This blog will include reminiscences, photos, musings, observations, research tips, data extractions and links to websites having to do primarily with our ancestors in the deep south states Georgia and Alabama, and may also include information and photos gathered during research of our family's lines in other states.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lula Elizabeth, granddaughter of Thomas S. Jordan

Lula Elizabeth Jordan was born on February 22, 1887, the third of six children born in Ashland, Alabama, to J. W. and Elizabeth Jordan.

On February 12, 1905, Lula married John Respus Carwile, a Methodist minister. They were married 67years before his death in 1972.


Lula was an ideal "preacher's wife" who always kept a clean and well organized house and enough food for anyone who dropped by to share a meal. She died in 1989 at age 102. She was a wonderful grandmother, and I miss her.

Lula at age 90

Lula with her older sister, Florence Jones, ca 1950

Lula with her younger sister, Minnie Blackstock, ca 1960

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dr. Joseph Wiley Jordan, oldest son of Thomas S. Jordan

Dr. Joseph Wiley Jordan, my great-grandfather, was a "horse-and-buggy" country doctor in Clay County, Alabama in the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s.


His son Thomas was his driver/assistant. They originally used horse and buggy, then later, automobiles. The two men were on call 24/7.

Grampa Jordan was usually compensated only with whatever his patients and their families could spare from their farms - tomatoes, dairy products, etc. - "cash money" was scarce. Many times nothing to spare was available, but that did not influence the care his patients received. In those days, being a physician was a "calling", and country doctors were totally dedicated - they were very highly respected in the community because of their vocation, but they were not made wealthy by it.

Joseph Wiley Jordan's first wife was Elizabeth Jane Cannon, daughter of Wiley Jackson Cannon and Harriet Elizabeth Browning Cannon, who was, according to her granddaughter (my grandmother Lula) at least one-half Indian (Native American).
While I do believe that my grandmother would definitely know the ethnicity of her grandmother, I have yet to prove it. Since I cannot find parents for Harriet, I also cannot disprove it, of course, so will continue to believe my grandmother Lula.

Elizabeth died in 1891 at age 30 as a result of the birth of her sixth child, who survived only a few months.

This picture is from a newspaper around 1900. The man seated is Dr J W Jordan. The woman on his right is Augusta Wesley Jordan, his second wife, stepmother to my grandmother and her four siblings (the older children in this picture) and mother to the younger children. The older woman on his left is his mother, Mary Creel Jordan, widow of Thomas S. Jordan.

Grampa Jordan built this home in Ashland, AL in the early 1900s. I remember happy times on that huge porch, and wish the house were still standing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thomas S. Jordan

Thomas S. Jordan was born on 3 January, 1832 in Macon, Bibb county, GA (according to his obit). Both of his parents were born in GA (according to his census info).


In 1847, he began apprenticeship as a printer in "the Advertiser" office (this is from his newspaper obit in Ashland, AL - I am assuming that this means the "Advertiser" newspaper in Montgomery, AL, given that, according to that same obit, in 1852 he was foreman of the job office that printed the Code of Alabama - Brittan and DeWolf, State Printers, Montgomery, AL).

I can not find him anywhere on the 1850 census.

On the 10th of October, 1859, at Wedowee, Alabama, Thomas married Mary Creel, who was born in Carroll county, GA; she was the daughter of Jordan Creel and Mary (Polly) White, both of Carroll county.


(Note: Thomas S. Jordan is NOT one of the two Thomas Jordan/Jourdans in Carroll county, GA. (1)Thomas Jordan, son of Samuel and Martha, was born on the very same day as my Thomas S - but this Thomas married "Fannie" and died in 1911 in Haralson Co., GA. (2) Thomas A. Jordan, b. 1836, s/o William Tadford and Agnes Blair Jordan, married Sarah E..Dyer, and died in Carroll county after the 1920 census.)

The 1860 Randolph Co., AL, census, Wedowee, Dwelling 17, has:
T.G.W. Jourdan (28, male, printer, born in GA, married within the yr)
Mary Jourdan (22, female, HW, born in GA, married within the yr)
Cinthia Jourdan (38, female, HW, born in SC)

T.G.W. Jordan had married Cynthia Smith in Harris County, GA, July 14, 1853. Thomas S. Jordan and Mary Creel had married in 1859. Apparently, the man listed in the 1860 Randolph county census is Thomas S., not T.G.W. Where was T.G.W., and what relationship was he to Thomas S.? Cynthia died of some sort of fever shortly after this census was taken, and the only other mention anywhere of T.G.W. is on a muster of the Camp of Instruction in Talladega during the Civil War.

Thomas S. was a courier for the C. S. A. between West Point, GA and Talladega, AL during the Civil War. I can not find him on a muster roll, but am told couriers were often not listed on a muster.

On July 21, 1860, Thomas and Mary's first son, Joseph Wiley Jordan, was born. This son practiced medicine in Ashland, Clay county, Alabama until his death in 1951. He also was elected to serve in the state legislature in 1930s.

In 1862, a second son, William Dotson Jordan, was born to Thomas and Mary. As an adult, he owned a drug store in Ashland, Alabama.

In 1864, a daughter, Mary, was born.

After the war, Thomas farmed for a while near Opelika, AL, then worked as a printer until starting his own newspaper, The Opelika Reformer.

The 1870 census shows:
Girard Beat No. 1, County of Russell, AL, Post Office Columbus, GA, 27th day of June 1870
Jourden, Thomas 38 M W Farmer GA
Mary 32 F W KH GA
Joseph 10 M W GA
William 8 M W GA
Mary 6 F W AL

Little Mary died at age 7, and is buried in Girard.

