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Gavin Greenshields
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Birth: Oct. 27, 1821
South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Death: Mar. 28, 1890
Scottish Borders, Scotland

Blacksmith, grocer and florist.

Son of Gavin and Jean (Watson) Greenshields.

Gavin died at his home, called Thornbank, in Broughton, Peebleshire.

The following is a flowery article published in a leading Scottish paper at the time of his death:

"For myself, I deny death as an end of everything. Never say of me that I am dead!" It was Mr. Browning who gave utterance to the memorable words which are reported by Mr. William Sharp in his "Life" of the Poet, just published by Mr. Walter Scott as one of his series of "Great Writers." Memorable, however, as the words and their meaning undoubtedly are, it is only truth to say what Browning well knew, that they have long been the common gospel of common Christian men and women. "Death is life, added the Poet, and, again, "Without death there could be no prolongation of that which we call life." Even so; and we have heard the propositions asserted and discussed on the banks of his beloved Tweed by a man, humble yet notable in his way, who has just gone hence to realize the truth of his grand conviction. We refer to Mr. Gavin Greenshields, Thornbank, Broughton, Peebleshire, whose mortal remains have today been laid in the local "garden of repose"--a place so exquisitely sweet and secluded as less to suggest death than Browning's idea of the "prolongation of life."

Mr. Greenshields, who belonged, we think, to West Linton, but lived the greater part of his life at Broughton, combined in his single person many qualities. He was the crack blacksmith of his earlier time, renowned throughout the county for the excellence of his horse-shoes and horse-shoeing--one of the most useful departments of mechanical art in the province of agriculture. But, of course, being a blacksmith, Mr. Greenshields was also a gunsmith, a locksmith, and a skilled worker in many other mechanical directions. Through his intimate acquaintance with horses, he quite naturally acquired some knowledge of veterinary medicine, which was utilized on many pressing occasions.

It was, however, as florist and fisher that Mr. Greenshields became widely known in his later Broughton days, when, having retired from his profession, he built a house for himself and family, and settled down as a quiet merchant. Until quite recently Mr. Greenshields was a constant competitor at the flower shows, and it became a puzzle to know how, with his comparatively limited hot-house accommodation, he contrived for years to snatch first prizes with particular exhibits from the best florists in the land at the great Glasgow shows. In these matters he was indeed a true child of nature, and nature responded beautifully and abundantly to his kindly nature. Flowers seemed to spring at his finger touches.

Living, as Mr. Greenshields did, on the willowy edge of the Biggar Water, almost within sight of the Tweed, and possessing a world of angling lore and experience, it is no wonder that Thornbank became a kind of Mecca to a choice fraternity of anglers, who came year after year to learn of his prophet-like wisdom, and who may come again, but will no more see the kindly face that never yet was without welcome. It will not be easy for anglers to forget the golden days and nights spent under the shrewd and fruitful auspices of Mr. Greenshields, for if there were no fish to be caught, something else was sure to be hooked.

Like most ideal anglers, the laird of Thornbank was a lover of books, and had read a good deal in a miscellaneous way, so that if the trouts sulked in the pools, literary, scientific, and even theological questions were ever ready to rise and make circles on the smooth stream of talk. There was hardly a subject that Mr. Greenshields would not tackle, and if it cannot be said that he was an exact philosopher, his strong common sense and natural mother-wit kept him within safe lines of controversy. He was full of local history and tradition and ballads, and in his younger days he could turn a pretty verse of his own.

And now, "the rest is silence." Yes, but not death. The laird's spiritual instincts were sound; and it is quite in keeping with his character if we fancy we hear him saying or feeling in the sense of Browning. "Never say of me that I am dead!" 
Family links: 
  Janet Smith Greenshields (1823 - 1879)*
  Jane Greenshields Newbigging (1852 - 1932)*
  Ellen Watson Greenshields Graham (1854 - 1923)*
  Janet Greenshields (1856 - 1934)*
  George Watson Greenshields (1860 - 1905)*
  John Christie Greenshields (1866 - 1892)*
*Calculated relationship
Broughton Churchyard
Scottish Borders, Scotland
Created by: Ryan-O
Record added: Mar 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 107158492
Gavin Greenshields
Added by: Ryan-O
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 Added: Apr. 28, 2013
Hope to visit your resting place in the beautiful old churchyard at Broughton one day. R.I.P. (a 3rd great-grandfather)
- Ryan-O
 Added: Mar. 24, 2013

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