At least five family members became Writers (solicitor) and practiced law in Forfar or Dundee. William Whyte S.S.C.(1857-1921) and Robert Whyte (1831-1906) practiced law in Edinburgh. Robert Whyte became the Forfar Procurator Fiscal.
& Whyte W.S
There is absolutely no connection between our family and the Forfar firm of solicitors that carries the name – MacHardy, Alexander & Whyte W.S. This Whyte family did not originate from Angus and came from Fife or Perth.
Trades and Professions
(see Histories of Scotland & Royal Burgh of Forfar)
William Quhyt was noted as a skinner (leather manufacturer and craftsman) in his 1637 pre-marriage contract and later on his death in 1657 as a glover. It is possible that the Quhyt family had been involved in the leather business for years, well before William Quhyt. He may have inherited his skills, knowledge and trade contacts from his forebears in the once “royal” burgh of Forfar.
Skinner guilds were formed in Scotland in the 1500/1600’s (notably Edinburgh) but there is no evidence of such a guild in Forfar, where the Quhyt may have dominated the relatively small local scene. William’s own family members were craftsmen who did well, particularly as member of the Sutors of Forfar. Over the years the family trades were variously listed as skinner, glover, shoemaker, tanner, currier and leather merchant.
Forfar Shoemaker Guild (1626-1847)
The Whytes were one of the leading families in the Forfar Shoemaker Guild (Cordiners) during 1660-1800, when the financial fortunes of this trade were at its peak and the Forfar “sutors” and their hand-made brogues were known far and wide. This craft, and the glover trade, were clearly developments from their long-standing role in the leather and tanning business.
The family provided the Guild Deacons (Leader) for over 50 years during the period 1682-1755. See the extracts from the Minute book (The Acts & Meetings of the Shoemakers Trade) from June 1626). (Note: there are no records from the beginning of the Guild in approx 1625 up to 1660.) However, after the second Jacobite rising of 1745 the success of the Cordiners began to wane, along with Forfar enthusiasm for the Jacobite cause.
1676 & 1677 David Whyt (elder) Treasurer & Collector
1682 ->1700 David Whyt (elder) Deacon
1695 Thomas Whyt (elder) Admitted as master and freeman
1698-1699 Thomas Whyt (elder) Treasurer
1703 David Whyt (younger) Admitted as master and freeman
1703–1727 Thomas Whyt (elder) Deacon
1708 Alexander Whyt Admitted as master and freeman
1716 Patrick Whyt Admitted as master and freeman
1729 John Whyt Admitted as master and freeman
1736-1743 John Whyt Deacon
1743 Thomas Whyt (younger) Admitted as master and freeman
1754-1751 Thomas Whyt (younger) Deacon
1776 John Whyte Admitted as master and freeman
1779 Robert Whyte Admitted as master and freeman
1790 Robert Whyte Deacon
William Whyte (1793-1849), Robert Whyte (1831-1906) and perhaps other family members also became local bank agents for one of the major Scottish banks
The Whyte male family members were probably all Freemasons. However, nothing has been found of the origin or continuity of their membership down the years, except as follows.
(Provost) John Adam Whyte (1830-1906) was a member of the Elijah, Royal Arch Chapter No 12 from 1880, and a Master of Forfar Kilwinning Lodge No 90.
My father John Sydney Whyte, like his father and brothers, was a freemason.