Gordon

Origin of the surname
The name means "pasture land" or "great hill" in Scots Gaelic.


 

Thomas Gordon I, c1740 - ?
Little is known about Thomas Gordon senior. He was probably born about 1740 and we know that his wife's name was Jane. Their son, named for his father, was born in about 1764.

Thomas Gordon II, c1764 - 1851
Thomas Gordon was born in England circa 1764, son of Thomas Gordon and his wife Jane. Nothing is known of his childhood.

He was a shoemaker and was, no doubt, affected by the upheavals in this trade that took place in London in the early nineteenth century. Attempts to form closed shop combinations threatened the livelihoods of smaller shoemakers and this probably influenced Thomas in his 1803 decision to seek permission from the Colonial Secretary to emigrate to Australia. He wrote a joint letter along with William Carlisle and JS Freeman that appears to have been favourably received.

Thomas embarked on the Experiment along with his wife, Alice Smith, and four children: Charles Moltson (1791 - 1862), Mary Ann (1792 - 1813), Alice (1797 - 1833) and William Thomas (1801 - 1814). The ship was obliged to put back into Cowes owing to damage sustained in a violent gale she experienced in the Bay of Biscay, in which she sprung her bowsprit and carried away her main topgallant mast. After effecting repairs, the ship sailed again on 2 January 1804.

The ship arrived in Sydney in 24 June after spending a month in Rio De Janeiro en route. Two of the settlers' wives died on the voyage, as did 4 or 5 of the 130 female convicts on board. Thomas was granted 100 acres of land at Mulgrave Place, Richmond Hill. The next 100 acre block was granted on the same day to another "Experiment" immigrant, William Carlisle - the son of one of the co-signatories of Thomas' letter to the Colonial Secretary a year earlier.

The Gordon family's hard work, with the help of assigned convict labour soon developed a productive farm. Unfortunately, Thomas' wife, Alice, died only two years after arriving in New South Wales.

Five years later, Thomas sold half of his land to William Carlisle "for consideration of a working bullock cart and harness". Carlisle became Thomas' son-in-law two years later when he married Thomas' elder daughter Mary Ann on 11 September 1811 at St Matthew's Church, Windsor. Mary was 18 years old and William about 27. Seven years earlier, they had both emigrated on the "Experiment", he aged 20, she aged 11. Their daughter Amelia was born on 29 January 1813, but the joy of this event was overshadowed by the problems suffered by her mother. Mary Ann Carlisle (nee Gordon) died two weeks later and was buried at the Parish Church, Windsor. She had been married less than 18 months and was only 20 years old. William was left alone with an infant daughter to raise. No doubt his Gordon in-laws provided a great deal of assistance at this time, and he formed a close friendship with his brother-in-law, Charles Gordon.

Tragedy struck again in the following year with the death of Thomas' younger son, William. In time, Thomas leased the farm to a tenant and moved closer to Sydney, residing at Double Bay with his son Charles and his family by 1828. Charles established a corn and wheat mill in Paddington and the whole family prospered.

Thomas died on 31 March 1851 (aged 87) at Double Bay and was buried at Devonshire Street Cemetery (now the site of Sydney's Central railway station).

Research interests

Mary Ann Gordon, 1792 - 1813
Mary Ann was born in London on 24 November 1792. At the age of eight she emigrated to Australia with her father Thomas, her mother Alice (nee Smith) and her siblings Charles, Alice and William.

Soon after sailing, the emigration ship Experiment was obliged to put back into Cowes owing to damage sustained in a violent gale she experienced in the Bay of Biscay, in which she sprung her bowsprit and carried away her main topgallant mast. After effecting repairs, the ship sailed again on 2 January 1804.

The ship arrived in Sydney in 24 June after spending a month in Rio De Janeiro en route. Two of the settlers' wives died on the voyage, as did 4 or 5 of the 130 female convicts on board. Mary Ann's father was granted 100 acres of land at Mulgrave Place, Richmond Hill. The next 100 acre block was granted on the same day to another "Experiment" immigrant, family friend William Carlisle.

Two years after settling in to farm life in Australia, Mary Ann's mother died, leaving Mary Ann a more onerous role in her family's frontier life.

Five years later, on 11 September 1811 at St Matthew's Church, Windsor, Mary Ann married the family friend and neighbour, William Carlisle. Mary Ann was 18 years old and William about 27. Seven years earlier, they had both emigrated on the "Experiment", he aged 20, she aged 11. Their daughter Amelia was born on 29 January 1813, but the joy of this event was overshadowed by the problems suffered by her mother.

Mary Ann Carlisle (nee Gordon) died two weeks later and was buried at the Parish Church, Windsor. She had been married less than 18 months and was only 20 years old.

Amelia was brought up by her father and his second wife, Elizabeth Blackman.

Copyright Jim Fleming 2002.
This page created on 27 Jul 2002.
Last edited on 14 Jun 2004.
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