Following is one of the Biographies and Stories which where gathered by Charles Sumner McKamy in the 1950s for publication in a Crawford County History Book. Unfortunately he passed away before the book was published.

Gordons Pharmacy: On ______, 1954 Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence E. Gordon purchased the two-story brick building on the east side of the public square in Robinson, which has been occupied as a Pharmacy by the Gordon family, as tenants of the Hon. Alfred Jones and family for fifty-four years, which establishes a county record for a Land Lord-Tenant relationship, also making it the oldest Drug Store in Crawford County, as well as being the only Drug Store in the county operated by the same family for the longest period of time.

1954 marks the 55th Anniversary of the Gordon Pharmacy, which began business is 1899 with Elmer E. Gordon, the Father of Lawrence E., and Luther Heustis purchasing the Pearly Gordon Drug Store, who was a brother of Elmer E. Gordon, at that time located on the corner now occupied by the Thompson Drug Store. In 1900 a fire wiped out the entire south side of the Public Square and they moved their store to the present location, Mr. Heustis at the same time disposing of his interests in the business to his partner, Elmer E. Gordon.

Since the death of Mr. Gordon, in 19__ the business has been operated in partnership by his widow and his son, Lawrence E.

In celebration of their 55th Anniversary in business, a modernization program has been carried through, including new style open display cases and other modern improvements making the store one of the most up-to-date and complete Drug Stores in Southern Illinois.

To properly trace the history of Gordon's Pharmacy one should start back in the latter part of the nineteenth century, for its roots go back over sixty years.

One A. Grube owned a drug store in the 1880s at the present location of the Ro-Vel Shoe Store, as I remember it, I do remember, as a boy, seeing some patent medicines with the A. Grube label in our old stock.

Grube sold his stock to my uncle, Pearly E. Gordon, probably early in the 1890s. In the late 1890s, my uncle Pearly Gordon had to sell his drug store, because of ill health. It was bought as a business venture by Ruddell Brothers, neither of whom was a pharmacist. In those days, it was not so essential that a drug store be owned by a registered pharmacist, as there were very few prescriptions in Robinson in the early days.

Ruddell Brothers, (I remember one's name was Zal) owned a furniture store at the present location of the DeMoss Rexall store, and conducted an undertaking business in connection with the store, as was customary in those days, and still is in small communities.

After owning the drug store for a year or so, they sold it to my father, and Luther Huestis.

Thus on June 1, 1899, was formed the partnership of Gordon and Huestis.

In those days, one did not need to go to a college of pharmacy for four or five (or six, as in some states today) years to be eligible to take an examination to become a full registered pharmacist. My father took an extensive home correspondence course, and passed the state board of pharmacy examinations in 1899, after a suitable period of apprenticeship under his brother, P.E. Gordon.

Thus our store has been in the Gordon family for sixty odd years.

This was the humble beginning of Gordon's Pharmacy. It started with the two partners. During the oil boom, one drug clerk, and one fountain man were hired. Since then we have doubled the size of our store room, and increased the personnel until now we have two full time lady clerks, together with Helen and me, and six girls and two boys after school and on Saturdays.

At three o'clock of the beautiful Spring morning of April seventh, 1900, a fire broke out in the middle of the block on the South Side of the Square. It rapidly spread both directions, finally consuming the entire block, which of course included the newly acquired stock of Gordon and Huestis, which was located at the present location of Thompson's Drug Store.

Gordon and Huestis were wiped out after operating less than a year. They moved for a few months to the north-west corner of the square, at the present location of Ted's Used Furniture Store. Eventually they rented a location at #8 Douglas (on the East Side of the Square) from Alfred Hanby Jones, in 1900, where we have been ever since.

This began a most satisfactory landlord-tenant relationship between A.H. Jones (now deceased) and my father and me, and later between his grandson, A. Hanby Jones, and me, for over fifty years. On March 15, 1954, A.H. Jones sold the building to Lawrence E. and Helen A. Gordon.

