Aucholzie & Auchallater
By Dr John M. Bulloch
The Gordons O' Girnoc
My Family - 'Camlet John'
The Girnoc Farms
Past Research
Location Map
Gordon Tombstones
The Gordons in Aucholzie and Auchallater
By Dr John Malcolm Bulloch
Aberdeen Journal 'Notes and Queries'
No 87. 15th December 1909

Among the Gordons on Upper Deeside the family which occupied Aucholzie from 1750 to 1875 has made its mark. Aucholizie, which is in Glengairn, is derived from the Gaelic words "Achadh coille," or field of the wood. The lands were held in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by a family of Stewart, and in 1714 there was a marriage contract, between Alexander Stewart of Aucholzie and Anna Gordon, only daughter of Robert Gordon of Corse.

A long account of the estate is given in Michie's, "Records of Invercauld', (pp. 26-37). Alexander Stewart died in May 1746, and his widow, Anna was cited with his daughters, Margaret & Helen, as his executors (16th May 1746.) His cautioners were William Durward in Gilcomston and Samuel Gordon in Milntoun of Braickly.

The Gordons in Aucholzie were dealt with partly on information supplied by the late Mr D. S. R. Gordon in the first volume of "The House of Gordon" (p. 112) since which time a few further facts have come to light. The family is interesting as one of the few Gordon lines that have shown an instinct for mechanics - a talent they share with the neighbouring family of Littlemill. Three patents (at least) stand to the credit of the Auchallater group, the specifications for which are in the University Library, Old Aberdeen.


In 1696, the tenant of "Acholie" was William Gordon and his wife, but who he was or what became of him I cannot say.

The modern family traces to a certain Donald Gordon who in 1750 moved from Bridge of Lee, Glenesk, to Aucholzie. He seems to have been twice married:
(1) to ---- Small, Altonree, Glenmuick; (2) on 14th February 1756, to Elspet Taggart. She and her husband both died in 1810, aged 80. They had:

1. James Gordon, born 1759. He married Ann Leys, Littledon, who died 1791. He married (2) on 5th August 1792, Ann Gordon, Glenmuick. She died 1807 (Jervise's  Epitaphs). He died 1832, aged 75. He had:

(1) William Gordon by his first wife, born 1788; died 1875. He married Helen Fletcher in 1833, and died March 2, 1875, aged 87 (Glenmuick Churchyard). He had:
i, James, Gordon, died 22nd June 1853, aged 6.
ii. William Gordon, farmer, Auchallater (1844-1908). He was born at Aucholzie. In 1870 he got a lease of the extensive sheep grazing of Auchallater, near Braemar, and in 1888 became tenant of Tipperty, near Ellon. The Auchallater grazing in a good year carried between 5000 and 6000 sheep in addition to lambs. Mr Gordon improved his stock, and for many years the Auchallater black-faced stock took, almost without exception, a foremost place at the Perth markets, and Mr Gordon was often employed as a judge of the breed. At Tipperty he devoted himself to pure polled Angus cattle, Cheviot ewes, and half-bred lambs. In 1873 he invented a "spout" for separating sheep into lots. The original "Spout" is still in use, and has come into general use. He also brought out a "dipper" which was much in advance of previous methods. He took no active part in public affairs. He was keenly interested in practical agriculture, and was a member of the Highland, Royal Northern, and many other agricultural societies, one of the most recent official positions which he filled in this connection being the convener-ship of the committee of the Aberdeen Fat Stock Club, in which he took a very warm interest. "Personally Mr Gordon was one of the, most kindly and genial of men. It was well said of him that he had not a single enemy." He died on 12th June 1908, at his residence Cluny Cottage, Monaltrie Road, Ballater, from an incurable internal complaint. The inventory of his heritable and movable property amounted to �14,578. The only legacy he left to charity was �100 to Dr Barnardo's Homes. He was unmarried.
iii. John Gordon died young.
iv. Annie Gordon married John Watson.
v. Margaret Gordon married her cousin, James Gordon of Arabella, and died 1900.

(2) Donald Gordon, by first marriage, baptized  May 1791; died young.

(3) Alexander Gordon, by the second marriage, born 8th February 1794. He farmed Crofts, and died 13th March 1847, aged 53 (Glenmuick Churchyard). He married Mary Farquharson, who died 22nd February 1837, aged 52 (ibid.), and had
i. William. Gordon
ii. Alexander Gordon,
twins; both dead.

