Gordon, John (1599?-1634) (DNB00)

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GORDON, Sir JOHN, of Lochinvar, first Viscount Kenmure and Lord Lochinvar (1599?–1634), elder son of Sir Robert Gordon of Lochinvar in Galloway, where the family had been settled for many generations, by his wife, Lady Isabel Ruthvon, daughter of the first Earl of Gowrie, was born about 1599. After finishing his studies he resided for some time on the continent, in the house of the Scottish clergyman, John Welch, who, having been banished from Scotland for his connection with the proceedings of the Aberdeen assembly of 1605, had settled as minister at St. Jean d'Angely in France. His devotion to puritan presbyterianism was further confirmed by his marriage to Lady Jane Campbell, sister of the Marquis of Argyll. In order to have the advantage of regular religious services he had the parish of Anwoth, in which his residence was situated, disjoined from two other parishes with which it had been united, and in 1721 secured the appointment of the famous presbyterian divine, Samuel Rutherford, as minister of the parish. Gordon and his wife became the intimate personal friends of Rutherford, and zealously seconded him in all his religious schemes. On the death of Gordon's father in 1628 he succeeded to the family estates and honours. Shortly before this he had preferred a claim in right of his mother to the attainted earldom of Gowrie; and in order to induce the king's favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, to support his claims, he is stated to have sold the barony of Stitchel for the purpose of raising money to bribe him, and to have paid the bribe on the evening before the duke's assassination by Felton. On 15 Jan. 1629 the king conferred on him the charter of a royal burgh, within the boundaries of his estate, afterwards called New Galloway. On the occasion of the king's coronation in Scotland, he was on 8 May 1633 created Viscount Kenmure and Lord Lochinvar by patent to him and his heirs male whatsoever bearing the name and arms of Gordon. He was present at the opening of the parliament which met at Edinburgh in the succeeding June, but, not wishing to displease the king by opposing his policy in regard to the church, withdrew on the pretence of indisposition to his residence at Kenmure Castle. While at Edinburgh on private business in August of the following year he was seized with a severe illness, and retiring to Kenmure he died there on 12 Sept. He was attended on his deathbed by Samuel Rutherford, who wrote an account of his last moments, under the title 'The Last and Heavenly Speeches and glorious Departure of John, Viscount Kenmure,' which was printed at Edinburgh in 1649. Rutherford also wrote a long Latin elegy on him entitled 'In Joanem Gordonum Kenmurii Vicecomitem Apotheosis,' which has not been published. Rutherford dedicated to Viscount Kenmure his first work, 'Exercitationes Apologeticæ pro Divina Gratia contra Arminium.' His widow, who was a frequent correspondent of Rutherford, was married again to the Hon. Harry Montgomery of Giffen, second son of Alexander, sixth earl of Eglinton. Viscount Kenmure was survived by one son, who, however, died under age, the title passing to a nephew of the first viscount, John, son of James Gordon of Barncrosh and Buittle.

[Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood}, i. 27; Howie's Scots Worthies; Memoir by Thomas Murray, prefixed to Rutherford's Last and Heavenly Speeches of John, Viscount Kenmure. Edinburgh, 1827; Works of Samuel Rutherford.]

T. F. H.