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Elgin Scotland

Major General Andrew Anderson

The story starts back in 1774 with the marriage of Marjorie Gilzean and a young man called Andrew Anderson. Andrew had joined a Hanovarian regiment in Elgin. She and Andrew left Elgin when the regiment moved south. Their travels are something of a mystery but it is likely they may have travelled as far as Spain or Gibraltar with the regiment.

The next we hear of Marjorie was in 1778 when she arrived back in Elgin without her husband, whom we believe had been killed in action. She had travelled hundred of miles on foot to get back to her native Elgin where she eventually arrived penniless and with a child in her arms. Her parents were both dead and she and her son, also named Andrew after his father, began to live a very harsh existence sleeping in the ruins of the Cathedral and relying on the generosity of local people.
As he grew up Andrew showed signs of being a bright lad and he was given a place at the Grammar School as 'the pauper loon'. He progressed well at school and upon leaving became apprenticed to an uncle in Llanbryde.
This did not work out and he ran away to Leith and Latterly to London where he found work in a tailor's shop.
In 1760 Andrew was asked to deliver a suit of clothing to a Scots soldier who was about to leave for India to join the army of the Honourable East India Company. This gentleman offered to take Andrew to India with him.
This was to prove a turning point in young Andrew's life.
He never made any further contact with his mother and she eventually died in 1790 and lies buried in Kineddar churchyard in Lossiemouth.

Andrew was commissioned as an Ensign in 1766 in the army of the Honourable East Company. He proved himself to be a fine officer progressing steadily through the ranks and by 1811 had reached the rank of Major General-not bad for a 'pauper loon' from Elgin. It was possible to become very wealthy in the service as there were great prizes to be won and shared.
Perhaps influenced by his own upbringing Andrew Anderson executed a Deed of Trust in 1815 by which he left £70,000 to the sheriff and Magistrates and Clergy of the established church in Elgin to build and endow an Institution in Elgin.

General Anderson died in 1824 in London aged 77 and in 1830 Elgin Town Council commenced building on the lands of Maisondieu and the fine building of the Elgin Institute was hived off when the School Boards were set up in 1890 and this part of the original Institute now forms what today East End Primary School.

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