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Adam Smith














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Alexander Selkirk



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St Monance



Famous Folks Of Fife

Adam Smith, (1723-90), Famed Scottish philosopher and economist, whose celebrated treatise An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was the first serious attempt to study the nature of capital and the historical development of industry and commerce among European nations.

Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, and educated at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. From 1748 to 1751, he gave lectures on rhetoric and belles-lettres in Edinburgh. During this period, a close association developed between Smith and the Scottish philosopher David Hume that lasted until the latter's death in 1776 and contributed much to the development of Smith's ethical and economic theories.
Smith was appointed professor of logic in 1751 and then professor of moral philosophy in 1752 at the University of Glasgow. He later systematized the ethical teachings he had propounded in his lectures and published them in his first major work, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). In 1763 he resigned from the university to accept the position of tutor to Henry Scott, 3rd duke of Buccleuch, whom he accompanied on an 18-month tour of France and Switzerland. Smith met and associated with many of the leading Continental philosophers of the physiocratic school, which based its political and economic doctrines on the supremacy of natural law, wealth, and order. From 1766 to 1776, he lived in Kirkcaldy preparing The Wealth of Nations (1776). Smith was appointed commissioner of customs in Edinburgh in 1778, serving in this capacity until his death. In 1787 he was also named lord rector of the University of Glasgow.

The Wealth of Nations has served, perhaps more than any other single work in its field, as a guide to the formulation of governmental economic policies throughout the western world.

Sir John Leslie ( 1766-1832 ) Scottish natural philosopher and physicist, born in Largo, Fife. He studied at St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and traveled as a tutor in America and on the Continent, meanwhile engaging in experimental research. He invented a differential thermometer, a hygrometer and a photometer, and wrote An Experimental Inquiry into Heat in 1804. In 1805 he obtained the chair of mathematics at Edinburgh University. In 1810 he succeeded in creating artificial ice by freezing water under the air pump. Transferred to the chair of natural philosophy ( 1819 ), he also invented the pyroscope, atmometer and aethrioscope.

Sir John Goodsir ( 1814-1867 ) Scottish anatomist, born in Anstruther. He studied at St. Andrews University and Edinburgh, where he became a professor of anatomy in 1846. He is best known for his work in cellular theory.

Captain Keay An Anstruther man who won fame as the captain of the tea-clipper " Ariel ", which holds the all-time record for a sailing-ship, from Gravesend to Hong Kong.

Beaton, David or Bethune, David (1494-1546), Scottish Roman Catholic prelate and statesman, born in Fife, and educated at the universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Paris. After being employed by James V of Scotland on various missions to the French court, Beaton was made a cardinal in 1538. The following year he succeeded his uncle as archbishop of St. Andrews and primate of Scotland.

When James died in 1542, Beaton produced a will of the late king appointing himself one of the regents of the kingdom during the minority of the infant Mary, queen of Scots, but the document was rejected by the nobility. Beaton was imprisoned in 1543 but was soon released. He then induced the regent, James Hamilton, 2nd earl of Arran, to oppose the subjugation of Scotland by Henry VIII of England and to denounce the reformed religion. After the coronation of Mary in 1543, Beaton, as chancellor, began a ruthless persecution of the Protestants. He was assassinated in his castle by the followers of the Scottish reformer George Wishart, whom Beaton had condemned to death.

Thomas Chalmers ( 1780-1853 ) Scottish theologian and preacher, born in Anstruther, Fife. Educated at St. Andrews, he was ordained minister of Kilmany in 1803. He carried on mathematical and chemistry classes at St. Andrews in 1803-1804, and in 1808 published an Inquiry into National Resources. In 1815 he became minister to Tron parish in Glasgow, where his magnificent oratory, partly published as Astronomical Discourses ( 1817 ) and Commercial Discourses ( 1820 ), took the city by storm.
In 1823 he accepted the moral philosophy chair at the University of St. Andrews, where he wrote his Use and Abuse of Literacy and Ecclesiastical Endowments ( 1827). In 1827 he was transferred to the chair of theology in Edinburgh, and in 1832 published a work on political economy. In 1833 appeared his Bridgewater treatise, On the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man.

Meanwhile, the struggles in regard to patronage became keener, until in 1843 Chalmers led the Disruption when he, followed by 470 ministers, seceded from the Church of Scotland, and founded the Free Church of Scotland, whose swift and successful organization was mainly due to his indefatigable exertions. He was the first Moderator of its assembly, and principal of the Free Church College from 1843 to 1847, when he compiled his Institutes of Theology. His works, in 34 volumes, deal especially with natural theology, apologetics and social economy. As a religious orator Chalmers was unrivaled.

Priness Tetuanui ( 1842 - 1898 ) Born in Tahiti, she married George Dairsie in 1878 and returned to Anstruther with him. The family, including three children of their own, as well as some from the Princess's first marriage, lived in Johnstone Lodge, where the Princess's great charm and grace of manner, along with her open-handed spirit, impressed all who knew her.

Richard Cameron, (1648-80), Scottish Covenanter, born in Falkland, Fife County. During his early career he was a schoolteacher and private tutor. Subsequently he espoused the cause of the Covenanters, who worked to maintain Presbyterianism as the only religion in Scotland. Because Covenanters were being persecuted during the reign of Charles II, king of England, who was Roman Catholic, Cameron went into exile in 1678 and joined other exiled friends in Holland. Returning in 1680, he and others antagonized the government by resisting the measures that reinstated the Episcopal church in Scotland and proscribed public worship by unauthorized religious bodies. In June 1680, with 20 well-armed companions, he entered the town of Sanquhar and publicly renounced allegiance to Charles II for abuse of power, declaring war against him and his followers. Cameron and his men were surprised by royal troops in Ayr County in July 1680, and Cameron was killed. His hands and head were cut off and publicly displayed in Edinburgh. In 1689 the survivors of the skirmish organized a military unit that became the nucleus of the Cameronians, a famous regiment of the British army. In 1681 his followers organized the religious group later known as the Reformed Presbyterians.

Alexander Selkirk, (1676-1721), Scottish sailor, born in Largo in the Fife region. He first went to sea in 1695. In 1703 he became sailing master on the ship Cinque Ports, one of the two vessels of a privateering expedition under the English navigator William Dampier. While the expedition was near the Juan Fernández Islands, off the coast of Chile, Selkirk had a dispute with the captain of his ship. At his own request, he was put ashore in October 1704 on one of the islands. He lived alone there until rescued in February 1709 by the commander of an English privateer, the Duke. Selkirk subsequently continued his career as a sailor, and at the time of his death he was master's mate on the English man-of-war Weymouth. The story of his solitary sojourn on Más a Tierra Island (now Isla Robinson Crusoe) was related in a number of versions by early 18th-century writers such as the British essayist Sir Richard Steele. It also suggested to the English novelist Daniel Defoe the plot of his novel Robinson Crusoe.

Andrew Carnegie, (1835-1919), American industrialist and philanthropist, who, at the age of 33, when he had an annual income of $50,000, said, "Beyond this never earn, make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes."

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. He went to the U.S. in 1848 and soon began work as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, for $1.20 per week. The following year he became a messenger in a Pittsburgh telegraph office and learned telegraphy. He was then employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad as the private secretary and telegrapher to the railroad official Thomas Alexander Scott. Carnegie advanced by successive promotions until he was superintendent of the Pittsburgh division of the railroad. His financial interest in what is now the Pullman Company laid the foundation of his fortune, and investments in oil lands near Oil City, Pennsylvania, increased his means. During the American Civil War he served in the War Department under Scott, who was in charge of military transportation and government telegraph service. After the war Carnegie left the railroad and formed a company to produce iron railroad bridges. He later founded a steel mill and was one of the earliest users of the Bessemer process of making steel in the U.S. Carnegie was extremely successful, acquiring a controlling interest in other large steel plants. By 1899, when he consolidated his interests in the Carnegie Steel Company, he controlled about 25 percent of the American iron and steel production. In 1901 he sold his company to the United States Steel Corp. for $250 million and retired.
Carnegie did not have a formal education, but as a youth working in Pennsylvania he developed a life-long interest in books and education. During his lifetime he gave more than $350 million to various educational, cultural, and peace institutions, many of which bear his name. His first public gift was in 1873 for baths in the town of his birth; his largest single gift was in 1911 for $125 million to establish the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He was a benefactor of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). He also endowed nearly 1700 libraries in the United States and Great Britain, and he donated funds for the construction of the Peace Palace at The Hague, Netherlands, for what is now the International Court of Justice of the United Nations. Carnegie was honored throughout the world during his lifetime.

William Tennant ( 1784-1815 ) Scottish poet and scholar, born in the fishing village of Anstruther, Fife. He studied at St. Andrews University, and in 1812 published a mock-heroic poem Anster Fair, which was the first attempt to naturalize the Italian ottavo rima. He was a teacher from 1816 at Lasswade, from 1819 at Dollar Academy, and from 1835 professor of oriental languages at St. Andrews University. Other poems by Tennant were the Thane of Fife ( 1822 ) and Papistry Stormed ( 1827 ); dramas were Cardinal Beaton ( 823 ) and John Baliol ( 1825 ).

Alexander Gosman was born at Crail in February 1829. His parents were John Gosman and Catherine Auchterlonie. He attended the parish school and then taught in several schools including Glasgow High School, where he was assistant English master, and acted as Chaplain to Glasgow Asylum for the Blind. In 1850 he commenced studying for the ministry at the University of Glasgow. Alexander was ordained in June 1855. In September 1857, he married Jane Buchanan. In response to appeals by the Colonial Missionary Society, he emigrated to Australia with his wife and baby daughter. They arrived in Melbourne on board the 'GREAT BRITAIN' in September 1860. His first charge was at Ballarat where he won renown as a scholar and preacher. In 1864 he was appointed Lecturer, and later Professor at the Congregational College of Victoria. He was Principal from 1876 to 1913.

Alexander held many educational and religious appointments and his reputation as an eminent theologian continued to grow. He became first Chairman of the Congregational Union of Australia in 1884. In 1904 he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by the University of St Andrews. He was also a tireless campaigner for the under-privileged and became first President of the Anti--Sweating League. Rev. Alexander Gosman died in January 1913, leaving a widow and six children.

Henry Normand McLaurin was born in December 1835 at Kilconquhar. His parents were James McLaurin, who was headmaster of the village school, and Catherine Brearcliffe. They had five children but three died in childhood, leaving two Sons, James Brearcliffe (born 1835), and Henry Normand. The second son was named after one of his father's close friends. Both boys began their education at the parish school run by their father, and they also won scholarships to St Andrews University. James studied for the Ministry, and Normand graduated M.A. in 1854. By this time both parents had died. James was appointed to a Church in Edinburgh and Normand shared cheap lodging with him while studying medicine at Edinburgh University. By 1857 he had qualified with honours, but his success was marred by James dying of tuberculosis in 1858.

Normand then joined the Royal Navy as Assistant Surgeon later that year. He served in several warships, including 'ROYAL ALBERT' and 'MALBOROUGH'. In 1867 he sailed to Australia in the training ship 'NELSON', which anchored in Port Phillip in February 1868. Normand was then sent to Sydney where he joined 'CHALLENGER', flag ship of the Australian Squadron. While based in Sydney, he became friendly with Dr. Charles Nathan, who was Senior Surgeon to the Sydney Infirmary. Normand married Dr. Nathan's daughter, Eliza Ann, in October 1871. By this tine he had left the Navy after refusing to return to Admiralty in London.

Normand and Eliza moved to Parramatta, where he had been appointed Government Medical Officer. In the following year, Eliza's father died and Normand took over his house and practice in Sydney. In November 1872, their first son, Charles, was born. His other sons were Henry Normand, Donald and Hugh. Normand' s career progressed rapidly and he accepted many prestigious appointments, including President of the Board of Health, medical officer to the Police Department, opthalmic surgeon to St Vincent's Hospital and medical adviser to the Immigration Board. Apart from medical commitments, he became involved in politics and was nominated to the Legislative Council in 1889. He also took an active part in commerce and became chairman of several Insurance Companies and the Bank of N.S.W.

However, his most important achievements stemmed from his long association with the University of Sydney. He was elected a Fellow of the Senate in 1883. In 1887 he became Vice-Chancellor and then Chancellor in 1896. The University had now become his greatest interest and he devoted most of his time and energy to promoting its development. His considerable financial skills were employed to advantage in his battles for adequate funding. Without his influence, the Medical School would not have been established. During his Chancellorship, there were inaugurated the Chairs of Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Engineering and Agriculture.

In 1902 he was knighted in the Coronation Honours of Edward VII for his outstanding service to the University of Sydney. He also received honorary degrees from the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh. Sir Normand McLaurin died in August 1914 and was buried in Waverley cemetery, beside his wife.

David Fowler and his brother George Swan were born near Kilrenny in 1826 and 1839 respectively. Their father was James Fowler who was a local grocer and also the Baptist pastor of Anstruther and Cellardyke. David worked in his father's business initially but decided to emigrate to Australia with his wife, Janet. They arrived at Adelaide on board the 'FOP SMIT' in November 1854, and joined David's eldest brother, James, and sister Margaret, who had arrived in the 'ANNA MARIA' in November 1850.

