Tinian Island and Lake Gordon

Lord Adam Gordon toured the American colonies in 1764 and stayed for several days in East Florida as the guest of Governor James Grant. Gordon was so enthused about the new British colony that he became the president of the East Florida Society of London upon his return to that city, and at meetings at the Shakespearre Head Tavern encouraged wealthy British investors to acquire plantations in the province. Gordon was granted two tracts in East Florida, the first being 20,000 acres located south of Rolle's gigantic estate, on the south shore of Dunn's Creek and Dunn's Lake. To accommodate Lord Gordon, Dunn's Lake was renamed Lake Gordon (Lake Crescent now). The second tract was an island Gordon named Tinian (Dunn's Island at the time; Murphy Island today) located between Spalding Lower Trade Store and Francis Kinloch's 1,000-acre rice field sited at the northwest corner of Gordon's 20,000 property, at the juncture of Dunn's Creek and St. Johns River.

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Lord Adam Gordon, a wealthy and gregarious Scotsman who visited East Florida in 1764, was granted Murphy Island (Gordon named it Tinian) and a 20,000-acre tract south of Dunns Creek and Crescent Lake. The island tract and most of the 20,000 acres are shown in this aerial view.

Plat Map for Lord Adam Gordon's Island

Gordon wrote to Governor Grant frequently during the 1760s, reporting in March 1766 that among notable Londoners "East Florida is all the fashion." He informed Grant one year later that he was ready to proceed with development of Tinian and would send a labor force of enslaved Africans to begin clearing land for provisions crops. Those plans changed when Kinloch died in 1768 and his widow informed Gordon that development expenses for the rice field exceeded £500 in the first two years. Gordon's two properties sat idle throughout the British era.

Tracts to the east and south of Lake Gordon were awarded to wealthy absentee planters that sat idle throughout the British years. William Elliott received 20,000 acres east of Lord Adam Gordon's 20,000-acre tract. Elliott sold this tract to Denys Rolle and concentrated his efforts at Stobb's Farm and Elliott's Plantation south of New Smyrna on Indian River.

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/7/4 the Memorial of Lord Adam Gordon. Gordon to Grant: March 15, 1765 ; March 13, Sept. 7, 1766 ; March 31, 1767 ; August 6, 1770 , JGP. Lord Adam Grant to Governor Grant, May 18, 1765, August 1, September 1, 1766, March 31, 1767, August 6, 1770; and Kinloch to Grant, all in James Grant Papers.