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John Glassford


1715 - 1783

Tobacco Lord. Born in Paisley, the son of a Magistrate, Glassford began in textiles but made his fortune in tobacco, recognised as the most successful merchant in Glasgoiw. From c.1750 he began developing interests in Maryland and Virginia (USA) and ran a fleet of twenty-five ships, although he never travelled to America. He was also a founder of two Glasgow banks (the Thistle Bank and the Arms Bank). He built Whitehill House in E Glasgow and his country seat was at Netherwood near Milngavie, which he renamed Dougalston.

Glassford made himself unpopular by supporting the American revolutionaries in the War of Independence but as a result he lost much of his American property. He died deeply in debt before peace was declared and was buried in the kirkyard of Ramshorn Church, leaving his executors to try to gain compensation for his losses. Glassford Street was named in his honour. That his estates were worked by slaves has rather darkened his reputation.


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