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George Clark Keiller Esquire

George Keiller was a merchant with many local connections. He had a long and successful career and acted as secretary of the Dundee Chamber of Commerce for 27 years, rendering valuable services to the commercial community of Dundee.

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Personal details and history

Full name

George Clark Keiller

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status

Married 1864[2]

Name of spouse

Grace Anne Gibson[2]


John Gibson (1865),[1] Anne Gibson (1866),[1] William Lockhart (1867),[3] Frederick George (1869),[4] Grace Weinberg (1870),[1] Ethel (c.1872),[5] Helen Lowson (c.1874),[5] Alexander Gibson (1875),[1] Archibald William (1876),[1] Frances Catherine (1878),[1] Patrick Anderson (1879),[6] Eliza Weston (1881)[1] and George Watson (1883)[1]

Home address

Cowgate, Dundee, c.1841.[7]
20 Hunter Street, Dundee, c.1851.[8]
James's Place, Broughty Ferry, c1861-1862.[9]
152 Perth Road, Dundee, c.1867-1870.[10]
New York, USA, intermittently in 1860s and1870s.[11][12]
1 Park Place, Dundee, c.1874-1877.[13]
Temple Hall House, Longforgan, c.1878-1889.[14]
Hawkhill House, 10 Hawkhill Place, Dundee, c.1890-1919.[15]

Age at death:

Place of death:

Hawkhill House, Dundee[17]

Date of death:



Western Cemetery Lairs 2,a,b,c.[18]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Catholic Apostolic[19] His funeral service was conducted by the Invergowrie United Free Church minister in 1919, so may have been a Free Church of Scotland adherent at some stage.

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Director of Dundee Chamber of Commerce 1864-1868.[20] Secretary, Dundee Chamber of Commerce, 1890-1917.[21][22] Treasurer, Dundee Chamber of Commerce, 1901-1917.[23][22] Edinburgh Angus Club Captain, 4th Corps, Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers, c.1867-1879.[24] Captain, 1st Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers, Batteries 7-13, Dundee. Major, 1st Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers HQ, c.1884-1887.[25] Lt. Col.,1st Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers HQ, c.1887-1889.[26] Agent, Standard Fire Office Ltd., 1876-1881.[27] Vice Consul for Chile, 1878-1919.[28] Agent, Scottish Provident Institutional (Life) Insurance Co. c.1878-1893. Agent, Fire Insurance Association Ltd., c.1884-1894.[29] Agent, London & Lancashire (Life) Insurance Co. 1884-1889.[30] Committee, Dundee Albert Institute Subscription Library, c.1888-1889 and 1897-1900.[31] Agent, Scottish Life, c.1892-1914.[32] Agent, Albion Fire Insurance Association, c.1893-1894.[33] Agent, Bell, Rennie & Co., wine merchants, 44 Reform Street/43Commercial Street/26 Barrack Street, Dundee, c.1893-1910.[34] Agent, Manchester (Fire) Insurance Co., c.1894-1905.[35] Secretary, Chamber of Commerce Jute Sample Warehouse, Victoria Road, Dundee, c.1894-1914.[36] Treasurer, Dundee Royal Infirmary, c.1895-1914.[37] Treasurer, Dundee Convalescent Home, 1895-1914.[37] Secretary, Dundee & District Spinners & Manufacturers Association c.1896-1914.[38] Secretary, Jute Importers Mutual Protection Association, c.1896-1916.[39] Agent, London Guarantee & Accident Co., c.1899-1909.[40] Vice President/President, Dundee Consular Corps, 1904-1906.[41] Agent, Atlas Fire & Life Insurance Co., c.1905-1919.[42] Committee, Polack Travelling Scholarship (for commercial education and learning foreign languages), c.1913-1919.[43] Secretary, Telephone & Telegraph Advisory Committee c.1914-1916.[44] Trustee, Savings Bank, c.1919.[11]

Public offices

Justice of the Peace for the County of City of Dundee, c.1909-1919.[45]

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.64 – Don Brothers & Co. – fellow Chamber of Commerce directors.

Subscriber no.215 – Henry Smith & Co. – fellow Chamber of Commerce directors.

Career and worklife


Merchant and commission agent


Self Employed

Place of work

Dundee and New York

Work address

4 Exchange Place, Dundee, c.1864-1865.[46]
39 Meadowside, Dundee, c.1867-1868.[20]
41 Medowside, Dundee, c.1869-1872.[47]
33 Meadowside/33 Albert Square, Dundee, c.1876-1886.[48]
2 Meadow Place, Dundee, c.1886-1889.[49]
9 Panmure Street, Dundee. c.1890-1919.[50]

Career to date:

George Keiller was the son of John Keiller, shipmaster, and Ann Ogilvie.[1] The family home was in the Cowgate, Dundee. By the age of 5 George had lost his father and in the 1841 census he was living with his mother and older brother, Robert, in the Cowgate.[7] He was educated at Dundee High School and thereafter entered the office of A & D Edward & Co, Logie Works, Dundee.[11] In 1851 he was described as a merchant's clerk[8] and by 1861 he was described as a commission agent, living with his mother and one female servant in James's Place.[9] He subsequently went to New York as the representative of Messrs George Burgess & Co. and while there witnessed the outbreak of the American Civil War.[11] It is likely that he split his time between Dundee and New York. Having married in 1864,[2] his first six children were born in Dundee, but two daughters (Ethel and Helen) were born in New York in the early 1870s.[5] His name appeared on a passenger list on the Java arriving in New York from Liverpool on 15 April 1869.[12] He was said to been a partner in George Burgess & Co.,[11] but by the late 1860s had set himself up independently as a merchant in Dundee.[51]

More information

The firm of George C. Keiller & Co., merchants, 41 Meadowside, Dundee, appeared in the 1871 directory[52] and then George briefly entered into partnership with Frank Stewart Sandeman of the Manhattan Works, Dundee. The firm was known as Sandeman, Keiller & Co.[53] Both men were in the same corps of the Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers with Sandeman as George’s senior officer as the Lt. Col. at this time.[53] The family moved house from Perth Road[10] to Park Place[13] and then to Templehall House, Longforgan.[14] Sadly, his daughter, Eliza Weston, died shortly after birth in 1881.[54]

Having moved back into Dundee to Hawkhill House[15] in the west end, Keiller was still describing himself as a linen merchant as late as 1901[55] but this was only a part of his wide-ranging business activity. He took on several agencies for insurance companies and acted as secretary and/or treasurer for several important Dundee institutions. These included the Chamber of Commerce,[22] Dundee & District Spinners & Manufacturers Association,[38] the Jute Importers Mutual Protection Association,[39] Dundee Convalescent Home[37] and Dundee Royal Infirmary[37] for many years. He also acted as secretary for the Chamber of Commerce’s Jute Sample Warehouse.[36] He was also the Dundee vice consul for Chile for many years.[28] George C. Keiller was also awarded the Volunteer Decoration in recognition of his services as an officer with the Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers.[11]

In addition to Eliza, who died in infancy,[54] he was also pre-deceased by his son, John Gibson Keiller, in 1897[1] and daughter, Frances Catherine Keiller, in 1909.[1] George Clark Keiller died on 14 February 1919.[17] He left a widow, six sons and four daughters. Sadly his youngest son, George Weston Keiller, a Captain in the Royal Engineers, died in March 1919 at a casualty clearing station in Cologne[1] four months after the cessation of hostilities in the Great War. George Clark Keiller’s daughter, Ethel, (Mrs Arthur Shepherd)[56] was decorated by the Red Cross for nursing services in France during that conflict.[11] George was buried in the Western Cemetery, Dundee and the funeral was attended by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Consular Corps and the Savings Bank with the service conducted by Rev Adam Philip of Invergowrie U.F. Church.[11]

