The 1851 census for Kirkmabreck Parish lists James Gordon, aged 80 years, at a house called Thornybrock at Kirkbride, near Carsluith. He was a retired farmer born in Kirkmabreck. Residing with him is his 60 year old wife Jane, born in Penninghame Parish, Wigtownshire. One of their sons, Peter, emigrated to America and became a successful farmer in Knox County, Illinois. While there, he married Mary Ann McDowall Tait, who according to the IGI was also born in Kirkmabreck Parish. This is their story.  [Note: This article only touches on the relationship between Knox County and the Kirkmabreck area. Other families including McCornack, Scott and McConchie from Creetown also went there about the same time.]

Peter Gordon of Creetown and Knox County, Illinois

Peter Gordon. Knox County is the abiding place of many citizens who, for innate worth and native force of character, are a credit to her, and prominent among these may be found the gentleman of whom we write, a retired farmer, living on section 12, of Copley Township. He stands high in the community as a man of solid and substantial character, and holds different offices in his township, having been Road Commissioner for some length of time, and is a School Director, laboring faithfully in the interests of education.

Mr. Gordon was born in Creetown, Scotland, May 19, 1819. His parents were James and Jane (Heron) Gordon, both of Scotland. They were farmers by occupation, and their family consisted of four children — Peter, Margaret, Alex, and David. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon died in 1854 and 1857 respectively. The subject of our narrative spent the years of his life up to his majority on the home farm, and attended school. In 1840 he emigrated to America with the high hopes and eager ambition of early youth, with the one idea of making himself a name and a home. Landing in New York, he came by the way of the lakes to Chicago. From that city he came to Knox County and settled on section 10, of Copley Township. Here he purchased 40 acres of prairie land, on which he built a log house 16 x 20 feet, and there lived for six years. To his first purchase he added by degrees 560 acres, and continued to reside on this until 1885. He has at the present time 890 acres of land, and has given to his four children 160 acres each. In 1885 he built a handsome residence in Victoria, where he now lives.

He was married March 1, 1845, to Mary Ann McDowell Tait, who was born Jan. 24, 1814. She is the daughter of John and Anna (Livingston) McDowell, natives of Scotland. Her father came to America in 1839, and settled in Copley Township, on section 14. In 1867 he died, the mother having preceded him in 1824, taking her departure from this life in Scotland.

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon have a family of six children, four of whom are living — James, Elizabeth M., Alexander H. and Albinus N. James married Margaret McQuarrie; Elizabeth M. is the wife of William Robson, and is the mother of one child, named Percy E. ; Alexander is the husband of Mary Olmsted, and they have four children, as follows: Arthur, Lizzie E., John H. and James P.; Albinus N. married Miss Emma Smith, who has borne him two children — Peter T. and Leroy S.

Mrs. Gordon by her first marriage had a family of four sons, namely, John, William F., Peter G. and Houston P. These have all acted nobly in defense of their country, enlisting in the War of the Rebellion in 1862, and giving all they had to give in that noble cause. Peter G., who had become Lieutenant, was killed at the battle of Nashville; John was wounded at Dallas and died at Chattanooga, from the effects of his wounds; the other two returned to their home when the war was over, with gratitude for the boon of their lives, but with sadness for the two who had perished in the great struggle which robbed so many households of husband or father, brother or son. The four brothers all enlisted in Co. G, 89th Ill. Vol. Inf; Col. Hotchkiss was the commander.

Mr. William Tait, the deceased husband of Mrs. Gordon, died in 1843, at his home on section 16, in Copley Township. William Tait, Jr., is a physician at Galesburg, and was married to Miss Rhoda Sperry, a native of Oneida County, N. Y. To them have been born two children, both living — May J. and Margaret M. Houston P. united in wedlock with Mary Levalley, a native of Knox County, and they are the parents of one child — Annie J.

Mr. Gordon is Republican in politics and an important factor in his community, and, with his wife, is a working member of the Presbyterian Church.

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