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  • ID: I4254
  • Name: Joseph Nicholson GORDON
  • Surname: Gordon
  • Given Name: Joseph Nicholson
  • Prefix: Dr.
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 9 Oct 1775 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland
  • Death: 28 Apr 1849 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland
  • _UID: DEA98F6F9731D5118680EF90A100BA0B1E73
  • Note:
    1. Referred to as "Dr. Gordon" in the account of the Battle of Cauk's Creek.

    2. Clerk of the Court 1822-1845

    3. Tax Assessment for 1841

    Listed as residing at the Nicholson Hous on Queen Street (house built by John Nicholson, son of Joseph Nicholson)

    4. His wife purchased estate "Stepney" in 1822 from her second cousin Lemuel Wilmer.

    5. Joseph N. Gordon sold "Stepney" to his son James Frisby Gordon who resided there as early as 1841.

    6. From Mary Gordon -

    The first Joseph Nicholson, a doctor, was also a stock raiser. General Lafayette gave him a silver cup as a prize for the best jack at a mule show in the 1820s. The cup has been passed down to my husband.

    James Frisby Gordon was reported to be a fine horseman and back in his time in Chestertown, Maryland, horses were sent there for winter training. He used an old stopwatch that was passed down to his grandson, Frank Mewburn, that was lost or stolen when Frank and Minnie broke up housekeeping. It is said that James Frisby looked like the aristocrat that he was. He was a farmer and clerk of the court and it is said that the Gordon family held that clerkship for 100 years. He kept "open house" as there was no regula hotel in town then. Someone always met the boat when it came from Baltimore and any friends were invited to stay. His son said he knew when he had to sleep in the jury room at the Court House.

    When the "Whig" party got started, James Frisby lost out and the reason the family sold and moved to Washington, DC, and later to a farm in Howard County, Maryland. This was before the war and where Frank Mewburn was born. Ellicot City was the county seat. Frank Mewburn's father, Joseph Nicholson, was educated as a lawyer but he liked farming. There were two Episcopal Churches there, one in town and the other in the country. The country church where most of the aristocrats attended, was covered with ivy that came from England. They called it the "House of Lords." The town church was called "The House of Commons." The Gordon family attended the country church.

    This information is all in a letter Frank Mewburn wrote and he goes on to say: "In those days the country roads, in winter, were bad and if you did not live near the turnpike you remained at home part of the year. Most of the old-timers had fine carriages with their monograms on the doors, some with coat of arms, and did not want them messed up with that sticking clay. Many came horseback. A large shed was build back of the church to stable and feed the teams that came from a distance. Once a week was the only chance to get the "news" that did not appear in the papers. Those who did not come to church were out of luck. I remember early in 1870 most of the horses had a contagious disease and could not be used. Mules came to church hitched to those fine carriages, coachmen in livery. The mules did not take the disease. My grandfather (James Frisby) passed judgment on all the new horses that came there on Sunday. Someone else judged the crop samples or whatever else they had to brag on."

    There is also a story - I have no idea how true it is - that one of the old-time Gordon's was an Episcopal minister and filled his church on Sundays by building a race track behind his church and asking his congregation to come in the a.m. and see who had the fastest horse in the p.m.
  • Change Date: 11 Jan 2004 at 22:00:00

    Father: Charles GORDON b: 11 Dec 1721 in BinHall, Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
    Mother: Elizabeth NICHOLSON b: ABT 1740 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland

    Marriage 1 Mary FRISBY b: 3 Mar 1779 in Fairlee, Kent County, Maryland
    • Married: 1 Nov 1804 in Maryland
    • Note:
      1. Maryland Genealogies, Volume 1, Frisby Family, Page 463


      Tracing an Architectural Pedigree

      Simon Wilmer IV sold 100 acres of the family estate so Washington College could be built, and later served on its Board.
      In Historic Houses of Kent County, published this fall by the Historical Society of Kent County, Michael Bourne follows the lineage of Wilmer's Stepney-one of Kent County's earliest homes. Stepney and the College on the hill are depicted in a rare overmantel painting on permanent display on campus.

      The Rev. Simon Wilmer V purchased Stepney from Thomas Worrell in 1808, then sold it in 1818 to his youngest brother Lemuel. Lemuel sold the home as well as the lot left him by his father in 1822 to his second cousin Mary Frisby Gordon, the wife of Joseph N. Gordon (daughter of James and Ann Frisby of the Violet Farm; her great-grandfather was Simon II).
      Joseph Nicholson Gordon is referred to as "Dr. Gordon" in the account of the Battle of Caulk's Field. He was the Clerk of the Court between 1822-1845. In the Tax Assessment for 1841, Gordon is listed as residing at the Nicholson House on Queen Street. In that same year, he and his wife Mary sold Stepney to their son, James Frisby Gordon, who had resided there as early as 1841. In this deed Stepney is referred to as "commonly called White House."

      James F. Gordon and his wife Sarah Marie were responsible for constructing (Stepney).the three-story, five-bay brick structure on the east side of the old house. Its exterior was severely simple with a full length porch on its east facade. When constructed, the house had a low-pitched hip roof, with monitor in the center similar to Middle Plantation. In form it was also like Fairfield. Judging from the photograph taken around the turn of the century, the old rear wing was raised to two full stories, but built of frame. On the west end of the old building a three-bay, one-and-a-half story, frame wing was constructed, probably housing a kitchen and pantry.

      The interior of the new house was quite simple, with large proportions. The stairhall was nearly 12 feet wide, having a continuous railing from the carved newel post to the third floor. Its painted, tapered balusters were identical to those at Radcliffe Cross, but the latter are of natural tiger maple. When constructed, the north parlor had six windows, but two flanking the fireplace were later bricked up.

      James F. Gordon, like his father, had been Clerk of the Court (1851-56) for Kent County
    1. Has Children Ann Elizabeth Frisby GORDON b: 10 Aug 1803/1805 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland
    2. Has Children James Frisby GORDON b: 15 Sep 1807 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland
    3. Has No Children Charles GORDON b: 16 Dec 1808
    4. Has Children Caroline Rebecca Frisby GORDON
    5. Has No Children Richard Frisby GORDON b: ABT 5 May 1823 in White Hall, Maryland

    1. Title: From Mary Gordon -
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