George C. Keiller was noted for his “high integrity, kindly disposition, and his innate courtesy and charm of manner” which “had won for him in conspicuous measure the respect of all classes in the community.”[11] He did not die a rich man, only leaving an estate valued at £722 13s. 5d., although a further £455 13s. 6d. was added ad omissa in 1929.[57][17]


  1. Photograph and transcription of Keiller family headstone, Western Cemetery, Dundee. Ancestry website.
  2. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Marriage. 1864. 282/1 263. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1867. 282/2 1814. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Statutory Registers. St. Peter, Dundee. Birth. 1869. 282/1 150. ScotlandsPeople website.
  5. 1881 Census Scotland. Longforgan, Perthshire. 377 ED2 p.9. Ancestry website.
  6. Statutory Registers. Longforgan. Birth. 1879. 377/49. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. 1841 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED10 p.3. Ancestry website.
  8. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED78 line 17. Ancestry website.
  9. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee First District. 282/1 ED35 p.8. Ancestry website.
  10. Dundee Directories, 1867-1870. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  11. Dundee Obituary Book, no.3. 15 & 18 February 1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Java Passenger List, Liverpool-New York, arrival 15 April 1869. Ancestry website.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1874-1877. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1878-1889. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Dundee Directories, 1890-1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  16. Statutory Registers. St. Mary and St. Peter, Dundee. Death. 1919. 282/1 114. ScotlandsPeople website.
  17. Wills and Testaments. 17 April 1920. Dundee Sheriff Court. SC45/31/86 and 14 October 1929. Dundee Sheriff Court. SC45/34/39. ScotlandsPeople website.
  18. Index of Lair owners, Western Cemetery. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
  19. Dundee Courier, 28 July 1864. British Newspaper Archive website.
  20. Dundee Directory, 1867-68. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  21. Dundee Courier, 9 November 1916. British Newspaper Archive website.
  22. Dundee Chamber of Commerce Centenary Souvenir, 1936.  Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directories, 1901-1916. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directories, 1869-1879. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Dundee Directories, 1884-1887. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1887-1889. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  27. Dundee Directories, 1876-1881. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  28. Dundee Directories, 1878-1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  29. Dundee Directories, 1884-1894. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  30. Dundee Directories, 1884-1889. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  31. Dundee Directories, 1888-89 and 1897-1900. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  32. Dundee Directories, 1892-1914. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  33. Dundee Directory, 1893-94. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  34. Dundee Directories, 1893-1910. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  35. Dundee Directories, 1894-1905. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  36. Dundee Directories, 1894-1914. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  37. Dundee Directories, 1895-1914. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  38. Dundee Directories, 1896-1914. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  39. Dundee Directories, 1896-1916. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  40. Dundee Directories, 1899-1909. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  41. Dundee Directories, 1904-1906. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  42. Dundee Directories, 1905-1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  43. Dundee Directories, 1913-1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  44. Dundee Directories, 1914-1916. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  45. Dundee Directories, 1909-1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  46. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  47. Dundee Directories, 1869-1872. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  48. Dundee Directories, 1876-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  49. Dundee Directories, 1886-1889. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  50. Dundee Directories, 1890-1919. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  51. Dundee Directories, 1864-1869. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  52. Dundee Directory, 1871-72. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  53. Dundee Directory, 1874-75. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  54. Statutory Registers. Longforgan. Birth. 1881. 377/19 and St. Peter, Dundee. Death. 1881. 282/1 302. ScotlandsPeople website.
  55. 1901 Census Scotland. St. Peter, Dundee. 282/1 ED7 p.10. Ancestry website.
  56. Statutory Registers. St. Clement, Dundee. Marriage. 1900. 282/3 43. ScotlandsPeople website.
  57. Calendars of Confirmations, 1920 and 1929. Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.

The information above about George Clark Keiller has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.