GORDON-JACKSON TRUST HISTORY
Russell Gordon was born on a farm 3 ½ miles southeast of Monon on April 19, 1896, to Daniel C. and Salomma Gordon of Scotch ancestry. His mother was a teacher and always a woman of strong, clear convictions.
After graduating from Monon High School in 1914, Mr. Gordon taught in the Monon Township Schools. In 1918, he and his mother sold their farm and moved to Bloomington where Mr. Gordon attended Indiana University, graduating in 1922. Returning to White County, he taught history in Monticello High School and later served two years as principal.
In 1922, Monticello had no gymnasium so Mr. Gordon built an outside basketball court and organized Monticello’s first basketball team. During the following 20 years Mr. Gordon refereed basketball games throughout northern Indiana.
Also in 1922, Mr. Gordon married Miss Hazel Jackson, who was also a graduate of Indiana University and also a teacher in Monticello High School.
In 1926, Mr. Gordon entered politics as a Democratic candidate for County Clerk. Following his election, he took office on January 1, 1927. At that time he was the only elected Democrat in the courthouse. Then in 1930, Mr. Gordon ran for re-election. It was a Democratic year, and Mr. Gordon carried every precinct in the county, winning by the greatest majority ever given to a candidate of either party up to that time. During his tenure as clerk, Mr. Gordon familiarized himself with the routine procedures of probate law, and upon retirement from this office in 1934, he was admitted to the White County bar and for two years engaged in active law practice.
In 1937, he was the unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for judge, losing in a hard-fought race to Sheriff William Hayes. In a political career spanning nearly 40 years this was his only defeat. In 1938, with the endorsement of the Democratic organization, Mr. Gordon was appointed by Governor Clifford Townsend to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judge Ralph McClurg. In 1940, Judge Gordon won election to a regular term. He was re-elected in 1946 and in 1952, both times being the only Democrat elected on the County ticket.
In 1958 and 1964, he ran unopposed setting a precedent unusual in a county with a nominal Republican majority of about 3 to 2.
The office of the circuit court judge includes in its scope the duties of the juvenile court. This office was of particular interest to Judge Gordon and one for which he was well qualified. He served under the theory that reformation rather than punishment should be the attitude of his court. He took a personal interest in the problems of young offenders and was unusually effective in his guidance.
From 1954 to 1956, Judge Gordon was President of the State Judges Association gaining prestige among the state’s legal fraternity. Friends urged him to become a candidate for judge of the state appellate court for the first district, but feeling an obligation to the people of White County to complete his present term, he would not file for the nomination.
He often served as special judge in surrounding counties on cases involving abstruse technicalities and confronted some of the shrewdest lawyers in the state.
Judge Gordon was certainly a most loyal and liberal supporter of all community projects that stood for its progress and betterment.
The Jackson sisters, Hazel and Helen, were raised in Monticello, graduated from Indiana University and taught their entire adult lives in Monticello. They both had the utmost respect of their fellow teachers and their students, several of whom have been members of First Presbyterian Church.
Russell Gordon was very active in the Kiwanis Club, serving as District Vice President. He was also very active as an adult leader in the Three River Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was awarded the Silver Beaver by the Boy Scouts, the highest award a Scout Council may award.
As public servant all of his adult life, Judge Gordon did not earn a great amount of money. He, his wife, and sister-in-law, Helen Jackson, saved from their salaries and for their retirement. Russell Gordon died in 1967 at the age of 71 while serving his county.
The First Presbyterian Church, and especially the Youth of the church and those that the church serves, are blessed and very fortunate that these three former members of the church had the interest in young people and the foresight to establish the Gordon-Jackson Trust. The benefit that this trust provides for the Youth and Youth activities of the church are too numerous to mention, and will do so for many, many years to come.
Our church is very fortunate to have the Gordon-Jackson Trust from which scholarships are awarded yearly to those who apply and are eligible. The following information is about the scholarships was taken from the cover sheet of the application.
To assist the youth members of the First Presbyterian Church, Monticello, Indiana, who are seniors or graduates of their high school, with funds to attend an institution of advanced educational training. THIS INSTITUTION CANNOT BE A FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL, i.e., BEAUTY ACADEMY, WELDING SCHOOL, ETC. Non-members of the First Presbyterian Church within the Twin Lakes school system will be considered if funds remain after awards are made to church youth members.
SPECIAL ASPECTS OF THIS AWARD
This award will be available on a yearly basis, and will vary in amount according to the needs of the student as indicated on the application. Funds will be forwarded to the recipient’s advanced educational institution to cover tuition and fees, room and board, books and/or other necessary expenses (this could include a student’s personal needs). The payment will be divided - with half payment per semester to total the amount awarded to the student for the school year.
This award will be available to all recipients who maintain good standing for the duration of attendance at their chosen advanced education institution. The recipient(s) should plan to keep the Selection Committee advised on academic progress during each grading period (semester, year) and should mail a copy of their grades to the Church c/o The Scholarship Committee.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
The Selection Committee will make decisions based on the following criteria:
1. Submission of a completed Application.
2. The extent of the applicant’s need.
3. Scholastic record
4. Personality, character, and qualities of leadership
5. Excellence in school, community, and church activities
6. Duration of membership of applicant and parent(s) in the First