The Dick family of Eilean Donan

Hugh Dick, 1729-1780 a merchant, is buried in Ramshorn Cemetery, Glasgow.

The Dick family name is of Danish origin and is recorded as being in the presence or service of notable people of these historic times.  


By the late 1700s, the shipping Merchant Hugh Dick and his wife Catherine (born Somerville) and their sons Alexander (born 1763), David (born 1769), Hugh Dick (born 1770), James (born 1773) and Archibald (born 18 September 1777) moved from Glasgow to the Caribbean. Their joice fell on the island of Jamaica, and soon the family resided at the Urban Estate in Kingston (the former capital). In 1797 Hugh Dick, a coffee merchant, died onboard a ship while returning to Jamaica.

At the beginning of the 19th century, David Dick worked as a clerk dealing with several businesses on the island. His brother Archibald was made a member of the Honourable Assembly in Jamaica and assisted many landowners as an attorney. David held a partnership with Ballantyne, Fairlee and Co. Both Ballantyne and Fairlee were Scottish merchant families who held estates at Ayr and Kilmarnock and were possibly related to David's mother. Both David and Archibald were recorded as Planters and West Indian Proprietors.

Many family members travelled back and forth to Scotland. David left Jamaica around 1810 and resided with his family in Ross and Cromarty, close to the Loch. By this time, his estate counted 24,000 imperial acres, and soon his land rights were questioned as people needed to traverse Dick's land. The dispute lasted until 1814 when David Dick (of Glenshield) and the Minister of Kintail made a comprise regarding the right of the minister to cut peats of moss near David's house. A year later, he married Eliza Mackenzie, sister of Isabelle Mackenzie (future wife of his brother Archibald), and the couple received six children.

On the morning of the 20th of June 1820, David Dick became a victim of a vicious attack while travelling on the zig-zag road at the back of his home. "Attackers jumped out and cut the horses out of their traces from his carriage, fractured their skulls and drove them over the rocks to their deaths." David wrote to Seaforth Mackenzie, a relative to his wife, of the savage brutality and ferocity of the highland people killing his horses. He expected him to hunt down the attackers, and a reward of One Hundred pounds Sterling was offered to be paid to any person who would give such information to lead to the conviction of one or more persons involved. This escalated the situation, and David and his family received constant threats and gunshots were fired at their windows, and their stock and cattle and their pets were callously slaughtered. When David's larch forest plantation is set on fire, and relentless attacks keep happening, he decides to abandon his home and move his family to safety in Pembrokeshire, England. David is listed as the occupant of Amroth Castel, Pembrokeshire, in 1828 and was mentioned in the Gardener’s Magazine A Register of Rural and Domestic Improvement for maintaining the vast size magnificent hydrangea of 33 feet and with 832 handsome flowers.

David and his wife found themselves in Scotland when their son Colin was baptised in Roxburgh in 1822 and witnessed by Reverend Thomas Sommerville (1740-1830). Archibald married Isabella Mackenzie of Moutgerald in Ross-Shire in 1825. She was half his age, and the couple received six children. Her brothers Simon and Colin Mackenzie followed their sister to Jamaica, resided at Up Park Pen estate, and were involved with the militia.

Archibald bought the Estate named Windsor Castle in St David’s Jamaica, one of the most substantial plantations on the island. David resided on the Urban Estate of Kingston. The family depended on the influential Taylor Plantation owners with links to Kirktonhill Forfarshire and followed their monetary instructions to compensate workers connected to these vast estates. They had the goal of reclaiming the clan lands once lost through battles. 

By 1830, they faced the changing policies that spread throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean. Since 1807 the Slave Trade had been abolished, but slavery was still active on the plantations. Twenty-seven years parliament instituted the Emancipation Act torpedoing its economy rapidly. Archibald had priorly been listed as one of the largest slaveowners on the island, and with his brother David, he assisted the many women left behind without their masters. Their brother James, who had died in 1827, had a son with the quadroon girl Mary Ann Clarke in 1809 and had instructed in the will to his brothers that they had to assist these beneficiaries for a comfortable future. David had also been instructed to care for Polly Graham, a woman of mixed race and her progeny, who once belonged to the Taylor plantation.

