Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Famous Graves at South Leith Parish Church and there Inscriptions

One of the most famous gravestones at South Leith is the gravestone of John Pew. The name being used by Robert Louis Stevenson for his character of Blind pew.

The stone itself say’s John Pew Maltman, died 3rd August 1750 aged 69. His spouse Beatrix Thomson died 10th June 1729 aged 37. Seven of their children –Isobel d 1710, Janet d 25th Nov 1715, James d 23rd March 1724, Thomas died 1725, Hellen d Ist February 1728, Beatrix d 30th April 1729, Alexander June 1729, also John d 14th May 1742 aged 34

John Lived at the Lough of Leith which was a farm in the 18th century and on which later was built Leith St Andrew Church. John Pew was a notorious character in his time and has many mentions in the Kirk Records.

Inside the Church is the monumental Stone to James Miller and the amount of information about his family is incredible.

John Miller born at Wick, Caithness, resided in Leith 60 years, magistrate 1822, died 15th Dec 1855 aged 81. His wife Elizabeth Sutherland d 25th May 1862, ages 88. Their children William d.1806, Daniel d 1813, both in infancy, James drowned on the River Clyde from the Comet Steamer running down in 1825 aged 18 lies here, John Advocate and Attorney General Bahamas Islands 1837 died there Autumn 1837 and buried at Nassau New Providence, Alexander Miller Esq. of Ashford House, Ashford, Deputy Lieutenant and Magistrate of Middlesex died 26thJuly 1864 aged 60, his wife Margaret Cornwell d. 9th Aug 1842 lies here, youngest son Richard Miller Esq. of Manderston d. 12th Jan 1860 aged 41, Catherine Miller or Saunders d. 29th June 1882 aged 80, Letitia Burriah d. 9th April 1884, 2nd wife of Alexander Miller Esq. Elizabeth Miller d.2nd May 1888 aged 77 dau of James Miller Esq. and widow of William Marshall Esq. Merchant and Danish Consul General for Scotland. Elizabeth d 1835 and Elizabeth Sutherland died d 1839 both in infancy children of Alexander Miller of Ashford House, Middlesex and his wife Margaret Cornwall. Elizabeth Sutherland d 25th Dec 1854 a 14 months and Edward Sutherland d Ist June 1855 a 5. Children of Richard Miller of Manderston and Caroline Frances his wife.

Elizabeth Sutherland was the Eldest daughter of the Rev William Sutherland, Minister of Wick.

The member of the Miller family James Miller was born in Wick in February 1775. He came to Leith probably about the year 1797. He was a cooper to Trade and started business in the Kirkgate. Engaging in the herring business he kept up a connection with his native place and married in 1801, Elizabeth the daughter of the Rev William Sutherland of Wick. He afterwards erected a house in Constitution Street. In later years the house was occupied by Mr John Jordan and his mother. The business grew and he developed a connection with Russia which continued up to the 1920’s.

In the year 1815 James Miller contracted for the feeding of French Prisoners at Greenlaw in Berwickshire, not far from Manderston still in the possession of his descendants. Taking an active part in the Public Affairs of Leith he survived to the age of 80. His remains were interred at South Leith Churchyard. One of his sons William went to Russia and extended the business there. The office there exported hemp, tallow, grain, to all the chief ports of the United Kingdom. While in Russia he set up Breweries which increased the family wealth. At the time of the Crimean War they went into Shipping which proved very lucrative.

William Miller was born in 1809 and was married in 1858 a daughter of John Farley QC Leith. They had a family of three sons and two daughters. About this time he became Member of Parliament for the Leith Burgh and held the position until 1868. He bought Manderston from his brothers Trustee and for a short time was MP for Berwick. He died in 1887.

For further information on Leith please go to my website at www.leithhistory

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