On Jan. 7, 1903 Elmer E. Gordon purchased Huestis' half of the partnership and became the sole owner. The store remained in the name of Elmer E. Gordon until June 8, 1934, when a partnership was formed of Elmer E., Willametta, and Lawrence E. Forgon, to be known as Gordon's Pharmacy. On December 31, 1934, upon the death of my father the partnership consisted of my mother and myself, as it is today.

About the Author, Lawrence Ellsworth Gordon

The writer of this article, Lawrence Ellsworth Gordon, was born in Robinson, on November fifth, 1895, to Elmer Ellsworth and Willametta Gordon.

I was the elder of two sons. My brother Hugh B. died on Dec. 31, 1909, at the age of five.

I attended the Robinson grade schools. I graduated in 1913, a member of the first class to graduate who had attended their entire four years under the administration of the newly organized Robinson Township High School. We attended all but the last two months of our freshman year in the old south side (Lincoln) building, the high school occupying the badly crowded rooms upstairs. We moved to the new high school building in the Spring of 1910.

A few years after our graduation the new high school building which we had attended was completely destroyed by fire. The central building of the present group, was then built, and later, the burned building replaced by the west one of the present units, where the old auditorium and principal's office are located.

Due to the fact that I could not graduate from the college of my choice until I was twenty-one years of age, I took two years of post-graduate work at the high school, taking additional courses that I though would prove useful in later life.

I entered the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, Missouri, an independent, non-endowed college, graduating with high honors in 1917.

I was made a brother in the Masonic Lodge, taking my third degree, becoming a Master Mason on, or near, my twenty-first birthday.

In June 1919, I was united in marriage to Mildred Rachel Peterson, at that time residing in East St. Louis, Ill. with her parents John A. and Augusta Peterson.

Mildred Rachel Gordon was born in 1897 in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania to John Axel Ferdinand Peterson and Nora Esther Thurston Peterson. Her father, the eldest of twelve children immigrated with his parents from Ostergothland, Sweden was he was a small boy. He was the son of Peter John Lund Peterson and Albertina Christina Nelson Peterson.

Mildred Gordon's maternal grandparents were Thurstons living in Sunbury, Pa.

To this union of Lawrence E. and Mildred R. Gordon was born one son, Robert Lawrence Gordon in November 1924. Robert Gordon spent a freshman year in DePauw University at Greencastle, Ind. Transferring for his last three years to the College of Pharmacy of Purdue University, from which he graduated in 1942. He served on an L.S.T. in the Pacific, as communication officer, navigation, and finally as executive officer, with a lieutenant rating. Shortly before his discharge from the Navy while decommissioning his L.S.T. at Norfolk, he was married to Eugenie Bystrycki of Chicago. She has a degree in Hospital Pharmacy from the University of Illinois' College of Pharmacy in Chicago. She assists, as a registered pharmacist, in their store, Gordon's North Drug Store, in Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

They have three children, Gregory Peter, born in 1947, Marcia Gale, born in 1949, and Jan Stephen, born in 1953.

Mildred Gordon passed away in September 1949, after six years of illness.

In my capacity as fountain boy, junior clerk, manager, and finally partner, I have worked in Gordon's Pharmacy since 1906, just fifty years this year. I have been active, giving fulltime service since my graduation from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1917. This probably constitutes a record in Robinson for being the oldest merchant in terms of years of continuous service to the public. Our pharmacy is doubtless the oldest store in any category in the county, under the ownership of the same family, and definitely (to the best of my knowledge) the oldest drug store in this area, under the same family name.

In November 1950 I married Helen Aletha Sinclair Sims, daughter of Ira Oce, and Clara Alice (Thompson) Sinclair. At the time of our marriage, Helen was supervising two jobs, concurrently. She was Crawford County Public Health Nurse, employed by the Crawford County Tuberculosis Association and the Tuberculosis Sanatarium Board.

She has been very actively associated with me in Gordon's Pharmacy since Robert and Eugenie purchased their drug store in 1951.

Helen Gordon was born in Chrisman, Ill. She received her elementary education in Robinson, and other Crawford County schools, and was graduated from the South Bend, Ind. High School in 1925. She trained in Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, graduating in 1932. She was staff nurse in Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Ind., and did industrial nursing at Bendix Corp., South Bend. Later she went to Indiana University at Bloomington, Ind., and has a certificate in Public Nursing, in Illinois.

Her parents were both former teachers in the rural and city schools in Crawford County. Her father I.O. Sinclair taught in the Robinson, Flat Rock, and Palestine elementary schools, in the early nineteen twenties, moving thence to South Bend where he was employed by the Singer Sewing Machine Co. and later went into the real estate business, in South Bend. He managed the Ford agency a few years in Hutsonville, Ill. Before moving to South Bend.

He was the son of Henry Sinclair and Florence Ellen Burress Sinclair. He is a cousin of Lawrence S. Heath through a mutual grandmother Burress. He married Clara Thompson in 1905. Clara Thompson Sinclair's parents were James Riley and Clara Adeline Rich Thompson. They were Crawford County farmers in the Flat Rock area. They moved to Kansas for a few years where she was born, later moving back to the Flat Rock area. Helen's father was born on a farm in Sullivan County, Ind. She has a sister, Mrs. Raymond Kemper, of South Bend, Ind., and two brothers, Irl O. of South Bend, and Guy R. of Niangua, Mo. Helen was born in June 1907, at Chrisman, Ill., where her father was teaching.

I have been a member of the Masonic order for forty years, and am a member of the Eastern Star. I am an Elk and a Rotarian. I am very active in the affairs of the Methodist Church, being vice-president of the Board of Trustees, on the Official Board of the Church, vice-chairman of the Commission on Missions, program chairman of our Methodist Men. I am a member of the choir, and teach a Sunday School class of fifth graders. Helen teaches a Sunday School class of eighth graders. Together we are co-sponsors of our intermediate group of Methodist Youth Fellowship.

I am treasurer of the Merchant's Division of the Chamber of Commerce, and am on the Health and Safety, and the Finance Committees of the Boy Scouts. I am a past Chairman of the Deck (Youth Center) Council. We are both active in the work of the Illinois Pharmaceutical Association, and members of the National Association of Retail Druggists, and members of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Helen is registered as an Apprentice Pharmacist. I am a member of the Robinson Chamber of Commerce.

Helen Gordon is vice-president of the Robinson Woman's Club, a member of the executive board of the Robinson Business and Professional Woman's Club, a member of the Eastern Star lodge, treasurer of the Weslyan Guild of our church and still very active in her nursing contacts.

She is a member of the Executive Board of the Twefth District of the Illinois Nurses Association, and President of the Crawford County Graduate Registered Nurses Club. She is past president of the Crawford County Tuberculosis Association, on the board of directors of the local Salvation Army organization, and a licensed teacher of Red Cross courses in Home Nursing.

We are both usually active annually on fund raising projects, such as Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Cancer fund, and Community Concert Association.

Our hobbies are photography, good music, good books, rose culture, nature study, ....., and kids!

The first time that the Gordons appear in Crawford County history is in the 1830 census, the second taken in Illinois. At that time Crawford County included the entire eastern half of Illinois, which extended as far north as the Canadian border.

The name of John, Squire H., and Robert Gordon and their families appear in the 1830 census.

I find that in 1840 one William M. Gordon of Wayne County, near Richmond, Indiana, sold a parcel of land to one James Solon Smith of Crawford County, Ill. A.W. Gordon, Jon M.C. Gordon, George, Elender, and Mary Gordon, are all active in land transfers in the early 1850's.

In 1869, our branch of the Gordon clan moved out from Perry County, Ohio, just southwest of Zanesville, Ohio, to Crawford County, Illinois, buying their land from Charles Gordon, and other neighbors such as the Mitchells and Howes. They subsequently married into the Howe and Mitchell neighbor families. The purchases were for forty and eighty acre tracts, up and down the present Illinois state route One (formerly known as the "Range Road") from one-half mile south to one and one-half mile north of its intersection with route thirty-three, at the spot later to be known as Gordon Station.

