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David Brown (1798-1865): obituary

(from the Dundee Courier & Argus, 22 May 1865)

THE LATE MR DAVID BROWN, THORNGREEN - The funeral took place last week and, as might have been expected from his energetic career and past antecedents, was numerously attended. It maybe permitted to one who knew him well, ere the green turf has consolidated over his grave, and whilst his decease is fresh amongst us, to make a few passing remarks upon the event:_  From 1830 down to 1840, such was the force of his individual character, that Blairgowrie and "David Brown" became almost synonymous terms.

Originally a native of the Stormonth district, from the proximity of Butterston loch, we believe,he began innkeeping at the bridge of "Blair."  About 1820, when, as yet a mere youth, and just after a very fortunate marriage - from all sorts of petty trading, "couping", bartering, and buxtering, and in every sort of commodity, with a young rising family, and with a very indifferent education - this sturdy rustic breasted his way until he found himself the lessee of the principal hotel in town, which he termed "Brown's Hotel," now favourably known to all the "world" as the Queen's Hotel and occupied by a son-in-law of the deceased.  As an innkeeper, Mr. Brown was most attentive, giving, however the most of his attention to the posting menage.

But confining Mr. Brown to an inn was tantamount to confining a giant in a sentry box.  There were of course, no railroads, and few stage coaches, and people required conveyance.  Gladstone was unheard of, the spirit duties were light, and the carriage of whisky heavy, and publicans required liquor; farms were cheap and could be had for the offering.  Bone dust, then the only "foreign" manure, was beginning to attract notice, but it could not be had nearer than Dundee.  Born with the instinct of speculation, Brown saw all around him a virgin soil wanting cultivation, and lost not a moment in cultivating his opportunities.  To use a vulgar parlance, "he dived into every green thing."  He in conjunction with others established a stagecoach between Perth and Braemar, and a few years later ran the "Braes of Mar" on his own responsibility.

He ran omnibuses to Co. Angus and Dundee, he carried on the distilleries of Ballied and Balirgowrie, and for some time that at Pitcarmick.  He farmed Marlee, Thorngreen, Grange of Airlie, Auchteralyth, besides sheepwalks in Invernesshire, any one of which holdingswould be reckoned a sufficient "armful" for the ordinary agriculturist.  He imported cargoes of bone dust from Rotterdam, and generally was the means for many years of attracting a considerable traffic to the village.

Owing to a severe cold which seized him some eight or nine years ago, whilst endeavouring to save at Marlee Loch the lives of some younk skaters from Dundee, his frame succumbed to a paralytic affection, which kept him a close prisoner to the house ever since, dead to the world, enabled to realise the wishes or rather the commands of the poetic divine:_

Age should fly concourse; cover in retreat
Defects of judgement, and the will subdue.

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