novelist, Sir Walter Scott,
who enchanted the daughter by describing to her her father’s appearance at Stirling, when leading his regiment, adding,
"Colonel Graeme was the beau ideal of a cavalry officer."
The riding lessons at Gask
in 1762 had not been wasted! (Sketch XX). Mr Scott Kerr of Chatto was the son of Elizabeth Graeme of Balgowan, Lynedoch’s
Colonel Graeme, now commanding
the Fencibles since the 29th May 1795, marched for Durham in the early winter 1796-97, under
orders to assist in quelling the riots and the disturbed state of the north of England.
Colonel and Mrs Graeme
established themselves at Bishop’s Auckland near Durham, where another son Lawrence was born on the 5th
The efficiency of Inchbrakie’s
action in suppressing the disturbances in the north of England with his squadron of the Perthshire Fencibles brought him the
approbation of General Sir George Osborn, commanding the North-Eastern District in England, as well as strong commendation
and thanks from the magistrates and justices of Kendal in Westmoreland and the Sheriff of Dumfries in Scotland for the activity
and orderly comportment of his squadron during the disturbances – it may be mentioned Colonel Graeme had spent a considerable
sum on raising the regiment of Fencibles.
Colonel Graeme paid a flying
visit to arrange matters on his estate in 1798, and his sister Margaret mentions that he left Inchbrakie for England on the
23rd October 1798. By the autumn of that year the family were established in Byrom Street,
Liverpool; his eldest boy was nine years old and the education and the expenses of a family induced Colonel Graeme to accept
the command, though always going back and forward to his estates.
At Liverpool the boys grew
up, and George Graeme’s wealthy and influential friends, the Sandbachs, the Shands, the Tinneys, all took the young
lads into their offices; by the year 1815 every one of his five sons had entered the navy or army and the eldest had been
shot in action!
The Duke of Montrose held
very kindly relations with his kinsmen, he had assisted George Graeme and his brothers in early life to their commissions,
etc, and Inchbrakie in one of his visits home, has, in arranging letters, come across some of the Duke’s written to
Patrick, George’s brother, who was in command of the 42nd on his way to India when he
I have received your
letter enclosing my letters to your brother whom I very much esteemed. I beg to return you my thanks and am very happy to
hear that Mr Percival has offered you an appointment such as you think proper to accept, and I hope it may lead to something
better. I shall be glad to see your Portrait of the Marquis of Montrose (tho’ I must maintain my own as the right resemblance)
and beg leave to express approbation of yours and your sister’s feeling as to the possession of it.
I remain with esteem,
Your Obt St
A letter from Sir Thomas
Graham in 1812 then commanding the 90th is given below; the letter, owing to Colonel Graham
suffering from his eye-sight, was written by his secretary, accounting for the incorrect spelling of Inchbrakie’s name.
At this time his eldest son Patrick had been two years serving in Spain and Portugal under the Duke of Wellington and General
Graham in the 89th Regiment.
His second son George was
already an ensign in the King’s German Legion; he was a little over 15 years of age, and a few months later on is wounded
at the taking of Badajos.
15 June 1812
My dear Sir,
I sometime ago received
your letter of March last, with a memorial in which you state many facts that undoubtedly ought to add great weight to your
claim for favor from the Government of the country, though unfortunately too little attention in the Public Offices is paid
to the sufferings of families from their Loyalty. I was prevented from forwarding it as immediately as I should have wished,
by the consideration of having necessarily forwarded too frequent applications to the Horse Guards, but I have sent it lately
enclosed in a private letter to my friend Colonel Torrens, and I shall be most happy should his influence with the Duke procure
a Company for your son. I have many to return to you for your obliging expressions relative what concerns me, and I beg that
you will make my best respects to Mrs Graham, and believe me,
Most truly and obediently
At this date 1812-13, Colonel
Graeme and his family had removed to Queen Square, Liverpool, and the visits to Inchbrakie in the summer were longer and more
On March 4th,
1814, the eldest son was shot dead while rallying his men to the charge in the American War. Amongst the Inchbrakie documents
a sad little packet, sealed with black seals and labeled by the father are the letters from his commanding officer and comrades
relating the sad event and containing the will of Patrick.