Early in the twentieth century, I remember these lands being held by my grandfather, William T., his wife, (formerly Mary Mitchell), his brothers, Charles a farmer, Austin T. a farmer-surveyor, and his nephews, Lynn, Asbury, Theodore, Orin and Otho, all clustered around the afore-mentioned crossroads, the Gordon crossroads between the very early settlement of Palestine, near the Wabash River, four miles to the east, and St. Louis to the west, and between Evansville, Ind., and other points south, and Chicago to the north.

It is interesting to think that all the early settlers in northern Illinois, INCLUDING CHICAGO, had to pass through this settlement on their way to Palestine to the land office to file their claims.

The Gordon Methodist church is located on one of the old Gordon homesteads, the land having been donated by Charles Asbury Gordon, a brother of my grandfather, William. The Gordon post-office, active until the establishment of the rural free delivery, early in the twentieth century, was in the store of one of my father's cousins (in which my father worked in his early adult life). It stood across the road west from the church. Upon the discontinuance of the store, it was moved into the home of Orin L. Gordon, (son of Charles Asbury), just back of the church. Incidentally, in the late nineteenth century, Gordon was enough of a community that there was a Masonic lodge over the store.

I note in a January 1887 issue of the Argus that an Elder Gordon passed through Palestine on his way to the village of Sunrise (now non-existent) and Russellville to hold a week of services. So it is barely possible that we might have had a preacher in our family!

My father, Elmer Ellsworth Gordon, was born on February eighth, 1861, in Rehobeth, Perry County, Ohio, some twenty-odd miles southwest of Zanesville. He had two brothers. The elder, Gilbert P. married a Palestine girl, and early in their married life moved to Lawrenceville. One of their two sons was Dr. Ralph Gordon of Lawrenceville. Gilbert Gordon was listed in the 1870 census as an artist. The younger brother, Pearly E. Gordon, was city clerk of Robinson in the late 1870's, later he was a druggist, on the south side of the square, under whom my father studied, and whose stock, my father and Luther Huestis, purchased in 1899. Pearly, was the father of, among other children, Lura Gordon, who lived until her death, at their home on N. Rector Ave. North Rector was named after her maternal grandfather James Rector. Pearly, and later Lura Gordon, owned the store building just north of ours, now owned by Irving Rosenfield, of the Hollywood Shop.

My father had two sisters, Mary A. who married Sylvanus Howe, whose family was one of the neighbors of Gordons who moved out here in 1869. Sylvanus and Mary Howe had seven children, Cliff (of Chicago), Irvin, Gordon, Verna (Apple) all of Robinson, and all deceased, and Lillard (Mrs. Henry Perrin) of Arkansas, Elmer of Robinson and Palmer of Indianapolis, all still living. The other sister was Emeline J. who married George Everett McQueen. They were the parents of Ferd and Ralph of this city, and Roscoe of Hutsonville, as well as a daughter, Georgia Welton, residing in Kansas.

My father's mother died in Ohio, when he was very young. Her maiden name was Bugh. Later he married Caroline E. Gordon in Ohio, and moved to Illinois with her, and their family. His third wife was Mary Mitchell, daughter of one of his early neighbors in Illinois. Her family owned land in the Gordon settlement. He retired to Robinson where he died at his home at 404 E. Plum St. December 1904 at the age of eighty-four. Mary Gordon died in 1913 at the age of eighty-six.

My father Elmer Ellsworth Gordon moved to Illinois with his family in 1870. His father was a farmer and carpenter, building many of the older barns of his neighborhood. Elmer E. taught in the rural schools, mostly in the south-east part of the county for some fifteen years. He clerked in his cousin's store at the Gordon crossroads, while the cousin drove a huckster wagon over the county. He read law in the office of John C. Maxwell, passed the bar examination, and practiced for two years. He was defeated by one vote, by Joseph McHatton, for the office of states attorney. He often said that that was the best thing that ever happened to him. It saved him from being a politician! In the late years of the nineteenth century he clerked for his brother Pearly, later for Ruddell Brothers, in the drug store which he and Luther Huestis eventually purchased.

He received his higher education in Merom College, at Merom, Indiana.

