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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Harvey Gordon ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Harvey Gordon
BORN: 14 May 1828 DIED: 3 Jul 1862 BURIED: 7 Jul 1862
ETHNICITY:   OCCUPATION:  Surveyor & Engineer; Editor & Publisher of the Statesman; Artistic Designer of Oregon State Seal
BIRTH PLACE:  Vernon, Jennings Co., Indiana
DEATH PLACE: Yoncalla, Umpqua Co., Oregon
MARRIAGE - Harvey Gordon md. to Sarah Victoria Stratton, 17 May 1855 in Douglas Co.; both formerly of Indiana. Oregon Statesman, 2 June 1855. 
1860 CENSUS shows the Gordon family as next door neighbors of Asahel Bush family: H. Gordon, (age 30) and S. Gordon, (age 25) both born in Indiana, S. (female, age 2) and L. (female, age 6 months). Elected Oregon State Printer but died before he could take office. 
IOOF Lot Owners Book shows that Harvey Gordon purchased from Leveridge; Lot #98 in July 1861 for $10. 
PROBATE - Harry Gordon, Died Intestate on July 3, 1862. R. E. Stratton of Lane Co. was Administrator. Heirs: Victoria S. Gordon, wife; Sarah infant child; Elen infant child. Reference to property in Linn County and City of Albany. Gordon also owned share in the Statesman Newspaper. Marion Co., Oregon Probate File #279: Gordon Minors. Guardianship of minor heirs of Harvey Gordon. Guardian: Riley E. Stratton apptd. Aug. 15, 1865; P. L. Willis apptd. Feb. 9, 1867. Sarah "Sallie" Gordon age 8 years and Ellen "Nellie" Gordon age 7 (ages as of Feb. 1867). Victoria S. Gordon, widow. Refers to DLC and property in Albany. Mother of minors married Andrew McCalley and was residing in Walla Walla when he became their guardian on the 18th of June 1873 (Sallie 15 & Nellie 13). 

By Elisabeth Walton Potter (published in the 2006 Friends of Pioneer Cemetery Annual Report)
Spotlight on Headstones
Harvey Gordon and the State Seal
Harvey Gordon is noted in Oregon history as the designer of the Oregon State Seal. Born in 1828 in Vernon, Indiana, the son of Hugh Gordon, he came at the age of 18 with his family to Oregon's Willamette Valley in 1846 via the southern immigrant route known as the Applegate Trail.
Gordon settled in Molalla, in Clackamas County, and worked as a surveyor before being lured to Califronia when gold was discovered there in 1848.  On returning from his profitable sojourn in the gold fields, he resumed his customary work and was attached to the Oregon land survey in 1853-54. In 1855 he was married to Sarah Victoria Stratton. The pair had two children, daughters Sarah and Ellen.  Harvey Gordon died in 1862 at Yoncalla, Douglas County, in the home of overland trail pioneer Jesse Applegate where he had been resting from an illness.
Following their marriage, Harvey and Sarah Victoria settled in Salem, where they lived near the territorial capitol, which burned shortly before its completion in December, 1855. 
The Constitutional Convention of 1857 directed a legistlative committee to propose a design for an Oregon seal. The emblem that Gordon offered was accepted, amended slightly, and officially adopted by the legislature as the seal of the State of Oregon after Oregon was admitted to the union in 1859.
In Indiana, Gordon's family had been neighbors of the family of Asahel Bush, founder of The Oregon Statesman, the capital city's newspaper. Harvey Gordon acquired a part interest in the paper after settling in Salem, and in the last year of his life server as principal editor and publisher. In 1862, Gordon had been elected State printer but died two months before he was to take office.
Gordon was buried in Salem's Odd Fellows Rural Cemetery, July 7, 1862 with Masonic rites. His headstone is embellished with carved imagery in high relief within a sunken field in the upper section of the tablet. The motif's are Masonic and consist of a keystone and circle of symbolic letters within a framing arch that signifies triumphal entry into heaven. In the center of the circular Masonic legend, under and all-seeing eye, are various icons including, from the territorial and state seals, a beaver and a bald eagle.

Report On the Burning of the [nearly completed] Capitol, Dec. 29th, 1855: 
HARVEY GORDON, being first duly sworn says that "On Saturday the 29th day of December, 1855, I assisted Mr. Hoyt the Librarian of the Territory, in labeling the books and hanging the maps in the library room at the State House, lately burned. I was well acquainted with the structure of the building. There was a hall or grand passage running through the body of the building north and south, above and below; the hall was near twenty feet wide; on the east of this the building was unfinished; had in it no flues or other thing which would originate fires; there was a quantity of cedar sawed lathing. In the west end below, was the Hall of Representatives, and above the Council chamber and library room. There were two stoves in the Hall of Representatives, each having a pipe passing directly up through the floor above; one into the Council chamber on the south end, and the other into the library room, on the north. These pipes or flues passed through thimbles of tin made apparently double with ventilated chambers, so that, in my judgement, the pipes might have been heated red hot without endangering the building by fire. I think these flues were as well protected as they could be. The stove pipes from the rooms in the second story passed into brick chimneys which conducted the smoke out of the roof, are perfectly safe. 
I left the building that day about 4 o’clock P. M. During the time that I was there we had no unusual fires in the stoves, and when I left, the fires in both sides of the building were low; nearly out. My residence is about eighty rods northwest of where the State House stood; the windows of my house looked out upon the State House; saw no light in the State House during the evening of the 29th December, was up until eleven o’clock in the evening; was out doors in full view of the building; saw no lights there at the time. When I left the building on the forenoon of the 29th, Mr. Earle, the door-keeper of Council was there. I am a surveyor and engineer by profession and generally observe closely the architectural design and execution of all building where I may happen to be." Signed: Harvey Gordon Ladd & Bush Annual of 1931, pg. 19-20. Quoted (but did not cite) Oregon Statesman of 4 Mar 1856, 1:3 & 1:4 

