Alexander Gordon

From ArticleWorld

Alexander Gordon was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1635. During the English Civil War, he was captured by Oliver Cromwell’s army at the battle of Worcester on September 3rd, 1651 and was transported to the New World (Massachusetts) as a prisoner of war, in 1652. He settled in Exeter, New Hampshire after gaining his freedom from forced servitude.


According to the Gordon Genealogy Project, the Alexander Gordon family was the first family to set up home in the New World. Alexander Gordon was captured in battle 1651 and deported to the colonies in 1652. Traveling on a ship named Liberty he landed at Boston and was promptly imprisoned at Watertown. He lived in and around the area for a year before picking up an acquaintance with Samuel Stratton to whom he was sold as an apprentice in husbandry by the boatswain of Liberty. The designation, ‘apprentice’ was in name only and Gordon was treated little better than an animal and made to work like one. Many new arrivals to this coastal town were sold in a similar manner to planters and mill owners and the contract was generally for a period of six years.

Freedom and later years

This trafficking in human bonded labor continued unchecked with the land owners successfully evading the law by designating their slaves as apprentices and ill treating them under the guise of providing on the job training. Alexander Gordon’s forced labor was to have been over by 1659 after a service of six years, but after only two years of sub-human existence Alexander could not stand it any longer and 1655 along with a few others filed a case in the General Court of Massachusetts and petitioned for freedom. This petition was turned down. In fact he was not released from this forced servitude until 1663, when with the help of a Good Samaritan, Alexander appealed to the court again and this time was successful in getting a favorable hearing and winning his freedom in what was to be a landmark victory.

Alexander left Watertown and made his way to New Hampshire, where with the help of a few other Scotsmen he founded the town of Exeter. He found work with one Nicholas Lisson a sawmill owner and later married his daughter, Mary Lisson at the age of 28 to set up what is now known as the Gordon line.