Descendants of Robert Gordon

(2) Robert GORDON (born between 1773 and 1785 - died 1854)

Robert was born between 1773 and 1785 (1884 seems most accurate). In 1850 census records, he indicated being from North Carolina; however, according to his sons in 1880 census records (1890 census records burned), Robert was born in either North Carolina or South Carolina. Yet another son James Madison Gordon indicates in the 1880 census that both his parents were from Kentucky, as does David Davidson Gordon in the 1900 census. Robert died in the late fall of 1854 near McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee.

In an interview between Gordon Quinn Hall and Robert's grandson Charles Henry Gordon in the 1930s, he states that his father William George Gordon was named after his grandfather, thus implying that his grandfather Robert Gordon was the son of a (1) William GORDON. He further stated that he believed the earlier Gordon family was in Philadelphia at the time of the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 because he possessed a small sword or dagger that was purchased commemorating the event and that was handed down to him as a family heirloom.

It is not known exactly when Robert Gordon came to Warren County Tennessee, though he is found in the 1804 / 05 Warren Co. Tax List, which also included two other Gordon families living next door to him, including James (1784-1820) and Elizabeth (Stockstill) Gordon (1788-1848) - who had 9 daughters and one son - and the family of John and Mary "Polly" (Black) Gordon. Both the James and John Gordon families came to Warren Co. from Madison Co. KY and are believed to be related to the Robert Gordon family because of their bordering land ownership in early plat records with numerous land transactions between each other. In early Madison Co. KY marriage records, we also find two Robert Gordons - one the son of a Samuel Gordon and who married to a Mary Kennedy in 1790 (who then moved to Giles Co. TN) and the other Robert to a Sarah Robertson in 1805 (this second couple may be our line).

According to Cathy Slaughter, who is a descendant of the above Polly Gordon, Samuel Black (c 1770-c1806) married Polly Gordon January 19, 1795 in Madison Co KY (possibly Milford township-). They lived a short while in Madison Co before about 1800 then moved to Roane Co. TN before Warren Co. She was a possible daughter of David G. Gordon, who was a bondsman at her wedding. Mary "Polly" Gordon Black was the first woman mentioned in Warren Co. records and lived for many years in a log house on an occupant claim lying on the south bank of the Barren Fork of the Collins River (TN Gen Land Grants BK B p 53 #884), where by 1803 "Polly Black's ford" was a well known landmark and crossing place on the river, which was a short distance SW of McMinnville and below the Old Annis Cotton Mills. On March 1, 1809, Polly was granted 200 acres of land in Warren Co. Sometime before February 1815 "Polly" married a John Gordon (not known if a relative) when on that date they sold 50 acres of her land to Henry Randolph. She died in McMinnville between the date of the deed she made with her 2nd husband John Gordon on February 2, 1815 and December 6, 1815 when he alone sold another 50 acres of her land to John Davis. She buried in the "old graveyard" on High Street in SW part of McMinnville on a hill above the river."

Yet another Pauline "Polly" Gordon married a Thomas Wilcher II. According to Cecile, Polly's grandparents moved from Amherst Co VA to Burke Co NC ca 1789, then to Burke Co NC and on into White, TN, part of which became Warren Co about 1807. Their son Thomas Wilcher II (Polly's father) was "probably born in Amherst Co VA." Pauline (Polly) Gordon was born between 1780-1790 (census records) and died in Warren Co after 1856. It appears that this was a somewhat rowdy family, always in legal squabbles with each other and outsiders. They also seem to have been wealthy.

Descendants of aforementioned James Gordon and Elizabeth Stockstill indicate that both may have been originally from Maryland.

When Robert Gordon came to Warren Co., he settled on the Barren Fork (north side) of the Collins River, near McMinnville. According to records from 1809, he had been assigned a North Carolina warrant for land in Warren Co. from a Samuel MCPHETERS (see also, McFeeters, McFeters and McPheeters). No relation with McPheters has been determined apart from this transaction; however, Samuel McPheters is found in White Co. TN between 1810 and 1817. Robert received from McPheters, two Perfect Tennessee Land Grants (both no. 3877 - one in the Mountain District and the other in the General District) for 200 acres each, given based upon the above North Carolina Warrant in 1809. Subsequently issued in 1812 and recorded in 1813.

He purchased from a James and William KLAM (possibly ELAM) a farm of 390 acres in the eleventh district located on the Baron Forks of the Collins River, near the old stagecoach road, which lead from McMinnville to Nashville. The following excerpt is taken from Goodspeed, History of Tennessee, Warren County: Among those who secured grants from North Carolina calling for lands in Warren County were Wm. Banton, P.W. Anderson, Robert Gordon....

This compilation comes from two lines of Robertfs children, George Washington Gordon and James Madison Gordon. Robert and his wife had the following eight children: William George (1810 - 1896), Martha "Patsy" (1813 - ), Isaac (1815 -1859), Sally (abt 1820 - ), James Madison (1828 - 1892), David "Davidson" (abt 1830 - 1910), Jane (abt 1835 - ) and Benjamin Franklin (1838 - ). All were born and raised in Warren Co. TN before eventually moving on to Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.

