of Robert Gordon
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.
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....
comes from two lines of Robertfs 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
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).
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 Sarahfs 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 Sarahfs 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 &
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