Williamson, John

Scottish eccentric.

Tenant of a sheep farm at Moffat. Adopted the philosophy of Pythagoras, including the transmigration of souls and vegetarianism. Forbade his customers to slaughter the sheep they purchased; his landlord, the Earl of Hopetoun, deprived him of his farm but granted him a small annuity. Studied philosophy, particularly mysticism, and mineralogy; discovered a mineral spring, the Hartfield Spa, which added somewhat to his income. Advocated polygamy but never married. An acquaintance, John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, wrote “It was plain that John had a mist in his brain; but it was fortunate that it neither spoilt his morals nor diminished his good-will to man.”