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[4qd-bannvalley] The "Fighting Gordons".

Alison wrote:
> Boyd, when I visited Kilrea parish in Autumn of 2003, I was told that
there are (now) three branches of
> Gordons in Lislea townland ... one of which is known (but no one remembers
why) as the "fighting
> Gordons":  have you heard this one before?  ;-)

Alison, you mentioned being told on your last trip to Lislea that there
were three Gordon families in the townland and you asked about the
Fighting Gordons in particular.  I phoned my cousin, who still lives in
the Kilrea area, and who has always been the Gordon family historian,
and asked about these familes.  This is a much abbreviated version of
what she told me.

She agreed that there were indeed three Gordon families, which she
identified as the Maine Gordons (our family), the Craig Quarter Gordons,
from Craig Quarter, which was at the other end of the townland, and what
she called the "Enasjohn" Gordons.  Apparantly this is the family of a
John Gordon, whose mother was called Ena!  What else?!  I asked which of
these families, if any, was called the Fighting Gordons.  She informed
me that it was none of these three but another Gordon "connection", also
from Lislea.  So this is the fourth of the three, I asked?  Don't look
for too much logic about these things, was her withering reply.

Notwithstanding my sarcasm, she told me about the Fighting Gordons.
They were called this because they had red hair, a ready temper and were
"quick to resort to their fists" (allegedly!).  One of the earliest
members of this family was called Orange Thomas, born 1831, who married
a Mary Gamble in 1867.   In fact they are related to our Gordons and
indeed they inherited my grandfather's farm, not through the Gordon
connection, as it happens, but through their wives, the Coulter sisters.
But that is another story!

Orange Thomas' nickname was only partly inspired by his flaming ginger
hair.  The story goes that it was he who was responsible for gaining, by
dint of clever subterfuge, the prestigious and coveted "Number One"
appellation for the relatively obscure Lislea Orange Lodge, so that it
always marches at the head of the Orange parade on the 12th of July,
even to this day, or so I am told.  Clearly a man not to be trifled

Doesn't this sort of story bring it all to life?  Genealogy is about
much more than collecting names and dates.  Our ancestors were full of
fun and vitality and in researching them, I like to think we recreate
and celebrate just a small part of their rich and fascinating lives.