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William Davis Gordon
Born November 26, 1854


It is with pleasure that we present to our readers the life history of William Davis Gordon, the second oldest merchant in Anamosa. For years he has here been connected with the dry goods trade and the record which he has made is most commendable. There has not been a single esoteric phase in his career, for he has governed his actions by the rules of strict and unswerving integrity as well as of unfaltering industry and progressiveness. His birth occurred in South Wales on the 26th of November, 1854.
His father, William I. Gordon, was a native of England, who became a resident of Wales and was there married to Miss Amelia Davis. In early life he crossed the Atlantic to America and resided for a time in Ohio. During the period of the Civil war he enlisted as a volunteer in the Fifth Ohio Infantry and remained at the front until 1863, when he received honorable discharge. During that period he had been captured at Harpers Ferry and was held as a prisoner of war at Belle Isle and at Andersonville, the rigors and hardships of his prison experience being such as to incapacitate him for further field duty. After his release from Andersonville he was sent to the hospital at Washington, where he remained for a few months and was finally discharged in the autumn of 1863. He then returned to England and twenty years afterward again came to America and resided in this country until his death, which occurred in 1899, when about sixty-seven years of age. His wife died in England in 1889 at the age of forty-nine years.
William D. Gordon arrived in the United States on the 2d of May, 1885. He had been educated in the schools of this country and of England, and following his return to America located in Anamosa, where he immediately established himself in business. His first location was in a little building where he carried a small stock of dry goods. The people of the community soon discovered that he was pleasant to deal with, that his business methods were reliable and that he carried a well selected line of goods. His trade therefore steadily increased and he accordingly enlarged his stock from year to year, eventually becoming one of the leading merchants in the county. There is now, with one exception, no merchant of Anamosa has been for a longer period continuously connected with its trade interests. His entire life has been connected with commercial pursuits. He served an apprenticeship in his native land between the ages of fifteen and eighteen years and has always found merchandising a congenial field of labor, wherein, as the result of his close application, industry and perseverance, he has won substantial success.
On the 22d of February, 1879, in the city of Manchester, England, Mr. Gordon was united in marriage to Miss Emily Puleston, a daughter of William and Jane (Thompson) Puleston, who were likewise natives of Manchester. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon is Emily A., who was born in Manchester. Mr. Gordon is a member of Anamosa Lodge, M.W.A., and Anamosa Lodge, NO. 263, A.0.U.W. He votes the republican ticket and in his religion belief is an Episcopalian. These associations indicate something of the nature of his interests and the principles which have governed his life, making him a man among men, loyal to high standard, so that he is honored and esteemed by his fellow townsmen and wherever he is known.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 124.

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