Governor Patrick Gordon (Born 1664)

7th Great Grandfather – FFFMFFFMF1
Figure 1: Patrick Gordon

Pennsylvania Governor Patrick Gordon was my 7th great grandfather.2 Elsewhere on this site I describe the life of Abraham Taylor, who was my 6th great grandfather and his marriage in 1733 to Philadelphia Gordon. Philadelphia was one of Governor Patrick Gordon's daughters.

Patrick Gordon was born in Aberdeen in 1664, to John Gordon and Christian Smyth, being baptised on 1st March at St. Nicholas, Aberdeen.3,4 He was 1 of 9 children (6 boys and 3 girls). John Gordon was an Aberdeen merchant and a descendent of a cadet line of Clan Gordon.5

Patrick was a military man. On October 1st 1689 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Regiment of Foot.6,7. On Aug 3rd 1694, he was promoted to Captain, and his commission was renewed in 1702.

During the War of the Spanish Succession the regiment served under the Duke of Marlborough in the battles of Schellenberg, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet. Whether Patrick fought in all of these battles is unknown but Dalton's list does mention that he served at Blenheim.8

Meanwhile on April 3 1695, Patrick married Isabella Clerk, the daughter of William Clerk. Burke's Landed Gentry says Isabella was the brother of Father Clerk who was cofessor to the King of Spain.9

Patrick and Isabella's had 7 children. The first to be baptised was Patrick in 1697 in Aberdeen.3 Apparently officers were allowed to take their wives with them when campaigning in Europe as Elizabeth was baptised at s'Hertogenbosch in Holland on 13 Oct 1703.10

By 1706 the family had returned to London. There were two baptisms and one burial at St Margaret's Westminster11. In August 1706 a daughter, Philadelphia was baptised.12 However, this daughter was not my ancestor as she was buried a year later in 1707.13 In Feb 1707 a second daughter, Agatha Harriott was baptised.12

I have not found any reference to the baptisms of the other children, including my 6th great grandmother, Phiadelphia, but all of the children except Patrick, who must have died by then are mentioned in Patrick's (the elder) will. My ancestor Phildelphia, was probably the next daughter born after her namesake's burial.

in 1714, Patrick who was by then a Major in the Army, was one of the officers placed on the half-pay list.14

In April 1726, Patrick was appointed by the Proprietors of Pennsylvania to be Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, the appointment being confirmed by George I.15 He travelled to Philadelphia with his wife and six of his children in the Spring arriving on 22 Jun 1726.16

Apparently, Governor Gordon was a competant, if not inspiring Governor. At a council held at the Indian Town of Conestoga on 27 May 1728, for the purpose of renewing treaties with the Native Indian tribes it was said by the Indians in reference to the Governor's address

"it greatly rejoyced their Hearts that they have had no such Speech made to them since the time that the Great William Penn was amongst them , all was good and nothing was amiss."17

In addition to relations with the Native Indian tribes, there was an ongoing dispute with the Colony of Maryland over the borders of the two colonies. In 1732 a tentative agreement was reached between the Proprietors of Pennsylvania, and Lord Baltimore, Proprietor of Maryland. However, the text of the agreement was disputed by Lord Baltimore and it was not implemented. The dispute was finally settled much later when the Mason-Dixon line was established in 1767.18

Figure 2 – Christ Church, Philadelphia

Patrick's wife Isabella died in September 1735 and the Govenor died two years later on the 5 Aug 1736.19 Both the Governor and his wife were buried in Christ Church, Philadelphia.20

Bibliography and Notes


  1. When showing relationships F means Father, M means Mother. So FFM is my father’s father’s mother.

  2. Officially the colonial Governors of Pennsylvania were Deputy or Lieutenant Governors, as the Proprietors - the descendants of William Penn, the founder of the colony were considered Governor, but as the Proprietors essentially remained in England, only visiting the colony briefly, the deputy is often dropped.

  3. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950, Ancestry.com, Provo, UT, USA.

  4. Aberdeen Journal, Notes and Queries Vol 1, p72. No. 15 - July 29, 1908 Gordons in Aberdeen 1647-1688, Archive.org

  5. John Gordon was descended from The Gordons of Birsemoir and Cluny.

  6. More recently know as the Royal Scots (or Royal) Regiment, this regiment was the oldest and most senior infantry regiment in the British Army. Wikipedia

  7. English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714, III, p47, Charles Dalton, Archive.org.

  8. English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714, IV, p22, Charles Dalton, Archive.org.

  9. Burke's Commoners of England and Wales, Vol 4., p7.

  10. Netherlands, Baptism Index, 1557-1902, Ancestry.com, Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum; Den Haag, Nederland; DTB Baptism.

  11. St. Margaret's, Westminster is the church in the middle of Parliament Square, and since 1614 has been the parish church of the Palace of Westminster (House of Commons). Wikipedia.

  12. Westminster Baptisms, City of Westminster Archives Centre, Find My Past.

  13. Westminster Burials, City of Westminster Archives Centre, Find My Past.

  14. British Army, List Of Half-Pay Officers 1714, Wienand Drench, Find my Past.

  15. Proclamation of Gov. Gordon on Assuming Government, Pennsylvania Archives, First Series, Vol I, p189. Google Books

  16. While I am quite sure that Patrick's eldest son Patrick died before he did as he is not mentioned in his will, it is not clear whether he had already died when Patrick went to Pennsylvania. He would have been nearly 30 by then, and could have stayed behind in Great Britain.

  17. Minutes of the Provincial Council, Colonial Records, Vol III, 1717-1736, p 313ff. Google Books

  18. The Mason-Dixon Line, Wikipedia

  19. 17.Minutes of the Provincial Council, Colonial Records, Vol IV, 1736-1745, p 47ff. Google Books

  20. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Church Records, 1709-1760, Ancestry.com, Provo, UT, USA

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