Posted on

J. Cuthbert Hadden: “Master of the Song”

“In short, in regard to music, our great writers have been just like other people—some have been passionately fond of music, some have liked it in a mild kind of way, and some have been absolutely indifferent to it.”[1]

Black and white photograph of James Cuthbert Hadden in a suit and bowtie.
Portrait of the author J. Cuthbert Hadden in one of the last
books he published before his death in May 1914.[2]

James Cuthbert Hadden (1859-1914) was a Scottish litterateur and “Master of the Song”[3] who balanced his twin loves of music and literature throughout his life, publishing a myriad of articles, biographies and books while working as an organist in Aberdeen, Crieff, and Edinburgh.[4] Hadden was born in Banchory-Ternan, near Aberdeen, on the 5th September 1859, and by the age of 14 was working with Aberdonian booksellers A. & R. Milne and singing in his local choir. In 1878, at the age of 18, Hadden moved to London to work at the Routledge publishing house, spending his workdays in the literary world and his evenings and weekends practising his skills with the piano and organ. Returning to Scotland due to illness after only three years in London, Hadden “thought no more of bookselling” and “determined to be a musician,” taking up work as an organist first in Aberdeen and then Crieff.[5] He stayed at Mannofield Parish Church for only a few months before moving south to work as organist and choirmaster under the Reverend Dr. Cunningham at St. Michael’s Parish Church, Crieff, where he remained for the next ten years.

Red Crieff Heritage Trail plaque for St Michael's Church Hall - 1786.
Crieff Heritage Trail Plaque, St. Michael’s Parish Church, Crieff[6]

While in Crieff, Hadden met and married his future wife, Elizabeth Couper Gordon (1863-1929), and led a busy life both musical and literary. Particularly interesting given my research on the Innerpeffray visitors’ books, Hadden was very concerned about the musical reputation of Crieff to its summer visitors and tourists. In 1890, the last year he spent in Crieff before moving to Edinburgh, he praised the “vigorous and flourishing” Perthshire Choir Union, which had held its annual festival in St. Michael’s.[7] He also wrote a rebuttal to a gentleman who had visited Crieff during the summer and found its music scene wanting:

“Mr. J. Spencer Curwen has thrown a bomb-shell into the Scottish organists’ camp. […] I feel sore, because he has not come to judge our work at the right season. A summer visit creates a false impression, for our choirs are then deprived of many of their best singers, most of our organists have deputies on their stools, and there are of course no rehearsals for the preparation of the Sunday music. The winter is the time to find us at our best.”[8]

Somewhat opposing what he wrote in October 1890, Hadden’s 1910 biography in The Musical Journal suggests that, at least in St. Michael’s, Hadden kept his choir rehearsing throughout the entire year:

“There was an excellent musical service, for the best voices in the town were heard in that choir, and Mr. Hadden had a free hand under the broad-minded minister. Crieff being a resort for holiday makers, special attention was given to the music during the summer, so the weekly choir practice was kept going all the year round. Frequent organ recitals were given, and words of appreciation were often heard from the visitors.”[9]

It is true that the 1910 biography of Hadden is far from objective, written many years after Hadden worked in Crieff, with his full cooperation and by someone who “highly value[d] his friendship” and would not have wanted to risk insulting his subject.[10] Nevertheless, whether Hadden did or did not keep his choir rehearsing all year, it is certainly interesting to think about the musical experience that visitors to Innerpeffray may have had if they stayed in Crieff during their travels.

Handwrittten signature
‘J. Cuthbert Hadden, organist Crieff’ Library of Innerpeffray Visitors’ Book Vol. 1, f.77r

Crucially, while living and working in Crieff between 1881 and 1891, Hadden visited the Library of Innerpeffray on five occasions! The first record of his signature in the Innerpeffray visitors’ book is from Saturday 24th September 1887, when he visited with his wife, ‘Mrs Hadden’. Two additional visitors are recorded as having been to Innerpeffray that day, ‘R. C. Kay’ and ‘Miss Black’, but due to the lack of information provided (no locations or occupations; only initials and/or title rather than full names) I have not been able to ascertain if they were all part of one visiting party or simply all visiting the library on a Saturday.

