Elisabeth Grant (1797-1885) was born in Edinburgh’s fashionable New Town. Most of her childhood was spent in London and the family estate, Rothiemurchus, on Speyside. She was educated by governesses and in the social graces by various tutors, finally entering Edinburgh society at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
The trauma of a broken engagement was followed by disastrous failure of her father’s career. This involved a huge burden of debt, which in 1820, forced the Grants to retreat to their Highland home. As her contribution to improving the family fortunes Elisabeth and both her sisters wrote articles for popular magazines of the day.
In 1827 the family left Scotland for India when her father was appointed to a Judgeship in Bombay. It was here that she met and married Colonel Henry Smith, seventeen years her senior. They left for Ireland the following year to live at Baltiboys, her husband’s newly inherited estate situated near Dublin.
She devoted herself to raising a family and took the leading role in managing and improving their impoverished estate. For over half a century Baltiboys was to be her home, her life and her occupation, her resolve never failing even after the death of her husband and of her only son. Between 1845 and 1854 she wrote her Memoirs for the family’s pleasure; they were later edited by her niece Lady Strachey and published in 1898, thirteen years after her death.