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Robert Gordon Biography


This biography appears on page 1163 in "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. II (1904)

ROBERT GORDON, a well-known farmer and stock raiser of Yankton county, was born in northern Ireland on the 15th of September, 1833, his parents being John and Mary (Cane) Gordon, who spent their entire lives on the Emerald Isle, the father there devoting his energies to farming. In 1856 Mr. Gordon of this review came to the new world. He had been educated in his native country and he was trained to habits of industry and frugality. As a young man of twenty-three years he crossed the Atlantic and settled in Rhode Island, where he was first employed in a sugar refinery, occupying a position for four years. On the expiration of that period he removed to Lenawee county, Michigan, where he purchased forty acres of land, continuing its cultivation for four years. He next spent one summer upon a farm in Wisconsin and afterward removed to Porter county, Indiana, locating near Valparaiso. Twelve years covers the period of his connection with the farming interests of the Hoosier state and the year 1878 witnessed his arrival in South Dakota. He has since lived in this portion of the country and as the years have gone by he has gradually advanced until he now occupies an enviable position upon the plane of affluence. 

In 1856 Mr. Gordon was united in marriage to Miss A. J. Barnes, a daughter of David and Hannah (Speers) Barnes, who were natives of Scotland and spent their entire lives in the land of the hills and heather. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon have become the parents of eight children: John, who married Lucy Robinson and is a farmer; David, who is represented elsewhere in this work; James, who married Anna Barnes and is also engaged in farming; William, who wedded Mary Christopherson and is operating the home place; Mollie, the deceased wife of W. J. Mann, an agriculturist; and three, who have passed away. 

Mr. Gordon owns three hundred and twenty acres of rich land, of which one hundred acres is pasture land. He is a general farmer and also raises stock, handling Hereford cattle and Poland-China hogs, of a high grade. He has also bought and sold stock, having all of his farm products raised for this purpose. In his business he has prospered because of his unremitting diligence and his honorable methods. He is straightforward in all of his dealings and has never been known to take advantage of the necessities of his fellow men in any trade transaction. He has planted all of the trees upon his place and his splendidly developed property stands as a monument to his thrift and enterprise. For four years he lost all that he raised because of the grasshoppers and though many a man of less resolute spirit would have been utterly discouraged he continued in his labors, working diligently year after year until success has now crowned his labors. He is a member of the Congregational church and at all times his life has been in consistent harmony with his professions so that he is a gentleman of sterling worth, his name being synonymous with integrity.