Three signatures of visitors to Innerpeffray Library
Library of Innerpeffray Visitors’ Book Vol. 1, f.75v

Hadden’s second visit to Innerpeffray, the following year, was as part of a larger group of visitors from Crieff, with two additional visitors normally resident in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire but perhaps staying in Crieff for a holiday. As opposed to the example above, it is evident that at least the first six named visitors were all travelling together – the first three names are clearly written in the same hand and the signatures of Annie and Mary McCormick are bracketed by those of Mrs. Hadden, above, and Mr. Hadden, below. What is less clear from this page is whether the two signatures following Hadden were part of the same travelling party. It appears as though the first seven entries on the page were all entered on Saturday 26th May, with the following signature, that of Albert Lister Peace – Glasgow, entered on Thursday 14th June.

Signatures in the Innerpeffray Library visitors' book - May 26th-June 14th 1888
Visitors to the Library of Innerpeffray, 26th May – 14th June 1888
Innerpeffray Visitors’ Book Vol. 1, f.77r

Were this any other signature, I would have accepted this as fact and continued on without making any comment. However, Dr. Albert Lister Peace (1844-1912) was also an organist – and quite a famous one! Peace reportedly started learning how to play the pianoforte at the age of six and only three years later, at nine years old, became the resident organist of his local church in Huddersfield. Between 1865 and 1897, he worked as the organist for the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Cathedral and St. Andrew’s Hall (now the Mitchell Library). Throughout his career, Peace performed at numerous renowned venues around the United Kingdom, including the Crystal Palace in London (1882), Canterbury Cathedral (1886), Liverpool World’s Fair (1886), and Westminster Abbey (1909).[11]

Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that Hadden and Peace knew each other. In the September 1890 edition of his monthly column, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, Hadden indicated that he had learned the following news from Peace and that he had seen him perform more than once:

“A new organ, built by Forster & Andrews, to the specification of Dr. Peace, has been opened in Bothwell Parish Church, near Glasgow. Dr. Peace inaugurated the instrument, playing brilliantly as usual.”[13]

Indeed, I think it is fair to say that Hadden held great respect for both his fellow organist and their chosen instrument – in December 1897, he described another performance:

“I have heard Dr. Peace take the great D major fugue of Bach on a large organ with a full and quick-speaking pedal at what could only be called a terrific rate. The effect was positively electrifying.”[14]

With all of this in mind, it seems fairly unlikely, or at least curious, that Peace would have visited Innerpeffray separately from Hadden, and too big of a coincidence to have his signature two entries below Hadden’s, despite the date indicating that it is two weeks later. At the top of the page, it is clear that there had already been some confusion with the date, with ‘August’ crossed out and ‘May’ written above it. Perhaps there was indeed some misunderstanding with what the date was, and Peace did accompany the Haddens. Perhaps it was just happenstance and Peace visited Innerpeffray separately, only to realise that Hadden had visited two weeks ago. It may also be possible that Hadden visited with the initial travelling group on the 26th May, and when he returned to Innerpeffray with Peace two weeks later, on the 14th June, didn’t want to repeat his signature on the same page. There are countless situations which could have led to these entries in the visitors’ book – and I will probably never find out what actually happened. But the story doesn’t end there, because it happened again a month later!

Signatures of three visitors to the Library of Innerpeffray
Visitors to the Library of Innerpeffray, 11th-12th July 1888
Innerpeffray Visitors’ Book Vol. 1, f.77v

