Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin Counties", published by Western Historical
Publishing Co., 1904.
JOSIAH E. VAN GORDON resides
five miles up the Columbia river from Pasco, where he has a ranch of sixty
acres. A portion of the farm is devoted to fruit raising and the
balance to general crops. He was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania,
on September 13, 1828, the son of John and Hannah (Swawger) Van Gordon,
natives of New Jersey and the Keystone State, respectively. When
Josiah was twelve years old, the parents came to Ohio, settling in Perry
county. Here he received a common school education and grew to manhood.
When twenty-eight years of age, he came west to Minnesota, taking a farm
in Becker county, near Detroit City, which he operated until 1881.
At that time, Mr. Van Gordon came on to Washington and for some time worked
for the Northern Pacific. While in the employ of this company, he
secured his present place in 1885 and since that time he has continued
on it, with the exception of four years, from 1890 to 1894, when he was
postmaster at Pasco. For two terms he has served as county commissioner
and also has been probate judge of this county. In 1861, Mr. Van
Gordon enlisted in the First Minnesota Battery of Light Artillery but on
account of being disabled in the battle of Shiloh, he was discharged.
In 1863, not to be cheated out of fighting for his county and defending
the stars and stripes against all assault, he re-enlisted in the Second
Minnesota Cavalry where he did excellent service until the close of the
Rebellion. During the Indian troubles of 1864, Mr. Van Gordon was
on the plains and knows what it is to fight the savages as well as to stand
in the fierce battles of modern warfare.
Following the war he returned to Minnesota
and there gave himself to farming until he came west to Washington.
In Minnesota, Becker county, he married Miss Alzoa A. Hazelton, who died
in 1900. The wedding occurred on August 17, 1856, and two children
have been born to this union: Boyd P., now farming in North Dakota; Jessie,
dwelling in Minnesota.
Mr. Van Gordon has traveled along life's
pilgrim way for nigh on to fourscore years and during all this long while,
he has shown remarkable fortitude in meeting and overcoming the difficulties
of the battles of life as he displayed bravery and fearlessness in fighting
the battles of his country. He is now enjoying the golden years of
his life in quiet retirement with a competence of this world's goods, being
also secure in the esteem and love of all who know him.