Eleanor Lytle “Nellie” <I>Kinzie</I> Gordon


Eleanor Lytle “Nellie” Kinzie Gordon

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 22 Feb 1917 (aged 81)
Amagansett, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Burial Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, USA
Memorial ID 81111337 View Source
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Eleanor "Nellie" Lytle (nee Kinzie) Gordon was born Jun 18, 1835 in Fort Dearborn, Illinois, the daughter of John Harris Kinzie and Juliette Augusta Magill, and the granddaughter of John Kinzie and Eleanor Lytle McKillip.

She married William Washington Gordon, Jr. (Oct 14, 1834 – Sep 11, 1912) on December 21, 1857 in Chicago Illinois. Her daughter, Juliette Gordon Low, founded the United Stated Girl Scouts in 1912.

She authored the book John Kinzie, the "Father of Chicago," a Sketch, published in 1912.

On Oct. 27, 1916, The Chicago Daily News, published, a letter written by Nellie Gordon reminding readers that she was "the oldest person now living" who had been born in Chicago.
"My attention has been called to an article in The Daily News of Sept. 7, giving a list of the oldest and earliest citizens of Chicago. I notice that my name is conspicuously absent. This is more surprising, as I am the oldest person now living who was born in Chicago—on June 18, 1835. I am, therefore, older than Chicago itself, which was not incorporated as a city until several years after my birth. Although I have lived in Savannah, Ga., sixty years, Chicago ever remains the beloved of my youth and the pride of my old age. My grandfather, John Kinzie, was Chicago's first settler (1804), and the land he owned is still mentioned in legal transactions as "Kinzie's addition." • I well remember the first census taken of Chicago. I attended the school of a Mrs. Elmore, corner of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. As my home was on the north side (corner of Cass and Michigan streets), I had to cross the river at Rush Street on a flat scow hauled across by a cable rope propelled by a ferryman with a sort of hockey stick. It landed us at the foot of Fort Dearborn barracks, through whose parade grounds we passed to school. The teacher one day requested all the pupils to wait after school, as she had something very interesting to tell us. "Children," said she, "I wish to tell you that we have had a census taken of our town, and we have 6,000 inhabitants!" And she added, impressively, "I should not be surprised if some of you children should live to see the day when we have 10,000!" • Rash woman! • The first church built in Chicago, the original St. James Episcopal, (corner Cass and Illinois Streets), was erected by three men. John H. Kinzie, my father, and George N. Dole, furnished the money; and my uncle, Robert A. Kinzie, gave the land for the church and parsonage. • I am of the opinion, therefore, that anything relating to early Chicago should include my name. NELLIE KINZIE GORDON"
12/30/2019 MARY PARRISH (48727903) : Also see a very interesting article by Jacqueline E. Clancy entitled "Hell's Angel: Eleanor Kinzie Gordon's Wartime Summer of 1898" (published in TEQUESTA: The Journal of the Historical Society of Southern Florida). The article recounts Nellie's attempts to nurse and care for many sick soldiers in her husband's brigade at Camp Miami, Florida during the Spanish-American War and is based upon Nellie's own journal/diary entries. A close friend, Lizzie Nicholas, wrote: "Nellie, you are every bit as great as Miss Nightingale & everybody has heard of (your) Miami tent convalescent hospital!"
Nellie Gordon died on February 22, 1917 in Amagansett New York and was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery Savannah Georgia.


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  • Maintained by: R Lawrence
  • Originally Created by: nu2ga
  • Added: 27 Nov 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 81111337
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Eleanor Lytle “Nellie” Kinzie Gordon (18 Jun 1835–22 Feb 1917), Find a Grave Memorial ID 81111337, citing Laurel Grove Cemetery North, Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by R Lawrence (contributor 47693087) .