John Haig of Gartlands

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About John Gartlands Haig

Gazetteer for Scotland

1535 Bemersyde House (Scottish Borders) built

The Whisky Haigs: As we have seen, John of the Gartlands, younger brother of George, was born in 1720 and married in 1751, 18 months before his elder brother, to his cousin Margaret Stein, member of a long established family who had already built up a business in nearby Kennet, involging farming and distilling. John, described as 'tobacconist' in 1761 in the Peirsons' case, subsequently appears to have joined the Steins in their business and lived near his brothers-in-law at an old, if modest, Laird's house which had belonged to the Bruces of Kennet, called Gartlet or The Gartlands. The baptismal records of his laer children refer to him as Mr John Haig and it seems likely that he played a full part and shared in his Stein in-law's growing prosperity. He died in 1773 but left a large family of dynamic young sons, 5 of whom founded their own distilling businesses, whilst two daughters also married to distillers, one a Jameson and another a Philp. With the help of their Stein uncles, they had built up their own businesses in Edinburgh, Fife and Dublin, not without many vicissitudes. So successful were the two families intheir domination of the spirit market that in 1788 they attracted the jealous attention of the Government, whose change of excise duty provoked their bankruptcy, the largest that Scotland had seen since the Darien disaster, with debts of over £250,000. Such was their reputation and abilities, that in the space of 10 years, the creditors were largely repaid and the Haigs and Steins were all in business again developing the use of Grain Whisky, with even greater success.

Whilst they did for a time preserve some links with Alloa, acting as Trustee for one cousin, disposing of their smallholdings in the town to others, these interests soon died out. Landed estates were acquired: Blairhill, Ramornie, Pen-Ithon, Roebuck, and Alloa soon became a distant memory until the dying out of the Haigs of Bemersyde suddenly focused attention on the need for documentation of their family origins.

JOHN HAIG 1720 - 1773 In 1751, Robert Haig’s great, great grandson married John Stein of Kennetpan’s daughter Margaret. They moved into the Gartlet Farmhouse which was close to Kennetpans and Kilbagie distilleries.

JOHN HAIG AND MARGARET STEIN’S CHILDREN

MARGARET HAIG 1752 - 1815

Married John Jameson from Alloa.


Had 16 children 10 of whom survived into adulthood.

John eventually took control of the Bow Street distillery and created the Jameson whiskey dynasty.

JAMES HAIG 1755 -1833

Went to Edinburgh in 1780 and built Lochrin Distillery and then Canonmills in 1783 and Sudbury Distillery in around 1806.

By 1790s he was the pre-eminent Lowland Distiller and was the spokesman for the industry.

MARY HAIG b1756

JOHN HAIG 1758- 1819

Attended St Andrew’s University then was apprentice at Seggie.

Married his cousin Margaret Stein.

Moved to Edinburgh and joined his brother James at Lochrin.

Bought and expanded Leith Distillery at Bonnington and Cameron Bridge Distillery both in 1804.

GEORGE HAIG 1760 - 1774

Died aged fourteen.

ANNE HAIG b 1761

ROBERT HAIG 1764 - c1834

Moved to Dublin where he purchased Dodderbank Distillery in 1795.

JANET HAIG b 1766

Married John Philp who founded Doll’s Distillery in Menstrie.

CALDOM HAIG 1767 -

ANDREW HAIG 1769 - 1824

Stayed at Kilbagie where he had been an apprentice for his uncle, James Stein. In 1810 Morning Chronicle February 1820, where he was listed as ‘of Clackmannan’, he was named as one of the four leading distillers along with James Haig (Sudbury), John Stein (Kennetpans) and Spears Mitchell & Co.

WILLIAM HAIG 1771 - 1847

Married his first cousin Janet Stein

Served his apprenticeship under his uncle Robert Stein at Kincaple which he ultimately took over. Built Seggie Distillery. Seems to have taken over his brother John’s Bonnington Distillery in 1821 until 1826 when it passed to Haig Bros & Co (John and Robert, his two sons).

William and Janet’s son John (1802 -) married Rachel McKerras Veitch in 1839. Their son Douglas (1861 - 1928) became Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig.

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John Haig of Gartlands's Timeline

1720
September 9, 1720
1751
February 11, 1751
Age 30
1753
1753
Age 32
1755
February 1, 1755
Age 34
1755
Age 34
1756
1756
Age 35
1758
December 24, 1758
Age 38
1760
1760
Age 39
1761
1761
Age 40
1764
May 4, 1764
Age 43