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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Imposed on the Lochgellie tribe


[101] Our author says that the Life of Peter Young was published. The following particulars, quoted in an account of the Gipsies, in the sixteenth volume of Chambers' Miscellany, are probably taken from that source:

"Peter was Captain of a band well known in the north of Scotland, where his exploits are told to this day. Possessed of great strength of body, and very uncommon abilities, he was a fine specimen of his race, though he retained all their lawless propensities. He was proud, passionate, revengeful, a great poacher, and an absolute despot, although a tolerably just one, over his gang, maintaining his authority with an oak stick, the principal sufferers from which were his numerous wives."--"He esteemed himself to be a very honourable man, and the keepers of the different public-houses in the country seem to have thought that, to a certain extent, he was so. He never asked for trust as long as he had a half-penny in his pocket. At the different inns which he used to frequent, he was seldom or never denied anything. If he pledged his word that he would pay his bill the next time he came that way, he punctually performed his promise."

"Peter's work was that of a very miscellaneous nature. It comprehended the profession of a blacksmith, in all its varieties, a tin-smith, and brazier. His original business was to mend pots, pans, kettles, &c., of every description,

and this he did with great neatness and ingenuity. Having an uncommon turn for mechanics, he at last cleaned and repaired clocks and watches. He could also engrave on wood or metal; so also could his brother John; but where they learned any of these arts I never heard. Peter was very handy about all sorts of carpenter work, and occasionally amused himself, when the fancy seized him, in executing some pieces of curious cabinet work that required neatness of hand. He was particularly famous in making fishing-rods, and in the art of fishing he was surpassed by few."

Immediately before _one_ of the days fixed for his execution, he seized the jailer, and, upon the threat of instant death, compelled him to lay on his back, as one dead, till he had set at liberty every one in the prison, himself being the last to leave the building. After travelling twenty-four miles, he went to sleep in the snow, and was apprehended by a company of sportsmen, whose dogs had made a dead set at him. On being taken to the gallows, one of the crowd cried: "Peter, deny you are the man!"--which he did, declaring that his name was John Anderson, and wondered what the people wanted with him. And there being none present who could identify him, although he was well known in Aberdeen, he managed to get off clear.--ED.

Charles Brown, one of the principal members of the Lochgellie band, was killed in a desperate fight at Raploch, near Stirling. A number of Gipsy boys, belonging to several gangs in the south, obtained a considerable quantity of plunder, at a fair in Perth, and had, in the division of the spoil, somehow or another, imposed on the Lochgellie tribe, and their associates.


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