John Watson Guild, Banchory-Ternan

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tishgibbons
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Location: Galway, Ireland

John Watson Guild, Banchory-Ternan

Post by tishgibbons » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:29 pm

I'm de-clluttering and getting distracted by re-finding family history bits 'n' pieces. One of these is an ancestor's obituary which states that he was active in the John Watson Guild, Banchory. Anyone know anything about this Guild?
Tish
Researching Mitchell Grassick Bowman Farquharson Wilson Allanach Leys Coutts Gauld McNerney from Crathie and Braemar, Strathdon and Glenbuchat and who moved on to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada.

AndrewP
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Re: John Watson Guild, Banchory-Ternan

Post by AndrewP » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:59 pm

Hi Tish,

Google produced this little snippet of information...

http://www.silvercityvault.org.uk/index ... oGxQ/96622

And also...

https://archives.aberdeencity.gov.uk/Ca ... %2f1&pos=2

All the best,

AndrewP

Currie
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Re: John Watson Guild, Banchory-Ternan

Post by Currie » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:43 am

Quite a few mentions of the Guild in the newspapers but mainly to do with Annual General Meetings and the like. Here's something more about John Watson.

Aberdeen Press and Journal (Aberdeen, Scotland), Saturday, January 05, 1929

BANCHORY'S CHIEF BENEFACTOR.

Development 100 Years Ago.

It is just a hundred years now since the first popularly-elected town council met in Banchory to consider ways and means for the improvement of the Burgh.

The initiative in the movement was taken by John Watson, whose name has come down to the present generation as Banchory's greatest benefactor.

A native of Braemar, he was for some time tenant of the farm of Nether Mills of Drum, which he finally sold to a Mr Still from Aberdeen. In 1807 he feued from the Douglasses of Tilquhillie and Inchmarlo an extent of land on what is now the site of High Street, at the annual rent of 3s per acre. He sub-feued this land very advantageously, and became a comparatively wealthy man.

His main interest in life was the development of Banchory. He prophesied with remarkable foresight that Banchory would one day be a suburb of Aberdeen—as at the present day it virtually is—and he was the first to recognise that Banchory would become famed as a health resort.

Vision and Prophecy.

He had, indeed, rather a belief in his powers of vision and prophecy. He had dreams, and interpreted them with a certain gusto. There is his Townhead vision, which may be told in his own words:—
"I one night retired to rest," he writes, "in serious thought about my future destiny. In a dream a visitant appeared from the spiritual world. I asked her how I should fare in this place, and her answer was: 'Until the empty barrels come down by Townhead.' "

John Watson could not fathom this mystic speech until the railway was opened to Aboyne. Then he saw Townhead demolished, and the empty railway trucks passing. He died a short time afterwards.

He was a philosopher, too, and on one occasion competed for the Burnett Prize at Aberdeen University. He was unsuccessful, but as he learned Principal Tulloch of St Andrews attained only to second place Mr Watson's disappointment did not sit very heavily upon him.

"The Bottle."

In 1831 he published a pamphlet quaintly called "The Bottle, containing a poem on King's College; an essay on the solar system; a letter to Lord Brougham on Free Trade and the navigation laws; a philosophical question, and the author's dream." In the latter he beheld himself admitted to the select band of British literati.

"The Bottle" to-day is certainly not read, except as a curiosity, and even then it proves a fairly dry one; but John Watson's claims to remembrance rest on a securer basis than literary merit.

His many benefactions earned him the real gratitude of the inhabitants, and in 1889 they commemorated his name in a practical manner by the constitution of the John Watson Guild.

This body is the direct descendant of the original Town Council of 1828, to which John Watson granted for all time coming a piece of ground, the free income of which was to be used for the beautifying and embellishing of the village. The Council accomplished much useful work. They lit the streets with gas, inaugurated a coal fund for the deserving poor, and finally took over the Town Hall, which had formerly belonged to a limited liability company.

John Watson Guild.

When Banchory adopted the Lindsay Act the popularly elected Town Council found itself superseded, and its members, as stated, reorganised themselves as the John Watson Guild. In addition to managing the Town Hall, it administers various charities. The coal fund still exists, and gifts of provisions are made to the poor at Christmas. Help is given to members of the Guild in necessitous circumstances, and to the widows and children of deceased members.

The work is quietly done, and little is heard of the Guild's activities, but the members have the satisfaction of feeling that they are carrying out the wishes of good old John Watson in the same unostentatious way in which he performed so many acts of kindness in his beloved Banchory.


Alan

tishgibbons
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:47 pm
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: John Watson Guild, Banchory-Ternan

Post by tishgibbons » Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:28 pm

Thanks both!
John Watson sounds quite a character. I see he was from Braemar. The ancestor in question - Peter Mitchell - his father Farquharson Mitchell was from Crathie - maybe they knew one another, or the families were connected. Who knows now...
Thank you
Tish
Researching Mitchell Grassick Bowman Farquharson Wilson Allanach Leys Coutts Gauld McNerney from Crathie and Braemar, Strathdon and Glenbuchat and who moved on to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada.

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