Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2

Peter Williamson 1730-1799

Writer & Publisher

One of the most famous eighteenth-century taverns in Edinburgh was Peter Williamson’s, (he was known as Indian Peter) a tiny pub hard up against the entrance to Parliament House. A great place it was with the lawyers. The signboard, outside, had the inscription :—‘ Peter Williamson, vintner from the other world’ and the tale behind that is very strange. Peter, at the age of eight, was kidnapped on Aberdeen Pier and sold into slavery in America. But a kind master left him, on his death, money and a horse, and Peter’s adventures continued. He was captured by the Red Indians, had many adventures with them, escaped, and finally returned to Scotland, where he fought a famous court case against the magistrates of Aberdeen, and with the damages he received, he opened his famous tavern. Later, he started up as a writer and publisher, ran a Scottish weekly newspaper, started the Edinburgh Penny Post, and published the first Edinburgh Directory ! He is. reputed to have been one of his own best clients. Peter Williamson died in Edinburgh in 1799 and was buried in the moccasins, fringed leggings, blanket and feathered headdress of a Delaware Indian.