Glassford The Tobacco Lord
Glassford's may be considered to some degree to be the cause or at least a contributor to what is considered today by the civilized world to be an extremely bad habit and health problem.
Right after the ascension of James Stewart to the throne of England, Scottish merchants (who became known as Tobacco Lords) took advantage of their favoured access to the sea and easier passage to the continent and America's to create a very successful business. They became the managers and owners of the Tabacco trade between the American colonies and Europe. One trait that they capitalized on was their willingness to go and deal directly with the colonists unlike their English counterparts who insisted that "trade" was beneath them and insisted on using intermediaries. One of the riches of these was John Glassford (1715 to August 27, 1783). His impact on Scotland and his home city of Glasgow are shown by the existence of a Glassford Street in Glasgow and the existence of the above oil painting  which hangs in the Peoples Place Glasgow Green in Glasgow. With the American Revolution, the lands owned in the 13 Colonies was lost to all who supported the Crown and as a result John and his peers moved to other businesses such as banking. Some relatives who acted for John in the colonies who supported the crown became United Empire Loyalists and moved to Canada to influence the growth other that nation along with others who came directly from Scotland, while those supporting the rebellion stayed behind and   together with their cousins who came later worked to build the United States.

John is known to have had three wives, the last two of which were "highborn" . ( Anne daughter of  Sir John Nisbet of Dean [Henry Glassford  a son from this marriage was the MP (Member of Parliament) for Dumbartonshire 1806-1810], and Lady Margaret MacKenize of Surce daughter of the Earl of Comarty). John had many holdings in Scotland , and the colonies including the West Indies. In Scotland, he purchased extensive lands in Douglaston Dumbartonshire in 1767 and greatly improved the estate by planning and building. although no records of the extent of his West Indies land is currently known the impact of his family is, there are many families of colour who trace their roots to plantations owned by John and use the name Glassford.

Connecting John to other Glassford's included in William's 1834 genealogical chart has not been successful until 2003 when through this web site, the connection has been found and the mystery solved.The male line die out with John's son James in 1845 but due to some effective thinking on the part of John's son Henry the line continued through a sister. This line became the Gordon-Glassford. The history of this line is being preserved by decendants living in New Zealand.  The following is and extraction from a book on their line.

Henry Glassford was the the second and eldest surviving son of John Glassford and Anne Nisbet, he matriculated in 1775 and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates on the 9th of August 1785. On the 6th of October, 1775 he was admitted to the firm of Burgess & Guildbrother of Glasgow.

He was also Rector of the Glasgow University from 1805-1807 and in 1806 became MP for Dunbartonshire, a position he held until 1810 when he accepted the stewardship of the Manor of East Hendred, Bershire.

In 1806 Henry drew up and signed a sixteen page Deed of Entail (known in Scotland as a tailzie) which set out the conditions for the inheritance of Dougalston and his other estates. The 16 pages freely translate into the following

    1. To a male heir of Henry's body or if he had none;
    2. To his half brother James, and if or when he died;
    3. To a male heir of James' body, and if he had none;
    4. To a female heir of Henry's body, and if he had none;
    5. To a female heir of James' body and if he had none;
    6. To Jean (Jane) Gordon (nee Glassford) and if or when she died;
    7. To any male or female heir of Jean's body.

    In addition, a significant condition was placed on any and all females and males from Jean's line that might inherit.
    "The husbands of each of them as are female shall be holden and obligated immediately on their succession to the said lands     and others, and in all time thereafter to bear and use the surname Glassford and the designation and arms of the Glassford of Dougalston"

Henry and his brother James never had any children and as a result the land eventually passed to the children of Jean (Glassford) Gordon and the Gordon-Glassford branch of the family was created. The majority of this branch use the Glassford surname only for day to day activities and only use the combined name for "legal" requirements.


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If you have any questions or concerns or wish to provide or obtain additional information please contact Gary Ernest Glassford gary.glassford@sympatico.ca