My mother, Williametta Gordon, is the daughter of Harvey Carpenter and Mary Morrow Brigham. Her father H.C. Brigham was an uncle of Luther H. Brigham who owned and operated a butcher shop in Robinson, from 1879 to 1932. Harvey C. Brigham, and family moved to Robinson, in 1865. Together with "Gitch" Rutherford, my grandfather alternately rode, and walked, driving a flock of sheep the 350 miles from his former farm home near Hartford, Ohio, some twenty-five miles south-east of Columbus, Ohio.

They bought a farm some eight miles south-west of Robinson, north of the so-called Big Brick School. (There were three so-called "brick schools" in Crawford County, in the late nineteenth century, ----one "Brick", north-east of Palestine, "Little Brick" a mile west of Robinson, and "Big Brick", some eight or ten miles south-west of Robinson). He taught several terms at Big Brick school in the eighties. He frequently made trips to Indianapolis to sell sheep and hogs. Later they moved to a home on N. Rector Ave. where he had one of the early dairy herds of Robinson, establishing one of the earliest house to house milk routes. The first commercial "creamery" in Robinson was across the street from their home.

Harvey C. and Mary Morrow Brigham had two children, my mother, Williametta, and George Morrow Brigham. In the early 1890's Harvey and George M. Brigham moved to E. St. Louis, Ill., where they established themselves in the sheep business. They bought "seats" on the traders exchange in the National Stock Yards, leased pens from the stock yards commission, and bought sheep from the stock raisers of Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky. After grading them, they sold the sheep to the big commission houses, who in turn sold them to the packing houses of Amour, Swift, and Morris. George M. Brigham married Mattie Keith, a Kentuckian. They had no children. He died in E. St. Louis in 1928. His latter years were spent in the magazine subscription business, which he conducted from his home. His wife, Mattie Brigham died in 1935.

After his retirement from active business, my grandfather, Harvey C. Brigham moved to Robinson to live with my parents. He died in November 1924. My grandmother preceded him in death in 1915.

My mother was one of the early teachers in Crawford County, teaching two Spring terms, while in her teens, in the rural schools of Prairie and McCarty, and six years in the city schools of Robinson, some in a building just East of the Pontiac garage, now used as a dwelling, the balance in the original old Lincoln School, used at that time as a combination grade and high school. She graduated from Robinson High School, in 1885, one of five graduates, which included O.R. Hedden, and Luther Huestis, who later became a partner with her husband.

Her mother was Mary Morrow Brigham, born in 1843 at Johnstown, Ohio. Her father, James Morrow was born in Maryland, moving later to Lake George, south of Lake Champlain, N.Y., thence to Ohio, where they farmer in Fairfield County, south-east of Columbus.

Story Concerning Emeline Morrow

An interesting side-light in our early history

My grandmother Brigham's mother, Emeline Morrow married one Allen Williams. In 1877 they laid out the Allen Williams addition, two blocks, north from Oak St. and east from Lincoln, in the northeast part of town. (Lincoln St. angles into Rector Ave., just west of this addition. I note that in 1877 Rector Ave., was known as "the Marshall Road"). Just east of the Williams Addition, James Rector, father-in-law of my uncle Pearly Gordon, laid out the James Rector addition in 1876. This was at that time the location of the old Fair Ground, just between the Williams addition and the old cemetery. It is of especial interest to me as I lived during the early years of my life in a house at the south-west corner of this old Fair Ground. Just north of this Fair Ground were the brick kilns of George Walter, maternal grandfather of Bob Bonham.

My mother's grandmother Williams often told this story, which research indicated was well within the realm of possibility. She said that one of her ancestors (to be exact, her husband's grandfather, several times removed) was one of the judges who sentenced King Charles I of England to death, in Jan. 1649, being succeeded by the Oliver Cromwell Commonwealth. In 1660, upon the ascension of King Charles II, son of Charles I, to the throne, doubtless the advocates of the Cromwell regime had to flee the country.

Since New Haven, Conn., was settled in 1657, it is entirely probable that her story was true. Further we know that among those who fled to America in those troublous times in England, to seek religious, civil, and political freedom, was Roger William (just possibly an older relative). He arrived in 1631. He was the original advocate of religious freedom in America, and founded Providence, Rhode Island in 1636.

Whether true or not, it is any interesting bit of history to me.