Thomas and Mary later adopted Mary Dyson/Dison, b. 1876. Apparently they did not legally adopt her, since she kept the surname Dyson. She m. Robert L. Thurman in 1893 in Clay county, AL.

In 1876, Thomas moved from Opelika to Coosa county, AL, where he and his sons published The Coosa News. In 1878, he moved to Ashland, AL, in Clay county, where he began publishing another newspaper.

The 1880 census for Ashland, Clay Co AL; Stamped page 69; 03 Jun 1880; Asst Marshall J F Cole; Dwelling #58; Family #58:

JORDAN Thomas W M 48 married Printer GA GA GA
Mary W F 42 wife married KH GA GA GA
Joseph W. W M 20 son printer AL GA GA
Willis D W M 18 son printer AL GA GA
DISON Mary J W F 4 adopted AL AL AL

At 9:15 PM, 6 May, 1894. 62yo Thomas S. Jordan died in Ashland, AL, after a confrontation with a rooster which resulted in sepsis. He had been a Baptist, a Mason (he had a Mason's funeral), and he was active in local politics.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Beginning - part 2

In 1995, online genealogy research tools were few and far between. There were some BBS-type groups, but not much else. Then Larry Stephens started a few e-mail lists at - they were fantastic!

In mid-1996, Larry let members of his lists start their own surname lists at - my first, of course, was JORDAN, followed soon by KING, then CARWILE and BOZEMAN and other surnames - then a few "area" lists, and some "special interest" genealogy lists. These lists were very helpful - many people joined, and progress was made.

When a spammer destroyed the Maiser server at, in late April, 1997, Brian and Karen at RootsWeb generously offered a new home to those of us listowners who wanted to bring our lists and archives. By the end of May, 1997, my lists were up and running smoothly again, with the archives in place and searchable.

Those lists were my most helpful online research tool. RootsWeb already had other resources at that time also such as Roots-L. RootsWeb was and has been by far the most valuable website to me.

USGenWeb was organized for the states I research in the deep south in 1996. At that time, most of it was housed at RootsWeb also.

Most Productive Online Tools 1995-2008

In 1995 when my search began for the parents of Thomas S. Jordan and other missing ancestors, the need for some sort of genealogy software became apparent. Family Tree Maker had the features I needed and was very user-friendly for a newbie, so I entered data into it. Later versions permitted connecting with online resources, and I am still using a current version of that software.

In late 1995, there was not a whole lot available for genealogy research other than genealogy BBS type groups. Larry Stephens had started some e-mail lists at, and they were wonderful - I particularly liked Deep-South-Roots-L, because it specifically targeted my main area of initial research. That list survived at until August, 2008! In mid-1996, when Larry began letting us individually set up and manage e-mail lists, many of us eagerly set up surname lists for our major surnames - my first was JORDAN, of course, soon followed by KING, CARWILE, BOZEMAN and others. By the time Maiser was trashed by a spammer in April, 1997, many wonderful e-mail lists had been created, not only for surnames, but for counties and large cities and geographical areas and special genealogical interests. Brian and Karen at RootsWeb kindly offered us a new home for our lists. By the end of May, 1997, those of us who wanted to move there were settled in with our lists running smoothly and our list archives, which Larry had let us bring from Maiser, in place, continuing to save list posts. E-mail lists and their archives were, and continue to be, my single most valuable online research tool.

Then came the online censuses. The earliest source I remember for online access to census information was USGenWeb. Volunteers transcribed by hand from census film or census books, and for those of us fortunate enough to have a hardworking transcribing volunteers for the county censuses we needed to access, life was good - even if we had very limited free time, we could work on our lines at home. Problem was that there were a LOT of counties and years, and few volunteers willing and able to do so much work. When added the census to their offerings, online genealogy turned a new page - now it was actually possible to research anywhere in the US online.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Beginning, part 1

One afternoon in the fall of 1995, youngest son Tom, then age 17, decided that we should begin investigating our ancestors - including especially (but not limited to) his g3grandfather, Thomas S. Jordan.

Although books had been written about several of Tom's family lines, I had never been interested in our family history aside from a curiosity about Tom's Indian (Native American) g3gmother whose ethnicity was more than just a "family story", given that she was my beloved grandmother's grandmother.

Tom's Indian g3gmother's daughter married Thomas S. Jordan's son, who was the only great-grandparent I had an opportunity to know and love and remember. My son's expressing an interest in this line triggered an interest that would probably not have occurred if he had mentioned any other of his lines.

We immediately called my first cousin who lived in the area of Alabama where Thomas S. Jordan had died - we had been told at one time that she was researching. She generously sent us copies of the information she had accumulated.

We began gathering copies of books about our family lines - we owned a few, but more had been written. Cousins loaned us copies or duplicated pages of the ones that were unavailable for purchase. I was already involved online in non-genealogy internet mailing lists and such, so looked for and found some genealogy resources, including the wonderful e-mail lists at that Larry Stephens had created and the Roots Surname List that Karen had created at RootsWeb.

Son Tom had meanwhile become deeply involved with college again. He had limited time to spend on researching ancestors, although he was still interested - but I was addicted already...............

The main difficulty at that point was one factor that continues to present a hurdle. I "migrated" to Mississippi as an adult - generations of our ancestors had migrated down the Atlantic coast to Georgia, then to Alabama, where I was born - courthouses here in Mississippi do not have the information I need. Were it not for the internet, researching our ancestors would be impossible for me.