Tuesday, September 15, 2009

William Gordon, 1820s Tackle Maker...and Murderer?

William Gordon, 1820s Tackle Maker...and Murderer?

Once in a while you run across an article while doing research that leaves you speechless. Such was the case when I first chanced across the story of Aberdeen, Scotland resident William Gordon--fishing tackle maker. But unlike any other tackle maker I know of, Gordon was executed for the murder of his wife.

The grisly details were reported in the 04 June 1822 Edinburgh Advertiser. As the paper declared, "On Friday William Gordon, for the murder of his wife...was executed at Aberdeen." Not surprisingly, Gordon professed his innocence until the end, declaring that "nothing could have surprised him more, than the situation in which he found her, on leaving his bed to go to her assistance." She had been stabbed to death with a scissors. But as the jury concluded, "the evidence was so strong, as to leave no doubt in the minds of the Jury of the guilt of the unhappy prisoner."

The truth, it would seem, was that Gordon drank himself into a stupor, and when his wife tried to stop him, he picked up her sewing scissors and stabbed her to death. "This seems doubly unfortunate," as the paper admitted, because:

Gordon was a well informed man, of a strong mind, aged about 45, a native of Cabraeh, and was born of respectable parents. In the early part of his life he came to Aberdeen, where he served an apprenticeship to his brother in the hardware line, which they jointly carried on, with great credit and respectability for a number of years. But his brother having left him, he seems to have fallen into bad company; and being reduced in circumstances, betook himself to making fishing tackle.

William Gordon, tackle maker, met his maker at the gallows on 01 June 1822. He is the only tackle maker I have ever heard of who was sentenced to death for murder.

-- Dr. Todd

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