John Duff McGilvray


John Duff McGilvray & Marion Beaton

John Duff McGilvray, born October 1847, Parish of Inverarity, Scotland married in the Parish of Renfrew, Scotland, on the 8th of April 1870, Marion Beaton, b. ca. 1849. Twelve children were born to the union of John Duff McGilvray and Marion Beaton. The first born child died in infancy-probably in New York. Five were born in Chicago, five in Denver and one in California. 

Children: Born Location Spouse Residence
William McGilvray b. 1872; d.1894 Chicago unknown San Francisco
Marion Burns McGilvray b. 1874; d. 1906 Chicago Herbert P. Dwight San Francisco
John Duff McGilvray b. 1875; d. 1955 Chicago Dottie M. Sewell San Francisco
Henry (Harry) Sturrock McGilvray b. 1877; d. 1959 Chicago Ida W. Chapman San Francisco
Alexander B. C. McGilvray b. 1879; d. 1962 Chicago Ann M. Krohn Raymond, California
Jessie Duff McGilvray b. 1881; d. 1961 Denver Payson J. Treat Stanford University
Martha S. McGilvray b. 1884; d. 1959 Denver Allan T. Spencer Palo Alto
Effie McGilvray b. 1885; d. 1967 Denver George. H. Murray San Francisco
Neil John McGilvray b. 1887; d. 1889 Denver    
Walter Scott McGilvray b. 1889; d. 1967 Denver Jessie Morgan Sunnyvale
Malcolm C. McGilvray b. 1895; d. 1965 Denver Gladys Ordway Palo Alto


The McGilvray clan, including mother Jessie Duff McGilvray, widowed in 1861, along with her children and spouses immigrated to the United States in 1870. The family settled in  Chicago, Illinois where the two eldest sons,  John Duff McGilvray, age 23,  and William B. McGilvray, age 18,  worked as stone cutters.  The McGilvrays witnessed the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871. 

After living in Chicago for seven years the McGilvray family migrated west to Denver, Colorado in 1876, settling in three households.  Eldest son John Duff McGilvray, wife Marion Beaton, and five children;  son William B. McGilvray and wife Margaret Wilson; and daughter Margaret McGilvray and husband Henry Sturrock

Henry Sturrock, a native of Scotland, born 1849, son of David Sturrock and Mary Irvine, invested in a mining project in the foothills ten miles west of Boulder. Henry filed a location certificate in Boulder County in 1876 for the Caledonia Lode. The 1880 Colorado Federal Census finds Henry Sturrock has a household of five residing in Denver: Henry Sturrock, head of household, wife Margaret McGilvray, mother-in-law,  Jessie Duff McGilvray, son-in-law James Scott McGilvray, age 23, and daughter-in-law, Jessie  McGilvray, age 21.

In the 1880 Denver Federal Census, all three men John D. McGilvray, William B. McGilvray, and Henry Sturrock list their occupations as Stone Cutters.

John D. McGilvray became a stone contractor in Denver and organized the company "John D. McGilvray and Company" located at South 7th southwest corner of 11th Avenue. Co-founders were brother James Scott McGilvray and friend Robert W. Findlay. Mr. Findlay, a native of the parish of Eassie and Nevay, Angus, Scotland, was married to Elizabeth Seerie, daughter of Edward Seerie and Margaret McLean Duff.

Jessie Scott McGilvray, sister of John D. McGilvray, married Thomas Carroll Hayes, a stone contractor. John and Thomas formed a stone contracting company called "Hayes and McGilvray." They built Denver City Hall, the upper story on the Denver Court House, the old Denver Post office, the Windsor Hotel, the Barth block, the Kittredge building, St. Leo's Church, East High School, North High School, and other big office structures.

In the eighties John Duff McGilvray was elected alderman from the 11th ward, which position he held for several terms. He served on the Board of Supervisors, and thru his efforts facilitated the purchase of the City park from the state. Mr. McGilvray, as a member of the Caledonian society, was largely responsible for the placing of the Robert Burns statue in the City park.

John Duff McGilvray built his Scottish castle-house at the
corner of 10th Avenue and Corona Street in Denver, Colorado.
The Rocky Mountain News reported the completion of the house
January 1, 1893 at a cost of $35,000.


During the later years of his residence in Denver, Mr. McGilvray was a political leader, being a member of the Democratic party. In March of 1893 John D. McGilvray ran for the office for Mayor of Denver. His brother James Scott McGilvray ran for Alderman of the First Ward of Denver.



Escondite Cottage, Leland Stanford University Campus Builder

John Duff McGilvray, wife Marion, and eight of their children moved to California in about the year 1892. The eldest son, William McGilvray, age 22, died in in San Francisco October 15, 1894.

John D. McGilvray purchased the McLennan Granite Company from Wilson-Lyon Construction Company in 1897. The newly formed granite company called  "McGilvray Stone Company,"  was located east of San Francisco in Raymond, Madera County, California. John D. McGilvray was a leading pioneer in the development of the stone industry in California.   Besides creating a market for California stone, he also influenced the advancement of architectural standards of building for both permanence and beauty.

John Duff McGilvray was hired in 1898 to build the new Stanford University. The McGilvray family moved into the Escondite Cottage, on the campus of Stanford University.  

Escondite Cottage, Mayfield Twp, Leland Stanford University Campus.
Palo Alto Historical Association


John Duff McGilvray built the Memorial Church, the outer Quad, and all the other stone buildings at Stanford.

Quads at Sanford University
Palo Alto Historical Association

A testimony to John D. McGilvray's advancement in architectural standards was demonstrated in 1906  when two of his buildings, the Emporium and the Flood building were both left standing, practically intact,  after the Great San Francisco earthquake. 

"The Flood Building, San Francisco, California."


In 1907, John D. McGilvray reincorporated under the name of the McGilvray-Raymond Granite Company.


The granite from the Raymond area can be recognized in many California buildings by its gray-white color. In San Francisco McGilvray built the Call building and the Palace Hotel. Also the Spreckels Building, City Hall, the Public Library, Civic Auditorium, St. Francis Hotel, Standard Oil Buildings, Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, and Emporium.

San Francisco City Hall
John Duff McGilvray built City Hall of San Francisco with with Bakewell and Brown
San Joaquin Valley & Sierra Foothills Photo Heritage program

John Duff McGilvray and wife Marion Beaton attended the 50th Wedding Anniversary of his aunt Margaret McLean Duff and uncle Edward R. Seerie in Denver on June 9, 1911.  John D. McGilvray was the only one present, outside of the principals, who attended the wedding in Dundee, Scotland, fifty years ago. William B. McGilvray, chief inspector of Denver's board of public works, is another nephew who was present with his family.

John Duff McGilvray, died march 24, 1916 in Palo Alto, California while wife Marion Beaton, also a native of Scotland died May 10, 1935 in Palo Alto, California.


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