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David and Martha

                                              (25 October 1800-21 November 1875)           (ca1800-18 October 1877)

   Maria       James      Martha          Elizabeth        William         Louisa        Ellen       David         Jessie        John

  Menzies                    Brown            Brown            Bain                           Martha    Charles                         Bain

  (1827-1907)  (1828-1913)       (1830)            (1832-1882)        (1834-1902)         (1835-)      (1838-1873)   (1839-1890)    (ca1842-1900)  (ca1846-1914)

Little is known about David’s (CR) life between his birth in 1800 and his marriage to mason’s daughter, Martha Bain (CR), in 1826. It is interesting to speculate, in lieu of any other information, they may have met through their fathers’ Three Trades association: James the wright, John the mason. Frustratingly, I have found nothing about Martha, before or during her marriage. Nor, for that matter, have I found anything about her parents (John Bain (CR)/Martha Brown) other than the record of their 19 December 1795 marriage. She appears every ten years in census data but that gives no idea of her life other than it was filled with children.

David’s career took a different direction from that of his wright father and shipmaster grandfather, into the world of banking. The

same poor support register that listed his father’s contribution assessment first included David’s in 1827 (15/-) and gave his address as the Union Bank. The final entry in 1836-37 has him still at the Union Bank where he had advanced to be worth £2/10/- to the city’s indigent. By the time of the first census in 1841, he was “banker”, implying a senior role in the profession. According to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) records, he was THE cashier for the 105 Murraygate branch of the Western Bank of Scotland from at least 1850 until being appointed its agent (manager) by the mid-1850s. 

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Old Dundee Bank Map

In 1844, the Union Bank was absorbed by the Glasgow-based Western Bank, one of a number of small, independent banks established in the first part of the C19th to provide services unavailable from their older established competitors. RBS online archives say that, from the off, the Western Bank had a “vigorous lending policy with minimal liquid reserves” that quickly brought predictable consequences. In 1847, it survived only by a substantial loan from the Bank of England. Pulling itself together, it expanded until it became the second biggest bank in Scotland. Unhappily, it collapsed in 1857, in the midst of a banking crisis, and was taken over by the RBS. Shareholders lost all of their paid-up capital and had to pay more to cover the bank's liabilities. The title of one of the reference works from which the overview of the Western Bank was drawn was How to mismanage a bank: A review of the Western Bank of Scotland, written in 1859.

According to RBS records, David was THE cashier for the 105 Murraygate branch of the Western Bank from at least 1850 before being

appointed its agent (manager) in 1854.He can't have been thought personally culpable for the bank's ill-fortunes because he was retained as manager by the RBS when the bank changed hands. He continued in that position until his death from dysentery in 1875. Wealth provided no immunity to C19th diseases for David or his father, James.


Up to the 1851 census, David and Martha's address was 105

Murraygate, David’s business address. I don’t know whether that meant the family lived on the premises or whether it was the head of the household’s business address that was recorded for census purposes. We do know from his will that father James owned property in Murraygate. Thereafter, David's address was Mount Rosa, Broughty Ferry.

David’s obituary says that, when he was a young man, he was

very interested in science and literature and that, when he died, he was “thoroughly posted up” in Dundee’s old family histories, not to mention very familiar with the town’s business world. Today’s Urban Dictionary defines “posted up” as “chillin, hangin out”. I’m sure David, and his parents before him did, indeed, chill out with Dundee’s establishment. I am equally sure that his role as banker meant he knew a great deal about Dundee’s social structure, and where the bodies, so to speak, were buried.

David took a keen interest in gardening - indeed, the Dundee,

Perth and Cuper Advertiser, in 1856, labelled him an eminent connoisseur - particularly in the cultivation of exotic plants. Auctioned six months after his death were “150 varieties of British and Tropical Ferns” as well as garden implements such as a “Grass Cutting Machine and Roller, Joiners’ Bench and Tools”. It is tempting (or sentimental?) to think the latter may originally have belonged to his father. Why else would a banker have a wright’s tools of trade?

David's will is a lot easier to read (not to mention

a lot shorter) than his father's. In essence, all moveable property went to whichever spouse remained "for the love and favour we have for one another" then to their children, with specific instructions that none of their daughters' husbands could go anywhere near their wife's inheritance. I don't know how normal this was in Scottish wills but I was surprised because I expected to see male privilege in the disposition of patriarchal property.

David's appointment to RBS.png

My great frustration with finding nothing about Martha

extends to her life after David although it is lovely to see her signature at the bottom of the will's inventory at the time of his death. Then, on a hunch, I asked a database about Martha Andersons who died in England and there she was. She had died in her daughter's (Ellen) house at Ann Place, Horton, Bradford, of heart disease then her body returned to be interred with David's in the family plot in Barnhill Cemetery.

Martha and her family wasted no time after David's death in

divesting themselves of Mount Rosa. Within two months, the property was advertised for sale and sold to William Stewart, nursery and seedsman, for ₤4,000 in February 1876. Six months later, David's greenhouse plants and garden implements were auctioned. With most of her family in either Halifax or Bradford West Yorkshire, Martha move south to spend her remaining months with them.

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Family grave

Barnhill Cemetery, Broughty Ferry


Dundee People's Journal

9 January 1858

British Newspaper Archives

The Dundee Courier and Argus

Wednesday, 24 November 1875

British Newspaper Archives



Because much more is known about David and Martha's children, and their families, it seems best to allow them dedicated pages for ease of reading and finding specific identities. From here, the Next button will take us through the family in their birth order except for our direct ancestor, David Charles and his family - us - whom I'll put last. 


Maria Menzies Anderson/Oldfield

James Anderson

Martha Brown Anderson

Elizabeth Brown Anderson/Edgar

William Bain Anderson

Louisa Anderson/Farrar

Ellen Martha Anderson/Edgar

David Charles Anderson

Jessie Anderson/Ferrier

John Bain Anderson




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