Margaret Gammell

1738 - unknown


Margaret was born on 3 August 1738.  On 10 September 1756, she married James Donald, merchant.  He was the eldest son (of 15 children) of Robert Donald, a prominent Greenock merchant, and Christian Lees.  Margaret and James appear to have had at least two children, Robert Donald born on 3 August 1757, and Margaret Donald, born on 1 September 1759.  They may also have had another son, Andrew. 


No record of the date of death of Margaret has been found.


Robert Donald

1756 - about 1806


Robert was a merchant in Greenock (James and Robert Donald and Company); the James presumably being his father.  At some stage he moved to Petersburg, Virginia where he continued as a merchant, but died in about 1806. It is not known if he was married or had any children.


Margaret Donald

1759 – unknown


Margaret married George Charles Jones, a Captain in the 43rd (Argyllshire) Regiment, in Edinburgh on 7 June 1805.  In 1806 she was the sole executrix of her brother, Robert.  It is not known when she died or if she had any children.


Finally, in the will of James Gammell, the banker in 1825, a certain James Gammell Donald was left 100 guineas, and this man might have been grandson, but if such a grandson existed, we don’t know of him.  It could equally likely have been James Donald (born in 1769), the eldest son of his wife’s (Janet Gammell nee Geils) sister (Grizel Donald nee Geils).  This is given some weight since he left a bequest of £50 to Benjamin Andrew Donald who was the grandson of Grizel, who was left orphaned in 1806 when his father, Andrew, (James Donald’s brother) had died.



All the above appears to fit with the evidence, but for one fact.  In the deposition made on Margaret’s behalf in 1806, Margaret’s mother is referred to as Elizabeth, which it of course wasn’t, it was Margaret (Gammell) who was married to James.  There are two possible explanations. 


First Margaret and James disappeared and there was another Donald family with everything else the same, but with a mother called Elizabeth – this is just possibly but doesn’t seem likely; Second, Margaret had changed her name so that she was commonly known as Elizabeth – this seems more likely.


But this remains a bit of a mystery to be solved.