Gordon MacDonald of Surinam
Profile & Legacies Summary
1804 - 1859
Slave-owner in Surinam, owner of Plantation Moy, which he bought in 1853. Brother of Alexander MacDonald (q.v.). Died in Scotland in 1859.
- Baptised 13/09/1804 in Halkirk, Caithness, Scotland, youngest son of John MacDonald (1752-1840) and Barbara Gordon (b. c. 1764, d. in Canada in 1850). Left Scotland after 1840, possibly for Canada, where his mother is known to have moved after her husband's death, and arrived in Surinam from Demerara 20/02/1848. He became Director of Waterloo estate in Nickerie in succession to Robert Kirke (q.v.) in 1849. In 1853 he moved to Coronie where he had purchased plantation Moy with about 130 enslaved people from the heirs of Alexander Ferrier of Surinam (q.v.). Subsequently, he acquired a quarter of pln. Perseverance and some land in the settlement of Totness. He returned to Scotland c. April 1858, and died 28/06/1859 at Burnt Island. Robert Kirke was reportedly the only person present at his funeral. In 1855 Gordon MacDonald had a child Catherina born 15/09/1855 with an enslaved woman named Mary, a 'private [domestic] slave' of Mary C. Hamilton, the owner and administrator of pln. Hamilton in Coronie. Catherina was manumitted 09/03/1858 with the names Mary Classina Namilton [sic]; her name was later changed to Mary Classina MacDonald based on the terms of her father's will. Gordon MacDonald's estate, including Moy, Perserverance and his land at Totness were sold at auction in 1861.
- Fully-sourced private communication from Gonda Nekrui-MacDonald dated 30/05/2016, drawing on research by Dr Alphonse L. MacDonald, who kindly reviewed and amended the original draft. In addition he pointed out that under Surinam law, manumitted persons could not be given the name of people living in the colony and therefore if the surname were to be linked, it would be by reversal, anagram or corruption of the name of the prior 'owner': hence 'Namilton' for Gordon MacDonald's child, whose owner had been Mary C. Hamilton.
We are grateful to Gonda Nekrui-MacDonald and Dr Alphonse L. MacDonald for their help with this entry.
Small family stone coffin/mausoleum in Kirkton Old Churchyard, 'Macdonald Gordon Macdonald of Plantation Moy in Coronie Surinam d here 28.6.1859, da Classina Mary 8.11.1906 (also much obstructed by...
Kirkton, Burntisland, Fife, North-east Scotland, Scotland
Halkirk, Caithness, Highlands & Islands, Scotland