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Memorable Manitobans: Lord Gordon Gordon [Hon. Mr. Herbert Hamilton and numerous other aliases] (c1840-1874)

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Lord Gordon Gordon
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Confidence trickster.

He left Britain in early1870 after impersonating a Scottish peer in order to buy a shooting estate. In 1871 he emerged in Minnesota, then in 1872 in New York, where he briefly took in Jay Gould for a reported million dollars. Later in 1872 he settled in Winnipeg, posing as a British gentleman until he was kidnapped in early July 1873 by a band of bounty hunters who attempted to take him into the United States to collect a reward offered by Gould. They failed and were arrested in Winnipeg. In the course of the subsequent legal proceedings, which became an international incident leading to desperate messages in code from Canadian prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald, Gordon was fully exposed.

At a boarding house in Headingley in 1874, when police tried to arrest him for extradition to New York, he shot himself in the head and was buried in the Holy Trinity Anglican Cemetery. There are papers at the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

Lord Gordon Gordon by J. L. Johnston
MHS Transactions, Series 3, 1950-51 Season

Lord Gordon Gordon, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

“The Confidence Man,” by David Samuels, The New Yorker, 26 April & 3 May,1999, 150-61.

Sources:

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Larry Taylor for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 April 2013

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