On Wednesday 11th July 1888, Hadden visited the Library of Innerpeffray for a third time, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, and his father, James Hadden (1838-1892).[15] And again, another organist signed their name in the visitors’ book – in this instance, apparently a day later. Though John William Davis Pillow (1851-1902), from Landport. Portsmouth, Hants, was not as famous or well-travelled as Albert Lister Peace, it is possible to discover that he was an English organist and conductor who worked primarily in and around the south coast of England. In his youth, Pillow sang in the choir at Chichester Cathedral, where he was taught by resident organist Edward H. Thorne before moving onto his own post at St. Pancras Church, Chichester. In 1889, he served as the director of the Portsmouth Musical Association and in October of that year, he inaugurated the new organ at St. Mary’s Church, Portsea, where he remained as resident organist until 1901.[16] As with the example above, there could be numerous reasons why J. W. D. Pillow visited the Library of Innerpeffray the day after the Hadden family, rather than with them. I could not find any documents suggesting that Pillow and Hadden necessarily knew each other, so perhaps it really is a coincidence. Maybe the ‘12’ next to Pillow’s name was incorrectly placed, meaning to refer to the entry below. In all probability, I will never know the answer – perhaps the contiguous visits were simply serendipitous. But it’s weird that it happened twice.

Signatures of visitors to the Library of Innerpeffray
Library of Innerpeffray Visitors’ Book Vol. 1, f.78v

Later in the summer, on Saturday 4th August 1888, the Haddens again visited the Library of Innerpeffray and brought along additional visitors. Although thus far I have not been able to track down Miss H. N. Bell from Crieff or Mr and Mrs John Garrett from Hamilton, Canada, I cannot rule out the possibility that they, too, were organists!

Signatures of visitors to the Library of Innerpeffray
Library of Innerpeffray Visitors’ Book Vol. 1, f.82r

Finally, on Saturday 20th April 1889, J. Cuthbert Hadden visited the Library of Innerpeffray for the last time, accompanied by two of his fellow gentlemen from Crieff (who do not appear to be organists). In the summer of 1889, the couple moved to 4 Argyle Park Terrace, Edinburgh, where Hadden took up post as organist at St. John’s Parish Church, staying there for twelve years before he is said to have “abandoned music in favour of literature”.[17] In fact, Hadden had been increasingly engaged in “pen work” since 1885, while still in Crieff – he regularly contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography (writing more than 120 entries); wrote a monthly column for The Musical Journal, edited the Scottish Musical Monthly for two years, and published seven books before the turn of the century.[18] By the time Hadden died on the 2nd May 1914, only 54 years old, he had written a further twenty books and was regularly struck by a “great hunger” to perform again.[19]

Although it is not possible for us to hear J. Cuthbert Hadden play the organ, we can read his writing – the Library of Innerpeffray holds a copy of one of Hadden’s books, Thomas Campbell, part of the Famous Scots series and dedicated to his wife.[20]

And in closing, here are two of my favourite anecdotes from his monthly columns. A flying Bible and a sleeping chorister:

“In a Kirriemuir (Forfar) Church the other Sunday a woman is said to have hurled her Bible from the gallery where she was sitting at one of the male members of the choir who had fallen asleep!”[21]

And tales of shock and outrage in Crieff (more research required!):

“One clergyman at Crieff, as he ascended the pulpit-stairs, peremptorily ordered a lady sitting in the choir pew to leave the church. The lady left as requested, and a considerable number of the congregation with her; the precentor sent in his resignation; and now the minister has been sued for £50 damages and a public apology. I trust the law will give the lady both the money and the apology.”[22]

Isla Macfarlane, PhD Student

[1] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘R. L. S. and Music’, Glasgow Herald, 21 April 1900, p. 9.

[2] J. Cuthbert Hadden, Modern Musicians: A Book for Players, Singers and Listeners (Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis, 1914).

[3] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, The Non-Conformist Musical Journal, 5.58 (1892), 151–52 (p. 151).

[4] Hadden’s date of birth is much contested and appears incorrectly in a variety of locations and formats, with some websites listing his year of birth as 1816 and (perhaps optimistically?) adding 43 years to his life. Based on his entry in the 1564-1950 Scottish Births and Baptisms register (accessed through Ancestry), James Cuthbert Hadden was born on 5th September 1859. This birthdate is backed up by census entries in the following years, where he was recorded as being one in the April 1861 census and eleven years old in the census of 1871. Additionally, a biography of Hadden which appeared in The Musical Journal in 1910 (plainly written up after an interview and with his full cooperation, given phrases such as “Mr. Hadden tells me” (p.227)) further confirms this birthdate, telling us that “[w]hen he went to London in 1878,” he was “a lad of 18”. Furthermore, several contemporary obituaries published after Hadden’s death in 1914 also note that he died “aged 54”, further confirming his year of birth as 1859.

