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This Land is Your Land  |  Woody Guthrie

 
         
     
  August 23, 2011  
         
         
         
 

To:

 

Descendants of Larry J. Gordon and Nedra C. Callender Gordon

 

 

 

 

 

Subject:

 

America’s Founding Citizens

 

     

 

Those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past
 with the future do not perform their duty to the world.

— Daniel Webster

 

"Cuimhnich air na daoine o'n d'thaining thu"  ~  Remember those from whom you are descended.

 

Your genealogy records may be the most valuable gift you ever receive from me, except for my role in giving you life itself.  Not a one of us would have ever been born were it not for the existence of every one of our ancestors.

 

Lois Robinson Dougherty, one of your distant Robinson ancestral relatives, understood the significance of ancestors lives to those of their descendants. She wrote:

 

You are all strong bridges from the dim past to the shadowy future. A human span.
So many of your seeds have been nurtured that your earthly immortality flows on in a mighty stream of humanity.
A long strong file, linking you with the ancient boundaries of the past,
projecting you into the limitless expanse of the future.
The bright-dull threads of your lives are interwoven forever into the changing fabric of your country.

 

Genealogical research has been my one of my avocations since 1990.  I have pursued false leads, been thrilled by successes, and had email contact with numerous distant cousins whom I did not know existed.

 

I have researched substantial additional information, particularly for Nedra’s ancestors, since providing you the printed genealogy material in 1998.  I have only identified a very few of your ancestors who were not in America prior to the American Revolution.  Therefore, nearly all of your ancestors were among America’s Founding Citizens.

 

Genealogy is more than just the discovery of ancestral lineage and names.  It is the study of world history on an ancestral basis.  The movements, locations, life styles and problems experienced by your ancestors during past generations and centuries are amazing.  The most interesting way to make history come alive is to understand the roles your ancestors played in it.  Genealogical research has made me feel like I have known many of your ancestors.

 

We are all products of all the genetic characteristics of all our ancestors, no matter how far removed.  Each of us is a part of a beautiful fabric interwoven with the generations of our ancestors who came before us.  Some of your ancestors died in battle, or were hanged or jailed, or beheaded, or were poisoned, or were killed being dragged by a horse, or died while traveling to or from one of the Crusades.  Had each such ancestor not reproduced prior to such an event, none of us would be here to read this.

 

Stephen  Vincent Benet  wrote: “Americans are always moving on.  The stream uncrossed, the promise still untried/The metal sleeping in the mountainside.”  Certainly, your ancestors were always moving on crossing oceans and rivers; seeking new promises and new lands, as well as metals in the hillsides.

 

Most families cannot trace their ancestors for more that two or three generations.  Among many interesting individuals, your ancestors include:

 
  • Pioneer New Mexicans in Bland, Cerrillos, Las Vegas and Springer.  James Hanson homesteaded on the upper Gallinas River, was a rancher, and was employed by the famous Montezuma Hotel near Las Vegas, NM at the time it attracted prominent guests from all over the world.  It was reputed that he made boots for the notorious Billy the Kid.  Belle Arnott Callender, delivered mail on horseback while living in the mining town of Bland, NM.  James Franklin Callender filed dozens of mining claims near the bustling mining town of Cerrillos, NM in 1879 and soon sold them at a significant profit. He built many of the original houses in the picturesque and historic mining town of Madrid, NM.  He and two others named the town "Madrid." Wayman Callender owned a building in Cerrillos that is now marked with a historic marker.
 
 
  • A number of plantation owners in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.  Researching their lives and movements from southern plantations makes it clear that the Civil War put an end to the plantation economy of the South.  Their lifestyles and property were indeed Gone with the Wind, causing them to migrate to Texas where they commenced their lives anew.  Your ancestral  McIntires, Thomases and Choates removed to the Republic of Texas in the 1830s.  The Gordons, Stewarts, Copelands, Thames, Littles, Wallings, and Mobleys were part of the southern plantation economy and moved to Texas to take advantage of the availability of land and commence a new way of life.  Subsequently, many descendants of these Texans participated in one of the Land Runs into Oklahoma Territory when opened to non-Indians for settlement;
 
 
  • Cherokees Champion Choate, born about 1763 in the Old Cherokee Nation (later Tennessee), and Julitha Pressley, whose husband William Henry Acridge was a Captain in the Confederate Cherokee Mounted Rifle Volunteers;
 
