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Mr John Ewan

John Ewan was a merchant of some means and one of the largest exporters in Dundee. He was considered an "honourable and energetic business man."[Obituary] He was a Councillor and Provost of Dundee.

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Personal details and history

Full name

John Ewan

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status


Name of spouse

1st Marriage Catharine Mearns 24 March 1840;[2] 2nd Marriage Fanny Bedells 1874;[3]


None recorded

Home address

27 Cowgate

2 Panmure Street

2 Nelson Street

Hill Street
Broughty Ferry[7][8]

Reres House
Broughty Ferry[9]

Brook Street
Broughty Ferry[Brook Street]

Fort William
West Ferry[10][11]

Eden Hall,
West Ferry[12][13]

9 Douglas Terrace
Broughty Ferry[14]

Age at death:

87 years

Place of death:

9 Douglas Terrace, Broughty Ferry[15]

Date of death:



Eastern Necropolis[16]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Not known

Political affiliation

Not known

Clubs / societies

Listed as one of the Board of Directors of Dundee, Perth & London Shipping Companies from 1861[17]

Public offices

Dundee Councillor 1854-56[1][18] Dundee Provost 1856-1857[1][19]

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.56 Thomas Couper was manager of DP&L Shipping Co. and subscriber no.75 James R. Fleming was collector of  DP&L Shipping Co. while John Ewan was a board member.

Subscriber no.14 Andrew Benvie was a councillor at the same time as Ewan. Christopher Kerr was town clerk and William Scott town architect when Ewan was a councillor.

Career and worklife


Listed variously as flax spinner, manufacturer, merchant


Self Employed

Place of work

1 St Andrews Street, Dundee[4]; 36 Cowgate, Dundee[5]; and Verdant Works[20]

Work address

Verdant Works
West Hendersons Wynd

Career to date:

John Ewan was a manufacturer of jute products. He was at one time proprietor of Verdant Works Jute Mill.[20] John Ewan, merchant, Dundee, was elected as a Dundee Town Councillor for the first ward on 8 November 1854.[18] On 7 November 1856 he was unanimously elected Provost.[19] On 31 December 1857 he gave the council three weeks notice of his resignation as both Councillor and Provost.[21]

More information

John Ewan was the son of  Helen (maiden name Bain) and Thomas Ewan, a linen manufacturer in Dundee.[15]

He was a proprietor of Verdant Mills and served as both a Councillor and Provost of Dundee.[1]

He was married twice, firstly to Catharine Mearns[2]and subsequently to Fanny Bedells.[3] He did not have any children.

In 1860 he acquired the Cononsyth Estate in Arbroath that had formerly belonged to Mr James Brown.[22]

The report of his funeral notes that there was a large attendance and that flags on the steamships in the harbour and on the steeple were flown at half mast as a mark of respect. It is noted in this piece that he was Director of the Dundee, Perth and London Shipping Company.[16] He was in fact one of the Board of Directors for this company from 1861 onwards. A picture of the Board in 1881, including Mr Ewan, is included in the Book DPL 1826-1926.[17]

There are several reports in the local paper of a dispute over his estate. These make mention of his ante nuptial agreement with his second wife Fanny Bedells to provide an annuity of £500 per year in the event of his death and the worth of his Cononsyth estate.[23]


  1. The Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513-1885, Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
  2. Old Parish Registers Dundee and Angus Index. On microfiche at Dundee Central Library.
  3. England Select Marriages 1538-1973, FHL Film 994336, Ref 2:3 DXLP4Q. Ancestry website.
  4. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1840-41.
  5. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1842-43.
  6. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1846-47.
  7. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1853-54.
  8. 1851 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310/3/1. ScotlandsPeople website.
  9. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1856-57.
  10. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1864-65.
  11. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee. 281/1/35/18. Scotlands People website.
  12. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1876-77.
  13. 1871 Census Scotland. Broughty Ferry. 282/4 1/L 21.  Scotlands People website.
  14. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1891-92.
  15. Statutory Register. St Andrews District, Dundee. Death. 12 May 1893. 282/4 537. Accessed through Scotlands People website.
  16. Dundee Advertiser, Thursday, 18 May 1893 p.1. British Newspaper Archive.
  17. DP&L 1826-1926 The History of a Hundred Years. Old Dundee Collection of Mr A C Lamb. Available at Dundee Central Library, Local History Section.
  18. Dundee Town Council Minute Book, 8 November 1854. Dundee City Archives.
  19. Dundee Town Council Minute Book, 7 November 1856. Dundee City Archives.
  20. Watson, Mark. (1990) Jute & Flax Mills in Dundee. Beverley: Hutton Press Ltd.
  21. Dundee Town Council Minute Book, 9 & 27 January 1858. Dundee City Archives.
  22. Dundee Advertiser, Saturday, 13 May 1893, p.6. British Newspaper Archive website.
  23. Dundee Courier, 30 October 1893, p.3. British Newspaper Archive website.

The information above about John Ewan 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.