Gorden, Israel C.

Birth Name Gorden, Israel C.
Gender male
Age at Death 94 years, 6 months, 16 days


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth 1907-01-17 Indiana, USA Birth of Gorden, Israel  
Death 2001-08-02   Death of Gorden, Israel  


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Gorden, William Lafayette1871-05-201931-02-08
Mother Sinton, Minnie Laura1870-01-111963-05-10
    Sister     Gorden, Bernita 1901-10-14 1923-02-01
    Brother     Gorden, Thurl David 1903-07-23 1984-08-03
    Brother     Gorden, Emanuel G. 1905-08-03 1972-12-00
         Gorden, Israel C. 1907-01-17 2001-08-02


Family of Gorden, Israel C. and Nickler, Edwina Lucille

Married Wife Nickler, Edwina Lucille ( * 1906-04-21 + 2004-11-11 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage 1928-03-03 Elkhart, Elkhart, Indiana, USA Marriage of Gorden, Israel and Nickler, Edwina  
Name Birth Date Death Date
Gorden, Berneita Lucille
[Living], [Living]
Gorden, Robert Wayne
Gorden, Bruce Edwin1934-12-101983-06-00
Gorden, John Forest1936-02-062010


"...my younger years as a clergyman of the Church of the Brethren, as was my father Israel and his father, William, for whom I was named. That was before my beliefs evolved from religious to non-religious. I wrote a history for my two daughter titled 'Our Father Not In Heaven."

Courtesy of Gorden, [Private]


Written by one of Israel Gorden's children:

I never knew Grandfather Gorden for whom I was named. I was told that he had been a member of the Salvation Army when he first met Grandma. His father, Galacia, was the first white baby born in Michigan City, Indiana, a city located on the southern most tip of Lake Michigan and only a few miles from the Indiana-Michigan state line. Family history tells us that when Galacia was fighting for the north in the Civil War that his wife left him.
After he returned, while working at a lumber mill in Michigan, he took a Blackfoot Indian, named Mira, as his second wife. Whether Mira was Blackfoot is uncertain, but from her photograph in an old newspaper featuring the early beginnings of the city, it is certain that she was Indian. So I guess that a bit of Indian blood in me expressed itself at least in play. My Dad's Dad, William, died of blood poisoning before I was old enough to remember seeing him.
After mother and dad were married, they lived five miles from the city in the little village of Waterford, in the four-room house next to his parents. Mother told me many times that in the winter before I was a year old I had bronchial pneumonia and was not expected to live. She carried me about on a pillow and the church folks held a ceremony to anoint me with oil and pray for my recovery, a custom in keeping with New Testament teachings. My fever went down the night after that ceremony, she said, and that Doc Gilmore could not explain my over-night change for the better.
Grandma Gorden was very important in my early life. She was a little woman with a very round face and gray hair braided and twisted in a knot on the back of her head. She wore a gauze-like covering over her hair, as was the custom for women who were members of our church. She had a leg that would not bend. When she sat, she would lean forward with her leg straight out to the floor, or sometimes while in her rocking chair, it stretched out like a baton keeping time to a hymn she hummed.
So Grandma walked differently. I remember walking with her to a red brick building to make payments for grandpa's funeral for many years from the meager pay she earned as a pastry cook. Often as a child when I visited her, she was quilting. Her glasses were thick. She always wore a dark gray dress even when she went berry picking.
I loved to pick berries with Grandma and to go to her white clapboard house in which mom and dad lived when I was born. I gobble up bacon and scrambled eggs, homemade bread and doughnut balls she scooped from hot grease. She told stories while she quilted.
There was a small back porch to the back of her house. Our family, that was never really good about organizing our photographs, somewhere had a photo of a balding, somewhat chunky grandpa, seated on the edge of his porch, holding me as a baby. Grandma cared for her brother, blind Uncle George. I remember, he would sit on the porch and spit tobacco juice off the side into the grass. I can still smell that dark-brown spittle. I never talked much with Uncle George. His blindness seemed to cut him off from the world except for his radio. Most often where Grandma quilted, he sat in a corner with his ear close to his radio—one of the early GE makes shaped with an arch somewhat like church window.
A favorite story of Grandma was about when she lived in the small town of Sidney, not too far from North Manchester. She was thirty years old and was still single, perhaps because she was not sought after due to her stiff leg. One night she attended a Bible study and prayer meeting led by a captain in the Salvation Army.
“After the Bible study that evening,” Grandma said, “the captain from the Salvation Army asked everyone to kneel to pray.” He saw that Minnie Sinton, who one day would be my Grandmother, remained seated with head bowed. The captain asked, "Sister, don't you wish to pray?" She told him that she could not kneel with her stiff leg. Later that evening it was raining, and the Salvation Army captain invited Minnie to walk home under his umbrella.
He loaned Minnie the book In His Steps just before he was transferred to another town. Finding a way to return that book led to Minnie Sinton becoming Grandma Gorden. It was a book I read in my youth. Now decades later, after learning that faith doesn’t stand the test of reason, I can’t say I have the faith of my father or his father, but I do have the love for life they and my family gave me in my youth.