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Early Days of John Gow
Tradition has it that the family came from Scrabster in Caithness.
John Gow was the son of William Gow and Margaret Calder from Caithness. In 1699, the Gow family moved to Stromness, in Orkney.
The family had moved around as they had only acquired the property in Wick, the previous year.
John was one year old at the time. He did have an elder sister, Anna Gow. In 1716, John is described as the eldest lawful son of William Gow, merchant, and his wife, Margaret Calder.
John Gow was brought up in Stromness and is said to have had some popularity among the girls of the town.
Gow was engaged at one time to Katherine Rorieson, the daughter of Baillie Rorieson of Thurso. The Baillie disapproved of the impending marriage and encouraged her to look on someone else. She married George Gibson, a Thurso merchant. On coming back from sea with bridal dresses, Gow was incensed to find her already married. While she would have gone off with him, he decided to turn his attentions elsewhere.
The story of Gow's piracy is picked up by Daniel Defoe on 3rd November 1724.