Jeremiah Smith Gordon was born in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania, on August 18, 1829, to Alexander Gordon, Jr., (1803-1886) and Joanna Fullerton (1799-1849). Jeremiah Smith Gordon's siblings include: Martha J. Gordon (b. 1845), Matthew (Mattie) Gordon (1827-1883), David Fullerton Gordon (1825-1881), and Humphrey Fullerton Gordon (1832). His father's second wife was Nancy Waddell, who was related to Maggie Waddell and Sadie Waddell of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.
Gordon graduated from Princeton in 1852 and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1857. Once out of school, he returned to Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and became a Presbyterian minister. In 1860, Gordon married Mary Catherine Montgomery (1840-1864); they had two sons: James A. Gordon (b. 1861), who became a prominent minister in Ohio, and Robert Fullerton (b. 1864), who died soon after birth. Mary Gordon also died in 1864. Three years later, Gordon married his second wife, Margaret Beatty Kyle (1839-1923); they had six children: Mary Beatty (1869-1956), Clarence McCheyne (b. 1870), Clementine K. (b. 1872), John Kyle (b. c.1877), Donald Smith (1883-1899), and an un-named child who died at birth (1885). Jeremiah Smith Gordon died in Fannettsburg on March 25, 1904.
The Kyles came to America from Northern Ireland in the 18th century and became a prominent family in Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania. John B. Kyle was born in 1826 to David Kyle (b. 1807) and Mary Beatty (b. 1811). He had three siblings: Clementine, who married William McAllen; Margaret Beatty who married Jeremiah Smith Gordon; and David Waugh. John B. Kyle attended Princeton at the same time that Jeremiah Smith Gordon was there; Kyle graduated in 1852.