Information on Peter Sim

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Our post last Friday seeking information on Peter Sim, a Scottish piper and pipe maker who died in Aberdeen in 1915, has prompted a couple of leads.

Peter may have had a son, Robert. Bob Mason, who lives in Arapahoe County, Colorado, tells us he was taught by Robert after he immigrated to the US. Robert founded the Stock Yards Kilty Band of Chicago, Illinois. Bob tells us: “Based on pictures that used to hang in the old band room at the Stockyards Inn, which was demolished many years ago, I know that Bob had at least one brother, who was also a piper, and I heard anecdotally that his father made bagpipes.

“I have a set of pipes that my uncle bought from Bob back before the Second World War. There are no markings on them and I’ve often wondered who made them. They are a beautiful set that I used to compete with and I often got questions from judges as to what make they were. 

“I wonder if the maker might be this same Peter Sim?”

As mentioned in Jeannie Campbell’s Pipe Bands book, the Chicago Stockyards Kilty band began in 1921 soon after Robert H. Sim and his brother Jim, a drummer, arrived in the USA. Sim was born in Aberdeen and taught by Pipe Major William Mann of Bucksburn.

During the First World War, Sim served as a piper with the 4th Battalion Gordon Highlanders. After being wounded at Cambrai he was sent to the convalescent camp at Buchy near Rouen in northern France. Jim, his brother, was a drummer with the Royal Engineers 51st Division band in Aberdeen.

They became the nucleus of a small band known as the Chicago Highlanders until in 1926 when it was affiliated to the Stock Yards Post No. 333 of the American Legion, becoming the first Legion pipe band in the USA.

Bagpipe.News reader, Jim Sim contacted us to say that our Peter Sim is his great grandfather. Jim isn’t certain if pipe making was Peter’s actual business or whether it was a hobby as Peter was a stonemason to trade. Jim confirms that Peter died in 1915. “His wife’s name was Jeanne and she is buried in Chicago. He is buried in Aberdeen. I would love to find out more about him.”

We would love to hear more information about Mr Sim – and maybe a photo, if readers can help. Contact us in the usual way.