James Gordon


Twenty-seven years have been added to the cycle of the centuries since James Gordon passed away and yet there are many who remember with pleasure his sterling integrity, his many fine qualities of mind and character as well as the industry and enterprise which made him one of the valued and respected farmers of Allamakee county, where for twenty-one years he made his home. He was born in Ireland in 1840 and was brought to America by his parents when he was still a child. They settled in New York state, where they resided for a number of years, later returning to the Emerald isle, where both passed away. To their union were born three children, all of whom are now deceased.

James Gordon spent his childhood in the Empire state and after his marriage came west to Iowa, settling in 1865 in Allamakee county, where he purchased land in Iowa township, which he developed and improved for twenty-one years. By constantly following the most progressive methods and directing his labors along practical lines he made his farm productive and profitable and important as an element in the community resources. His long residence in this part of the state, dating from 1865 until the time of his death, made him very widely known and his sterling qualities gained him the good will and confidence of all with whom he was associated in business or social relations. He left to his family the priceless heritage of an untarnished name and to posterity an example that is well worthy of emulation. He passed away in 1886. He was a devout member at the Methodist Episcopal church and fraternally was connected with the V. A. S. He gave his political allegiance to the democratic party and took an active and intelligent interest in community affairs, supporting with his vote and influence any project which he believed would promote general progress and advancement.

Mr. Gordon married, in New York state, in 1863, Miss Mary A. Ferris, a daughter of Alvah and Phoebe Ferris, natives of that community. They emigrated to Iowa in the early ‘60s and settled in Allamakee county, where the father engaged in farming until his death in 1889. He had survived his wife for a number of years, her death having occurred in 1867. Of the eight children born to their union three still survive: Mary A., the widow of the subject of this review; Anna, the wife of Daniel McDonald, of New Albin; and Sylvester S., of Spencer, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon became the parents of four children: William J., who was born in 1867 and who now follows farming in Lansing township; Ida, who has passed away; Edward, whose birth occurred in 1871 and who now lives upon the homestead; and Jennie, the widow of John Jarvis. Mrs. Gordon survives her husband and is the proprietor of the homestead, consisting of one hundred and twenty acres of highly improved land, located two miles beyond New Albin. She has proved very capable in the management of her important affairs and is well known throughout this section of the state, where her circle of friends is almost coextensive with the circle of her acquaintances.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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