In the following years, David returned to his former estate in Scotland to sell back the remaining clans.

In 1833 he died near the shores of the Loch near his ruined home. He could never have envisaged Eilean Donan Castle would be restored by the Macraes and become such a significant tourist site over one hundred years later. His wife, Eliza Mackenzie married again with Francis Spittal, son of Sir James Spittal of London. Francis died unexpectedly shortly after; afterwards; she lived with her youngest son Colin Dick who was in 1861 still involved in the food commodities market in London. Eliza Spittal died in the German State Hesse in 1854 at 54. As adults, three of David and Eliza’s children travelled to New Zealand in the 1840s, then went to Australia. Their son John Graham Dick died in Manilla in the Philippines in 1842. A granddaughter of David Dick, Adela Anderson married into a Stewart family of Athenree and settled in New Zealand.

On 1st December 1837, Isabelle's brother Colin Mackenzie, 5th of Mountgerald, died presumably from yellow fever at 35. Major Gordon testified in his memoirs that his grandparents had lost five relatives in one week, all victims of yellow fever. Their graves at Spanish Town were utterly obliterated in the earthquake of 14 January 1907.


Around 1838 Archibald returned to Scotland with his remaining children and his beloved wife. Fanny Anderson, wife of Frances Anderson, Proprietor of Houses, and Isabelle's servant voluntarily and assisted by Archibald, followed her former mistress to Scotland. She served the family until her dying day and died in 1872. Major Gordon testified in his memoirs that all the children loved Fanny and that he, his older brother William and their father laid her to rest at Logie Cemetery. In 1939 Major Gordon said he still maintained the plaque, inscribed "In memory of Fanny Anderson, died 1872", and probably did so until his ashes were placed in the grave of his beloved wife in 1949.

During his world voyage in 1888-1889, Major Gordon visited Jamaica and, by chance, found an old emancipated slave who had worked for Archibald Dick at Windsor Castle. The native told him the kindness he was mostly given by Archibald Dick in the following statement: "When he used to accompany my forbear (Archibald Dick) in the Buggy to Spanish Town - the then capital - he never failed "to be chucked" - these were his words - a dollar by Massa". He guided Major Gordon to the former estate and toured the house, which by then was in ruin. They had an emotional goodbye, and Major Gordon stated:

In 1851 the Dick family resided at Friar's Park, 9 Institution Road, Elgin, Moray, Scotland, with their four remaining children. Archibald Dick died at 86 on 1 August 1864 29 Melville Street, Edinburgh. His wife, son Alexander and daughter Emily and Fanny moved to Bridge of Allan. Isabelle's son Alexander died in 1866 at Haymount House, Bridge of Allan. Isabelle Dick died in 1872 and was laid to rest next to her husband in 

MACKENZIE/DICK FAMILY TREE  - Family of Major Gordon's mother

                         Colin MacKenzie, 1st of Mountgerald


                             Colin MacKenzie, 3rth of Mountgerald


                                      Isabella MacKenzie/Dick


                                                                                                                                                               Archibald Dick (18/9/1777 - 1/8/186(?))                                                                                

Hugh Summerville (1831 -)         Colin Mackenzie (1832 -)         Archibald Dick (1834 -)          Simon MacKenzie (1838 -)         Alexander (1839 - 1866)       Emelia Maryann 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 X (1) George Freer Sr


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          George Feer Jr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 X (2) William Eagleson Gordon Sr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          William Eagleson                  Archibald Alexander     Robert Aaron        Emily Mackenzie       Helen Isabelle

                                                                                                                                                  x                                                     x     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Margaret Katherine Blair    Lizzie Maude Smith                                                                       Graham H. W. Nicholson 


                                                                                                                                                                                                  Colin Mackenzie Blair     William "Bill" Hyde Eagleson   Archibald G. R.   Edmund Robert Adam           Cameron Gordon Graham (Nicholson)