Bazil Gordon was born in 1768 at Lochdougan, Kelton Parish. He was the youngest son of Samuel Gordon and Nicholas Brown. Around 1783 Bazil, along with his brother Samuel and a nephew also called Samuel, he emigrated to America and settled at Falmouth, Virginia, where they began business trading in tobacco. They quickly made a fortune. Samuel retired and bought the Kenmore Estate, previously the home of Betty Washington, sister of President Washington, but Bazil continued trading and on his death his estate was worth many millions of dollars. It is said that he was America's first ever millionaire. This item consists of extracts from three old books which mention the family. Links to these books can be found at the foot of the page. There is also a link to the Kenmore website which also has information.
Bazil Gordon of Lochdougan - America's First Millionaire
The Gordons of Lochdougan
The first [of this family] of whom we have ancestral record is Samuel Gordon, who was b. in 1656. He m. Margaret McKinnell; they lived at "Stockerton" in the Parish of Kirkcudbright, Scotland. He was the first of the name on Stockerton farm, where he d. 15th April 1732, aged 76. It is known that he was a respectable farmer, and was in some way related to the families of Lord Kenmuir and the Gordons of Greenlaw, and was visited by both families, especially by Sir Alexander and Lady Gordon, of Greenlaw.
John Gordon, son of Samuel, m. Miss Grace Newall; he d. August 23d 1738, aged 56 years.
Samuel Gordon, the first of Lochdongan, son of John, m. Nicholas Brown, dau. of John Brown, of Craigen Callie, and Margaret McClamrock, of Craigen Bay. Mrs. Nicholas Brown Gordon was from the Carsluth [Carsluith] family; her grandfather and uncle were ministers in the Parish of Kirkinabrook [Kirkmabreck].
Samuel Gordon and his wife, Nicholas Brown Gordon, of Lochdougan, had a large family, many of whom were born at ‘Stockerton' before their removal to ‘Lochdougan.' One dau. m. Mr. Herron, of Kegton [Caigton? Gravestone 733 at Kirkcudbright styles him as of Torrs], and d. leaving one son, John; the other dau. m. John Bell, of Gribdae, and d. June 3d, 1826, at the age of 77. Samuel Gordon d. Feb'y 22d 1799 and his wife Nov. 18, 1795, aged 71. Their oldest son, John, m. Miss Brown, and at his father's death inherited the two ‘Lochdougans.
Three younger sons, Samuel, Bazil and Alexander migrated to Virginia, where they engaged in mercantile business. Alexander afterwards returned to Scotland, and d. in the year 1819. Samuel Gordon m. Susannah Knox, — Bazil Gordon m. her sister, Annie Campbell Knox, and had child., viz., Douglas Hamilton, — Bazil Brown,- Annie Campbell, — Susan, and others who d. young.
Douglas Huntly Gordon
Douglas Huntly Gordon, of Baltimore, vice-president of the Baltimore Trust Company, was born in Baltimore, in 1866. His parents were Douglas Hamilton and Anne Eliza (Pleasants) Gordon.
Mrs. Anne Eliza Gordon was a daughter of John Hampden Pleasants, founder of the "Richmond Whig," and granddaughter of Governor James Pleasants, of Virginia.
The first of the family to emigrate to America were Samuel and Bazil Gordon, sons of Samuel Gordon, of Lochdougan, and a nephew, Samuel Gordon, Jr., son of John Gordon, Laird of Lochdougan. All three of these immigrants married daughters of William Knox, of Culpeper county, whose wife was Susannah Fitzhugh.
