Tuesday, May 19, 2009

William Gordon

I didn't forget about the Journal Jar, it's just been crazy for us around here and will continue till schools out. This week alone I have: 2 nephews and a niece graduating from 8th grade (at three different schools), the twins graduating from hs and 2 weddings! Sheesh!

Okay about William Gordon. The Gordons arrived in Arizona sometime after 1875 (when their youngest daughter, Hattie was born in Nevada) and before 1878 (when their oldest daughter, Elizabeth was married in Phoenix). Settling in what is now called Gordon Canyon, in the Hell's Gate Wilderness near Payson. Then moving to Grapevine on the Upper Salt River, now under Roosevelt Lake. When their cabin got too small William donated it to be used as a school. The school was then donated to Pioneer Village (Living History Museum) in Phoenix, where it still stands today. The family eventually moved to Tempe.

A few book quotes about the Gordon Family:
"...gradually people realized that the days of Indian depredation were about done, and that Pleasant Valley again promised paradise. A few hardy individuals and families took the chance and did well. Then, word of the valley's seemingly inexhaustible grass and timber spread. Settlement accelerated. ... The Gordons came, froze out, and moved to a warmer clime, but their name remained on a canyon." (A Little War of Our Own, p. 33)

"Another gent of bad repute, Marion Bagley, oversaw a suspected rustlers' stronghold on the southern fringes of the Pleasant Valley country. The August 6, 1887 Arizona Sentinel of Yuma carried the paragraph: 'Marion Bagley, a noted horse thief in Maricopa County and surrounding counties, was shot and killed on upper Salt River by Deputy Sheriff Benbrook and posse on Monday last. Deputy John Benbrook notified Bagley who was resting on his cot at Gordon's ranch, that he had a warrant from Maricopa county for his arrest. Bagley immediately placed his hand on his six-shooter which was under the blanket when Benbrook and Bagley instantly fired. Benbrook received a slight flesh wound in the thumb of the left hand and Bagley fell forward and lived but two or three hours after the shooting.' The Gordon family, with whom Bagley was staying when shot, had tried to make a life under the Tonto Rim in what became known as Gordon Canyon, but cold years froze them out. They found warmer, lower altitude at Grapevine Springs on the upper Salt River. The Gordons may have been the unnamed but highly regarded benefactors of young Frederick Russell Burnham." (A Little War of Our Own, pgs. 116-117)

"The Burnham deputy. Two ambitious deputies attempted to attach the Gordon family cattle to settle a mercantile debt. One deputy dropped at the sound of a distant gunshot. '...the old man ... had trailed the deputies, and, with his long rifle, had killed his man at an astounding range of eight hundred yards.' The Gordons paid off the other deputy to cover up the killing of the officer. [A Little War of Our Own, p. 159 (quoting from Frederick Russell Burnham's book "Scouting on Two Continents," 1926.)]

I'll try to catch up on the other stories later. Maybe, when school is out.

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