Walter was born to John Tullideph and Katrine Rankin and baptised in Dunbarney, Perth, on 13th December 1702. His father died in 1714, and in January 1718 Walter was apprenticed to a chirugeon in Edinburgh. He became Dr. of Medicine (Edinburgh University) and went to Antigua to assist his brother David with the running of his plantation and to give medical assistance to the people. By hard work and good husbandry he became one of the most trusted planters in the area, at a time that the Scots were not regarded as a socially advantaged group in the area. He married the heiress of a large plantation, Mary Burroughs of the Tremills Estate.
He returned to Scotland on retirement and spent his money for the good of the people of Dundee – his name is commemorated by having streets and buildings named after him. In 1757 Walter was appointed Burgess of Edinburgh.
“With a substantial portfolio producing a steady flow of income Tullideph took time to focus on his previous specialities. Medicine and science were still areas of great interest to the Scottish doctor and determined to contribute to the progress of science Tullideph sent at least two collections of plants from Antigua to Sir Hans Sloane, the renowned collector, in London. The collections were accompanied with notes concerning the medicinal value of the Antiguan plants. Tullideph’s specimens were added to Sloane’s collection and are now to be found in the Natural History section of the British Museum” Ref; http://historicalgeographies.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/british-legacies-of-slavery-dundee.html and http://plants.jstor.org/person/bm000024542
A relatively detailed description of his life is given in “Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670-1776” By Natalie Zacek pp 105 -108
In 1760 he was present at a meeting at Forfar where it was agreed that the practice of giving “drink-money” or vails to servants should be abolished. His address was given as Balgay. (cf. Caledonian Mercury, Monday 19th May 1760)
- Item from The Caledonian Mercury dated Monday 12th September 1763:
If any farmer’s sons or tradesmen such as Wrights, Coopers, Masons &c. will go out to the island of Antigua in the West Indies along with Dr Walter Tullideph of Tullideph Hall, near Dundee, and serve him to superintend negroes, to see they do their work, and keep them honest, for the space of four years after their arrival at same island, the Doctor will give them the following encouragement, viz. Pay their passage out, allow them five pounds sterling yearly wages, provide them in meat, washing and medicine during the said term, it is necessary they should write a tolerable good hand: At the end of the four years, if they behave well, they have moral certainty to get from the gentlemen of the island 25l., 30l, or even 40l sterling, as an overseer to their estates, every year according to their merits and abilities. Such labouring servants or others who cannot write shall have the same encouragement, only in place of 5l. sterl. they shall have three suits of light cloathing, and one hat yearly, with convenient lodging, during the said term of four years, and at the expiration thereof, 3l. in money. Those who incline to go may apply to Baillie Alexander Scott, Merchant in Edinburgh, or Mr. Alexander Strahan, Merchant in Dundee, who will treat with them for the Doctor: The Vessel is named the Success, Peter Ogilvy Commander, now lying at Dundee, and will certainly sail the first week in October, wind and weather permitting. No-one will be received unless they bring a certificate from some gentleman, or the Minister of the parish where they have reside, attesting their honesty and sobriety. N.B. Such as intend to ship goods, or go passengers in said vessel, may apply to the above named Alexander Strahan or Capt Peter Ogilvy at Dundee.