The fact that Robert was the father of at least his first five children is supported by DNA testing by third cousins Larry Gordon of New Mexico through Robert's son William George Gordon and T. A. Gordon of Oregon through Robert's son James Madison Gordon. Furthermore, DNA testing reveals that a William G. Gordon born in 1880 in Oran Missouri has matching DNA for 25-markers; although, a documented relationship has yet to be determined.

Details of Robert's wife(s) are unclear. In Robert's will, he mentions leaving his possessions to his wife Sarah in her "third marriage," implying that Robert was her second husband. Likewise, it may be implied that Robert married twice in accordance with census records, as his wife was the same age as he until the 1850 and 1860 census records, in which his wife's age is suddenly recorded as being in the range of up to twenty years younger (DOB abt 1800).

However, since Sarah was illiterate, the census info regarding her 1800 birth date may have been incorrect, and she could have had a birth date nearer Robert's age. Then the aforementioned Robert Gordon and Sarah Robertson that were married in Madison Co. KY in 1805 would place Sarah at the right age to have matriarch of the listed family.

Yet to be ruled out as a possibility - In the event that census records were correct, given that Robert's first son was born in 1810, it would be unlikely Sarah R. would be the mother of his children at 10 years of age. In this case, it may be presumed that he married twice and his second wife was a Sarah R. whom he married as early as the 1830s and up until 1850, just prior to his death. This would explain the five-year gap between Jane Gordon and David "Davidson" Gordon. It may be possible too that some or all three children after James Madison Gordon were from Sarah's previous marriage, then adopted by Robert. It is curious to note that Charles Henry Gordon (grandson of Robert) did not list Benjamin Gordon as a son in the 1930s interviews; thus, implying that perhaps Benjamin was possibly from Sarahfs previous marriage or maybe even a grandson.

Sarah died before September 26, 1866 and in county Chancellery minutes (3/540), a list of 10 heirs was posted publicly for non-residents during a suit involving Thos. Vaughn et als vs. James Walling and other heirs and devisees of Robert Gordon decd. . An enigma remains as to her entry in the 1870 Tax List, nearly 4 years after her death. The entry may have been in reference to heirs of her estate.

At the age of seventy years, being old, somewhat infirm and unable to attend to his ordinary affairs, he entered into an agreement or contract, as recorded in Warren County on September 23, 1843, with a John H. Hopkins, wherein Hopkins would gattend to the personal care and comfort of Robert Gordon during the balance of his natural life. That Robert Gordon was to turn this farm with all improvements and crops, consisting of corn, oats and tobacco. It further stated that Sarah Gordon, his wife, was occupying 200 acres of this land and living separately from him. He also kept the following slaves: Harlot (possibly Harriet) (age 36), Rose (age 18), Jack (age 11), Laurie (age 7), Mariah (age 4) and Margaret (age 2). By 1854, he lists just three slaves in his will: Harlot (age about 51), Juliet (age 9), and Sam (age 18).

It seems that this contract was not fulfilled, since in January of 1852, Robert Gordon made his Last Will and Testament and it was recorded in the county on December 4, 1854 with inventory. His son James Madison Gordon helped settle the estate, as his name is found on the will and he is found in Warren Co., as late as 1857, as an administrator for the will of John L. Byers.

Although it is not known whether related or not, also found in 1810s Warren Co. was a revolutionary war veteran Charles Gordon who was given a land grant for defending the citizens of Davidson Co TN during the late 1780s.

Living with Robert Gordon in the 1812 Tax List was a John Jr. Gordon, possibly the son of aforementioned John and Mary "Pollie" (Black) Gordon from Madison Co. KY.

There are a surprising number of land deals involving Gordons in Warren Co. and as late as the early 1900s, Robert's land was known throughout Warren County as the "Old Gordon Farm." Some time after Robert and Sarah's death, the Cummings family purchased the land, which was located on the border with Cannon County. Neither the exact location of his farm is known nor is the location of both Robert and Sarahfs graves.

It is the opinion of local certified genealogist Mary Barnes that all three Gordons families (James and John Gordon families) of Warren County were related and that Robert Gordon moved with them from Madison Co KY. She further stated that after Madison Co. KY, the James and John Gordon families lived briefly in Roane Co. TN. Prior to Madison Co. KY, she believes that the Gordons may have come from Rowan and Iredell Counties in North Carolina. Samuel Black and Mary Gordon went from Madison Co., KY to Roane Co., and into Warren Co., TN. In Roane Co., TN., there were also the Vaughns, Blacks, (from Warren Co TN Deeds) Jas. R. Rogers, father of John Rogers & Alexander Stewart. Other Gordons in Roane Co. were George & James Gordon.

Related and probable allied Warren Co. families include Black, Byars / Byers, Durley, Elam, Glascock, Harris, Hopkins, Kersey, Menny, Pace, Paris, Robertson/Robertson, Rogers / Rodgers, Romjue, Stockstill / Stogsdill, Vaughns / Vaughan, Ward, Wallen / Walling, Wilchers