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Macpherson, William (1784–1866)

Intelligence of the death of William Macpherson, Esq. of Blairgowrie, has just been received by the Australian mail. Though originally of a sound constitution, his health had been declining for some time, and his death at the ripe age of eighty-two could not therefore be altogether unexpected. Mr Macpherson was born at Barrackpore, near Calcutta, on 26th August 1784, his father (Colonel Allan Macpherson) being then on duty in the Bengal establishment of the East India Company’s services. About three years after this, Colonel Macpherson purchased the estate of Blairgowrie from Sir Thomas Graham of Balgowan – afterwards Lord Lynedoch— the famous hero of Barossa, who is said to have been born in Newton Castle, the old baronial residence of Blairgowrie, which still stands close to the town; and about the time of his father’s retirement, when about seven years of age, William came to this country, and lived at Blairgowrie House (which was built shortly before) until 1799, when he returned to India, being interested in a sugar plantation at Berbice, where he resided till 1813. He now returned to Blairgowrie, and took an active part in the management of the estate, and on the 20th April (sic), 1816 (sic), he married Jessie, third daughter of William Chalmers Esq. of Glenericht, Town-Clerk of Dundee, and sister of the late Lieut-General Sir William Chalmers, who died about eighteen years ago. On the death of his father in 1817 (sic), he succeeded to the estate, and continued to reside at Blairgowrie House until 1829, during which time he took a very active interest in the progress and advancement of the town and district. He made himself very popular by many acts of kindness to the community of which he was the feudal superior. He granted the charter of erection and extension which is still in force, thus giving the inhabitants the right to elect a Bailie and Councillors for themselves; he gifted to the town the large market square known as the Wellmeadow, along with the market customs of the burgh; also, the "Waulk Mill," now held from the town by Mr James Campbell, besides other properties and privileges to assist the town’s revenue. In 1829 he left Blairgowrie for New South Wales, having been appointed by Sir George Murray, then Colonial Secretary, as collector of internal revenue for that colony, from which he succeeded to other and higher appointments, and at the time of his retirement from official life a few years ago, he held the honourable post of chief clerk to the Legislative Assembly. Mr Macpherson’s name appears in the register for the present year as one of the Deputy Lieutenants of Perthshire, and one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace. In 1824 he took a very active hand in the erection of the present Parish Church, of which he was patron, and laid the foundation stone with Masonic honours. On the front of the tower is a tablet with the following inscription:-"The Rev. James Johnston, minister, and William Macpherson, Esquire, laid the foundation stone-1824." Mr Macphersons’ name is also still on the roll as the oldest elder in the parish. Although very few who knew the deceased here now survive, the news of his death will be read with melancholy interest and regret as he continued to manifest a warm attachment to Blairgowrie by frequent donations to the poor and for other charitable purposes. He is succeeded by his only son, Allan Macpherson, Esq., who now resides on his property at Bernera, near Sydney, and represents the district of Cumberland in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales.

Original publication

  • Blairgowrie Advertiser (Scotland), 19 May 1866

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Macpherson, William (1784–1866)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/macpherson-william-13373/text24008, accessed 25 November 2017.

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