Bazil Gordon, the immigrant, was born in 1768 at Lochdougan, in Scotland, and settled at Falmouth, Virginia, in 1783. He married Anne Campbell Knox. He made a considerable fortune by buying and exporting tobacco during the war between England and Spain. With the money he made in this business he purchased Wakefield Manor, a beautiful estate in Rappahannock county, Virginia, now owned by his grandson, Douglas Huntly Gordon, and the family of his deceased brother, Basil Brown Gordon. Bazil Gordon, the immigrant, died in 1847, leaving two sons and one daughter. The second son was Douglas Hamilton Gordon. He was born at Falmouth and was educated at the University of Virginia. In the Civil war he raised and equipped a company of soldiers at his own expense, and entered the service of the Confederacy as quartermaster, being so near-sighted that he could not serve actively in the field. His great ability was recognized and President Davis urged him to take the office of Secretary of the Treasury in his Cabinet, but he declined. He first married Mary Ellen, daughter of Colin Clarke, of Gloucester county, Virginia. The second wife of Douglas Hamilton Gordon was Anne Eliza Pleasants, who was the mother of Douglas Huntly Gordon and of the late Basil Brown Gordon; of Mary Pleasants Gordon, now deceased, who married De Courcy W. Thom; of Nannie Campbell Gordon, who married John Quitman Lovell; and of Rose Stanley Gordon, who married J. Triplett Haxall. One of the daughters of Bazil Gordon, of Falmouth, married Doctor John Hanson Thomas, of Maryland, for many years president of the Farmers and Merchants' Bank of Baltimore. Mr. Douglas Hamilton Thomas, president of the Merchants' National Bank of Baltimore, is their son.
Douglas Huntly Gordon graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1887, and immediately thereafter undertook the study of law. He entered the law school of the University of Maryland, and graduated in 1889. He did not engage in the active practice of his profession, however, hut was kept busy with his large private interests for the next three years.
In 1892 he embarked in an enterprise of far-reaching importance, not only to himself, but to the city of Baltimore. In association with General Lawrason Riggs, Julian Leroy White, T. K. Worthington, and others, he purchased the "Baltimore Evening News." This was at the time the only afternoon paper in Baltimore, and Mr. Gordon, as the principal editorial writer, made it a power. When he relinquished editorial work in order to devote himself to two large financial institutions with which he became connected, he still retained his stock in the News Company and increased it, and gave his advice in the editorial management of the paper. In 1908 the proprietors of the News sold the paper and its building to Mr. Munsey, the present owner.
Following his editorial work in the News office, Mr. Gordon became vice-president of the Citizens' Trust and Deposit Company.
In 1899 the International Trust Company of Maryland was organized, and Mr. Gordon was elected president. He held that position until 1910, when the International Trust Company and Baltimore Trust and Guarantee Company were consolidated as the Baltimore Trust Company, with Mr. Gordon as vice-president.
Mr. Gordon, in 1897, married Miss Elizabeth Southall Clarke, daughter of John Eldridge and Anna Dupre (Southall) Clarke, of Virginia. Their children are Elizabeth Stith, Anne Huntly, Douglas Huntly, Virginia Southall and Sarah Stanley Gordon.
The merchants of the past days of Fredericksburg . . . . are represented by the names of Grinnan, Mundle, Ross, Scott, Henderson, Patton, Moffett, Spence, Dunbar, Johnston, the Knoxes, Phillips, Mackay and the Gordons — Samuel and Bazil. These last named were born in Scotland — the sons of a well-to-do landed proprietor near Kirkaldbright (sic), a little village which has sent forth many successful merchants to America, among whom were Lenox, Maitland and Johnston, of New York. Bazil Gordon was the younger brother, and was at school with a son of the celebrated Paul Jones, of naval memory, who was himself a neighbor of the Gordon family, and whose exploits have been immortalized in history and in Cooper's fine sea novel, "The Pilot." Samuel and Bazil Gordon, after some hesitation between Falmouth and Dumfries, settled at Falmouth, about the year 1786, and became eminently successful merchants. After accumulating a fine fortune, Samuel bought the Kenmore estate and abandoned merchandise; but Bazil continued in business, accumulating wealth, which at his death was measured by millions. His adventures were nearly always successful; but he owed much of his success to his native Scotch good sense, his perfectly temperate and regular habits, his self-reliance, which enabled him patiently to wait for results when he had formed his plans, and his serene temper, which secured for him friends in nearly all with whom he came in contact. He died in 1847.
- Old Kent: The Eastern Shore of Maryland ; Notes Illustrative of the Most Ancient Records of Kent
- Men of mark in Maryland ... biographies of leading men of the state
- Fredericksburg: past, present and future
- Article on the Gordons on the Kenmore Website