The Gordons

Extracted from “ Aberdeenshire Epitaphs and Inscriptions.”

By John A. Henderson.


 A tablestone has at the top the representation of an angel, while at the foot figures of a skull, cross bones, and hour-glass are given. together with the scroll “Memento Mori.”  The inscription is ~

 Here lyes John Gordon, sometime farmer in Drwmferg, who dy'd July 21, 1759, aged 51 years, lafwl husband to Elisabeth Gordon.

 John Gordon is believed to have been a grandson of Alexander Gordon, fifth laird of Birkenburn, his parents being Peter Gordon, in Haddoch of Cabrach, and his wife, Bessie Gordon. He was sometime in Auchmair, and subsequently in Drum­fergue. He was a keen Jacobite, and was “out” in the '45. in consequence he was treated with great rigour, which under-mined his system, and he died at the age of 51. According to the late Mr Jervise and Captain Wimberley, he was the father of Lieut.- Colonel John Gordon, of the 92nd Highlanders ~ who died at Coynachie 27th March, 1827, aged 75, and whose widow-Elizabeth Soutar-died at Aberdeen 28th April, 1842, aged 82.  Their eldest son, William Gordon, MD, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court and member of HM Council of the island of Jamaica - who married twice and left a family-died at Elgin 26th January, 1888, aged 52. John, the other son, was a General in the Royal Engineers. He died at Culdrain in 1861, and was buried at Drumblade. He was twice married - first, to a daughter of Rev. Dr Skene Ogilvy, minister of Old Machar; and, secondly, to Jane, daughter of Andrew Macpherson, Gibston, Huntly.  Of their family, William was a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, and died unmarried in 1875; while Cosmo George was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and was afterwards in Culdrain.

A tablestone has the inscription -

In memory of John Gordon, late farmer in Gaugh, who died 27th July, 1813, aged 70 years

Also three of his  children, Ann, Janet, and Alexr., who died young.

Done by the care of his son Peter.

Also of Isabel Scott, wife of the above said John Gordon, who died in 1818, aged 71 years. Also of Hellen Lindsay, wife of the above said Peter Gordon, farmer in Reekimlane, who died 25th February, 1852, aged 69 years. Also of their son Charles Gordon, who died 4th June, 1838, aged 20 years.  Also the above Peter Gordon, who died June 20, 1874, aged 94 years.


The name Gaugh is frequently spelt Gauch, and the holding is occasionally called The Dauch.

The tradition as to the origin of the name Reekimlane is interesting.  It is declared that during a famine nearly all the people left the district, and that this house bad the only "reeking lum" to be seen, the inmates supporting themselves by fishing in the local burns.

Gaugh, or "Geach," was tenanted in 1696 by Peter Gordon; in 1785 by John and Adam Gordon; and in 1825 by Peter, Alexander, and John Gordon, the rental of each of the three last named being 2 hens and £33 6s 8d money.

The first named John Gordon married Isabel Scott, daughter of Alexander Scott, farmer, Hillock, Lower Cabrach. Their son, Peter, on 5th June, 1808, married Hellen Lindsay, a native of Glenbuchat, and was long tenant of Reekimlane.  He died at the advanced age of 94. Besides the son Charles above mentioned, there were one daughter and four son ~ Chris­tina, who died in Aberdeen; John, who married Jannet, daughter of James Sheed, farmer, Aldunie, and died in Reekimlane on 15th February, 1882, aged 70; Peter, who died in Aberdeen (he was a glass and china merchant, and under his deed of settlement bequeathed to the parish of Cabrach a bursary of the annual value of twenty pound - boys bearing the sur­name Gordon to have a preference); and William, who graduated MA at King's College in March, 1847, and was some time assistant schoolmaster of Fyvie, then schoolmaster of Auchindoir, there-after minister of Glenbuchat, and subse­quently of Glenbervie, who died 14th May, 1902, aged 78. The surviving son is Alexander, who resides at Aldivalloch.

Reekimlane is now tenanted by Peter Gordon.

A tablestone alongside is inscribed -

 In memory of Adam Gordon, farmer, Pyke, who died 15th March, 1770, aged 63 years. Also his daughter Rachel Gordon, who died 22nd November, 1769, aged 18 years. Also his son James Gordon, farmer, Bank, who died 1st November, 1836, aged 83 years. Also his son John Gordon, farmer, Oldtown, who died 3rd July, 1847, aged 86 years.

 The above Adam Gordon, who married Margaret Craig met his death under tragic circumstances. He had a large flock of sheep wintering inthe neighbouring parish of Auchindoir, and, a severe snowstorm coming on, he left home with the view of giving the shepherd assistance.  He perished in the snow at a point east of the Moss of Creak, where a cairn of stones still known as Pyke's Cairn, was raised to his memory.

 It may be added that these Gordons of Gaugh, Reekimlane, Pyke, and Bank all claim descent from the old Gordons of Pitlurg.

 A tablestone, which shows at the top the head of an angel and at the foot a skull, coffin, hour-glass, and bones, as also the scroll "Memento Mon," is inscribed -

 This stone was erected by Alexander and John Gordons in Auchmair in memory of Patrick Gordon, their father, who departed this life May the 19th, 1788, in the 73rd year of his age. Death of all men is the total sume,

The period unto which we all must com;

He livs but a short life that lives the longest,

And he is weak in death that in life was strongest.