 
  • Several English emigrants who were granted land by the King James I of England, and established homes and plantations in Virginia in the early 1600s.  Three of these, British Captain Thomas Paulet, his daughter Marie Paulett and his eventual son-in-law British Colonel Francis Epps, immigrated to the Virginia Jamestown Colony, the oldest permanent English Colony in America.  Your descent from at least ten Sureties and Barons of the Magna, as well as English, Scottish, French, German, Frankish, and Spanish royalty, and even Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne is traced through Captain Paulet and/or Colonel Epps, as well as Colonel William Randolph.  Nedra and I found Captain Paulet’s name on a plaque at Old Jamestown as a member of the first Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619;
 
 
  • Several English emigrants who arrived in the early 1600s, including six members of the 102 “Mayflower” passengers who established Plymouth Colony in 1620.  William Bradford, who was elected Governor of Plymouth Colony, was among the six.  I have traced another of these pilgrims, Henry Sampson, back to a Domesday (Doomsday) Governor and Baron under King William the Conqueror of England in the late 1000s.  In 2002, Nedra and I visited Plymouth and toured the home of her ancestors John and Priscilla Alden in nearby Duxbury.  Priscilla’s parents and brother, along with 47 others, died the first winter in Plymouth.  Only 6 of the 29 women on the Mayflower, including your ancestor Priscilla Mullin Alden, survived the first winter.  John Alden was a cooper.  Priscilla Alden, alone among the women of Plymouth Colony, is remembered by name owing to a family legend and then published in embellished form by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “The Courtship of Miles Standish” in 1858 wherein Priscilla’s  alleged words “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” remain a part of  American folklore.
 
 
  • Other ancestral “Mayflower” passengers included Francis Cooke, Mary Chilton, James Chilton (died in Cape Cod Harbor), and Susanna Furner.  Ancestors William Bassett, and Elizabeth Tilden Bassett were aboard the “Fortune” in 1621, the 2nd ship to bring colonists from England.  Aboard the “Anne” in 1623, the 3rd ship to bring colonists to Plymouth Colony, were ancestors Ralph and Joyce Wallen, Jane Cooke, Experience Mitchell, Hester Mahieu and John Francis Sprague.
 
 
  • Many who participated in various early day Indian Wars along the east coast, including the War with the Weyanoke and Appomattox, the French and Indian Wars, the King Philip War; as well as the Revolutionary War (Colonists), the War of 1812, the Republic of Texas Militia, the Civil War (Confederacy), WW I, and WW II.
 


This genealogy is only a minuscule portion, the part that is easily traceable, of your ancestry. Had your ancestry not included several Barons of the Magna Charta and European royalty, there would be fewer records such as I have gathered.  But by such connections, we find that your ancestors made recorded history in areas that are now Scotland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Hungary and Germany.  Some were instrumental in the ebb and flow of battles, nations, art, education, religion and culture.

 

It should not be surprising that you are descended from such individuals as Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, King Alfred the Great of England, King William the Lion of Scotland, King William the Conqueror of England, King of Aragon Alphonso II, King of Castile Ferdinand I, King of Navarre Sancho III, Czar of Russia Saint Vladimir and scores of others.  Simple mathematics indicates that they each have huge numbers of descendants.  I easily found the names and titles of scores of other royal ancestors whom I have not included simply as a practical matter.

 

The intertwined marriages and relationships of your European royalty ancestors are fascinating.  You are eligible for membership in such groups as the Jamestown Society, John Alden Kindred, Society of Mayflower Descendants, Dames and Barons of the Magna Charta, Sons of Colonial New England, Confederacy groups, Sons of the Republic of Texas, Revolutionary War groups, First Families of the Twin Territories (Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory), the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States, and (perhaps most importantly) the Royal Society of Bastards!

 

It would be reverse snobbism to ignore the important personalities from whom you are descended, for they are just as much a part of you as are your ancestors who may have been farmers, artisans, carpenters, servants, tailors, and masons, but are more difficult to trace.  Some of the royalty were scoundrels, and the Catholic Church canonized a few others as Saints.