(4) Samuel Gordon
, by second marriage, born 24th March 1798 . He went to a farm in Rosshire in 1854. He married 9th October 1831, Helen Hunter, Polmood, Lethnot, Forfarshire, and had

i. James Adam Gordon, born at Aucholzie; baptized 3rd March 1834. He bought the estate of Arabella, Nigg, Easter Ross, 603 acres arable and 41 acres of woodland pasture and outrun, with low ground and wild fowl shooting. It was offered on 1st of December 1908, at Inverness for �16,500, but there wore no offers. It was ultimately bought by his brother John. He has been a great breeder of shorthorns. He shares the inventive ability of his cousin William Gordon, Auchallater, for he patented in 1886 a "combined rack and trough for holding food for sheep" (Specification No. 5633). It is described by him in his specification, dated 23rd April 1866, as follows (a copy of the specification is in the University Library)

"This invention, which relates to a new and improved combined rack and trough for holding food for sheep and other animals, consists of a rack divided longitudinally at each side into a number of spaces, which may correspond to the number of animals which it is intended should feed at each side at a time. The rack in its transverse form constitutes a circular segment, so that it can be easily turned or rolled over upon the ground on which it rests, the underside of the rack being made flat. Into the underside there is fitted a bottom consisting of two troughs. This bottom is hinged at one side of the rack to enable the rack to be opened up from the underside and filled with hay. The bottom also serves "a roof for protecting the hay from moisture, rain, or snow during the time when the sheep and other animals are not feeding from the apparatus, as, during such time, the apparatus is rolled half over in order that the bottom comes uppermost. When the sheep and other animals are about to feed from the apparatus constituting this invention, it is rolled back again so that the bottom occupies the lower part thereof. The bottom also serves the purpose of keeping the hay off damp ground, by which, in the ordinary mode of feeding sheep and other animals, the hay is frequently spoiled. The troughs constituting the bottom also serve as receptacles for holding food stuff, such as the different kinds of feed cakes, grain, and ensilage."

In 1887 he made an improvement on this Invention (Specification 4861)

"The main object of the improvement is to diminish waste of the food stuffs supplied to sheep or other animals in such troughs and racks and analogous contrivances, and for that purpose it is called an 'Economizer.' The Economizer consists of a rectangular frame or a piece of such frames formed with bars stretching across it. One of such frames is hinged at each side of the rack or trough, and when the rack or trough is full of hay or ensilage or other such food stuff these Economizers press upon the same and keep the food stuff well together upon the, bottom or within the rack or trough or analogous contrivance. When empty the Economizer hangs down into the rack or trough or analogous contrivance."

Mr Gordon, who has retired and now lives at Tain, married his cousin. Margaret Gordon, daughter of  William Gordon, Aucholzie. She died in 1900, leaving four daughters, all unmarried:
(i) Annie Gordon
(ii) Elizabeth Gordon
(iii) Meta Gordon
(iv) Ada Gordon

ii. John Gordon, went to Cullisse, Easter Ross. In 1909 he bought the estate of Arabella which had belonged to his brother. He married Jane Forbes Paterson. He has two sons and three daughters:

(i) Alexander Paterson Gordon is a tenant of Balmuchy Fearn, his father's lease of that holding having expired. He inherits the inventive faculty of his uncle and his father, and has invented a potato sifting machine (Specification 5795, A.D. 1907). The official description of the machine is as follows-