Colonel Graham of Balgowan’s
recommendation had carried little weight, but Patrick Graeme, though he died a lieutenant in his twenty-fifth year, was virtually
commanding that detachment of the 89th, for every officer but Ensign Miles and himself had
Early in 1814, before the
bad news came home about his eldest son, George Graeme is arranging the necessary formalities for proving his descent in order
that his boy George (who, after Badajos, is in Flanders with the King’s German Legion) may exchange into the Hanoverian
It is necessary for his
father to prove his right to something like thirty-two quarterings, which is easily accomplished; the Dukes of Montrose and
Atholl sign the document and His Grace of Atholl adds a friendly little note offering to give a letter to the Duke of Cambridge
if wished; needless to say the offer was warmly accepted. In the document George the ninth laird makes a declaration to the
effect that he brought back the Gask Charter saved in the 1745.
"The above Charter
of the family of Gask was saved from destruction by Sir Joseph York, 1745, and who afterwards, when Ambassador at London from
the Hague, returned it to Struan Robertson’s brother, Lt. Col. Robertson, who, upon my return from Flanders in the year
1778, gave same Charter to me in order to deliver it to my uncle, Lawrence Oliphant of Gask. The foregoing circumstances in
as far as regards the recovery of the original Charter of the family of Gask, I attest. George Graeme"
Early in 1815 Inchbrakie
is at home in Perthshire, and as far as we know settles down as a country squire; it is a troubled yar for the laird has scarcely
recovered from the loss of his firstborn, and George who is now his eldest son is under the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo
defending La Haye Sainte. By this date also the two youngest boys, Alexander and Anthony the sailors, were afloat; it recalls
the year 1782, a generation before when almost the same anxieties were being lived through by the eighth laird and his Jacobite
Near the Graemes at Ferntower,
was living Sir David Baird, the famous General of Upper Strathearn; after his Indian campaign he resided at Ferntower, and
was always a great friend of the Inchbrakies. A story is told of his mother, who, on hearing that her son was taken prisoner
in India and that he was tied to another man leg to leg, appeared to feel little concern for her son in comparison to that
felt for his companion in misery; "God help the man that is tied to my Davie", exclaimed the lady. Sir David’s passionate
temper was well known but he had a kindly heart, and many a good turn was done to a friend, and amongst them young Lawrence
the third son of George Graeme, who had, like his brothers, declined office work and sailed in 1814 to try his fortune with the 89th,
his brother Patrick’s regiment; he arrived at Quebec to find the latter had been killed, after a short stay when he
was under fire attached to the 89th, he returned home and Graeme of Inchbrakie asks and obtains
Sir David’s kind offices for Lawrence.. Years after on Captain Graeme calling at Ferntower when on furlough, to pay
his respects to Sir David, the latter observing he wore whiskers autocratically ordered him to shave; in those days the expression
of opinion from a general to a young officer meant a command, and as Lawrence was remaining some weeks at home there was nothing
for it but to obey; the whiskers were shaved off; when Captain Graeme returned to Ireland their absence nearly lost him his
Sir David writes from Ferntower
on 1 February 1815.
My dear Sir,
I beg your excuse for
not returning your packet last night but it came when I was dressing for dinner. I now send it with my signature and seal,
with my best wishes for the success of our young friend in which Lady Baird begs to join. The day is really so bad that I
cannot deliver this in person.
I have the honour to
My dear Sir
George Graeme, Esq,Of Inchbrakie.
A monument was erected
to Sir David on Tam a Chastel, a hill near the Earn, where lay the Ferntower Reach of that river.
Colonel Graeme and his
wife both died the same year. He was a devoted husband to a very gentle, kindly, sweet-tempered lady, who was a loving mother
as far as deep affection for her children went; Mrs Graeme was a great student of Shakespear and was never to happy as when
studying her beloved "master". One of her sons writing of her says, "She had an ineffable sweetness of manner, and during
the course of my life had never said a cross word to me and as far as I can recollect never refused me a request.".
