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Patrick lived during the: Golden Age of Scottish Culture;  

arrival of handloom weaving (and the related rise in the local standard of living); Walter Scott;

French Revolution; American independence; and

the Napoleonic wars.  

Patrick Whyte (1758 - 1847)


Patrick and his wife, Margaret are key figures in the history and fortunes of our family.  They married in 1785 - when he was 27 and she 18.  He lived to 89 and she lived to 90.  Although the youngest 5th son and growing up without the presence of his father, he ultimately provided the business drive and family continuity for the Tan Works and (with his wife) for the whole Whyte family of the period. There was a gap of some 10-15 years (no information found) after the death of his father and uncle John, before his brothers and he were old enough to take charge.  None of his brothers had any grandsons, which is why Patrick features at the top of this page. His portrait hangs in my office and is on the front page of this family history.


In 1795, with brothers Robert and John, he bought back the land from the Shoemakers Guild (which Alexander Whyte had sold to them in 1725).  The 3 brothers held the Tan works established there in equal shares. On the death of John his son conveyed his father’s share of the Tan Works to Patrick and so giving Patrick a two-thirds control of the business.  He is noted in the records as a glover (1794) and skinner (leather manufacturer) (1809).   He was a Forfar Burgess and Town Council Baillie (1825). His testament mentions many family monetary transactions, that probably indicate that he was also the family banker.


His wife:

Margaret Roberts (1767–1857).  She bore Patrick 11 children (5 boys

and 6 girls) during 22 years.  She lived to 90, outlived at least 4 of her

own children, and perhaps even some of her own grandchildren

Their children:

Eliza(beth) (1786), David (1790), William (1793), Patrick (1795),

Margaret (1796), Isobel (1798), Thomas (1799), Jane (1801), 

Catherine (1803), Robert (1804), Ann (1808).


His siblings:

- Robert (1747-1816)) the eldest son was a shoemaker by trade like his father.  A Forfar Burgess and Baillie, he rose to be the Deacon of the Shoemakers’ Guild in 1790.  He was also later listed as a currier/ tanner - when he participated with his brothers in establishing the tan works.  While he is often mentioned in family testaments little is known about his personal details (e.g. marriage, children) except his 1816 testament and Service of Heirs to his nephew Robert Whyte.  So, I have assumed that he never married.

- John (born 1749) followed into shoemaking trade and was a Burgess.  He married Isabel Eastine/Easton (b1761) at 32 and she 20. 

            - Isobel Whyte (b1782) probably died young

            - William Whyte (1784-1813) moved to Dundee (tannery business), where he probably joined his Uncle William (below).  He                   married his first cousin Elizabeth Whyte (eldest daughter of Patrick Whyte) in 1810 and died only 3 years later. They had one                 daughter who died in infancy (at exactly the same time as her father). 

           - Thomas Whyte (b1788) probably died young

           - Robert Whyte (1791-1814) stayed in the Forfar tannery business.  He married Isabel Byers (b1793, Forfar) in c1814 and they               had 3 children.  Isabel was the daughter of James Byars and Janet Bean, married in Forfar 1789.  Robert died after only 4                     years of their marriage.  His testament mentions his wife, his (deceased) uncle Robert Whyte, his mother, and three children.                 His widow married a local lawyer (William Hunter) and had 4 more children and with whom her Whyte children grew-up.

                        - David Whyte (1814-1838) died unmarried at the age of 24.  He left a will (Edinburgh Court of Sessions) mentioning                                his mother and her children (Eliza Whyte and & four Hunter children), 

                        - Robert Whyte (b1816) ???

                        - Isobel Whyte (b1818) possibly died young

- William (1751-<1841) He moved to the Dundee tannery business - possibly not enough challenge in the family business for a 3rd son, and so he needed to make his own way in the world.   He was unmarried and left his estate to his niece, the eldest child of his brother Patrick (i.e. Elizabeth) – for whom he may have had a special family affection (see her story elsewhere) and also a Dundee connection.

- Thomas  (1754-c1780) became a dyer and burgess in Forfar.  Nothing else is known but he may have died at 26 in 1780.

Roberts Family, possible Forfar merchant family

     Thomas Robert 

 Patrick Robert (b1688), Forfar – and Margaret Sturrock – married in Forfar, 1722

David Roberts (1723- ) - a Forfar merchant and Elspeth Brown, married in Dunnichen, 1755. 

Margaret Roberts (1767–1857)

Oil painting of Patrick Whyte

(see reference in his daughter Elizabeth’s will)


In my library, I have a 1769 Edinburgh Almanack – a small pocket size reference book - inscribed in the name of William Whyte (b1751).   He was probably 18 when received this and it contains a wealth of information about Scotland and the UK at that time. It has a few handwritten accounts and the following note near the end - “Will Whyte born Dec 7 1784”

(This was certainly the eldest son of John Whyte & Isabel Estine, so his nephew – who also became a tanner in Dundee and married his first cousin Elizabeth Whyte - eldest daughter of Patrick Whyte).

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