Gordon and the Families

Have you ever wondered why “Gordon” was called Gordon?  I had read about the Gordon family who settled near the town and have read a few stories about them.  Notations were that the town was named after them.  But few actual facts and documentation were found.
Several years ago I was skimming the “Darke County Genealogical Society, Kindling, Volume 36 No. 1 2017” and low and behold there was an article wrote about David Lair and his obit submitted by Gale Honeyman, local noted historian and genealogy fact person. 
Now, you may be wondering at this point what David Lair had to do with Gordon.  In reading his obit we find the following facts:  David Lair was born August 28, 1809.  He was married to Sarah Gordon, October 2, 1832.  They had 12 children.  The Lair’s moved from New Jersey to Darke County, OH in 1839 along with the Gordon’s when the country was almost a wilderness and settled on the land where the town of Gordon now stands.  He laid out the present town site in 1850 and named the town “Gordon” for his wife’s father.  Later the Lair’s moved to West Milton, Ohio.  On the 1857 map we see D. Lair with Lot number’s 31-45 on the east side of town and also numbers 12, 31 and 32.  In the business directory he is listed as a harness maker at the SE corner of Main and Perry which would be Lot #12. 
David Lair died March 2, 1906 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.  His wife was born 1814 and died 1894. 

One cannot tell the complete story without mentioning the Gordon family and history since we read about the naming of Gordon being from the “wife’s father” who was Phillip Gordon 1788-1857.  From the Greenville Advocate, Friday, April 28, 1967 we read Gordon’s name originally came from France and was pronounced Gourdon.  Due to troublesome times they fled to Scotland in the 12th century. In 1839 (Phillip and wife Elizabeth Harden Gordon) left Hunterdon County NJ and made their way to Ohio.  Journey required 22 days.  Neighbors were scarce, 25 miles to the nearest doctor.  Nearest mill was Peter Wert’s Mill at Ithaca.  Their house was heated by fire places and cooking done on cranes in the fireplaces and bread baked outside in ovens.  There children were brought up here on the farm and some are buried on the family cemetery on the farm which is located today at the outskirts at the southern end of Gordon.  At one time we read the first school sat near the cemetery and is on the earlier maps of Gordon.  The Baptist Church also sat on their farm.  These notes and following are from “The Gordons of Pitlurg and of America” found in the Gordon file at Garst which is under the Darke County Genealogical Society library. 

In the late 1850’s a railroad was surveyed and built near his farm and for his assistance the railroad gave them the railroad station near his farm and named it Gordon in appreciation.  (per “The Gordons of Pitlurg and American”)

Children of Phillip and Elizabeth who came to Ohio according to the diary were:  sons, Andrew and Henry.  Daughters Sarah Gordon Lair and Mary Gordon Karr.  However, we read in Phillips will dated September 19, 1857 the following names as heirs:  Wife Elizabeth, Franklin Gordon, Manda McLain, Sarah Lair, Mary Karr and Andrew Gordon.   

We could not find obits on Phillip or Elizabeth Gordon and only on Henry Gordon who died in 1914.  His obit list Franklin as his child along with three sisters.  (Arcanum newspapers April 30, 1914)

David Lair, husband of Sarah, kept a journal of the journey from New Jersey to Ohio.  Hence is where we find about their daily travels.  This complete record is in the AWTHS Reference Library under the “Gordon” family.  Also copies of the “Gordon and Karr Family Bible” records.

From the Gordon’s, the Karrs, the Bonhams, the Haides, the Lairs and MacLains were early settlers of this area.  Other family connected names are:  Markley’s, Elleman’s, Swank’s, Weisenbergers, Baker, Mattis, Hart, Falknor and Isenbarger. 

The Bonham’s, Karr’s, and Phillip and wife Elizabeth Gordon along with son Henry and wife are buried at the Gordon Cemetery.  Other Gordon’s, including Andrew and wife Sarah are buried at Ithaca Cemetery.  In other notes we have a record of the deeds on the Philip Gordon farm from Mike Stump and copies of some of the deeds which shows the past owners and dates.  The Gordon farm was located east of Gordon today on St. Rt. 722 and is section 36 NW qt.in Monroe Twp.  and also Twin Twp. Section 35 NE qt.  The farm was deeded by the President to Job Emmons in 1825.  Followed by Jonas Albright in 1820 (recorded); to Jacob Tillman 1833; and to Phillip Gordon in 1839.  The Gordon’s names are throughout the records up to 1934.  The family farm remained in the family for 100 years.  Original deed was for around 80 acres and Mike has the old parchment type or animal skin deed.  It survived a fire in the house along with some photos.  We have some photos of Phillip and his wife along with two of the daughters. 

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