Colonel and Mrs Graeme
never would consent to have their portraits painted, though their sons often tried to induce them. Late in the thirties Watson
Gordon, who was a friend of one of the young men, knowing his wishes proffered a visit to Inchbrakie;
It would have been impossible
to have arranged regular "sittings", so the good-natured artists sat and talked to his hostess while busied with his brush
and sketch book. Anything of even so mild a description of portrait painting could not be accomplished with the laird, who
retired to his own suite of apartments after welcoming his guest, and was not seen again for the next few days; on seeing
the carriage depart with Sir Watson he strolled out of his apartments and meeting one of his sons enquired, "is that painting
Later on when Sir Watson
sent a very comely likeness of Mrs Graeme to Inchbrakie Colonel Graeme was much gratified.
With great courtesy and
old world grace of manner Colonel Graeme united a short temper and a large amount of the Graeme pride.
Walking with his son Lawrence
in Liverpool one day the Mayor passed, to whom Colonel Graeme made a low bow; next morning a large card of invitation to dinner
arrived, which he refused; on Lawrence enquiring why he did not accept the invitation of a man to whom he paid so much respect
the previous day he replied, "I did that as my duty to the constituted authorities, but that is no reason why I should dine
He burnt the letter in
which his daughter Grace wrote the account of her interview with Sir Walter, and his remarks on Colonel Graeme’s appearance,
rather than have them discussed by the younger people!
Another anecdote tells
how a consulting physician who had required a second summons to bring him from Edinburgh, when asked why this was necessary,
replied, he was unable to make out the writing; Colonel Graeme when presenting him with a large cheque trusted he would be
able to read it more easily than his first letter!
to his sons was, never to give a challenge, and never to refuse one! He however broke his rule on one occasion, for at the
dinner given at Perth to his uncle Lawrence Oliphant of Gask on the full recovery of his estates, the Duke of Atholl who was
presiding, gave offence by not allowing the pipers to play. Captain Graeme (a young man then) as representing his regiment
challenged the Duke! When his youngest son used to try and coax the sequel out of him, the only reply he could obtain was
"a tipsy broil, sir – a tipsy broil!"
Both Colonel Graeme’s
daughters-in-law were devoted to him; he was always gentle and courteous to ladies, and many an affectionate reminiscence
has been repeated of his acts towards them (his eldest son did not marry till after his father’s death).
He could be stern with
his subordinates, but was an easy master in many ways, and a good servant could usually become his master. An amusing story
of Inchbrakie’s endeavours to asset his authority was related a few years ago to one of Colonel Graeme’s grand-daughters.
Very late in the 18th century a certain Solomon McFarlane was gardener at Inchbrakie, and probably
owing to Colonel Graeme’s long absences from home "Solomon" took his own way, and when he did see his master, spoke
his mind and gave his opinion very freely; Inchbrakie generally received it all in good part knowing the true worth and hnest
of his servant. However, on one occasion when Colonel Graeme returned home, he was greatly annoyed with a serious omission
on Solomon’s part; he therefore ordered the gardener to dig up from the kitchen garden a cabbage plant and directing
Solomon to take it to another part of the garden, he superintended it being planted with its fine green head downwards, its
root only appearing above ground nearly patted down with the spade; "Weel weel, laird, what is a’ this for, are ye gane
daft?" "No", thundered Inchbrakie, "that is to show you who is master here!"
Colonel Graeme tried many
and various forms of agriculture, and as before mentioned at times to his subordinates, he was greatly liked. In 1820 a yoke
of oxen was still to be seen in the stables on his home farm as a curiosity; "he was the last laird in Perthshire to use oxen
for ploughing," and did so long after horses were used.
It must be explained that
the point of the story as far as Solomon went consists in the fact that at that period potatoes and cabbages were a great
luxury, having only been imported into Scotland in 1740 in which year the first dish of potatoes were placed on the Ochtertyre
table; Solomon was therefore deeply aggrieved at the treatment his precious cabbage received and remonstrated repeatedly during
Colonel and Mrs Graeme
died at Inchbrakie in 1840; the months between February and September only separated the husband and wife; Margaret Oliphant
of Condie was the first to be taken after close on forty four years of wedded life; they were buried in the family vault at
St Kattan’s Church, Aberuthven. Colonel Graeme was succeeded in the estates by his eldest son, George, Major of the
Hanoverian Guards who was then unmarried.