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James Whitton Esquire

James Whitton was the General Goods Manager at the Caledonian Railway Station during the 1860s. He married twice, with his second wife, Betsy, inheriting his estate upon his death. There is no evidence of involvement in trade or public affairs.

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Personal details and history

Full name

James Whitton

Date of birth


Place of birth

Easter Keith, Lundie[1]



Marital status


Name of spouse

1 - Mary Dempster:[2] 2 - Betsy Lyell:[2][3]


James: Margaret: William Joseph: Marie Dempster: Andrew Dempster: Charles Dempster: Alfred Bell: Robert Alison: Frederick Patrick:

Home address

125[4][5] Nethergate[6][7][8]

143 Nethergate (from1869)[9][10][11]

Age at death:

66 years[2]

Place of death:


Date of death:



Western Cemetery

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Established Church - James Whitton acted as manager for St David's Parish Church, North Tay Street, Dundee.[12] The Reverend Robert S Warren of St David's officiated at the wedding of James Whitton's daughter, Marie.[13]

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Dundee Property & Investment Company - A Director:[14][15]

Public offices

None found

Related subscribers

Career and worklife


District Goods Manager[6][8][10]



Place of work

Dundee & Perth Railway:[6] Scottish Central Railway Company:[16] Caledonian Railway Company:[17]

Work address

Caledonian Railway Station[7][8][10]
South Union Street

Career to date:

As a young man, James Whitton began his working life, as an apprentice grocer.[12] Listed as such, aged 15, in the 1841 census (while living at Morgan Tower Court),[18] young James was reported to have been employed with Mr Peter Stuart[12] who operated a shop at 38 Nethergate.[19] During the 1840s, Whitton's occupation took a different direction when he became a clerk with the Dundee and Arbroath Railway Company at Dundee East Station.[12] That Company amalgamated with the Dundee and Perth Railway.[12] At the age of 27 years, James Whitton was listed in the local directory of 1850 as being the 'Principal Clerk in the Goods Office of the Dundee, Perth and Aberdeen Railway Junction Company.'[20] He was employed as 'Goods Manager' for various railway companies before finally being associated with the Caledonian Railway Company from 1865.[21]

More information

James Whitton, was born in the parish of Lundie, to William Whitton, sub-tenant at Easter Keith, and his wife, Jean Cant.[1]

At the age of 15 years, James Whitton was listed in the 1841 census,[18] having moved to Dundee, embarking on a career as an apprentice grocer.[18][12]

Around the year 1848, James Whitton eschewed a life in the grocery business for a position of responsibility in the expanding railway network.[21] For 17 years he acted as Goods Agent/Manager with various branches of the railway companies, before settling as ‘District Goods Manager’ with the Caledonian Railway. In 1865, he was presented with a silver salver and tea service, gifted by the employees of the Dundee, Perth & Aberdeen Railway Junction Company;

‘In token of their esteem and regard for him, on the occasion of his leaving the situation of goods manager at Union Street station which he has creditably held and the duties of which he has most efficiently discharged for a period of 17 years.’[21]

The tea service, which was described as having been ‘of a most substantial and elegant description, was supplied by Messrs Whytock & Sons, Dundee’ – another local businessman and subscriber to the Albert Institute.

This presentation gift, comprising a Tea Kettle, Tea Pot, Sugar Basin, Cream Pot and Tray (with inscription), obviously meant a great deal to James Whitton who bequeathed it to his son in his will.[22]

Described as having possessed ‘active business habit, shrewdness and foresight,’[12] James Whitton retired from railway service, on a pension, around 1880,[12] his change of career having been to his liking.


  1. Old Parish Registers. Lundie & Fowlis. Births. (1823). 306/ 30 9. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1890). 282/1 83. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Executry of James Whitton. Will. 28 January 1890. Dundee University Archives.
  4. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1858-59. p.202. National Library of Scotland website.
  5. Census Returns. Dundee. (1861). 282/2 8/ 50. ScotlandsPeople website.
  6. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1861-62. p.223. National Library of Scotland website.
  7. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1864-65. p.200. National Library of Scotland website.
  8. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1867-68. p.214. National Library of Scotland website.
  9. Census Returns. Dundee. (1871). 282/ 11/ 76. ScotlandsPeople website.
  10. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1869-70. p.230. National Library of Scotland website.
  11. Scottish Post Office Directory. Dundee, 1882-83. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  12. Dundee Evening Telegraph. 27 January 1890. British Newspaper Archive website.
  13. Dundee People's Journal. 5 April 1884. British Newspaper Archive website.
  14. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1861-62. p.24. National Library of Scotland website.
  15. Scotitish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1863-64. p.22. National Library of Scotland website
  16. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1864-65. National Library of Scotland website.
  17. Scottish Post Office Directories. dundee, 1867-68. p.24. National Library of Scotland website.
  18. Census Returns. Dundee. (1841). 282/ 106 13. ScotlandsPeople website.
  19. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee 1842-43. p.80. National Library of Scotland website.
  20. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee. 1850. p.172. National Library of Scotland website
  21. Dundee Advertiser. 14 October 1865. British Newspaper Archive website.
  22. Legal Records. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. (1890). SC45/ 31/ 42. ScotlandsPeople website.


Many thanks to Lily, Hugh and the staff of the Local History Department at Dundee Central Library for their help.

The information above about James Whitton 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.