The gentleman whose name heads this review is a business man of Norristown, Indiana, a member of the mercantile firm of Van Gorden & Eason. He was born in Butler county, Ohio, December 11, 1854. His parents, Andrew W. and Eliza (Davison) Van Gorden, were also natives of that county, but a number of years ago they came to Indiana and settled in Bartholomew county, where the subject spent his childhood and youth amid the active duties of farm life. The family of Andrew W. and Eliza Van Gorden consisted of seven children, four of whom are living at the present time, namely: Elias D., whose name introduces this review; Simeon, also of Shelby county; Mrs. Rosella Ray, widow of Reed Ray; Maggie, who is single and still a member of the home circle.
Elias D. Van Gorden spent his early years at hard work on the farm and, being the oldest child, and his parents quite poor, much of the responsibility of the family's support fell to him while he was still a mere youth. Like a dutiful son, however, he addressed himself manfully to his labors, and, until his twenty-fourth year remained at home, managing the farm and in many ways looking after the interests and comforts of his parents and younger brothers and sisters. In the month of July, 1880, he chose a life partner in the person of Emma Kirk, of Hamilton, Butler county, Ohio, and shortly after his marriage moved to Shelby county, Indiana, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits on a farm of forty acres in Washington township, which he purchased and on which he lived and prospered until the death of his wife, on April 29, 1904. To Mr. and Mrs. Van Gorden were born three children, the older of whom, a daughter by the name of Bertha, is the wife of George Maple, and lives in the city of Anderson; Walter Scott, the second in order of birth, married Mary Ropp, and is now one of the rising young agriculturists of Washington township; Eugene K., born 1888, died June 5, 1903.
Shortly after the death of his wife Mr. Van Gorden engaged in general merchandising at Norristown, and on January 1, 1909, he became a member of the firm of Van Gorden & Eason which has become one of the leading business houses of the kind in the town. He is not only on enterprising merchant, but a man of affairs, having long taken an active part in public matters and an interest in local and state politics, being one of the Democratic leaders in Shelby county, though not an office seeker nor an aspirant for public honors of any kind. During the past four years he has been a member of the Advisory Board of Washington township, and has still two years to serve, being chairman of the board and one of its most active and useful members.
Fraternally Mr. Van Gorden is identified with several orders, being a member of Farmers' Lodge, No. 147, Free and Accepted Masons, in which he now holds the title of past master; he also belongs to Kenton Lodge, No. 246, Knights of Pythias, at Flat Rock; the Improved Order of Red Men, at the town of Hope, and the Hope Camp of Modern Woodmen. He is held in high esteem by his friends and fellow citizens of the town in which he resides, and all who come within the range of his influence are attracted by his pleasing personality and sterling qualities of manhood.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, p 751-752.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming