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Captain John Gordon was an officer in Col. Brog's [SSNE 7842] regiment in the Scots-Dutch Brigade during the time of the Twelve Years' Truce. Either this Gordon or another was the son of Captain Alexander Gordon (governor of Tour-Louis and then Bergen-op-Zoom) and Italian gentlewoman, Jacobee Pedralis of Aungadere. 

While living in The Hague, he married Cecilia de Bosiss on 6 May 1615. de Bosiss was the widow of one Cornelis d'Hemelaer, bailiff of Aardenburg. MacLean records Gordon as already being a sergeant-major by his marriage date, but there is some discrepancy with Ferguson to this point, as a petition from Gordon was received in the States General on 26 August 1615 for either a sergeant-majorship or lieutenant-colonelcy in Brog's regiment. Captain Henry Balfour had also petitioned for this promotion, but Ferguson contends that this Balfour was killed on 4 August 1615, so the sergeant-majorship certainly passed to Gordon by then (Ferguson, 44, 253). However, by 1618, Brog wrote in a letter to the States General of his desire to promote two of his captains (Alan Coutis [SSNE 8003] and Andrew Donaldsone) to the positions of lieutenant-colonel and sergeant-major, owing to the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Caddel and the "absence" of Captain Gordon (Ferguson, 285). Gordon's fate remains unknown, but if this the same John Gordon that Ferguson mentions earlier, he was killed in Holland (Ferguson, 47).

Either this Gordon or another Captain John Gordon was the subject of some controversy during this time. A series of letters from Johan de Witt (not to be confused with the later statesman) details the evident poverty and overall poor condition of Gordon's company, which was garrisoned in Steenbergen. On 6 October 1609, de Witt wrote to the Council of State that Gordon had been absent from his company for 25 or 26 weeks and had not spent one full month with his company in the year. On top of that, his lieutenant had been absent for six months, while one sergeant was gone for six weeks and the other was sick. The only officer, de Witt reported, was an ensign who was a "foul [and] useless drunkard," (Ferguson, 238). Due to the extreme poverty of the company, many men were deserting, while many of those remaining were unfit for duty. de Witt therefore asked for Gordon to be reprimanded and ordered back to Steenbergen with his other officers, to prevent the company from sinking into "utter ruin."

Gordon, however, within a few days of de Witt's letter, petioned the Council of State as well. He wrote that he had not received payment for himself or his company in three months, and had exhausted every means he could think of to obtain funds. He therefore asked the Council of State for five or six hundred pounds of 40 groats. Nonetheless, either from lack of funds, the poor state of the company, or Gordon's evident dereliction of duty, the company was disbanded by 14 October 1609. de Witt, however, petitioned the Council of State again, reporting that the soldiers were indebted to the burghers of the town. The soldiers, he reported, were intent on paying their debts because the burghers had "supported them so loyally with victuals and drink in their extreme poverty, to such a degree indeed, that but for their having done so, the company would have perished long ago..." (Ferguson, 239). de Witt therefore hoped that the Council of State would repay the burghers, at least in part. By 1618, Gordon petitioned again for payment, but the Council of State replied that the petitioner should be "patient."



Dr. Ir. J. MacLean, De Huwelijksintekeningen Van Schotse Militairen in Nederland: 1574-1665 (Zutphen, 1976), p. 15.

J. Ferguson, Papers Illustrating the History of the Scots Brigade in the service of the United Netherlands, 1572-1697 (Edinburgh, 1899), pp. 44, 47, 236, 237, 239, 243, 253, 285, 292. 

GRONA (Gerrit Jansz van Woerden), 27/172/346. Machtiging, 7 April 1610. This details the authorization of one William Watson [SSNE 7994] to David Johnson to pay 70 guilders which he owed to the victualling of Gordon's company, with whom he had previously served.


This entry created by Mr Jack Abernethy.

Service record

Arrived 1609-10-06, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1609-10-14, as DISCHARGED
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1615-05-06, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1618-12-31, as SERGEANT MAJOR
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY