GORDON, retired farmer, post-office Sandy Lake, was born May
23, 1813, in Venango County, Penn., to John and
Polly (Cooper) Gordon. The father was born in Westmoreland County,
and removed to Venango County in 1708. He had purchased land in that
county one year earlier. He died on this farm February 14, 1847, and his
wife died in 1819, the mother of Samuel, Margaret,
William, Nancy, John, Jane, John (2), James, Joseph, Robert C. and Josiah.
The father was married again, to Mary McMasters,
and by her he had Samuel and Rebecca. Mrs.
Gordon was the mother of five children by her union with Mr. McMasters: Isabella,
Margaret, Elizabeth, John and Mary. Joseph
Gordon came to Mercer County in the spring of 1837, and was the
father of John I. Gordon, of the Dispatch and
Republican. Robert E. Gordon came to the
county in 1853, and died February 4, 1856. William
Gordon settled for awhile in this county. The father of our subject
was auditor of Venango County three years, and also held other small
offices. He and wives were members of the Presbyterian Church, and helped
to build the church for that congregation, near his residence. James
Gordon was educated in the log cabin schools, and the first two
houses where he sought for information had no floors. The first work he
did for himself was to put in a crop for a neighbor. In December, 1834, he
began in the woods to clear up a farm. His father gave him a piece of
land, unimproved, and there was his beginning. He was married in 1836 to Charlotte
Smiley, born February 13, 1817, to Thomas and
Mary (Duffield) Smiley, natives of Pennsylvania, who were early
settlers of Venango County, and the parents of Armstrong,
William, James, John, Charlotte and Philip. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon
settled at their marriage in a cabin on a farm, and have gone through the
hardships that go to make up the life of the real pioneers. He was engaged
in the mercantile business at New Lebanon with his brother and James
Muse for about three years. He was also engaged in a steam mill
with the same parties. He also dealt in oil for a period. Mr. and Mrs.
Gordon had no children by their marriage but they have reared the
following persons: Mary A. Jewell, who
married D. C. Montague; Nancy L., daughter of
B. C. Gordon, she married Isaac
Suydam, of Glendora, Colo., and Joseph A.,
married Emma Smiley, lives in Nebraska.
During the time of the war Mr. Gordon raised flax, which sold at
large figures. He hired girls to pull and spread it and men to skutch it.
For many years after his marriage he and his wife made their own clothing.
He united with the Presbyterian Church at the age of twenty and his wife
at the age of seventeen years. He is a Republican, and one of the
respected citizens of Sandy Lake. Both he and wife died since the above
Mercer County, 1888, pages