 

My Aunt Adelia Stewart Sallee, a Certified Genealogist, initially researched considerable genealogy on my Mother’s side.  Adelia traveled widely in England and in the South, visiting courthouses and studying records such as wills, probate records, censuses, births and marriages.  She also referenced various books including Ancestors and Descendants of Francis Epps of Virginia Vol. 1 and 2, Magna Charta by Wurts, Adventures of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607 – 1624/25, and A History of Kent.  Her research was proven and accepted by the Dames and Barons of the Magna Charta for membership.  Based on information from a noted British genealogist whom she hired, she established a direct connection to one of the Magna Charta Sureties.  This was confirmed by the Dames of the Magna Charta for membership.  I established that nine more of your ancestors were among the 25 Sureties of the Magna Charta.  Some of this was developed in Adelia’s genealogical manuscript Yea; I Have a Goodly Heritage, copies of which you have.  Her genealogy research made it easier to find substantial additional information regarding that line of your ancestors in the book Magna Charta by John S. Wurts.  I now have the above reference books that Adelia left for me.

 

I also have Mayflower Families 16 and 20, Francis Cooke of the Mayflower, The Plymouth Colony, and A Wallen/Walling Genealogy, Vol. 2, Wilder, that were helpful researching certain of Nedra’s ancestors, as well as some of mine.

 

I obtained information concerning the Gordons from my second cousin Zuleika Coker Cullers of Oklahoma, whose mother was Laura Gordon Coker, my Great Aunt.  You already have Laura’s interesting manuscript, Laura’s Story.  I received information regarding my father’s maternal line, Thomas, from my second cousin Homer Halverson, whose mother was Laura Thomas Halverson -- another Great Aunt.  You have previously received his manuscript, The Thomas Family History as Related to the Gordon Family, on the genealogy of the Thomas line.  I received interesting information from my second cousin, Leta Darcey Donohue, whose research connected the Gordon ancestry through the Wallings (Wallens) with other early 1600 English emigrants in the New England area including the Plymouth Colony.  Stewart Cousin, Paula Gregoire, has been most helpful regarding your Stewart line.  I have been in contact with distant cousins Tei Gordon and Margaret Witt exchanging and developing information about our mutual Colonial American and Scottish Gordon ancestors.  I have had a Y-DNA test as part of the Gordon Genealogy Project, and a Stewart cousin (Neal Stewart) has submitted a DNA sample.  Through the DNA Project, Tei Gordon has established that we are probably descended from the Croughly Gordons of Banffshire, Scotland.  I have received a fascinating manuscripts Laura's Story and Annie's Story, detailing the George Washington Gordon family journey by ox-drawn wagons into Oklahoma Territory.  And I located the online text of a book written in 1908 by L. B. Hill entitled A History of Oklahoma that devoted two pages to Great Grandfather George Washington Gordon, his wife Mary Mobley Gordon, and his father William George Gordon.  George Washington Gordon was an early settler in Indian Territory and later in Oklahoma Territory and was a leading and very successful Oklahoma citizen and farmer.

 

Nedra’s distant cousin Patti Vittoria supplied valuable information about the Callenders, and other information concerning Nedra’s Wright ancestors was furnished by another cousin.  More recently Nedra’s cousin Evan Wright has been accepted for membership in a number of ancestral groups thus proving the validity of my research on Nedra’s side.  Acridge descendant Darlene Buschow has provided extensive research on Confederate Captain William Henry Acridge, his wife Juletha Pressley, and their descendants and marriages.  Texas Genealogist Diane Kropp provided fascinating material regarding Richard R. McIntire and his family in the then Republic of Texas.

 

Stewart descendant Paula Gregoire has been most helpful regarding my Stewart ancestors, and has corrected some of my material.

 

I have used information from the internet with care, as there is considerable erroneous and conflicting information on the internet.

 

Genealogy research is a continuing journey rather than a destination, and I find new material every few weeks.

 

Please do not discard the photos and other inserts I sent for the May 11, 1998 version of family genealogy.

 

This material will educate younger family about their antecedents, preserve the past, restore the ancestors to living memory and ensure that future generations have pride in their ancestors and their roots.

 

I hope each of you will treasure the years of research conducted by numerous people, and ensure that the information is shared with future generations.  This will preserve the memories and history that are the very fabric of our family.

 

Our son Kent has been particularly helpful through his interest and his many hours of computer counseling and developing this family website, LarryJGordon.com.

 

 

     

Life ends, Love endures,

Larry Gordon (aka Dad, Granddad)