Peter Williamson

(Indian Peter)

1730 - 1799

Reformer. Born at Hirnley (Aberdeenshire), Williamson was brought up in Aberdeen but was kidnapped at Aberdeen Harbour in 1743 and sold into slavery in America. Captured by Cherokee Indians, he escaped to join the army and was then imprisoned by the French. He eventually returned to Edinburgh, where he successfully sued Aberdeen officials for slave trading. The compensation he received allowed him to open a tavern in Parliament Close on Edinburgh's High Street. He went on to publish the city's first street directory (1773) and set up a postal service around the same time. This was the first regular and continuous postal service in Britain.

He died in Edinburgh and lies buried in an unmarked grave in Old Calton Burial Ground.

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