PIONEER HISTORY OF
John Henry Gordon (1826 – 1868) &
Hannah Hudson (1826 – 1900)
Files of: Erma P. Gordon Anderson (additions by Joe Anderson)
Joe Anderson: A great great grandson
John Henry Gordon
Born: 11 Feb 1826, Bishopwearmouth (Sunderland), Durham, (Tyne and Wear), England
Christening: 11 Mar 1827, Bishopwearmouth, Durham, England
Baptized: 1 Apr 1850
Died: about mid 1868, Blackfoot, Idaho
Married: 21 Mar 1848 at Witton Gilbert, Durham, England
Born: 1 Aug 1826, Barlow, Durham, England
Christening 31 Aug 1826, Barlow, Durham, England
Baptized: 19 Apr 1852
Died: 8 May 1900, Lehi, Utah Co., Utah
Bishopwearmouth is an area in Sunderland, North East England.
Bishopwearmouth was one of the original three settlements on the banks of the river Wear that merged
to form modern Sunderland. The settlement was formed in 930 when Athelstan of England granted the
lands to the Bishop of Durham. The settlement on the opposite side of the river, Monkwearmouth, had
been founded 250 years earlier. The lands on the south-side of the river became known as
Bishopwearmouth, a parish that covered around twenty square miles, encompassing settlements such as
Ryhope and Silksworth - now part of the modern Sunderland urban area. Within the parish was another
Settlement, Sunderland, which was a small fishing port at the mouth of the river. Over the centuries, the
port would grow in both importance and size and in 1719 was made into parish independent from
Bishopwearmouth. In 1897, Bishopwearmouth, along with Monkwearmouth, officially became part of
Sunderland during 1835. The church of Bishopwearmouth, St. Michael's, became Sunderland Minster in
1998. Bishopwearmouth, retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishopwearmouth and
Born: 1 Aug 1826, Barlow, Durham, England
Barlow is a farming area located SW of Winlaton, Durham, England. Or slightly SW Newcastle upon
Tyne and NW of Sunderland. Primarily a rural agricultural and coal mining area. Sunderland to
Barlow 21 miles.
Hannah Hudson was christened 31 Aug 1828 at Ryton On Tyne, Durham, England. Ryton is about 3
miles north of Barlow.
Traditionally, Barlow, like Ryton, economy was built upon agriculture and coal mining. Some think that
coal-mining was taking place in the area as early as Roman times, however it was not until 1239 when
Henry III granted that coal may be mined outside the walls that mining became extensive. The
agriculture industry on Ryton was mixed and included both pastoral farming and arable farming.
The neighbouring village of Crawcrook is a nexus of coal mining nostalgia also. Remnants of several old
pits across Ryton and Crawcrook, including Emma, Clara and Addison can still be found. Within a
couple of hundred meters of both Crawcrook and Ryton main street there is rich countryside
John Henry Gordon and Hannah Hudson
Married: 21 Mar 1848 at Witton Gilbert, Durham, England
while living in N.E. England.
1- Frances Jane, born: 12 Dec 1848
at Castle Eden, Durham, England
2- Foster, born: 27 Nov 1850
at Castle Eden, Durham, England
3- Robert, born: 14 Mar 1853
at Sacriston, Durham, England
4- John Henry, born: 23 Sep 1855
at Castle Eden, Durham, England
Sunderland to Barlow = 21 miles
Sunderland to Castle Eden = 15.5 miles
Sunderland to Witton Gilbert = 16 miles
Sacriston and Witton Gilbert are 0.8 miles apart
John Hennry Gordon was a “Pitman” working in coal mines of Castle Eden and
The History of: John Henry Gordon & Hannah Hudson
Files of: Erma P. Gordon Anderson
John Henry was reported (family histories) to be stone mason.
On the Marriage License & Birth Certificates of his children, John Henry Gordon, is shown as being a
“Pitman” or” Coal Miner” and Castle Eden is referred to as Castle Eden Colliery (Coal Mine). Sacriston
was also primarily a coal mining town at this time.
i.e. coal miner, collier, pitman — someone who works in a coal mine
pitman: (Mining & Quarrying) Chiefly Scot and northern English a person who works down a mine, esp
a coal miner
Until 1872 all of the miners of Northumberland, Cumberland and Durham were employed under the
hated Bond system whereby they contracted their lives away each year (or each month from 1844 to
1864) to a 'Master' in return for a 'bounty' and little else of substance.
