Posted By:Bill Wood
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Subject:Re: Jerdan"s of Kelso, Roxburgh
Post Date:March 13, 2007 at 16:07:58
Message URL:http://genforum.genealogy.com/scotland/roxburghshire/messages/516.html
Forum:Roxburghshire, Scotland Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:http://genforum.genealogy.com/scotland/roxburghshire/

John Jerdan was an only son and descended from a long line of respectable landowners, of small estate. They held their land in feu, as deeds ranging over three hundred years bear witness, and appear to have always ranked among the leading inhabitants of their native place.

Desirous of improving, though, in fact, his easy temper and large family ultimately lead to his diminishing his inheritance, he obtained the appointment of purser to an East Indiaman when a young man, and proceeded to London to enter upon his duties. But these were not the days of railroads or rapid intelligence, and whether the only son was indulged to long in his outfitting by maternal fondness and fears or not, certain it is that he did not arrive at his destination till too later to sail with the vessel on its voyage to India.

To return home would have been to become a laughing stock, and therefore, having the means, he resolved on a volunteer voyage, and after some stay in London, about 1760-61, took that trip, instead of the grand tour, and visited the East as a private gentleman, when such expeditions were exceedingly rare.

On his return, he sought no farther active life, though a person of excellent abilities, and, in after years, of great reading and solid information, but settled indolently down, the laird of a few fields, producing a revenue which, in our statistical day, would be thought no very satisfactory provision for the marriage state and its further consequences.

Marry, however, he did, and one of the best wives that ever fell the lot of a man. She was handsome and possessed of very superior talents; and as there can be few families in Scotland without some pretense to lofty lineage, her progenitors claimed descent from a no less exalted and improper ancestor than a certain (?) Abbot of Melrose, and the natural son of a certain (?) King James!

At all events, her father entertained Prince Charles and his staff in the Forty-five, and would have been hanged for his pains, but that the father of her future husband was equally strong on the Hanoverian side, and had the influence to save his townsman and friend from Jacobite martyrdom .

John Jerdan was a small land proprietor and Baron-Bailie under the Duke of Roxburgh. His paternal progenitors owned extensive possessions in the south-east of Scotland.

He was much respected and loved. The lower classes looked to him as an indulgent friend, and from his position, though of barely competent income, he associated with the principal persons of the county.

His residence was hospitably opened to strangers, and particularly to the officers of the regiments, then moving to quarters throughout the land.

John Jerdan was a co-founder of the Kelso Mail, and served as a magistrate of the town of Kelso, Scotland. He died suddenly, in the night -time, after retiring to rest, in the Autumn of 1796.

His funeral was attended by fifty or sixty of the most respectable inhabitants of the place and neighborhood.

He and his wife had several children, among whom were Gilbert, John Stuart, William (April 16, 1782 – July 11, 1869), and George.

Lieut.-Col. John Stuart Jerdan, son of John and Agnes, was in the service of the East India Company in Bombay. He died at the Cape of Good Hope on 8 Jan 1822.

William Jerdan (April 16, 1782 – July 11, 1869), Scottish journalist, was born at Kelso, Scotland.

William was educated at Kelso parocial school, and was subsequently a private pupil at Maxheugh of William Rutherford, D.D., formerly of Uxbridge. While still a boy he entered the office at Kelso of James Hume, writer to the signet and distributor of stamps; but anxious to try his fortune in London, he obtained in 1801a clerkship in the counting house of Messrs. Turner, West India merchants.

Jerdan had written verse from the age of twelve. The head of the London firm encouraged his literary ambitions, and introduced him to many 'persons of rank and station'.

During the years between 1799 and 1806, he spent short periods in a country lawyer's office, a London West India merchant's counting house, an Edinburgh solicitor's chambers, and held the position of surgeon's mate on board H.M. guardship Gladiator in Portsmouth Harbour, under his uncle, who was surgeon.

He went to London in 1806 and became a newspaper reporter. He was in the lobby of the House of Commons on May 11, 1812, when Spencer Perceval was shot, and was the first to seize the assassin. By 1812, he had become editor of The Sun, a semi-official Tory paper; he occasionally inserted literary articles, then quite an unusual proceeding; but a quarrel with the chief proprietor brought that engagement to a close in 1817. He passed next to the editor's chair of the Literary Gazette, which he conducted with success for thirty-four years.

Jerdan's position as editor brought him into contact with many distinguished writers. An account of his friends, among whom Canning was a special intimate, is to be found in his Men I have Known (1866). When Jerdan retired in 1850 from the editorship of the Literary Gazette, his pecuniary affairs were far from satisfactory. A testimonial of over £900 was subscribed by his friends; and in 1853 a government pension of 100 guineas was conferred on him by Lord Aberdeen. He published his Autobiography in 1852-1853.

Hans Christian Andersen `s passion for travel took him throughout Europe where he came into contact with the musical, literary and social giants of his time but his first visit to England at the invitation of William Jerdan, editor of the Literary Gazette, came at what he himself regarded as the pinnacle of his career.

Jerdan married twice, and by both wives had large families.


December 13, 2006 - A letter written by Charles Dickens on December 25, 1849, is up for sale at a New Hampshire auction house. In the short note, to journalist William Jerdan, Dickens writes "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As you reprint the extraordinary lies of the New York Herald, perhaps you may like to know something more of their authority. I therefore send you for your own perusal (for I must not anticipate the defence to the ingenious Mr. Powell’s American actions for libel) a few small passages in the life of the distinguished 'literary gentleman from England,' who is in question."

Evidently William had children out of wedlock with one of his female poet friends.

George Jerdan was the proprietor of the Kelso Mail in the town of Kelso, Scotland. The paper was founded under the editorship of James Ballantyne, a friend of Walter Scott.

The Kelso Mail generally held moderate and judicious opinions upon subjects of literature, but it was strong and energetic in advocating improvements in agriculture, and advancing the agricultural interests of the borders. In his department, Mr. Jerdan took a leading part, and was a long time honorary secretary to the society for the promotion of these objects. On his resigning that office, about two and a half years before his death, a handsome piece of plate, accompanied by warm eulogiums on his services was presented to him by the nobility, gentry, and farmers of the district.

George Jerdan, son of John and Agnes, was involved in an argument with Alexander Peterkin of The Kelso Chronicle in July 1833. Peterkin demanded to know the author of an article in The Kelso Mail signed "Z", which generated much heat, and an exchange of pamphlets which are in The National Library of Scotland. He left the paper on 27 May 1835. 'a Peterhead lawyer, who went to Edinburgh about 1813 and died at 27 Buccleuch Place 9 November 1846 ' The Peterhead "Friday Club"'.

"In private life, no individual of George Jerdan's station was ever more generally esteemed. His judgement was acute and sound, and Scotish hospitality had him in a pattern when his abode was favored with the visits of authors or artists of southern fame. His delight on them was evinced by every attention which could lead to their employment of the lovely and interesting country around his native place, and friendships were consequently formed with many of the distinguished ornaments of our literature and arts. An affectionately attached family, still more sensibly, lament his loss"

George Jerdan and his wife had four daughters. The third daughter, Mary, married John Robertson.

I am descended from John Robertson, whose son James Douglas emigrated to America.