Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for Gordon-Kyle Family Papers, 1801-1861
Finding aid created by Philip Heslip, November 2009
Title: Gordon-Kyle family papers Creator: Gordon, Jeremiah Smith, 1829-1904, Gordon, Margaret Beatty Kyle, and Kyle, John Beatty Inclusive dates: 1801-1861 Extent: 257 items Abstract:
The Gordon-Kyle family papers contain the letters of two prominent Franklin County Pennsylvania families. The bulk of the collection centers around Reverend Jeremiah Smith Gordon, his wife, Margaret Beatty Kyle Gordon, and her brother John Beatty Kyle.
Language: The material is in English Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190 Phone: 734-764-2347 Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
Gordon-Kyle Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is organized into two primary series:
Series I: Gordon Papers
Subseries I: Jeremiah Smith Gordon Correspondence
Subseries II: Maggie Waddell Correspondence
Series II: Kyle Papers
Subseries I: Kyle Correspondence
Subseries II: Business Papers
Series III: Unattributed and Miscellaneous Correspondence and Receipts
Each series is ordered chronologically with undated items at the end.
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.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Gordon-Kyle family papers consist of 245 letters, 8 legal documents, and 4 receipts. The letters concern family life, Pennsylvania social life, church news, preaching and religious matters, education at Princeton and Mt Holyoke Female Seminary, and travel and relatives moving out of state.
The Jeremiah Smith Gordon Correspondence subseries contains approximately 140 letters sent to Gordon. He received letters from his father, Alexander; his siblings Martha J., Mattie, David, and Humphrey Fullerton; his cousins Maggie Waddell, Sade Waddell, and Marion Gordon; his aunt, Kiziah Gordon, and various friends and colleagues. These contain basic family updates regarding births, marriages, travel, education, sicknesses (mumps, chicken pox, cholera, scarlet fever, etc.), and deaths. The Maggie Waddell subseries contains 11 items addressed to Waddell, the cousin of Jeremiah Smith Gordon.
Occasionally, the family discusses anti-slavery issues. For example, Gordon's Father, Alexander, wrote "I still hope there is Christianity enough in our Country yet to save the ship of state from turning pirate or robber by reviving the slave trade" (October 24, 1856. Also of interest is an undated letter reporting on a meeting in Hagerstown where a slave was "dressed in a fine suit of uniform representing general Scott. Several of their men was so much disgusted they left their ranks and came out for Scott" (from A. Gordon, undated).
The early letters in the Kyle Correspondence subseries are addressed to Susan Kyle of Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania, from 1801-1820, and included one letter from her sister-in-law Anny Waugh, 4 letters from brother John Coulter, and one from friend John Hutchison. Also from this time are three business letters to John Kyle of Baltimore (1807-1811). The bulk of the subseries consists of letters to and from John B. Kyle and Margaret "Peggy" Beatty Kyle Gordon, including six letters from John Kyle to his mother and sister (1848-1852), five items from Glenn in Fannettsburg to "Peg" Margaret Beatty (1855-1857), and several undated letters to Margaret from an F. Boggs. The eight business papers (1856-1864) document loans, debts, and an estate inventory officiated by John B. Kyle.
The Unattributed Correspondence and Receipts series consists of 4 receipts and 5 letters to unknown recipients.
Franklin County (Pa.)
Inventories of decedents' estates--Pennsylvania.
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.
Newville (Cumberland County, Pa.)
Shady Grove (Pa.)
Trenton (N.J.) .
Willow Grove (Pa.)
Gordon, Humphrey Fullerton.
Gordon, Martha J.
Receipts (financial records)
Container / Location
Gordon family papers [series]
Jeremiah Smith Gordon correspondence [subseries]
August 17, 1837-December 22, 1849
February 5-November 30, 1850
December 2, 1850-May 5, 1851
May 7-December 19, 1851
February 7-July 26, 1852
September 2, 1852-March 3, 1853
March 30-August 2, 1853
August 14-November 23, 1853
February 4-August 5, 1854
August 23, 1854-July 5, 1855
July 21, 1855-April 29, 1856
May 1-October 30, 1856
November 1, 1856-June 19, 1857
June 24-October 27, 1857
October 11, 1858-March 27, 1866
Maggie Waddell correspondence [subseries]
April 7, 1856-February 4, 1861, and undated
Kyle family papers [series]
Kyle correspondence [subseries]
July 27, 1801-December 29, 1846
October 24, 1841-May 15, 1857
Kyle business papers [subseries]
Unattributed and miscellaneous correspondence and receipts [series]