Society hears of a Galloway ancestry

Portrait of Jim's father (James H Gordon, senior), with his older brother John (my namesake) and older sister Eppie, taken around 1895
Portrait of Jim's father (James H Gordon, senior), with his older brother John (my namesake) and older sister Eppie, taken around 1895

At a well-attended meeting on Wednesday, 9th November, over 80 members and guests of the Kirkcudbright History Society gathered in Kirkcudbright Parish Hall.

They were there to hear an illustrated talk by Dr. Jack Gordon about his late brother Jim Gordon (1926-2014), in which he described his life, career and interests, and his Halliday, Hilston and Gordon ancestry.

This was a particularly relevant talk for the Society for Jim was one of its earliest members and a regular attender at its meetings.

Jim’s mother was a Halliday; the family first appeared in our area in the late 16th century. Two Hallidays were martyred during the Covenanting troubles, both with the forename David. His great-grandfather, John Halliday, was a master mason.

He was the builder of the old Kirkcudbright Creamery, Park House (Kirkcudbright) and Twynholm Village Hall.

Jim was born in Lanark in 1926. His father, James Hilston Gordon senior, ran Hilstons chemists there, established by Jim’s maternal grandmother’s family. T

he business also manufactured a successful range of veterinary medicines for farmers.

The Gordon family had a long association with Borgue, farming at Culraven. The family were also drawn to the kirk; both Jim’s grandfather and great-grandfather, were ministers of Twynholm.

In 1927, Jim’s father purchased Mullock and Corrahill farms near Dundrennan and improved them considerably. The family moved there permanently in 1939, but in 1942 their land was requisitioned by the Army as part of the Dundrennan range.

Consequently, Jim’s father purchased Boreland of Girthon farm, near Sandgreen. Jim served in the Army in India during the Second World War, returning in 1947, and going on to attend agricultural college. Here he met his future wife Bud.

In 1950, the family sold Boreland of Girthon and purchased Underwood Farm near Ringford in its place. Health issues prompted a move into the hotel trade in 1972, first taking on the Ellangowan Hotel in Creetown, then moving to the Selkirk Arms Hotel in Kirkcudbright in 1975, from which Jim and Bud retired in 1983. Jim’s interests included music (Gilbert & Sullivan a speciality), wood-turning, photography, travel, composing doggerel, voluntary work – and, most of all, the company of family and friends.

Jack Gordon’s talk on his brother and his ancestry was warm and humorous, perfectly reflecting the character of Jim.

Further details can be seen at www.kirkcudbrighthistorysociety.org.uk