"The machine, consists of an ordinary timber frame, from which is suspended a riddle case containing three or more distinct riddles or screens or different meshes placed one above the other and apart, each riddle or screen slopes towards the front or conveyor or elevator end.. The entire riddle case is reciprocated by manual or other power through gearing or pulleys which actuate a crank shaft and connecting rod. At one end of the crank shaft a fly wheel is mounted. To the front end of the machine an elevator or conveyor is attached, driven by chains, shaft, and sprocket wheels, from the crank shaft and the speed of the elevator or conveyor is made variable to suit requirements. This conveyor is composed preferably of an endless chain of transverse bars set at an angle for carrying the potatoes from Nos. 1 and 2 riddles to a sack, box, sorting table, or sack weighing machine or other suitable receiver. The riddles Nos. 1 and 2 have meshes of suitable sizes. No. 1 riddle is adjustable and interchangeable to discharge either on the right side of the machine, or, if desired on to the elevator. The No. 2 riddle is also adjustable and inter-changeable so as to discharge either on to the elevator or the right side of the machine. When No. 1 riddle is discharging on to the elevator, No. 2 riddle discharges on to the right side of the machine, and when No. 2 riddle is discharging to the elevator No. 1 riddle is discharging to the right sidles of the machine. The bottom screen or riddle discharges to the left side of the machine. This improved machine dresses the potatoes and delivers them at three different points, as described above. The potatoes are shovelled on to a hopper at the back end of the machine, this hopper being set fairly low so as to make the operation a simple one. The bottom of the hopper on which the potatoes are first thrown consists of light round iron bars slightly apart forming a screen through which earth and sand passes, thus keeping the riddles clear. An adjustable board is fixed in a vertical position if required, to the front of the hopper to permit of a variable quantity of potatoes passing on to the riddles. At the exits from the riddles the surfaces on which the potatoes run are inclined and covered with zinc to reduce the friction."
(ii) Samuel Hunter Gordon. He is also of a mechanical turn. While in the service of Vickers Son, and Maxim, at Barrow-in-Furness, he superintended the building of the boilers of the Dreadnought and the Russian warship Rurik. In June 1908, he was appointed manager of the Rose Street Foundry and Engineering Company, Inverness. He married in 1908, a lady doctor, Mary, daughter of Dr CaIderwood, Egremont, Cumberland.
(iii) Annie Hunter Gordon.
(iv) Jane Grindley Gordon; married John Scottt Riddell. M.D., surgeon, Aberdeen.
(v) Catherine, Gordon.

iii. Anne Gordon, born at Aucholzie; baptised 4th August 1832.
v. Agnes Gordon, horn at Aucholzie; baptised 16th March 1833.
v. Betty Gordon, born at AuchoIzie 21st September 1338; bapt October 7th
vi. Margaret Gordon, born at AuchoIzie 21st 184l.
vii. Jane Gordon, lived at Ardconnel Terrace East, Inverness. One of her sisters married John Cameron farmer, Findon and Badrain, Resolis, and had four sons who were brought up (us orphans) by their aunt, Jane Gordon, in Inverness. One of these sons:
(i)   Samuel Gordon emigratedi n in 1883 to Oregon and later went to North Yakima, Washington State, when he became president of the Woolgrowers, Association. He became State Senator on the Republican "ticket," at the last election. He died of pulmonary embolism the other week, leaving a widow and a son and two daughters ("Inverness Courier," Nov. 26, 1909).

(5) Jane Gordon, born February 9, 1804.

After the removal of the previous set of Gordons to Ross-shire, Aucholzie, was taken by James Gordon, who wais born at Bridge-end a croft near the bridge over the Muick beside the manse of Glenmuick. He was no relation to the other AuchoIzie Gordons. He took a prominent part in the celebrations in connection with the estate of Glenmuick, and died at Aucholzie, on Saturday, 26th January 1907 aged 85. His widow, Mary Mackenzie  died there on the 8th of January 1908, in her 62nd year. They had issue.

Mr Charles Cook, Carden House, Aberdeen tells me, that this James Gordon had an uncle, Nathaniel Gordon, who was tenant of a farm at Bridge of Gairn, two miles above Ballater, and who died "about 40 years ago." Nathaniel is a rare name among the Gordons, occurring, however, among the Gight family in the person of the notorious Royalist colonel. Four Nathaniels occur in the Glenmuick registers:

Nathaniel Gordon, Ballater, married Margaret Leys, Tulloch, Glenmuick, 23rd July 1757.

  Nathaniel Gordon married Janet Forbes, Ballater, 26th March 1758.

  Nathaniel Gordon, Wardhead, Glenmuick died 1786, aged 50, and was buried at Glengairn.

  Nathaniel Gordon, Glenmuick, married Janet Coutts, Crathie,10th December 1815.

  Nathaniel Gordon died at the Bridge of Garden, Parish of Glengarden, on 24th March 1821, aged 97,
"retaining all his faculties to the last. He was never confined to bed for a day during his long life."    (Aberdeen Journal.)

Probably they were the kinsmen of the late James Gordon, Aucholzie.

Aucholzie is now tenanted by Mr Cameron, gamekeeper to Sir Victor Mackenzie, Glenmuick.

J.M. Bulloch
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