[5] Broad Nib, ‘Mr. J. Cuthbert Hadden.’, The Musical Journal, 23.274 (1910), 225–27 (p. 226).

[6] Colin Mayall, ‘St Michael’s Church Yard 1972 Survey of Gravestones’, PerthshireCrieffStrathearn Local History, 2015 <> [accessed 15 February 2022].

[7] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, The Non-Conformist Musical Journal, 3.32 (August 1890), 124–25 (p. 125).

[8] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, The Non-Conformist Musical Journal,3.34 (October 1890), 156–57 (p. 156).

[9] Nib, p. 226.

[10] Nib, p. 227.

[11] ‘Peace, Albert Lister, (26 Jan. 1844–14 March 1912), MusDoc Oxon’, in Who’s Who & Who Was Who (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) <> [accessed 7 December 2021].

[12] St. Andrew’s Halls (Glasgow: Wilson Advertising Company, 1907), Mitchell Library, Theatre Collection; Glasgow City Council.

[13] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, The Non-Conformist Musical Journal, 3.33 (September 1890), 132–33 (p.133).

[14] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Passing Notes’, The Nonconformist Musical Journal, 10.120 (December 1897), 184–85 (p. 185).

[15] On the 11th July 1888, James Hadden (senior) listed his place of residence as Aberdeen and was clearly in Crieff visiting his son and daughter-in-law, but just twenty days later, on the 31st July 1888, he was admitted to the Dundee Royal Asylum. Over the next four years he moved between the Old Machar Poorhouse and Aberdeen Royal Asylum, where he died of TB on 14th July 1892. ‘General Register of Lunatics in Asylums: Dundee Royal Asylum, Angus’, (Edinburgh: NRS Mental Health Records, 1888), p. 460 <> [accessed 16 February 2022]; NRS Reference MC7/6.

[16] W. B. Henshaw, ‘John William Davis Pillow’, Biographical Dictionary of the Organ; ‘History of the Organ’, The Organ Project.

[17] ‘Hadden, J. Cuthbert, Litterateur.’, in Who’s Who & Who Was Who (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

[18] Nib, p. 227.

[19] Nib, p. 227.

[20] J. Cuthbert Hadden, Thomas Campbell, Famous Scots (London: Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, 1899).

[21] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, The Non-Conformist Musical Journal, 4.41 (May 1891), 68–69 (p. 69).

[22] J. Cuthbert Hadden, ‘Music in the Scottish Churches’, The Non-Conformist Musical Journal, 4.37 (January 1891), 4–5 (p. 5).

Posted on

18th and 19th Century Gardeners

Meet The Borrower – 18th and 19th Century ‘Gardners/Gardeners’

As I sit at home looking out across the garden and going through our seed box to see what is leftover from last year, and what we still need to acquire for this gardening year, my thoughts are drawn towards the many ‘Gardners’ who borrowed books from Innerpeffray. Their working lives outdoors would have been governed by the weather and they would have been busy planning and preparing for the months ahead, as well as working under cover in the greenhouses and conservatories. Weather and outdoor ground conditions permitting they would have been preparing the soil ready for sowing and planting, sorting what seeds would be required for the coming year and when to sow them, when to plant out seedlings or new plants purchased for the gardens, and pruning fruit trees and bushes.

John Rutter, The Modern Eden: or the Gardener’s Universal Guide, 1769

All of the estates around Innerpeffray would have employed a Head Gardener and a varying number of other gardeners to work under his instruction. Most of them would have been provided with accommodation, in what was referred to as the ‘gardeners bothy’. Or there may have been a “Gardener’s Lodging-Room” as noted in “The Modern Eden: or the Gardener’s Universal Guide” by John Rutter and Daniel Carter, published in 1769 (above).

