Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks married John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair. They toured Canada extensively, eventually buying an estate in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia in 1891, which was named “Guisachan,” after Ishbel’s father’s estate. It is believed that some members of the family brought goldens to Canada as early as 1881. Aberdeen would eventually become Governor-General of Canada, and in this capacity, tried to implement various liberal reforms in Canada, quite an unusual step in this period known as The Gilded Age. (The Marjoribanks family were all members of the now defunct LIberal Party of Great Britain, a percursor to the one in Canada and the modern Liberal Democrat Party of the United Kingdom. This family was close to the Prime Minister William Gladstone, who was known for his concern for social justice.) These goldens were the first lines introduced into North America.
The Marjoribanks family also tried ranching in Texas, purchasing a large estate in Collingsworth and Wheeler Counties called The Rocking Chair Ranch. The 1st Baron Tweedmouth purchased it, and it was eventually ceded to his son Edward Marjoribanks when he passed away 1884. Edward, 2nd Baron Tweedmouth, chose his brother Archibald (“Archie”) to go to Texas and help manage the property. Archie is said to have little interest in ranching or proper management of the herds. Instead, he was said to spend most of his time drinking, gambling, and hunting with dogs. He was known to the locals as “Old Marshie.”
Among these hunting dogs on the ranch, Archie had a golden retriever or yellow flat/wavy coat bitch named “Lady.” She was believed to have been from the Marquess of Aberdeen’s stock or born from a bitch in whelp brought down from the British Columbian Guisachan to Texas.
This picture is variously listed as 1891 or 1893.
Because Archie was not a very good manager, the ranch hands began to steal the stock. Archie never mingled with them, and they saw their opportunity to rob the ranch blind. The senior manager, John Drew, was also stealing cattle. Eventually the ranch’s debts became too much, and the Ranch was sold in 1896.
However, the Marjoribanks family introduced the yellow retrievers to North America. This story may be the only example of a family founding a strain of dogs and then introducing that strain to other parts of the world within a generation.
Most of these dogs were very dark in color, and later imports to North America by Colonel Samuel Magoffin were of this color, too. As a result, most North American goldens were much darker in color than their European counterparts. The field and working varieties in the US and Canada are overwhelmingly dark gold or red in color. This was the same for our show varieties until relatively recently.