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1751-1862, predominant 1828-1843 (Creation)
- Gilmour and Rankin (firm)
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In 1804, young Scottish entrepreneurs Allan Gilmour Sr., and brothers John and Arthur Pollok joined forces to establish Pollok, Gilmour and Co., a Glasgow-based import business specializing in timber. In 1812, they expanded their operation overseas, sending Alexander Rankin (31 December 1788 - 3 April 1852) and Alan Gilmour Sr.'s younger brother, James Gilmour (14 October 1782 - 29 January 1858) to establish a base on the Miramichi River, in New Brunswick. Beginning with a sawmill, offices and a house at Douglastown, Gilmour, Rankin and Co. expanded, and by 1820 were responsible for the majority of trade that passed through the Miramichi port. From their initial foothold in the wilderness, the company by 1845 had accumulated 92,000 acres in mill reserves in the surrounding areas, and Gilmour and Rankin had developed a highly successful business as timber merchants and ship builders.
It was the practice of the parent company to send promising employees to train with Gilmour and Rankin and to gain experience in the colonies. In 1818, Robert Rankin (31 May 1801 - 3 June 1870), the younger brother of Alexander Rankin, joined the company in Douglastown. In 1822, he began separate but similar operations in Saint John under the name of Robert Rankin and Co. Allan Gilmour Jr. (29 September 1805 - 18 November 1884), nephew of Allan Gilmour Sr., was sent in 1821 to the Miramichi to train as a clerk, and later worked at the Bathurst branch in 1824, and with Robert Rankin in Saint John from 1825 - 1828. He later established a branch of the company in Quebec.
In 1838, Robert Rankin returned to Scotland during a major restructuring of Pollok, Gilmour and Co. He bought out Allan Gilmour Sr. and became a controlling partner alongside his brother, Alexander, and Allan Gilmour Jr. James Gilmour, believing the Miramichi branch to be failing, returned to Scotland in 1842. A younger associate and manager for Gilmour, Rankin and Co., Richard Hutchison, took his place and became more active in Gilmour and Rankin. Gilmour's fears were unfounded, as Gilmour, Rankin and Co. continued to expand and excel in the lumber trade. After the death of Alexander Rankin in 1852, Hutchison was the sole resident partner in the colonies. Robert Rankin remained, from a distance, in active control of the Pollok-Gilmour-Rankin trans-Atlantic empire. When Robert Rankin died in 1870, the business, mills and lands were handed over to Hutchinson by the remaining Glasgow partners. Gilmour, Rankin and Co. ceased operations out of the Miramichi until about 1870, while its others branches continued to operate in some capacity until the 1880s.
Source: A History of Our Firm, being some account of the firm of Pollok, Gilmour and Co. and its offshoots and Connections 1804-1920, Rankin, John (Liverpool: Henry Young and Sons, Ltd., 1921); Hamilton, W.D. Dictionary of Miramichi Biography (Saint John: W.D. Hamilton, 1997): 145, 317.
Gilmour and Rankin (firm)
Scope and content
This fonds consists mainly of correspondence among members of the various branches of Pollok and Gilmour, especially to and from Alexander Rankin of Rankin and Gilmour.
It also includes personal financial records of Alexander and Robert Rankin and North American travel diaries of Allen Gilmour, Jr. and Sr. and William Ritchie, dating from 1828 to 1829, and a report on the proceedings at the Prince of Wales' Challenge Cup competition (1862).
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