In 1727, John Gordon, tenant in Auch­mair, married Isabel Burgess.  In 1767, William Gordon, Auchmair, married Ann Ross, who belonged to Glenbuchat, and they had a large family.  Early in the following century, William and Alexander Gordon were joint tenants at a rental of 4 hens and £38 money.  The former, on 29th  November,  1810, married  Jean Pyper, Cabrach; and the latter, before 1820, married Margaret Gordon, who died 11th June, 1866, aged 76. Alexander Gor­don himself died on 26th April, 1871. Of their family, William Gordon, who was horn 9th April, 1820, occupied Auchmair, and, on 13th February, 1851, married Elizabeth, daughter of James McCombie, sometime in Nether Ardwell.  He died 10th February, 1899; and his son, Alex­ander Gordon, is the present tenant of Auchmair.

Patrick Gordon, who is commemorated by the above inscription, was a merchant at Ardwell at the time it his death. His widow and the two sons mentioned in the inscription carried on the business for a time. John, the younger, took the “ kiss and coin from the Duchess," and joined the 92nd Highlanders, serving in many of the campaigns in Egypt, Portugal, Spain, and at Waterloo. He married and ulti­mately settled in Aberdeen. Alexander Gordon, the elder brother, left Auchmair, and settled at Fichlie, Towie, where he died 19th December, 1843, aged 84. His wife, Elspet Gordon, was a native of Cabrach, and died 18th June, 1822, aged 60. Besides two of a family who, died in infancy, they had fivesons, of whom the eldest, Alexander, settled at Upper Ley, Towie; the second, John, at Lower Ley; and the remaining three, Peter, James, and William, in Fichley, Towie.  Alexander Gordon in Upper Ley, who died 22nd July, 1866, aged 78, was twicemarried-first, to Margaret Smith, who died 9th January, 1818, aged 33, and of their children, Alexander married, and has a family in America; John settled in Braidley, and, besides a daughter Jane, had another daughter, Annie, who married Peter Anderson. Of Alexander Gordon's second marriage to Margaret Kellas, daughter of Hugh Kellas, Tornachelt, who died 29th January, 1850, aged 52, there were three sons and four daughters - Peter, who died without issue, 15th May, 1852, aged 26; James, who married Ann, daughter  of  Peter Gordon, Fichlie and died 20th April, 1902, aged 67; their son, Hugh, became tenant of Ley, Towie.  Alexander Gordon's other son, Hugh, married, and has family in Australia.  Of the daughters,  Annie married William McConachie, and is now a widow residing in Keith; Jane married Peter Ellis, of which family there are representatives in Windyside, Sinnahard, Keith, etc.; Catherine married J. Mac Donald, and they have family now abroad; Isabella married Alexander McIntosh, and, they have a family, of whom some are in Kildrummy.  John Gordon, second sur­viving son of the above Alexander Gordon, Fichlie, settled in Lower Lay, and died 23rd April, 1871, aged 82.  He married Jane, daughter of Robert Forbes, farmer, Upper Towie, a descendant of Forbes of Brux. She died 15th May, 1825, aged 40. Their son, John Gordon, JP, was long the enterprising and successful tenant of Upper Towie, from which he recently retired, and is now resident at Lum­phanan.  His father married, secondly, Jane Forbes, a cousin of his first wife; and besides three daughters, Elspet, Jane, and Mary, they had six sons - Alexander, Peter,  James, George,  William,  and Charles, who all went to Victoria, Queensland, New Zealand, and America.

Peter, James, and William Gordon, the remaining sons of Alexander Gordon, first of Fichlie, succeeded to that farm.  Of these, James married Kate Dawson, Aulton, and, like his brother William, left no family. Peter, the eldest of the three, married Jane Shand, daughter of James Shand, Nether Ballandy, Glenrinnes. He died 22nd December, 1870, survived by his wife, who died 31st May, 1881. Of their familyAlexander is the present farmer of Braeside, Leochel-Cushnie; Elspet married Alexander Gordon, Son of the late John Gordon, Lower Ley (they are now in the United States); Isabella married Alexander Glennie, farmer, Invernoclity, Strathdon; Ann married James Gordon, son of the late Alexander Gordon, Upper Ley; and Jane is unmarried.

The parish, in the eighteenth century, was truly the home of the Gordons, as shown by the foregoing particulars, and by the following list of twelve married couples (each of whom had a family), ex­tracted from the old registers between 1755 and 1782   Hugh Gordon and Marjory Russell in Bracklach; Patrick Gordon and Ann McKondachie in Nether Ardwell; Adam Gordon and Jean Marshall in Oldtown; Adam Gordon and Isabell Gordon in Craigencat; James Gordon and Margaret Gordon in Kirktown; Robert Gordon and Agnes Green in Gauch; James Gordon and Anna Bonnyman in Hillock of Echt, and subsequently in Bank; John Gordon and Jean Baxter in Hillock of Echt; Theodore Gordon and Margaret Thomson in Craigen­cat, and afterwards in Whitehillock; James Gordon and Jane Brown in Kirktown; James  Gordon and Helen Grant  in Tornachelt; Francis Gordon and Isabell McRobbie in Hillock of Echt.