By the terms of the bond, under pain of a substantial penalty, they were obliged to submit to various fines
and conditions and to work continuously at one colliery for a whole year. The system was a kind of
legalized temporary serfdom. The colliery owner on his part gave no undertaking to furnish continuous
employment or indeed any employment at all.
After 1809 the annual Bond was usually entered into on/about April 5 when a colliery official read out
the rate of pay and the conditions available at the pit to the assembled workers and would-be workers.
Those who signed up were given a 'bounty' of 2s. 6d. (12.5 pence) to start work. The first few to sign up
were given extra money which was usually enough incentive to cause a stampede among the poverty-
stricken workforce to 'make their mark'.
John Henry Gordon and family emigration
Sometime between late 1855 and early 1860 John Henry, wife Hannah and 4 children; Frances, Foster,
Robert and John Henry left England, crossed the Atlantic in a sailing ship. It took them six weeks to
cross. They settled on a farm in Ohio, near where Columbus is now. They lived there awhile. Then went
on to Florence (Omaha) Nebraska and joined Captain Murdock's (1861) ox train and came to Utah.
INSERT: It is interesting to note that coal mining was a major industry in Ohio during the 1850’s 1860 and
on to the present day. John Henry Gordon, most likely found employment in the Ohio coal mines.
NOTE: Emigration – (Parents and children: Frances Jane, Foster, Robert and John Henry)
Son, John Henry, was born 23 Sept. 1855 at Castle Eden, Durham, England
and Son, Samuel, was born Oct 1861, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Between late 1855 and early 1860 the family emigrated from England to Utah. I have been unable to
officially find them aboard any ship or listed as being with any particular wagon train.
Family records say they were with the “Captain Murdock’s company”. Captain John Murdock was
captain of five wagon trains between 1861 and 1868. Since their son Samuel was born Oct 1861 in Salt
Lake City, Utah the family was with the 1861 Murdock wagon train.
1890 US Census
Over the kitchen table, it may be hard to remember dates from 30 year before.
According to 1890 Census,
Son, Foster Gordon: Lists Immigration year: 1859
Son, Robert Gordon: Lists Immigration year: 1863
Their brothers were born in SLC, Utah: Samuel (born 1861) and George (born 1863)
Civil War activity may have been a factor in the family decision to leave Ohio and move on to Salt Lake
City, Utah during 1961
November 6, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln, who had declared "Government cannot endure permanently half
slave, half free..." is elected president, the first Republican, receiving 180 of 303 possible electoral votes
and 40 percent of the popular vote.
December 20, 1860 - South Carolina secedes from the Union. Followed within two months by Mississippi,
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
January, 1861 The South Secedes: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana
Kansas admitted to the Union;
February 1 Texas seceded from the Union
February 9, 1861 - The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis, a West Point
graduate and former U.S. Army officer, as president.
March 4, 1861 - Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as 16th President of the United States of America.
April 12, 1861 - At 4:30 a.m. Confederates under Gen. Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon
Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War begins.
April 15, 1861 - President Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 militiamen, and summoning a
special session of Congress for July 4.
Robert E. Lee, son of a Revolutionary War hero, and a 25 year distinguished veteran of the United States
Army and former Superintendent of West Point, is offered command of the Union Army. Lee declines.
April 17, 1861 - Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and
North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy with a population of 9 million, including
nearly 4 million slaves. The Union will soon have 21 states and a population of over 20 million.
April 19, 1861 - President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports. For the
duration of the war the blockade limits the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war
against the industrialized North.
April 20, 1861 - Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army. "I cannot raise my
hand against my birthplace, my home, my children." Lee then goes to Richmond, Virginia, is offered
command of the military and naval forces of Virginia, and accepts.
July 4, 1861 - Lincoln, in a speech to Congress, states the war is..."a People's contest...a struggle for
maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the
condition of men..." The Congress authorizes a call for 500,000 men.
July 21, 1861 - The Union Army under Gen. Irvin McDowell suffers a defeat at Bull Run 25 miles
southwest of Washington. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. Jackson earns the nickname "Stonewall," as his
brigade resists Union attacks. Union troops fall back to Washington. President Lincoln realizes the war
will be long. "It's damned bad," he comments.
July 27, 1861 - President Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as Commander of the Department of the
Potomac, replacing McDowell.
McClellan tells his wife, "I find myself in a new and strange position here: President, cabinet, Gen. Scott,
and all deferring to me. By some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the
September 11, 1861 - President Lincoln revokes Gen. John C. Frémont's unauthorized military
proclamation of emancipation in Missouri. Later, the president relieves Gen. Frémont of his command
and replaces him with Gen. David Hunter.
