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George William Gordon

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Gordon was the 2nd of 7 children born to a Scottish planter, Joseph Gordon (1790–1867) and a mulattoslave, Ann Rattray (1792).  Before (1865) in April 1815 although many accounts give his birth as 1820. With a little help from his father, Gordon was self-educated and taught himself to read, write, and perform simple accounting. At the age of ten, Gordon was allowed to go and live with his godfather, James Daly of Black River. Within a year, due to Gordon's ability to learn quickly, he began working in Daly's business. Gordon became a businessman and a landowner in the parish of St Thomas-in-the-East. His siblings are Mary Ann Gordon (1813), Margaret Gordon (1819) Janet Isabella Gordon (1824), John Gordon (1825), Jane Gordon (1826) and Ann Gordon (1828) all born on the Cherry Gardens Estate.George William Gordon was a free colored land owner and an associate of Bogle. As a member of the House of Parliament, he used his position to highlight the sufferings of the people and to make a plea for changes. He led the movement in the mid 1800's to gain political rights for the recently freed slaves.


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The Rt. Excellent George William Gordon was born near Mavis Bank, in 1820 to Joseph Gordon, a Scottish Planter, and a slave woman.

George went to live with his godfather, James Daly, in Black River and completed his education there although he was mostly self educated.

He became a large land owner, shop keeper, produce dealer, preacher, politician, social workerand philanthropist.

He started out as an Anglican but later changed to Baptist. He was baptized to the Baptist Society by Rev. J.M. Phillippo, founder of Jamaica's first Free Village.

He later became a leader of the Native Baptist Movement and began buildingseveral churches at his own expense. He ordained Ministers and was an active evangelist.

In 1843, age 23, he was elected to the House of Assembly for St. Thomas. His public life began about 1844 when he entered politics as an advocate for the poverty-stricken Negro peasants.

In 1865, the economic condition in Jamaica had gotten worst. Gordon, spoke openly on behalf of the poor Negroes and with bitter criticism of Lieutenant Governor Edward Eyre.

During this period of oppression for the Negroes, Paul Bogle was very active in revolting against the system of government. On October 11, Paul Bogle with about 300 men marched in Morant Bay, where the Town Councilwas in session.

There they raided a policestation for arms and the CourtHouse was set on fire. They killed the Custos, Baron von Ketelhodt and fifteen vestrymen. It from this incident that a warrant was done for Gordon's arrest.

Gordon having heard that a summons was out for his arrest took himself in to Governor Eyre. On October 21, 1865 he was sentenced to death.

On October 27, 1960, the Jamaican Parliament named the building in this building where the Parliament Meeting will be kept in his honour. It was named the George William Gordon House often called "Gordon House".

After independence he was given the nation's highest honor, Order of National Hero.


George William Gordon

Mavis Banks, St Andrew,

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Categories: Jamaica