John Pillans Borthwick was born to William Borthwick, a wire worker, residing at 227 High Street, High Church Parish and his spouse Jane Pillans.
A lawful son on the 6 day of December 1839. (Old Parochial Register-Scotland- Parish of Edinburgh, County of Edinburgh)
Orphaned at early age, brought up by an Aunt.
At 13 years became apprentice watchmaker for 7 years, 1 year Journeyman in Belfast, Ireland..