November 1, 1861 - President Lincoln appoints McClellan as general-in-chief of all Union forces after the
resignation of the aged Winfield Scott. Lincoln tells McClellan, "...the supreme command of the Army
will entail a vast labor upon you." McClellan responds, "I can do it all."
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 John R. Murdock Company (1861)
NOTE: Ancestor Harriet Louisa Peacock’s sister, Emily Ellen Peacock & husband Thomas Smith, are listed
in the record as traveling with the 1861 Murdock Team.
Smith, Emily Ellen Peacock (18), Smith, Thomas (35). Smith, Sarah Ann (4)
John Henry Gordon and his family are not listed, in the above record, as traveling with this Company. There
is not an official roster. The site above (the historical record) list about 156 individuals. The Company had
about 50 wagons and about 18 people were assigned to each wagon which equals 900 people. So, it is not
unusual that many families are not listed in the available records.
John R. Murdock Company (1861)
Depart: SLC, Utah, 1 May 1861
Departure: Florence, Neb, 4 July 1861
Arrival Salt Lake Valley: Abt 10 September 1861
Company Information: This company consisted mostly of Scandinavian Saints from the ship "Monarch
of the Sea" when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Florence, Nebraska (now Omaha).
Trail Excerpt: Murdock, John Riggs
In the year 1861 I [John R. Murdock] was called," he says, "to take charge of a Church train consisting
of fifty wagons and as many drivers. There were four yoke of oxen to each wagon. It was our mission to
go down to the Missouri river and
bring emigrants to Utah. After
making our preparations, we started
(From SLC, Utah) about the first of
May, 1861. Grass was short;
consequently we had to use great
care in providing suitable food for
our teams, and to drive prudently
until the grass improved. Before
leaving Salt Lake City we loaded up
with flour and other provisions to
meet the needs of the emigrants with
whom we were to return. These
supplies we deposited at certain
points along the road, so that we
could use them on our return.
"It generally took about nine weeks to cross the plains. "Our first trip down," he says, "was without any
particular incident. We remained at the river a short time and then loaded the luggage of the emigrants
into our wagons. There were from sixteen to twenty persons, men, women, and children, assigned to each
wagon. Those who were old enough to walk were expected to do so the greater part of the way. They
would ride, occasionally, when the roads were good. I always appointed two men whose duty it was to
look after the passengers. It was certainly novel to see a train starting out with everything that could be
put into wagons and everything that could be tied to the outside, such as buckets, cans and all kinds of
cooking utensils. It reminded one of an old turkey with a brook of young ones keeping her company.
Generally there were about seven hundred passengers in one train. The organization was systematic and
complete. It consisted of a captain, an assistant, a chaplain, a quarter-master, hospital steward, a camp
guard, and a night guard for the stock. The chaplain took charge of the religious services, and we had
prayer night and morning. We also had a choir with its leader. The people were called together by means
of a bugle." The experiences of the emigrants were educational as well as fraternal. These attachments
resulted in life-long friendships.
Source of Trail Excerpt: Partially reproduce here, Full account at the link above.
Felt, Alma Elizabeth Mineer, Reminiscences, 2-4. (Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History
Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake
In 1861, father and mother sold our lovely home and came to Utah. The train which came to get us was
made up of independent teams, under the direction of Captain Murdock. We started on our long journey
from Omaha with eighty wagons in our train. There were three ox teams pulling each covered wagon.
There were three families using our wagon, so you see it was loaded to the bows with their equipment,
baggage and clothing, and it was necessary for us all to walk all the way—men, women and children. We
made the trip from Omaha through the Perpetual Migrating Fund, and my brother afterward paid our
expenses to this fund.
One woman with our wagon had a baby
very sick with summer complaint, and
she had to ride with the baby all the
way. The baby died one day, and they
dug a little grave at night by our wagon,
put a sheet around her thin little body
and laid her in the grave. We did not
have any box to put her in, and had to
bury her that way. When the dirt was
put on her, the mother just cried as
though her heart would break. We all
cried because we could never see that
I had to walk all the way across the plains because our wagons were loaded to the bows. Our kettles and
utensils hung from the back of the wagons. After walking all day we had our suppers, which consisted of
hard bread, a little bacon, and a little coffee. When the tired oxen had eaten their suppers we put all our
wagons in one round ring, then we put the oxen inside this ring so the Indians would not steal them.
