Gordon F. Johnson was born in 1822 in Bennington, Vermont.
Gordon left Vermont and moved westward, eventually settling in northern Michigan sometime before 1864.
He stood 5’6” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 42-year-old farmer possibly living in Benzonia, Benzie County when he enlisted in Company E on March 7, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Benzonia, and was mustered the same day. Before leaving to join the Regiment, however, Johnson was mugged and robbed in Grand Rapids.
This city [wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle on March 12] is attaining, just now, an unenviable reputation for crime and criminals. Another outrageous robbery was committed at an early hour last evening [Friday], the circumstances of which as we have learned them are substantially as follows: A few days since, a well dressed and apparently intelligent man calling himself Thomas Averhill, applied to W. Barker’s Boarding Saloon for board, paying his fare one week in advance. He claimed to be a carpenter and joiner, in pursuit of labor, but passed most of his time in the saloon until a day or two since, when he left, returning yesterday afternoon in a buggy with a man named Gordon Johnson, in soldier’s clothes, who said that he was a member of the Third Michigan Infantry. The two men drank repeatedly, and took supper together, Johnson becoming considerably intoxicated in the meantime, and exhibiting his money -- some two hundred dollars of which he was known to have in his possession. In the evening, at 9 o’clock, Averhill invited Johnson to go with him to the Irish American Saloon in the Bronson House, and they left together, nothing more being heard or seen of the men together. Within about twenty minutes from the time these men left, Johnson returned alone to Barker’s Saloon, somewhat bruised and covered with mud and water, and said that he had been robbed -- that this man Averhill induced him to go on to a back street or alley, where he did not know, and getting him where he wished, knocked him down and robbed him of all his money, some two hundred dollars.
This is Johnson’s story which is probably true, as he had money when he left and had none when he returned, and as the man Averhill has not since been seen, hereabouts, although Officer Peak, and others were immediately put upon his track.
We should think that some men, especially those having money, would learn, after a while, the fact that if they must get drunk that it is not safe to do so with much money in their pockets, and particularly so when their companions in drunkenness are strangers.
Gordon eventually joined the Regiment April 4 at Brandy Station, Virginia, and reportedly hospitalized on May 28. He was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and remained absent sick through October of 1864. In January of 1865 he was absent on furlough, probably from the hospital, and in February was still absent, presumably on furlough. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
He eventually returned to Michigan.
Gordon was married to one Harriet E.
In September of 1865 Gordon was probably living in Manistee County when he sued Harriet for divorce on the grounds of desertion, and the divorce was granted in his favor. He was subsequently married to Michigan native Parnelia (b. 1843) and/or Nellie.
By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife Parnelia in Joyfield, Benzie County.
In 1876 Gordon applied for and received a pension (no. 156576).
He died of chronic diarrhea on August 25, 1893, in Joyfield, Benzie County, and was buried in Joyfield Township cemetery.
His widow was living in Honor, Benzie County in 1897 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 372313).