Harvey Gordon was the designer of the Oregon Seal, was born at Vernon, Indiana, the son of Hugh Gordon. He received public schooling in his native state, where he became a surveyor. In 1846 the family came by the Southern Route to the Willamette Valley, and after tarrying awhile on the lower Calapooya, took a land claim at the Molalla townsite in Clackamas Co. Here he worked for two years as surveyor, then went to the California gold fields. He returned with considerable money and resumed his work as surveyor and in 1853-54 was with the Oregon land survey. When the Constitutional Convention of 1857 authorized appointment of a committee "to report a device for the seal of the State of Oregon," he submitted to this body a design, which was presented and adopted with two slight additions; this seal remains in use today--designed by Harvey Gordon. In 1862 he ran for State printer and was elected, but died two months before he was to assume office. In 1855 he married Sarah Victoria Stratton. 
Dictionary of Oregon History p. 101 and H.R. Kincaid, Secretary of State Report, 1897-98:209. 

Article of Interest: EDITOR STATESMAN:-- Will the editor of the STATESMAN please tell us why the coat of arms of the state of Oregon bears date of 1857, and the seal of the state bears date of 1859, and oblige one who DON'T KNOW. In the first place, Oregon has no coat of arms. Nothing of the kind has ever been adopted. The original seal of the state of Oregon bears no date at all; but it was adopted on June 2d 1859 by the legislature - the first session after the administration of the state into the Union. The act went into effect ninety days thereafter, or September 2d, 1859. The Constitution of Oregon was adopted in 1857. The first copies of the seal stereotyped for printing bore the date of 1857. This was used generally, and by all the state printers, up to the time our present state printer, Hon. F.C. Baker, was installed. Mr. Baker corrected this mistake, or at least made the printed copies of the seal conform to the date it was adopted, by having new cuts made, bearing the date of 1859, and these have since been in use. The old copies also have the legend, "Great Seal of the State of Oregon." As Oregon has no "great" seal, this was also dropped, and instead "Seal of the State of Oregon" is now used, although the original bears only the legend, "State of Oregon." This is the form of the seal now used on official publications: [replica here] The original device was made by Harvey Gordon Esq., and the legislative committee to consider the question was Benj F. Burch, L.F. Grover and James K. Kelly. They reported their labors in this wise, which became the law on the subjection: "An escutcheon, supported by thirty-two stars and divided by an ordinary, with inscription "The Union." In chief - mountains, a wagon, the Pacific ocean on which a British man-of-war departing, an American steamer arriving (representing early settlements and the cessation of the joint occupancy of the country by Great Britain and the United States); the second quartering in gold with a sheaf, a plow and a pick-axe (denoting the pursuits of husbandry and mining) Crest, the American eagle, legend "State of Oregon". To Mr. GordonÂ’s copy, the committee recommended to be added - the mountain scenery, an elk with branching antlers, indicating that our mountains are alive with game. The official seal should bear simply the legend "State of Oregon" and no "Seal of the State of Oregon". The latter might be put around the outside to identify the device for the information of the public.) 
Daily Oregon Statesman 17 May 1893 2:2
Mr. Harvey Gordon died on Wednesday morning last, July 3d at the residence of Mr. Jesse Applegate, Yoncalla, Umpqua county. 
He went there in April, for the relief from prolonged illness which he hoped to find in a change of scene and exercise in the fields and mountains, and perchance, earlier spring and summer warmth than our Willamette climate promised. But, the confident hopes of himself and friends have been disappointed, and in two short months his remains are returned home for interment by his sorrowing relatives and friends. 
For the year previous to his illness Mr. Gordon had been the principal editor of the Statesman, and was, at the time of his decease, its publisher. He entered upon the arduous labors of the post with a special talent for many of its duties, a high appreciation of their responsibility, and an ardent love of their performance. 
His success was what those who knew him well anticipated. At the late June election, he was chosen State Printer for the term of four years, commencing in September next. But, at the early age of 34 years, when seemingly entering upon a career of influence and usefulness, inexorable Death claimed him, and a grateful memory of his virtues and excellencies is all of him that remains on earth. Mr. Gordon's remains will be interred this morning with Masonic rites, at 9 o'clock.
Oregon Statesman 7 July 1862 2:1
Harvey Gordon 
May 14, 1828 - July 3, 1862
DAR pg 19 
S&H pg 12 
OS 2 June 1855, 3:3 
OS 4 Mar 1856, 1:3 & 1:4 
1860 CENSUS, S. Salem, Marion Co., OR, pg. 390; #3157 
IOOF Lot Owners Book OS 7 July 1862 2:1 
Marion Co., Oregon Probate Files #231 & #279 
Ladd & Bush Annual of 1931, pg. 19-20 
See Also: OS 28 Dec 1858, 2:3 Elected tyler of Salem Lodge #4 A.F.& A.M OS 15 Feb 1859 (adv) Member board of visitors Willamette University OS 22 & 29 Mar 1859, 2:7 Delegate to Marion Co., Democratic Convention OS 26 Apr 1859, 2:4 Admitted as substitute for R. P. Boise to State Democratic Convention OS 22 Oct 1860, Tillamook Co: Proxy at meeting of State Democratic Central Committee ---and more listed in the Oregon Statesman Indexes at Oregon State Library.

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