Genealogy Data Page 173 (Notes Pages)


Gordon, Powhatan (b. 15 NOV 1802, d. 29 JAN 1879)

Note: Powatan Gordon was a major in the Second Seminole War, when he served in the First Tennessee Mounted Militia. His life was saved when a roll-call book in his breast pocket stopped an Indian bullet. Among those under his command was the young Robert E. Lee. He had such respect for his enemy, the Seminole Chief Osceola, that he named one of his sons William Osceola, which is how that Indian name entered the family. My sister's middle name, to carry on the tradition, is also Osceola.

He was wounded again in the Mexican War. Tennessee troops, marching to Mexico, bivouacked on the shore of the Tennessee River at a spot they named Gordonsville in his honor. The town that developed there still bears that name. He was often addressed as colonel, but the title appears to have been honorific.

He farmed the land that his mother-in-law owned in Williamsport, Tennessee, on the Duck River, and lived in the fine house that she built there. He served in the Tennessee State Legislature in 1842 and again in 1845. He was quite swarthy and was often known, because of his appearence and his name, as "the Indian." In one of his legislative campaigns, when he was running against Col. Terry H. Cahal, who was very fair complected, and the Rev. Barclay Martin, the popular saying was that the voters could take their choice among "The white man, the preacher, and the Indian."

He ran for Congress in 1856 on the "Know-Nothing" ticket but was defeated.

He died in Bryan, Texas, while on a visit.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Bond
Title: Octavia Zollicoffer Bond, Family Chronicle and Kinship Book (1928)
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Historic Maury
Title: Historic Maury
Data:
Text: Letter written by Judge William Osceola Gordon to an unknown newspaper, May 2nd, 1907, and republished in Historic Maury, Vol. 28, 1992.
Given Name: Powhatan
Death: 29 JAN 1879 Bryan, Texas
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Coleman, Caroline Mary (b. 12 SEP 1809, d. 1887)
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: Caroline Mary
Death: 1887 Columbia, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Gordon, John (b. 15 JUL 1759, d. 16 JUN 1819)
Note: John Gordon, Captain of the Spies, was born in Virginia, near Fredericksburg, but little is known of his ancestry. That given in this genealogy is somewhat conjectural.

As with many others, he came west towards the end of the war and settled in Nashville when, as a contemporary observed, it contains "only two houses which, in true, merit that name; the rest are only huts that formerly served as a sort of fortification against Indian attacks."

John Gordon soon earned a reputation as an Indian fighter and was commissioned as a Captain of mounted Infantry by William Blount, territorial governor, in 1793. That commission is in my possession. By means unknown, he acquired property in Nashville, and operated as a merchant. I have a letter from a customer in Clarksville to him, ordering coffee and chocolate and asking for the latest news about an impending war between the Creek and Chickasaw Indians. The following year he would play an important role in the Nickajack Expedition against the Chickamauga Indians.

On July 11, 1795, Governor Blount made him a Justice of the Peace, a position of importance in those days, and the following year, when Tennessee became a state, he was appointed Postmaster of Nashville. It is possible that, in order to handle the mail, he acquired at this time the Gordon desk. It is a secretary desk, made of black walnut, that stands nearly eight and a half feet high. It has twenty-two pigeon holes, numerous drawers, and secret compartments. It has been in the family ever since, and I am the sixth generation to have the desk in my care. Judging from the style, it was made in Danville, Virginia, around 1760. Tradition has it that he acquired it from Timothy Demonbreun, a French-Canadian merchant who had migrated to Nashville at about the same time he did. It is a magnificent example of 18th-century Southern cabinetmaking.

As the Natchez Trace, a road that ran between Nashville and Natchez, Mississippi, became more important, John Gordon acquired the right to operate a ferry on the Duck River, which is crossed by the Trace, at the border of Hickman and Maury Counties, about fifty miles south of Nashville. In 1806 the state of Tennessee granted him 640 acres at this site and additional grants brought his land holdings in the area to 1514 acres. As early as 1802 Gordon was in business at what later became known as Gordon's Ferry, and in 1804 the future United States Senator Thomas Hart Benton, then still a boy, served as his clerk.

He maintained his interests in Nashville, however, including a 505-acre farm about two miles southwest of Nashville, near Stone Creek. That farm had a race track for testing the speed of horses. He apparently became overextended, however, and would lose this land to pay off debts. In 1812 he moved his family permanently to Gordon's Ferry and began building a house there in that year. The house survives and is now a National Historic Landmark and owned by the federal government.