Our shoes wore out on the way, and we continued bare-foot. Our clothes were ragged and in ribbons. We
looked like Indians as we came to the end of our journey. We stopped occasionally at the banks of
streams and washed up…bathed and washed and dried our clothes. The entire trip was hot, dry and
dusty, with the terrific sun beating on our heads. The women wore sunbonnets and did the best they
could, but Mother often told me how she suffered with the heat. We could travel only ten or twelve miles
We used to sleep at night on the ground on the outside of the circle of wagons. For a long way we followed
the Platte River, crossing and recrossing it. This was a wide, shallow river, winding like a snake. When
the river was very shallow, the oxen pulled the wagons across and we rode. When it was deeper, the oxen
swam the stream, and the wagons were floated over by placing logs under them, the poles acting as an
improvised raft. When we came to the Green River, we had to cross on a ferry. This is the only ferry
crossing I remember. The ferry was pulled from one side of the river to the other by means of a heavy
rope stretched from one bank to the other. The wagons were pulled onto the platform and oxen and
wagons were slowly ferried across. When going through the Platte I can remember the heads of the oxen
bobbing in the water.
After three and one-half months walking over a hot desert, up the rugged hills and down the hills and
canyons, we finally came out of Emigration Canyon, dirty and ragged.
Of course to me, as a child, this had been a delightful pleasure jaunt, and I remember it only as fun. We
children would run along as happy as could be. My older sisters used to make rag dolls as they walked
along, for us little children to play with.
But to my mother this long hot journey, with all of us ragged and footsore at the end, and the arrival in
the valley of desert and sagebrush, must have been a heart-breaking contrast to the beautiful home she
had left in Sweden.
"The Immigration," Deseret News
[Weekly], 11 Sep. 1861, 156
Companies of the immigrating
Saints have been arriving at short
intervals for some days as we are
informed, but their arrival has
attracted so little attention that
our local reporter has not been
particularly interested in the
matter, at least if he has made
himself acquainted with the facts
he has not made report, and we
have had so many other matters to
see after during the last two
weeks, that we have not had time
nor opportunity to make the necessary enquiries to ascertain whether one, two three four or more
companies have come in, but we are of opinion that a majority of the independent companies have
arrived, and that the others will be here shortly.
Captains Murdock, Horne and Eldredge, with their companies are reported near at hand, and will be in
to-day or to-morrow. Captain Young, with the last of the Church trains, so called, is expected to arrive in
about ten days.
During 1867 John Gordon is referenced as one of the local people who contributed to the building of a
Community Court House in Tooele, Utah. Now utilized by Daughter of Utah Pioneers
Erected in 1867 as a County Court House
Active in construction were James Hammond, William Broad, Isaac Lee, W.C. Gollaher, John Gillespie,
George Atkin and John Gordon
The building was used for Court House, City Hall, and Amusement Center until 1941,
When the building was turned over to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers for
Use as an amusement and meeting hall.
Rock used in building was taken from Settlement Canyon in Tooele County
John Henry Gordon family in Utah
The family first settled in the [Salt Lake City] 10th Ward. Originally the Tenth Ward was bounded by
Sixth East on the west, the foothills on the east, Third South on the north and Sixth South on the south.
Their first winter in Utah they lived in a dugout, a cave dug into the side of the hill, with a canvas draped
over the opening to fend off the cold, wind, and snow.
After arriving in SLC, Utah, the following children were born:
#5- Samuel Gordon: Oct. 1861 Salt Lake City, Utah ONE MOTH AFTER ARRIVING IN SLC
#6- George Gordon:14 Mar 1863 Salt Lake City, Utah
#7- Minnie Gordon:16 Apr 1866 Salt Lake City, Utah
His parents: Foster Gordon (b: 1801) and Sarah Frances Hogg Gordon (b: 1805) emigrated in 1863.
Then they all moved to Hoytsville. John Henry and his father were stone masons by trade and built a
flour mill in Coalville.
The family then located in Clover, Utah and John Henry’s parents moved to Skull Valley, Utah as
caretakers at the Park Ranch. However, on 22 Oct 1865, they were both murdered at their home on the
Mr. Gordon supported his wife and family of seven children by working as a stone mason and freighting
with team and wagon from Salt Lake City to Butte, Montana.
