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James Farquhar White Esquire

James Farquhar White was a successful jute and linen merchant who spent his early career in New York importing Scottish and Irish goods. He continued his business in Dundee after his return to Scotland in the early 1860s.

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Personal details and history

Full name

James Farquhar White

Date of birth

04-04-1821[1] / baptised 12-04-1821[1]

Place of birth

Drummietermont, Dunnichen[1]



Marital status

Married[2] - 09-07-1856[3]

Name of spouse

Elizabeth Grundy[2] - daughter of the late William Grundy, Parr Hall, St Helens, Lancashire[3]


James Martin: Margaret Helen: Eleanor: Elizabeth Wilson: Beatrice: Alice: Alexander Sidney: Florence Evelyn: Edith: Winifred:

Home address

Castle Huntly[4][5]

also with a residence at

172 Nethergate[5]

Age at death:

63 years[6]

Place of death:

Balruddery House, Liff[6]

Date of death:



Western Cemetery

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Free Church of Scotland (St Paul's) - described as having been a 'prominent member' of St Paul's Free Church[7]

Political affiliation

Liberal[7] - James F White showed great interest in campaigns in Perthshire[8]

Clubs / societies


Public offices

Appointed Commissioner of Supply (County Councillor)[9]

Related subscribers

Subscriber   13 – Alexander Jefferson Buist – named executor for the estate of James Farquhar White

Subscriber 213 – John Sharp, Esq., flaxspinner – James’ daughters Eleanor and Beatrice married John Sharp’s sons (John Sharp and Frederick Bower Sharp)

Subscriber 255 – Reverend William Wilson – brother in law and named executor for the estate of James Farquhar White

Career and worklife


Jute and Linen Merchant - senior partner of Jas White & Co., Merchants, Dundee and New York[7]



Place of work


Work address

10[5] Bain Square[4]

Career to date:

James Farquhar White came to Dundee to join his brother Alexander as a linen merchant. He then left Dundee to run a business importing Scottish and Irish linen and jute in New York. He returned to Dundee in the early 1860s and continued his work as a merchant.

More information

James Farquhar White was the son of a tenant farmer and linen manufacturer. His father Alexander White and his wife Helen Farquhar lived in Drummietermont[10] (sometimes Drumnetermont/Drummietermon), a small, straggling village in the North East corner of Dunnichen parish,[11] of around 117 souls, mainly weavers.[11] Most of the inhabitants also had a few acres of land.[11] An Alexander White, (James’ father?) head of family, is described in 1835 as a ‘merchant.’[12] James’ grandfather, David White, was described as having been ‘sometime manufacturer there.’[10]

From his humble beginnings in rural Forfarshire, James entered into business with his brother, Alexander, in Dundee. Shortly thereafter, he left Dundee for New York where he ran a profitable enterprise importing Scottish and Irish goods. His partner in business, Bryce Gray, was originally from Greenock.[13] He arrived in New York in 1847, aged 21, and became cashier for White & Thurger.[13] That company was succeeded by the firm of James F  White & Co., of which Bryce Gray became a partner.[13] James F White returned to Dundee in the early 1860s (his son James Martin White – born 1857 – being around 3 years old on arrival in Scotland)[14] and leased Castle Huntly in Longforgan.

The census[15] of 1861 reveals that he lived in some style, employing six indoor servants, gardeners, and a coachman. James F White remained resident at Castle Huntly until 1880[7] when he acquired the estate of Balruddery.[7] He moved to Balruddery House around 1881, having had it extensively remodeled and electricity installed.[16][8]

At the time of his death, James Farquhar White was described as having been well known and much respected.


  1. Old Parish Registers. Dunnichen. Births. (1821). 283/ 20 7. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Intimation on Gravestone. Western Cemetery. Dundee.
  3. London Evening Standard. 12 July 1856. p.4. Findmypast website.
  4. Dundee Postal Directory, 1864-64. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  5. Dundee Postal Directory, 1869-70. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  6. Statutory Registers. Liff and Benvie. Deaths. (1884). 301/ 25. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Dundee Evening Telegraph. 05 September 1884. p.2. Findmypast website.
  8. Dundee Courier. 06 September 1884. Findmypast website.
  9. Aberdeen Press & Journal. 06 December 1880. p.4. Findmypast website.
  10. Intimation on Gravestone. Dunnichen Kirkyard. Angus.
  11. Ordnance Survey Name Books. Forfarshire (Angus). 1857-61. Volume 38.
  12. National Records of Scotland. Ref CH2/ 108/ 1. pages 294-299.
  13. Dundee Advertiser. 11 August 1897. p.6. Findmypast website.
  14. Dundee Courier. 09 July 1928. p.7. Findmypast website.
  15. Census Returns. Longforgan. (1861).  377/ 2/ 3. Scotland's People website
  16. Canmore website. Canmore ID 190697.

The information above about James Farquhar White 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.