When the War of 1812 broke out, the British and the Spanish began stirring up trouble along the frontier and the Creek War began in 1813 as a part of that conflict, Andrew Jackson, and old friend who knew Gordon's reputation as an Indian fighter at first hand, sent for him and Gordon agreed to serve provided he command a separate company of men to function as scouts, or spies, and that he report directly to Jackson. Jackson agreed to this and it was he who gave Gordon the title "Captain of the Spies." In this command, Gordon fought at Talladega and at the decisive battle of Horseshoe Bend.

In January, 1814, Jackson, heading for Fort Strother, was suddenly attacked and for awhile the outcome was in doubt. At the critical moment Gordon's company charged the enemy's left flank and turned it, causing the Indians to retreat in disorder. According to Jackson, "Capt Gordon who was in front at the head of the spies rushed to the fight, and entered into the pursuit, which was continued for two and a half miles with considerable slaughter." In fact, twenty-six Indians were left on the field.

Jackson during this operation was frequently plagued by short-term enlistments and the reluctance of the soldiers to continue fighting when not legally bound to. At one point, when many soldiers were preparing to depart his command, Jackson said, "If only two men will remain with me, I will never abandon this post."

Captain Gordon immediately stepped forward and said, "You have one, General, let us look if we can not find another." He then went around the camp and convinced 109 to remain with him and Jackson.

After the Battle of Horseshoe Bend smashed the power of the Creeks, Jackson sent Captain Gordon to Pensacola, then in Spanish hands and apparently heavily influenced by the British, with a warning to the Spanish governor to remain neutral. Gordon made his way alone through hundreds of miles of wilderness and possibly hostile Indians, interviewed the governor and reported back to Jackson that the British were indeed using Pensacola as a base. As a result, Jackson seized Pensacola in November of 1814, an action that later resulted in the battle of New Orleans.

Early in 1818, Jackson again asked Captain Gordon to undertake a diplomatic mission in Florida as part of the First Seminole War, which he did. But his long and arduous military service undermined his health and he died after returning to Gordon's Ferry, aged only 53.

During his many absences, Dolly Cross Gordon ran the establishment at Gordon's Ferry, as she would continue to do after his early death. A vital, remarkable woman, she matched her husband in abilities and reputation. There is no known portrait of John Gordon, but a miniature of Dolly Cross survives, in my possession.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Leach
Title: Douglas Edward Leach, Gordon of Gordon's Ferry (Tennessee Historical Qu
arterly, December 1959.)
arterly, December 1959.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Bond
Title: Octavia Zollicoffer Bond, Family Chronicle and Kinship Book (1928)
Given Name: John
Death: 16 JUN 1819 Gordon's Ferry, Tennessee
Change: Date: 17 Apr 2003

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Cross, Dorothea (Dolly) (b. 15 JUL 1779, d. 5 DEC 1859)
Note: Dolly Cross was a remarkable woman and every bit her husband partner as well as wife.

She out lived her husband by forty years, raising not only her own children but a number of orphans and strays and running the farm and businesses left to her. By the end of her life she was the matriarch of middle Tennessee, a revered and respected figure.

A miniature portrait of her is in my possession.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Bond
Title: Octavia Zollicoffer Bond, Family Chronicle and Kinship Book (1928)
Given Name: Dorothea (Dolly)
Death: 5 DEC 1859 Gordon's Ferry, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Cunningham, Alexander (b. 30 MAR 1798, d. 28 JUN 1878)
Note: Alexander Cunningham came south after his marriage and established a private bank and wholesale business in Nashville, Tennessee, which soon prospered. His house on Eighth Avenue in downtown Nashville was commandeered by the federal occupying troops as a headquarters during the Civil War under the command of General James A. Garfield, later President of the United States. In the 1960's, the site of the house was the scene of an early civil rights protest at the Black and White Cafe, where, its name notwithstanding, blacks were barred as customers.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Cunningham Family Bible
Title: Cunningham Family Bible
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Bond
Title: Octavia Zollicoffer Bond, Family Chronicle and Kinship Book (1928)
Given Name: Alexander
Death: 28 JUN 1878 Nashville, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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McClelland, Ann (b. 10 MAY 1799, d. 9 DEC 1880)
Note: Nothing is presently known of the ancestry of Ann McClelland other than the fact recorded in the Cunningham Family Bible that she was born in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is possible that she entered this country with her family through the port of Philadelphia, and passenger records should be searched. Her oldest son was named John M. Cuningham, which might indicate that her father was named John McClelland.

