MUSCATINE COUNTY IOWA|
Source: REGISTER OF OLD SETTLERS , BOOK One, page 458
submitted by Neal Carter, November 28, 2007
MUSCATINE’S OLDEST SETTLER
Dec 9, 1897 (hand written)
The oldest surviving settler in Muscatine has gone to the bourne from whence none return, in the death of Former Sheriff WILLIAM GORDON, who tranquilly expired at 8:45 o’clock yesterday morning. This honored pioneer who was longer and better known than perhaps any other early resident of this place will be sadly missed in the community where he was so long an active factor. For some time his health was broken, but not until a week ago was he forced to seek his couch at the home of his daughter, Mrs. M. L. Mikesell, at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut streets, the cause of his death being old age, his longevity being greater than that of most mortals. Mr. Gordon was born in Parish Grange, Bramffshire, Scotland, and attained the age of 83 years, 5 months and 7 days.
In early manhood he left his native heath, emigrating to America, and here he married Elizabeth H. Magoon, of Muscatine, Oct. 21, 1840. She died on August 8, 1872. They had five children -- Wm. A. Gordon, who died from wounds received at Shiloh in 1866; Clara, who died in January, 1863; Agnes Kincaid, wife of William Kincaid, who died in 1884; Addie M., wife of J. H. Munroe, and Mary E., wife of M. L. Mikesell. The latter two survive.
He came to Bloomington, now Muscatine, Sept. 28, 1836, when it had not to exceed 15 or 20 persons in the village. He had lived here for more than 61 years and saw the original population increase a thousand fold. When he came here he engaged in the carpenter business. He helped to build the first frame house in our town. It was the old tavern built for R. C. Kinney, on Front street. He also built the first frame store building, which was erected for Adam Ogilvie. He carried on the carpenter and building business successfully and built several large buildings. The main part of the present Commercial hotel was one of his contracts. He built several fine dwellings for his own use. The large brick on Mulberry street, near the end of the street car track, belonging to J. K. Miller, is one of them.
He was elected sheriff and held the office for six years, from 1856 to 1862. After the expiration of his term of office he engaged in his old occupation until his eyesight failed so much that he was compelled to stop. At an early day he joined Iowa Lodge No. 2 of Free Masons, and was an active member. When it became necessary to introduce Templary Masonry in the state of Iowa, T. S. Parvin, William Lefflingwell and William Gordon were sent to Chicago to get the work. There the orders were conferred on them by Apollo Commandery. They returned and organized our present De Molay Commandery No. 1.
Politically Mr. Gordon was a staunch uncompromising democrat, casting his first presidential ballot for President Van Buren. Religiously, like so many of his countrymen, he affiliated with the Presbyterian church, but was prevented from worshipping here in recent years by an affliction of the eyes which almost robbed him of his sight. The funeral is appointed to take place at 10 o’clock Saturday forenoon from the residence of M. L. Mikesell, at 318 Chestnut street.
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