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Gordon, Eleanor Lytle Kinzie (1835-1917) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Gordon, Eleanor Lytle Kinzie (1835-1917)
Variant Name: Nelly Kinzie Gordon; Nellie Kinzie Gordon; Mrs. W. W. Gordon II


Historical Note:

Eleanor (Nelly, as she wrote it, or Nellie) Lytle Kinzie Gordon was born in Chicago June 18, 1835. She was the "daughter of John A. [sic] and Juliette (Magill) Kinzie."  Eleanor Lytle Kinzie married Mr. William Washington Gordon II. Gordon rose to the rank of Captain in the Confederate army during the Civil War. and was given the rank of Brigadier General in 1898 (Spanish/American War) when he volunteered for the U.S. Army at the request of President McKinley. He was appointed to the Puerto Rico Peace Commission. After their marriage, they lived in his home city of Savannah, GA, in what now is known as the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (Low being the founder of the Girl Scouts, 1912).  Mary Willliams Blatchford apparently was a friend from her younger days, during her first twenty-two years in Chicago, 1835-1857.  By 1861 and the opening of hostilities between the Union and the Confederacy keeping up old friendships across the Mason-Dixon line would have been difficult. These two letters apparently represent a re-kindling of this old amity between the women over a half century after Gordon had left Chicago.  But the warmth of Gordon's letters to her old friend is palpable.

Eleanor Kinzie Gordon published in 1910 apparently at her home in Savannah, Georgia, John Kinzie, the "Father of Chicago--A Sketch: http://archive.org/details/johnkinziefather00gord .

Sources: biographical caption to her portrait in Chicago and its Makers.... by Paul Gilbert and Charles Lee Bryson (Chicago, 1929), p. 1066.





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