John Reid, The Scots Gardner, 1683

The first ‘Gardner’ mentioned in the Borrowers Register is on the 12th May, 1753, and he was John Allan, Gardner at Innerpeffray. He borrowed “The Saints Highway To Happiness” by Thomas Taylor. His next visit was in February 1854, when he borrowed “Silva, or a discourse on forest-trees and the Propagation of Timber” by John Evelyn, 1706. He borrowed again in April 1764, in March 1766, when his choices were religious texts, and then we don’t see his name again until 28th November, 1776, when he borrows John Reid’s “The Scots Gard’ner”, 1683 (above).

Then on 25th December he borrows “Every Man His Own Gardener” by Thomas Mawe, 1771. There is no further mention of him until July 1807, when he is still recorded as ‘Gardner at Innerpeffray’, Crieff, and he borrows Daniel Hume’s “Essays”. This is the last time we see his name.

Thomas Mawe, Every Man His Own Gardner, 1771

There were two other ‘Gardner’ entries in the 18th Century, each one borrowing on only one occasion. On 18th January, 1755, John Maxton, Gardner, borrowed John Evelyn’s “Silva”, and on 7th July, 1780, James Smith, Gardner, Colquhalzie, also borrowed “Silva” and Mawe’s “Every Man his own Gardener”.

John Evelyn, Silva, A discourse of Forest Trees, 1706

There may have been other gardeners borrowing but no more were recorded as such until 25th July, 1859, when we find John Barnet, Gardner, Inchbrakie. From that year onwards the numbers increase, with some only borrowing once or twice, whilst others visited the library more frequently.
A succession of gardeners came from the Millearn, Abercairney, Dollarie, Colquhalzie and Inchbrakie Estates. Millearn Estate seems almost to have encouraged their staff to come to the library and ‘Duncan Connacker, Gardner, Millearn’, borrows on numerous occasions between December 1859 and January 1861. ‘Fraser McFarlan, Gardner, Millearn’, often comes on the same day as Duncan, and there are other ‘Gardners’ from Millearn – Dugald Taylor, Robert Ferguson, John Drummond and James McInnes – whose names appear occasionally alongside the other two.

Neither Duncan nor Fraser borrowed books on gardening! Duncan obviously enjoyed reading Robert Burns “Life and Works”, which he borrowed three times, and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. He also borrowed The Scots Magazine and his final book, returned on 3rd February, 1861, was “Five years of a hunter’s life in the far interior of South Africa” by Roualeyn Gordon-Cumming, 1850. Robert Ferguson was the only one of these Millearn ‘Gardners’ who borrowed anything relating to his work and the book was “Rudiments of Vegetable Physiology” by William Chambers, 1844.
On the 1861 Census, living in the Gardeners Bothy, Millearn, are Duncan (18), Dugald (23) and Robert (14), all recorded as ‘Journeyman Gard’ner’, and George Anderson (55), ‘Gardner’, his wife and children. Duncan appears to have left Millearn in the 1860s and moved to Rannoch Lodge, where we find him recorded in 1871 as ‘Gamekeeper’. By 1881 he is both ‘Gardener and Gamekeeper’ at Glenalmond House but then continues to move around Perthshire, employed as a mix of ‘Gardener, Coachman and Gamekeeper’.
There were many other ‘gardener’ borrowers in the 19th century, including Donald McOmish, Charles Campbell, John Robertson, George Stewart, George Durward, James Drummond, James McNab and David Smeaton, to name just a few.
However, in this ‘Meet the Borrower’, I want to concentrate on Donald McOmish. Donald was born in 1835, to parents Donald McOmish, a Sawyer by trade, and Elizabeth (McEwan). We first find him on the 1841 Census, living with his mother and siblings John, 9, and Margaret, 8, on High Street, Crieff. There is no trace of him on the 1851 Census, but by then he would have been serving his apprenticeship and may have been missed when information was gathered. Information discovered, suggests that he may have served most of his apprenticeship under Roderick MacDonald at Drummond Castle, and he may also have spent time at Cromlix. His name first appears in the Borrowers Register on 17th November, 1857, and indicates that he was working at Dollarie. Two of the first books he borrowed were about lives of Nelson and the Wellington, indicating an interest in history.
By March 1859, his borrowing record shows that he is at Shearerston, Innerpeffray. On the three occasions he visits the library that year he borrows volumes of “Travels in the East” by Alphonse de Lamartine, 1850. The next entry for him is in March 1861, when he is recorded as “Gardener, Inchbrakie”, and he borrows Philip Miller’s “The Gardeners Dictionary”, 1768.

Philip Miller, The Gardeners Dictionary, 1768

However, by the 1861 Census, taken on 7th April, he is living with his mother at Belview, Crieff, although his occupation is still listed as ‘Gardener’. He borrows again in 1862, “The Wisdome of the Ancients” by Francis Bacon,1681, and Thomas May’s “The history of the Parliament of England”, 1647. Then in February 1863, he borrows “The Scots Gard’ner” by John Reid, and “The Modern Gardener – selected from the Diary Manuscript of the late Thomas Hitt, by James Meade. In November 1863, he borrows the “Plays of William Shakespeare”. This was the last time he borrowed until 1897.

On the 1st November 1864, in Crieff, Donald married Ann Graham. By 1865 he had established his first Nursery, at Currachreen, Perth Road, Crieff. On the 1871 Census, we see that he and Ann have a daughter, Jessie, 5, and a son, Donald, 3, and are living on Perth Road. Donald is recorded as a “Nursery and Seedsman”. His mother has moved to East High Street, Crieff, and is recorded as an “Outdoor Worker” and so was almost certainly helping her son at his Nursery. After the death of Robert Faikney, Nurseryman at Laiker Farm, Crieff, it would seem that Donald took over the tenancy of that land and may well have purchased the whole stock of “Forest Trees, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs and other plants” which were advertised for sale in the Perth Advertiser “ one lot by Private Bargain”. The Nursery went from strength to strength and in the December of 1878 he is advertising The Crieff Nurseries in the Strathearn Herald:

“50,000 Larch.
All sorts of Forest, Fruit and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.”

During his lifetime he specialised in the growing of timber and was responsible for planting Larches at various estates in Upper Strathearn.
By 1881, Donald was working nine and a half acres and employing three men, three women and a boy. The family had grown with the births of John, Malcolm, Elizabeth, Margaret and very new baby, Robert. Another son, George, would be born in 1883, but sadly, daughter Jessie died the same year, aged just seventeen. At one point, Donald’s nurseries covered ninety acres, at Currochreen and Laiker Farm, at Croftnappoch and Milnab. Once his sons left school they all worked with their father as Nurserymen. Son Donald died in September 1897, having been ill for over a year. It is interesting that it was in October 1897, when the family were now living at Croftnappock House, Ramsay Street, Crieff, that Donald senior, after a gap of thirty four years, returned to Innerpeffray to borrow a book.
Another son, Robert, borrowed a book for the first time in November 1897, “Ferns: British and Foreign” by John Smith, 1879, and then visited again in January 1898, when George also borrowed a book on the same day. Robert worked in the nurseries and then he served in the First World War, having first joined for duty in March 1916, when he was 35 years old. He was injured twice, from gun shot wounds, and survived to be discharged from the Royal Artillery in 1919.
Whether he ever returned to live in Crieff we are not sure, but by 1924 he is living in Hertford, England, and is listed in the local trades directory as a fruiterer. Perhaps he had his own small nursery growing fruit, because when he married, aged 47, in 1927, his occupation is recorded as Nurseryman.
Another of Donald’s sons, Malcolm, also a nurseryman, borrowed from Innerpeffray for the first time in March 1898, and the book was “Oceana, Or England and Her Colonies” by James Anthony Froude, 1886. Perhaps reading this book gave him the idea of emigrating to Australia, for that is what he did in the early 1900s. He went to Queensland, where he had a sugar plantation, before moving to Melbourne. He became a Missioner and an Evangelist Open Air Campaigner, often described as a ‘virile speaker’, and his ‘gospel motorcar’ became well known. His son, Donald, retired as the Chief Inspector of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and was also heavily involved with the Salvation Army. Jokingly, or otherwise, Donald described himself as “… as a hard drinker of whisky – half a bottle of Glenturret a day!” At some point Malcolm was joined in Australia by his sister Margaret, who was living with him in Queensland when he died in 1949. Margaret was staying with her nephew, Donald, in Melbourne, when she died in 1967, aged 90. Donald’s Nurseries had gone from strength to strength, supplying trees and plants all over the country, and further afield, and were visited by many. He died in 1905 and for fifteen years following his death the estate was administered by Trustees. Daughter Elizabeth married Arthur Grimwood in 1907.
On 7th December 1907, D. McOmish, The Nurseries Crieff, were advertising in the Strathearn Herald:

ROSES for all types.
6,000 Roses have been sent from my Nurseries
during the past three weeks to all parts of Great Britain.

