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The Scottish Nation

DON, a surname probably derived from the river of that name, as, according to Camden, “rivers have imposed names to some men.” In the Anglo-Saxon, the word Don (English Donne) or Dun, means a down, that is, a large open plain or valley. It was the name of a family which, formerly possessed the lands of Teith, in the stewartry of Monteith, Perthshire, a descendant of which, Sir Alexander Don of Newton in Berwickshire, was, 2d June 1677, created a baronet of Nova Scotia. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir James Don. His second son was Sir Alexander Don of Rutherford, and his third son Patrick Don of Altonburn.

      Sir Alexander Don of Newtondon, fifth baronet, married Lady Henriet Cunningham, sister of the last earl of Glencairn, and had an only son, Alexander, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. These young ladies were unfortunately drowned, June 12, 1795, with a companion (Miss Agnes Wilson, second daughter of Dr. Wilson, physician in Kelso), while fording a brook near their father’s mansion, which had been considerable swelled by sudden rains. Sir Alexander’s son, Sir Alexander, sixth baronet, for some time M.P. for Roxburghshire, was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott. He was twice married, but by his first wife had no issue. By his second wife, Grace, eldest daughter of John Stein, Esq., Edinburgh, for several years M.P. for Bletchingley, he had a son and a daughter, and died in April 1826. She married, 2dly, General Sir James A. Hope Wallace, K.C.B. Sir Alexander’s only son, Sir William Henry Don, 7th baronet, born May 4, 1825, became a cornet 5th dragoon guards in 1844, and was appointed extra aide-de-camp to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland. In 1845 he was made a lieutenant, but retired from the army in November of the same year, and became an actor. He married 1st, in 1847, Antonia, daughter of M. Lebrun of Hamburg; issue, a daughter. 2dly, in 1857, eldest daughter of John Sanders, Esq., London. Sir William is representative on the female side of the earls of Glencairn.

Memoirs of the Don Family in Angus

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