Select Carnegie Miscellany

Here are some Carnegie stories and accounts over the years:

Early Carnegies

The Carnegie name first appeared in records in Angus as early as 1230.  John, the 1st of Carnegie, died in 1370 and he was succeeded by John Carnegie of that Ilk.  The direct line of the family died out in the mid 16th century and the lands of Kinnaird were acquired by a cadet branch, the Carnegies of Kinnaird in Brechin, who restored for themselves the title of Carnegie of that Ilk. 

John Carnegie of Kinnaird was killed at Flodden in 1513 and his son Robert captured fighting against the English in 1547 at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.  Robert was knighted on his release and he was made Ambassador to France in 1556. 
Two later brothers of this family, David and John Carnegie, supported the Royalist cause during the Civil War and were created the Earls of Southesk and Northesk respectively (the names coming from the Esk river in Angus).

Carnegie and The Piper o' Dundee

The Piper o' Dundee was one of those songs that commemorated those who fought in the Jacobite uprisings.  The following verse contains the Carnegie reference.

"It's some gat swords and some gat nane 
And some were dancing mad their lane 
And mony a vow o' weir 
Was ta'en that night at Amulrie 
There was Tillibardine, and Burleigh

And Struan, Keith, and Olgivie 
And brave Carnegie, wha' but he, 
The piper o' Dundee.

And wasna he a rougey, a rougey, a rougey 
And wasna he a rougey, the piper o'

Susan Scott Carnegie of Pitarrow

Susan Scott was born into a wealthy family with influential friends in many walks of life.  Her father was the Treasurer of the Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh.  In 1769 she married George Carnegie of Pittarrow, a man who had become wealthy in Sweden and bought an estate at Charleton. They started married life at Charleton House and had nine children. 

Susan’s father made sure she had property settled on her and this gave her power to help others.  Women were not expected to live a public life at that time but Susan was determined to put her money and influence to good use.  Her strong practical mind saw that the organization of the Church relief to the poor could be better organized and managed.  The Kirk Session had to give out badges to permit begging in times of famine and distress. 

In those days, the mentally ill and insane were herded together in the Tolbooth at the back of the Town House, Montrose. They were kept behind bars, like animals in a cage.  Some were chained, lying in straw. There was no lighting, heating or glazing.  People fed them through the bars.  Susan worked with Provost Alexander Christie to get subscriptions going for a proper asylum.  Not everyone was keen on the idea but Susan’s printed pamphlets and constant letter writing brought money from as far away as India.  By 1781 the first asylum in Scotland was built in the Links in Montrose. 

In 1815, with the help of the Church, Susan Carnegie set up a Savings Bank as an idea for self-help and independence.  Usually she got up about 5am to deal with all her correspondence and good schemes.  At the same time she often undertook the fostering of orphans or friends.  Her life was completely dedicated to the good of others less fortunate than herself.

David Carnegie and Carnegie Porter in Sweden

David Carnegie Jr. came to Gothenburg as a young man in 1830 to work at his uncle’s company, at that time one of the biggest export companies in the wood and iron industry.  Soon after his arrival he acquired a porter brewery at Klippan and the Lorent sugar mill that in a short time was developed to be the most modern sugar refinery in Sweden.  They were Gothenburg’s largest industries at the time. 

David proved to be a benevolent employer.  The workers had unusual benefits for the time, such as free medical treatment, a half day’s pay when ill and also three bottles of strengthening porter each day.  Near the brewery were workmen’s dwellings, baths, a school and a church. 

Carnegie porter is the oldest registered trademark still in effect in Sweden, having been established as far back as 1836.  The porter had its most popular days in 1916 when the Carnegie brewery produced 5.5 million liters of porter.  Most of it was consumed in Sweden, but the porter also made its way across the Atlantic to New York and Brazil.  Production of porter continued at the Carnegie mill until 1976.  

Carnegie as a company in Sweden lived longer, although the company’s banking arm became insolvent in 2008.

Andrew Carnegie's Antecedents

Andrew Carnegie, the famous steelman and philanthropist, was born in Dunfermline, Fife in 1835.  His family line goes back to James and Charlotte Carnegie who were married there in 1759.  They were Andrew's great grandparents.  Their son Andrew was born in 1769.  He married Elizabeth Thoms in 1792 and they had two sons, William and Andrew. 

William Carnegie was a handloom weaver.  But times were hard and he decided to leave Scotland for a new life in America.  He took his wife Margaret and their young son Andrew, aged 13, to Pennsylvania in 1848.  

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