Roses were the speciality of son John and plants were exported all over the world. On 17th October 1908, again in the Strathearn Herald:

First Annual
Sale of Nursery Stock
At D. McOmish’s Currachreen Nurseries, Crieff.
Fruit trees, Gooseberry, Shrubs, Hedging, Conifers, Flowering Shrubs, Laurels.
1,000,000 Transplanted Forest Trees – Scots Fir, Larch, Spruce & Douglas Fir
200,000 2yr seedling Larch
100,000 seedling Scots Fir.

At the onset of the First World War, the land use had to be changed to food production and the family uprooted and burnt half a million young trees, for which they could not claim any compensation. In 1920 the business was divided into separate firms under the ownership of two of Donald’s sons, John and George. Both brothers would go on to make a name for themselves in their specialist areas of horticulture.
John, the only one of Donald’s sons who is not recorded as a borrower, became the proprietor of D. McOmish, Currachreen Nurseries, which occupied a site of twenty acres on the Perth Road. The site easily attracted passing customers who stopped to admire the colourful displays and even King George V is supposed to have visited and ordered specimen scented Poplars for Balmoral.
Under John’s ownership the nursery became noted for Roses, Phloxes, Herbaceous Plants and Dahlias. It produced over five thousand Phloxes annually from cuttings, as well as propagating numerous new varieties, such as ‘Gleneagles Glory’ which became popular throughout Europe. It was later grown extensively in the Netherlands. Over the years the Nurseries won numerous awards, nine gold medals and a silver cup for their plants and flowers, as well as the National Sweetpea Society’s supreme award for their display of Sweetpeas.
On the 16th September 1933, John advertised in the Strathearn Herald:

Come and See the
Dahlias, Roses etc.
only address
D. McOmish, Currachreen Nursery, Crieff

Currachreen Nurseries continued to advertise throughout the 1940s and into the early 1950s They grew a huge variety of flowering and vegetable plants and were posting these all over the country. Mail Order is nothing new! John died in 1955.
The Croft Nurseries, established by his father in 1869, was taken over by son George and in 1920 became known as George McOmish Ltd.. He also owned a shop on West High Street, Crieff, where the seed department was based. George’s lifelong interest was landscape gardening and he specialised in Alpines. A keen member of the Scottish Alpine Club (for those interested in Alpine flora rather than mountaineering!), plants would regularly arrive at his nursery from France, Switzerland, Bavaria and even the Himalaya. The nursery maintained a stock of over twenty thousand Alpine plants and one of the main attractions was the Rock Garden, where the plants could be grown and displayed in more ‘natural’ surroundings.
In 1934 George was advertising in the Perthshire Advertiser:

Croft Nurseries, Crieff
Rock garden plants.
Alpine, Himalayan, Chinese & all from nearly every country
Dwarf shrubs for rock landscape.
On 26th May 1937 in the Perthshire Advertiser:
Croft Nurseries, Pitenzie Road, Crieff
Seed Dept. 10 West High Street

Largest & most select stock for years.

Another of George’s special collections was that of his Scotch ‘Carnation Pinks’, which he
cultivated to be more suitable for growing in a northern climate. His nursery also grew flowering and ornamental shrubs, more than a hundred varieties of heather and a collection of Hybrid Primulas. Croft Nursery was still advertising

“…alpines and rock garden dwarf shrubs, dwarf
rockery, rhododendrons , azaleas and conifers” and “….weeping cherries, Clematis, Camellias, Magnolias..”

and other choice plants and flowering trees and shrubs, right up until 1972. George died in 1974.