Chalmers (1825-1904) is well known to Fraserburgh historians.
He was fully involved in public matters** in the town
including being factor to Lord Saltoun.
He left in a hurry in 1864, after building Witchhill House* without the knowledge
of Lord Saltoun, who was away on the continent at the time.
His obituary appeared in the Fraserburgh Herald of 8th
March 1904, (in Fraserburgh Public Library.) and it talks only of his public
roles in Fraserburgh.
The story of his last 40 years now appears in print. He
spent much of that time in Alpine County, California, in the silver mining industry.
A new 200 page A4 soft-back book* detailing the ups and
downs of that industry mentions him frequently and has a 20 page chapter
devoted to his life in America.
had free access to his private letters and sums him up in the opening paragraph:
"The single most influential man in Silver Mountain
- and for that matter in all of early Alpine County - was Lewis Chalmers.
lawyer by training, with a dash of the con artist by disposition, Chalmers
managed to acquire a taste for living the high life
with other people's money
long before reaching American soil."
The book is well researched, ending with 60 pages of
footnotes and references.
* "Ghost of the Sierra - Silver Mountain City."
By Karen Dustman.
A copy has been gifted to Fraserburgh Heritage Centre and is in the Fraser Library.
(author would like to find a photograph of Lewis Chalmers,)
* Witchhill House c1950.
Witchhill House was destroyed by fire on 9th February 2012.
**for references to "Chalmers" in Fraserburgh download
"Fraserburgh: Past and Present" by John Cranna
from Google Docs as a searchable pdf.
Click for details.