The family tradition is that as a strong Presbyterian she disapproved of her daughter marrying into the Episcopal Gordon family and refused to attend the wedding, rocking her disapproval upstairs during the ceremony.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Cunningham Family Bible
Title: Cunningham Family Bible
Given Name: Ann
Death: 9 DEC 1880 Nashville, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Coleman, Thomas (b. 30 JUN 1770, d. 15 NOV 1826)
Note: Thomas Coleman came to Maury County around 1809 to take up a grant of 5000 acres that had been given to his father-in-law. He built a fine house, still standing, and plantation near Williamsport, on the Duck River.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: Thomas
Death: 15 NOV 1826 Maury County, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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White, Clarissa (b. 22 JAN 1777, d. 13 JUL 1852)
Note: All but her last three children were born in North Carolina, before she and her husband crossed the mountains to Tennessee. It must have been quite a trek with wagons, slaves, children, and other settlers in tow, using only the most primitive of roads.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: Clarissa
Death: 13 JUL 1852 Maury County, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Coleman, Thomas (b. 12 SEP 1737, d. 25 APR 1810)
Given Name: Thomas
Death: 25 APR 1810
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Connolly, Elizabeth (b. )
Given Name: Elizabeth
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Maclin, Anna (b. ABT 1755, d. ABT 1789)
Given Name: Anna
Death: ABT 1789 Amelia County, Virginia
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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White, William (b. 1751, d. 1813)
Given Name: William
Death: 1813
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Maclin, William (b. ABT 1730, d. MAR 1803)
Note: William Maclin, known as Judge Maclin although the title was apparently honorific, was granted four hundred acres in Brunswick County, Virginia, the year he was married. In 1763 he inherited much acreage in Dinwiddie and other counties in Virginia from his father.

But immediately after the Revolutionary war, he moved to Nashville and became one of that city's earliest inhabitants and one of its major property owners. There are many documents dealing with his real estate transactions with family and others.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: William
Death: MAR 1803 Davidson County, Tennessee
Change: Date: 17 Apr 2003

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Clack, Sarah (b. 1731, d. BET 1803 AND 1807)
Note: Sarah Clack seems to have been "ancestor proud," and claimed her own descent from Pocahontas, although it is highly unlikely that this is true.

According to this theory, the wife of the Rev James Clack, her grandfather, was Jane Bolling, sister of John Bolling. He was the progenitor of the Red Bollings, those with the Pocahontas descent, so-called to distinguish them from the "White Bollings," the descendants of his half-siblings, who lack the descent.

The problem is that there is not a scintilla of corroborating evidence that there ever was a full sister of John Bolling named Jane or anything else. The vital records that would prove or disprove this claim are lost and it is altogether likely that the descendants of the Rev. James Clacxk will have to settle for a tantilizing possibility.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: Sarah
Death: BET 1803 AND 1807 Davidson County, Tennessee
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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White, Moses (b. ABT 1724, d. ABT 1785)
Given Name: Moses
Death: ABT 1785
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Coleman, Richard (b. )
Given Name: Richard
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Maclin, William (b. ABT 1710, d. ABT 1 MAY 1762)
Note: William Maclin was a large landowner with holdings in Surrey, Brunswick, Lunenburg, and Didwiddie Counties in Virginia. In his will he left seventeen slaves.

Surrey County seems to have been his principal abode and he owned the ferry at Swan's Point in that county, where the road from the west to Williamsburg crossed the James River.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: William
Death: ABT 1 MAY 1762 Surry County, Virginia
Change: Date: 17 Apr 2003

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[Sackfield], Sarah (b. , d. AFT 1762)
Note: The name of Sackfield as her maiden name is wholly conjectural, based on the fact that it became a common first name in both her son's and her daughter's families. But that is all that is known about her at the present.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: Sarah
Death: AFT 1762
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Clack, James (b. ABT 1690, d. 29 JUN 1757)
Note: James Clack lived the first half of his life in Gloucester County before moving west to Brunswick County prior to 1745. There he lived on his plantation near the county seat of Lawrenceville, in St. Andrew's Parish.

He must have been quite prosperous as he left thirty-seven slaves in his will, a considerable number for that time and place.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Clack
Title: Information from Randall Gene Clack, 1493 Greencastle Road, Mooresville
, IN 46158
, IN 46158
, IN 46158.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: James
Death: 29 JUN 1757 Near Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, Virginia
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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Sterling, Mary (b. 1699, d. ABT 1 MAY 1763)
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Clack
Title: Information from Randall Gene Clack, 1493 Greencastle Road, Mooresville
, IN 46158
, IN 46158
, IN 46158.
Source: (Individual)
Abbreviation: Ralph Gordon
Title: Ralph Gordon's genealogy of the Gordon family
Given Name: Mary
Death: ABT 1 MAY 1763 St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick County, Virginia
Change: Date: 9 Feb 2003

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