JACOB JACKSON JORDAN
(OLDEST SON OF PEEPLES C. JORDAN and CHARLOTTE WELDON JORDAN)
According to census records, Jacob Jackson Jordan was born in Alabama in 1822. His wife, Elizabeth Moseley Jordan, was born in South Carolina in the year 1822 also. They were married in Alabama, date unknown, and four of their six children were born there. The two youngest children were born in Mississippi after the family arrived there in 1855. J. J. Jordan used Jack, an abbreviated form of his middle name, as a given name according to my grandfather, Mathew Peeples Jordan, who was the third child and the second son of Jack.
In 1860, five years after he arrived in Mississippi, the federal census for Jones County shows that Jack Jordan was a farmer with real estate valued at $500.00 and personal property valued at $300.00. His family consisted of a wife and six children. The oldest, a daughter, was eleven years old and the youngest, a son, was three years old. Two adults in the family are recorded as being unable to read and write. Since the only adults in the family were the parents, Jack and Elizabeth, we logically assume that both were unable to read and write.
The information contained in the following paragraph was obtained from my father, Baylis VanDorn Jordan, grandson of Jack Jordan. He received his information from his grandmother, Elizabeth, and from his father, M. P. Jordan.
During the Civil War, Jack Jordan joined the Confederate Army. Apparently he was sent to a location somewhere in Alabama and his family in Mississippi lost touch with him. This is not surprising since he could not write and means of communication were unreliable. At the end of the war, as army veterans returned home, Jack Jordan was not among them. One veteran, whose name has not been preserved, told Elizabeth that he saw Jack on one occasion in Demopolis, Alabama, and that he was sick. After weeks of waiting, Elizabeth convinced herself that Jack was alive, either sick or hurt, and that she should go to him. She and her six children set out to walk to Demopolis to find her husband, or to find out what happened to him, if possible. The trip accomplished nothing. They found no information that would give them any encouragement. Disappointed, depressed and half starved, Elizabeth and her family walked back to Jones County, Mississippi. For a number of years she held out hope that Jack was alive and that he would return. He did not and Elizabeth and all of her children lived the remainder of their lives without knowing for certain what happened to Jack.
The fact that Elizabeth and all of her children survived the walk to and from Alabama and the difficult years that followed the Civil War, as well as loss of husband and father, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
In 1971, following my retirement from the Postal Service in Washington, D. C., I spent a considerable amount of time in the National Archives in Washington. My purpose was to attempt to locate missing information on several branches of my family and my wife's family. To my surprise and gratification, I found on microfilm the service record of J. J. Jordan, private, Company F. 26th Regiment, Mississippi Volunteers. He enlisted on October 23, 1863 at Ellisville, Mississippi, for a period of three years. Captain Hay was the enlisting officer. On his record card, under "remark3", is the notation, "Volunteer, paid bounty". Apparently at that time the Confederate Army was using enlistment bonuses to attract volunteers. His medical record is a part of his service record. His medical card number is 51782354. He is recorded as having died in a hospital in Weldon, North Carolina on April 9, 1864. The record does not specify if he died of disease or of wounds.
On the service record of J. J. Jordan there is a heading called, "Engagements". Under this heading there appears a notation as follows: "Fight with deserters near Ellisville December 23, 1863". Following this notation are the letters A D which a footnote states mean that he was absent on duty or detail by order. At that time deserters from the Confederate Army and other types of renegades were active in many parts of Jones County as well as in other areas. It is only speculation, but it is possible that Jack Jordan joined up thinking that he might make a contribution toward restoring a degree of order in a rather chaotic local situation. There must have been a strong motivating force that caused a forty-one year old man with a wife and six children to join up. Apparently early in 1864 Jack was transferred to another area. Four months later he was dead.
After learning that Jack Jordan died in Weldon, North Carolina, I became interested in why that small town was of importance to the Confederacy. My research revealed that Weldon is located on the Roanoke River at a point where the Wilmington and Weldon railroad crosses the river. The Confederates were especially interested in keeping this line open as it was an important line over which supplies were shipped to Lee's Army of Virginia. The most vulnerable spot on the railroad was the bridge at Weldon. It was heavily guarded. The Union Army kept pressure on Weldon throughout 1864. One attempt at capture began on June 20, 1864 and ended in failure on June 22, 1864. A point of interest, that expedition was commanded by Colonel James Jourdan, 158th New York Infantry, United States Army. The railroad bridge was burned the day before the Civil War ended. A marker in Weldon states that, at the time of its completion. the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was the longest in the world, 161.5 miles. It was completed in 1840 and later became a part of the Seaboard Coastline system.
On December 30, 1971, my son, Max Jordan, Jr., and I went to Weldon to attempt to locate a Confederate cemetery and hopefully to find where Jack Jordan is buried. A local historian in Weldon, Mrs. Ida Vick, told us that during the Civil War a small Methodist church which was located near the end of what is now First Street was used as a Confederate hospital. Many soldiers who died there were buried in the church cemetery. The church is no longer there but a poorly maintained cemetery is there. A few headstones marking burial sites of some of the local people are near where the church formerly stood. In an area adjacent to this part of the cemetery there are many sunken places, obviously grave sites, which in all likelihood are the burial sites of the Confederate dead. There are no headstones in this part of the cemetery. It is overgrown with vines, bushes and a few large trees. In recent years Mr. Raymond Watkins of Falls Church, Virginia, has had a marker erected which identifies this cemetery as a burial place of 100 Confederate soldiers. Mrs. Watkin's father is among them. In all probability, so is Jack Jordan.
Max Herman Jordan, Sr.June 22, 1987