He was a Ward Teacher and an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After getting his family settled, he bought a good team and wagon and started back across the plains by
way of the Oregon Trail. John was last heard of (1868) in Blackfoot, Idaho. It is thought he was killed by
Indians or some other foul way. It is said that he was perusing those who had killed his parents. While
skeletons were later found they were never able to identify any of them as being positively John Henry
Gordon. His team and wagon were found in Sacramento, California
It make no sense that John Henry may have been perusing those who murdered his parents and that he
was last heard from in Blackfoot, Idaho along the Oregon Trail and that his wagon was later found in
Sacramento, California. – OPINION The logical escape route from Skull Valley is west along the
Overland Express and Pony Express trail leading to Sacramento, California.
The wagon is found in Sacramento California. The road to Sacramento, California is via the Overland
Express and Pony Express trail (a long way from Blackfoot, Idaho). If John Henry Gordon was last seen
at Blackfoot, Idaho that means the wagon would have had to been driven through Salt Lake City,
through Tooele County, through Stockton and Clover where John Henry Gordon’s family and friends
lived. Someone would have seen the wagon and inquired as to why strangers had John Henry Gordon’s
wagon. This would have been a very dangerous proposition if the drivers were those who killed his
I believe the history could read: John Henry Gordon was perusing those who killed his parents in Skull
Valley. He was last heard from at Black Rock Station in Skull Valley along the Overland Express and
Pony Express trail on the way to Sacramento, California. While skeletons were later found they were
never able to identify any of them as being positively John Henry Gordon. His team and wagon were
later found in Sacramento, California.
Written by Jaromy Jessop Thursday,
12 January 2006
BLACK ROCK - PONY EXPRESS
As you leave Black Rock, rounding the
northern tip of the Black Rock Hills to
the south, you will enter a broad
seemingly lifeless valley. There is quite
an abundance of life in this valley
however, as you will see. Ahead across
the valley, rugged, treeless and almost
alien looking peaks rise from the playa.
This impossible-looking escarpment is
the Fish Springs range which
culminates in 8,524-foot George H.
News article in the Deseret News on 20 May 1868
Information Wanted—Hannah Gordon, of the 10th Ward of this city, is anxious to obtain information
concerning her husband, John Gordon, who left here for Montana in 1865. Any person who can give any
information concerning him, will confer a favor upon her by forwarding it.
Court Records 31 March 1869
Court case (Series 373, Reel Number 18, Box Number 13, Folder Number 087) has Hannah Hudson
Gordon as the plaintiff with John Gordon as the defendant in a divorce case.
Hannah Hudson married William Davis, later Divorced
Hannah Hudson married Lewis W. Irons – a next door neighbor in Clover, Utah.
CLOVER/RUSH VALLEY, UTAH
Probably the first store in Clover was in the home of Lewis Irons, who lived just below the hill east of
Johnson's Lane and south of West Park Lane. He had married the widow Hannah H. Gordon, who was the
mother of Foster Gordon.
Edwin Johnson remembered going to this store when he was a small boy. He said he particularly liked to go
there to buy candy when Mr. Irons, himself was tending the store, as-he was so good-natured and generous.
Sugar, bacon, candy and a few other items were sold in the store.
Foster Gordon is shown as living at # 13 on Johnson Lane next to the Irons Store
Hannah Hudson Gordon died 8 May 1900 at Lehi, Utah and was buried at Pleasant Grove, Utah
Find A Grave
John Henry Gordon Memorial# 115186214
Hannah Hudson Gordon Irons
Hannah Hudson Memorial# 114003
Your tombstone stands neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out on polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care. It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist. You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our heart contracts and beats a pulse entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled so many years ago.
Spreads out among the ones you left who would have loved you so.
I wonder as you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot and come to visit you.
Should anyone come across the following historical reference?
Ignore it. It does not pertain to these GORDON ancestors.
“Gordon, John H. and family, 1859, NA, James Brown, Deseret News Vol. 9 . 157 microfilm 26588”
Gordon, John H. and family, 1859, James Brown, Deseret News, 24 Aug 1859, Vol. 9, Pg 197
This is for: Gordon, John Hardingham (32) wife Gordon, Elizabeth Bell (31) and 3 children
This is NOT our ancestor: Gordon, John Henry
For more about coal mining communities in NE England mid 1800’s just enter “Castle Eden Colliery” in
your browser or click on the following links for some interesting history.
The following article: This article was written 40 to 50 years after John Henry Gordon and his family
lived and worked in the coal mines of Castle Eden and Sacriston in NE England. However it may give us
some flavor of life in these coal mining communities.