IHS Teacher - Ruth 'Goosie' Gordon

July 2018

By Aileen Carney Sweeney

July 2018 - Ilion Teacher Ruth Gordon


Mystery Solved

Why History Teacher, Miss Ruth Gordon, was called 'Goosie Gordon'

Miss Ruth Gordon was a legend amongst those students on whom she left an imprint during her many years of tenure at Ilion High School. Now, we know that she also left her imprint on more than just her students and that is how she got her nickname, Goosie Gordon.

The Ilion Sentinel published an article, in the June 29, 1954 edition, that provided the answer to how she came to have that nickname. The article title was "Around the Valley - Personal But Not Confidential" and contained fun items of interests for readers.

They tell us that the parade of Miss Ruth Gordon's geese up and down upper Otsego Street is a sight for eyes ---- and a traffic stopper. When Mother Goose takes the young ones for a stroll and they waddle along after her in single file, imitating her every move, even truck drivers come to a halt along Otsego Street ... and to make sure the little ones don't get hit. - June 29, 1954 - The Ilion Sentinel - Illion NY Sentinel 1954 Jan-Aug - 0462.pdf

Woman holding geese
Anonymous woman with geese

Miss Ruth Gordon graduated from Ilion High School in 1918. She attended Wells College and returned to her hometown. In 1925, she began teaching history at the Ilion High School. She continued teaching history until her retirement.

For those of us who never had her as a teacher, but knew about her and were afraid to venture onto her property on the corner of Brook St. and Elm Street, she remained a mystery to us. Others who were brave enough to Trick-or-Treat at Goosie Gordon's house, shared their 'Goosie Gordon Halloween Tales' featured in October 1998.


Gordon Home Elm Street Ilion NY
Gordon Family Home - Elm Street
Artwork by Math Teacher, William Teeter

The Gordon Family

Seven Distinguished Children

The patriarch of the Gordon family was Charles Meacham Gordon. He was the great-grandson of one of Utica's earliest settlers, Captain Peter Wells. In 1878, he married Sarah A. Wood of West Schuyler. He attended Utica Schools. He farmed until 1895 when he took a position in the Remington Arms Company. He moved to Ilion and worked for Remington for 31 years. In 1926, he moved to Westfield, NJ and lived with his son, Charles C. Gordon. He died on July 3, 1951 at the home of his son.

Miss Ruth Gordon, who graduated from Ilion High School one hundred years ago, was the only daughter and last child born of Charles and Sarah (Wood) Gordon. She had six older brothers who also graduated from Ilion. They were the great-grandchildren of Henry Wells, founder of Wells Fargo Express and of Wells College, Aurora. Ruth Gordon lived in the family homestead, on the corner of Brook Street and Elm Street, all her life.

Guy W. Gordon graduated from Ilion High School in 1902. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1907 and from New York University Law School in 1910. He had law offices at 11 Park Place, New York City and 570 N. Broad St., Elizabeth NJ. He delivered the alumni address in 1957 at the 50th anniversary of his Hamilton College graduation. He also practiced law before the United States Supreme Court. His obituary stated that one of his most interesting cases was the City of New York versus Jimmy Walker. Guy W. Gordon died Jan. 6, 1959 in Roselle, NJ.

Dr. John G. Gordon also was a member of the Class of 1902. He graduated from the School of Medicine at Syracuse University in 1908. He practiced medicine in Ovid, NY for over 54 years. His wife, Anna Kinne Gordon died in April 1928 in Ovid after a short illness. In 1958, Dr. Gordon was honored by the new York State Medical Association at the 152nd Annual Convention in New York City for his long career as a doctor. Dr. Gordon died April 10, 1962.

Lt. Col. Charles 'Clinton' Gordon was a member of the Class of 1904. He was appointed by Congressman Sherman to the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1906. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1911 and served with the Navy. During World War I, he served with the Army. He retired from the New Jersey National Guard as a lieutenant colonel. He was a self-employed real estate manager in Westfield, NJ. He married his first wife, Edna Krouse Gordon, On October 2, 1915 in Ilion. She died September 9, 1955 in Westfield NJ. In 1956, Charles married, Mary Ellen Watkin, the widow of Ilion Superintendent Dr. Earl Perry Watkin. Charles died at the age of 86, on December 22, 1973. Charles Gordon was buried in Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, NJ. His second wife, Mary Ellen (Morgan) Watkin-Gordon died on October 16, 1988. She was 99 years old and was buried in Armory Hill Cemetery next to her first husband.

Dr. Ward G. Gordon was a member of the Class of 1912. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He served in the Army as a lieutenant in World War 1. He practiced dentistry in Detroit for more than 50 years. He died August 7, 1968 in Detroit.

Dr. George H. Gordon was born in 1903 and was a member of the Class of 1914. He died on August 31, 1975, at the age of 72 and was buried in the family plot at the West Schuyler Cemetery.

Stanley M. Gordon graduated with the Class of 1914 and served during World War I. He was a graduate of Bowdoin College in 1920. Stanley was an attorney. He was a resident of Ilion, NY. He died March 7, 1969.


Ruth Gordon Obituary

Ruth E. Gordon, of Gordon Place, passed away Thursday, March 15, 1979 at the Mohawk Homestead. She was born March 12, 1898 in Ilion, the daughter of Charles and Sarah Wood Gordon. She was a 1918 graduate of Ilion Schools and was a graduate of Wells College. She began her teaching career at Ilion High School in 1925. Miss Gordon was a history teacher with the Ilion school until her retirement. She was a member of the Ilion United Methodist Church, Herkimer County Humane Society, The D.A.R. and the Daughters of the Mayflower. She is survived by several nieces and nephews. Services will be 1:00 pm, Saturday at the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home with interment in West Schuyler Cemetery. There are no calling hours. Memorial contributions may be made to the General Herkimer Council Boy Scouts in memory of her brother, Stanley M. Gordon. - Source The Daily Press March 17, 1979. (added January 19, 2015)

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