John Bryant Jordan was employed on a plantation near Mobile, Alabama prior to
the Civil War as a slave master. The duties of a slave master were to assign chores and duties to the slaves and act as liaison between the plantation owner and the slaves.
He had instructed his slaves to awaken him at dawn each day and when he awoke
one night about 1 0’clock to find it as bright as day he was quite upset with the one who was supposed to awaken him at dawn. When he asked the slave why he had not awakened him at dawn the slave replied that it was not yet dawn but the sky was lit up by falling stars. The slave informed him the series of meteorites had started in the North and were progressing Southward. He arose and observed the wave of shooting stars slowly move to and disappear in the South.
In those days almost anything of this nature was taken as an omen of things to come and there had been rumours of possible war between the North and the South in the United States because of State's rights. The event of the movement of the meteor shower from North to South was taken as an omen of the upcoming war and the overrunning of the South by the North.
Although history has recorded the strife as related only to the freeing of slaves in the South, there were actually as many slaves in the Northern States as the Southern States. The liberal persuasion in the North followed the position of President Lincoln that the Federal Government had all power and the States were subject to that power. The more conservative Southern States believed the Constitution gave power to the States and the Federal Government only had power over relations between the States. Therefore the
conflict began when the Southern States withdrew from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. The Emancipation Proclamation was not signed nor put into affect until after the Confederate States were formed, making it more evident the war was not over slavery alone.
John Bryant Jordan enlisted in the Confederate Armed Forces on March 17, 1862,
and was assigned to Company G of the 36th Alabama Regiment under the command
of Captain M. Patterson. The 36th Alabama Regiment was under the command of
Major General H. D. Clayton. Jordan served as 1st Sgt. of Company G until he
resigned as an enlisted man to accept appointment as a 1st Lt. on June 19,
1862. He became Commanding Officer of Company G on January 8, 1864, when
Captain M. Patterson resigned to accept promotion to Major. Captain Jordan
commanded Company G until his capture near Atlanta, Georgia on August 14,
Captain Jordan was transported to New York where he was held as a prisoner of
war until his escape to Canada and his return to New Orleans on a Canadian
Ship. His activities after his return to the Confederate States until the war was over and he migrated to Texas is unknown.
John Jordan rode out each day from his campsite near old Fort Parker in Limestone
County, Texas, in search of land to settle on and in about 1866 settled near Big Hill in Limestone County. He acquired approximately 360 acres of land and gave his assessment of the land as "excellent" because his boots drug in the grass as he rode his horse over the sandy loam and black land mix.
Jordan sent for his wife and sister Martha Owens and her five sons. His sister's husband and killed in the Civil War. They came to Texas via covered wagon. Jordan's first wife, Julia Devon, died and left him with one daughter, Iter and three sons, Felix, Burns and Daniel Cornelous (Dick). He married Mary Catherine Whatley and fathered Nancy Cornellia, Minnie, Winter Elinor, William Thomas (a girl) and Brewster Whitcomb.
Jordan's sister Martha Owens and her boys lived with John and his family until the five boys were grown. They helped to farm the land and fence it. The boys settled in Waco and went into the wood yard business and eventually into oil and real estate. All five of the Owens boys became millionaires in the 1920's and 30's. George Owens moved to the Dallas area and donated a park to the City of Oak Cliff which is named the George Owens City Park and is located on Jefferson Boulevard.
The Limestone County Census taken in May of 1880 lists John Jordan, age 41, a
farmer; his wife Mary C., age 30, housekeeper; Felix Jordan, age 8; Burns Jordan, age 7; Daniel C., age 5; William C., a female, age 1/12 year (this is undoubtedly Nancy Cornellia Jordan who was born in April of 1880); and, William, age 72, preacher and father of the head of household.
My mother, William Thomas Jordan Gazzaway, told me many stories about her father, Captain John Bryant Jordan, as I grew up in Thornton, Limestone County, Texas during the great depression. My father died in 1931 and, there being only the two of us, we spent the long winter nights playing dominoes, cards and her telling me stories her father had related to her about the War.
Among the many stories was one about a soldier under the command of Captain John Bryant Jordan whom John caught roasting a pig he had stolen from a farmer in Tennessee. The Captain commanded the soldier to dig up a tree stump as punishment for stealing the pig. When the soldier finished digging up that stump he immediately began to dig up another. When the Captain told him he has completed his assigned chore and asked him why he was digging up another stump, the soldier replied, "Captain, I'm gonna steal another pig if I find one and I want to go ahead and get my punishment over
Concerning his escape from prison in New York, he told my mother he was riding
aboard a passenger train with others who had escaped and when the train passed over into Canada the conductor announced they had left the United States where upon someone shouted, "Hurrah for Jeff Davis." Immediately the whole trainload of passengers joined in the festivities of congratulating the Confederate Soldiers for their escape and started to make arrangements for their return to the Confederate States of America.
There are many more stories she related to me but they are too long and too
numerous to include here. Should you want to hear more please contact the author by
snail or e-mail mail at:
Back to:James Kimbell (Jim) Gazzaway
825 Stardust Lane
Fairfield, TX 75840
© DABF 2000