February 25, 1945 – Henry Gordon, pioneer Mendocino woodsman, died at the Redwood Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg from cancer of the esophagus at the age of 76. He had been receiving treatment in the hospital for about two months.

Born in Canada in 1868, Henry was the fifth of eight children born to Archibald and Susanna Gordon. He immigrated to the United States when he was 21 and soon joined his older brother John who had arrived on the Mendocino coast in 1880. Henry found work in the woods. According to the Mendocino Beacon, “He became a chopper of huge redwood trees and became a very proficient timber feller. Later and for many years his services were much sought as a chopper boss.” By the time of his retirement, he had worked for most of the coast lumber companies.

Men posing in front of a large redwood tree. The trunk has been partially chopped through.

Loggers In Front of Redwood Tree Undercut, c. 1911. Loggers posing in front of a giant redwood in Greenwood, California. Before the adoption of power saws to the falling of large timber, choppers spent many hours “putting in the undercut.” Henry K. Gordon, chopping boss, third from left. (Gift of Emery Escola)

On December 29, 1908, George Daniels of Boyd and Daniels Livery Stable drove Henry and Mrs. Etta Hatch, widow of lumberman Edward Hatch, to Ukiah where they were married. Afterwards, they spent a short honeymoon in San Francisco.

In 1911, Henry and Etta purchased an empty lot on the northwest corner of Little Lake and Williams Streets from Catherine Morgan, and Foster Sherwood built a five-room bungalow for the couple there. Described as “a modern cottage of very attractive appearance and most convenient interior arrangement,” the Gordons lived in this home for the rest of their lives. Etta passed away in 1939.

Henry’s funeral services were held at the Cannarr Chapel, with Rev. Floyd J. Feaver from the Mendocino Presbyterian Church officiating, and interment was in Evergreen Cemetery. Henry’s survivors included his nieces and nephews: Mamie Mendosa, Susie Walbridge, Ethel McCoy, Ella Luiz, Archie Gordon, and Frank Gordon.

Last Day! Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mendocino Historical Research Inc., now known as the Kelley House Museum. Meet founders Dorothy Bear and Beth Stebbins, who moved to Mendocino, fell in love with local history, then galvanized a community to establish a research center to preserve the town’s many stories and artifacts. On display are some of the earliest donations made to MHRI: census records from the 1860s, clothing from the Kelley family, the Ford family’s Bible, materials from Bear & Stebbins’ first exhibit “Mendocino Homes,” Anne Kendall Foote’s bespoke wallpaper reproductions, and photographs of the activists whose labor restored the house and whose contributions have supported the Kelley House over the years. 45007 Albion Street, Mendocino. Friday-Sunday, 11am – 3pm. Now until February 25.