David and James soon started the grocery business of D. & J. Fowler, which thrived after early setbacks, and they were able to enter the import trade by 1857. However, tragedy struck when James died in 1859 after years of battling against illness. George then came to Australia in July 1860 on board the 'INDUS'. David and George pooled their assets and decided to concentrate on importing. David went back to London to set up a purchasing office while George ran the Australian enterprise. David died in London in November 1881, survived by his wife and family.

By the time David died, the firm of D. & J. Fowler had expanded into one of the largest commercial houses in Australia, with branches in most towns. They also owned factories for producing preserves and confectionery, as well as running a large shipping agency for the import of foodstuffs and the export of butter, meat, wheat, copper and wool. By 1896, they had acquired a group of flour-mills and become leading packers of dried fruit. Having also diversified into a major oil agency, the firm had become established as one of the largest privately owned conglomerates in Australia.

In 1864, George had gone back to Scotland to marry Catherine lamb, who survived him when he died in October 1896. Their daughter, Laura Margaret, was the first women graduate in medicine at the University of Adelaide, having qualified in 1891. Their eldest son, James Richard, born May 1865 married Esther Tinline Murray in 1892, and became a director of the family firm. James carried on the Fowler tradition of commercial success. He also served with distinction in various public appointments in Adelaide.

John Richardson was born in Freuchie in 1812. His parents were the Rev. John Richardson and Grace Pratt. John was educated at the parish schools in Freuchie and Pitlessie. After working in London for some years, he emigrated to Australia in 1837. He arrived at Sydney in April 1837, on board the 'CAROLINE'. For the next four years he worked with R. BOURNE & Co, but set up as a storekeeper in Brisbane in 1842.

He then expanded into merchant importing direct from England and built his own wharf and warehouse. By 1857, John had branched out into sheep farming, which proved to be a mixture of success and failure. In 1872, he bought over John Moore's general store in Armidale. He and three of his sons, Alexander, Russell and William, built up a flourishing business which grew to be one of the largest firms outside Sydney. They also ran a flour mill and a furniture factory.

John entered politics in 1851 when he was elected to the N.S.W. legislative Council, where he represented the County of Stanley. During his political career, he was closely connected with such leading politicians as Sir William Wentwarth, Sir Stuart Donaldson, Sir Charles Cowper and Dr. Lang.
In June 1847, at the Scots Church in Sydney, John had married Janet Russell, who bore him five sons and two daughters. John Richardson died at Armidale in December 1888, survived by his wife and children.

William Pearson was born at Hilton, Kilmany, in September 1818. His parents were Captain Hugh Pearson, R. N., and Helen Littlejohn. William was educated at Edinburgh High School, and had a brief career at sea. He emigrated to Australia on board the 'JOHN COOPER', arriving at Adelaide in March 1841. After spending a few months in Melbourne, he journeyed to the Mitchell River, where he stocked Lindenow sheep station. William was an ambitious and determined pioneer, who overcame many daunting obstacles. His sheep farming interests prospered and he became a wealthy landowner. He was also a famous horse--breeder and bred over 100 winning racehorses. In August 1859 he married Eliza Laura Travers, who bore him five sons and two daughters. William Pearson died in August 1893, survived by his wife, three of his Sons and both daughters.

Robert Simson was born at Coalfarm near St Monance in October 1819. His parents were Robert Simson and Elizabeth Carstairs. With his cousin, Philip Russell of Kincraig, he emigrated to Australia, arriving in Tasmania in November 1842. Three months later they crossed to Port Phillip and in April 1843 purchased the sheep station at Cairngham. In 1851, Robert returned to Tasmania to marry Catherine Officer. They came back to Cairngham but moved to Langi Kal Kal which was a larger sheep farm near Beaufort. Robert concentrated on the breeding of high quality merino sheep. This venture was successful and he won many awards at championships all over the world. His contribution to the development of sheep farming in Australia was of major importance, and Robert also took an active part in church affairs and gave generously to the promotion of religious education. He died in November 1896, predeceased by his wife.
FOOTNOTE - Two of Robert Simson's brothers also became well known sheep farmers. John (1822 - 1896) and Colin William (1828 - 1905). John married Margaret Luke in 1856 and Colin married Margaret Madelaine Smith in 1862.


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