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Tartan Ferret
Test

Baronage of Angus & Mearns


By David McGregor Peter

David Peter or David MacGregor Peter was born in 1802, the eldest child of a family of farm labourers in Angus who overcame poor beginnings to become a clerk and to write two major reference works.

Originally published in 1856, this work provides historical descriptions for 360 families, with comment on the family, its descent, arts, current seat (as of 1856), and related information. Most entries average one page; some are more extensive.

Families include: Allardice, Anderson, Baird, Barclay, Bethune, Blair, Cameron, Campbell, Chisholm, Crichton, Davidson, Dickson, Douglas, Drummond, Duncan, Edgar, Erskine, Farquharson, Fletcher, Forbes, Fraser, Gibson, Gordon, Graham, Guthrie, Hay, Henderson, Hume, Hunter, Irvine, Keith, Ker, Knox, Leith, Lindsay, Lyon, Macaulay, MacDonald, MacGregor, Mackenzie, MacLaren, MacPherson, Melville, Menzies, Munro, Napier, Neish, Nicolson, Ochterlony, Ogilvy, Patterson, Ramsay, Robertson, Shaw, Simpson, Sinclair, Skene, Stirling, Strachan, Stuart, Thomson, Turnbull, Wallace, Watson, Wemyss, Wishart, Yeoman, and Young, to name but a few.

David Peter or David MacGregor Peter was born in 1802, the eldest child of a family of farm labourers in Angus who overcame poor beginnings to become a clerk and to write two major reference works. From the preface to one of his later publications of 1882, he writes of himself "...fortunately, I was a clerk to the late D. Hillocks, Esq., J.P., Finavon House, for some time prior to 1827; and he was factor for the Earl of Aboyne, Lord Hallyburton of Pitcur, Sir Wm. Forbes, Bart., of Fettercairn, G. Skene Esq. of Skene and Earl of Fife, Careston Castle. I therefore had the privilege of studying in these noblemen's rich libraries in my 'Leisures best resource' ."


Apparently he diligently searched into all Parish Church records and various laird's old charter chests in order to give a history of every estate and a genealogy of their owners. He published a book on the Baronetcy of Forfarshire, which consisted of the researches of his lifetime. He carried his precious volume through all his journeys in his fiddle bag.


He was a frequent contributor to various publications, which emanated from the office of the Montrose Standard. The theme of these was invariably the gentry of the county and in 1856 culminated in his 'magnus opus' entitled " A Baronage of Angus and Mearns" printed by Messrs. Oliver Boyd Edinburgh.


He played the violin and in the 1881 census was described as a Dancing Master in Panmure Street, Brechin where he resided (at least on census night) with his wife Jane and their children. This explains his nickname of 'Dancy Peter'. Mr James G. Low, the antiquary from Montrose, at one time possessed a portrait of Peter showing him with his violin and heraldic insignia, and his peculiar hat.


The last reference to David McGregor Peter is in 1886-1887 when he is recorded as being in the poorhouse. He died aged 85 on the 26th February 1887.

 





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