MATTHEW M JORDAN (b. cc1770 ? d. 1849 Johnston County NC ) Our Enigma

My number #1 interest is to find the parents of Matthew M Jordan, our earliest known ancestor.   I am sure as others read this site their interests rests with resolving one of their Jordan ancestors parents!  We each have our own brickwall we are trying to hurdle and we bring our unique puzzle piece to the work.  If we collaborate we can successfully navigate back to the earliest Jordans who called NC home.

Let me share my journey when it comes to our MATTHEW M JORDAN and why I continue to be stymied will become clear.  It is my earnest hope someone out there will help me hurdle or break through our Jordan brickwall.



Of course I didn’t start with Matthew.  I began with our current family and built backwards.  JORDAN  is our paternal family name so on a traditional pedigree chart it is the top line showing the dominant father to son, father to son branch of our pedigree. The genetic information for this particular part of one’s pedigree is the Ymarker information.  Only boys inherit this genetic information.  So while the girls can build pedigree charts we can’t access the critical information passed down from our paternal line without help from the boys who carry the surname!

Below is a snapshot of my pedigree work from our Grandpa Colon Cornelius Jordan, affectionately called Grandpa CC to Great+Grandpa Matthew M Jordan, our enigma!



Next is a Family Chart for the earliest generation I have for our Jordans, Matthew and his children.  The chart was developed based on Matthew’s Last Will and Testament, marriage bonds, probate records, and census reports.  Sadly I have no bibles for either Matthew or any of his children.  Matthew’s will, which I have also attached, lists his children in this order:  Martha, wife of John Adams, Joseph, John, James, and Merit. He then mentions grandchildren Lucinda Barber, daughter of Young A  Barber (Young was the husband of Rebecca Jordan), Sarah Jane Gurley, daughter of Daniel Gurley (husband to Allana Jordan), and Tabitha Winnaford Norris Jordan, daughter of Bryant H Norris (husband to Susan C. I am not sure if Susan C was a Jordan by birth or the wife of a son of Matthew’s who preceeded him in death.  If this is the case, this son was not identified in Matthew’s will, no probate records have been found, and no marriage bond). Matthew’s will does not seem to list his children in order of age based on census and marriage records.  I would love to have some new eyes take a look and let me know if they draw different conclusions or have any other working hypotheses for our family.

image created using CHARTING COMPANION.


Image found at Smithfield Heritage Center on microfilm.




























family photo. Please contact me before you use it.

Our Grandpa Jordan was a very special man who loved to fish.  He left Angier NC, a young married man with a wife, Garnet Adams Jordan (daughter of Joseph Kelly Adams and Etta Mae Stuart), and an infant son. The family moved just before World War II to Norfolk VA.  Grandpa CC had an insurance business but found time to fish and sell his catch to customers including restaurants and private homes for decades.  He had homes on the Outer Banks and along the Chesapeake Bay – clearly he loved salt air!  Before Grandpa and Grandma moved to VA his JORDANS and all of the family lines which connect to his children are deep rooted early NC families.  These families called NC home before the USA was a country, before the colonial capital of Raleigh existed, decades before Harnett County was carved from parent county Cumberland.  Just exactly how long our Jordans have lived in what is known as a tri-county region is speculative. WHY?  Because the genealogy work done before DNA was possible is just filled with errors!  It will take DNA to build back correctly and connect to the right JG JORDAN FAMILY!   I submitted our direct line before my first year of research lapsed.  If you look at Matthew’s Family Group Chart you will see there are several different sons mentioned.  When I submitted our kit I hoped to locate and connect not only Matthew to his parents but also connect to Matthew’s sons John, James, and Merit.

family photo. please contact me before you use it

Harnett County is the most burned county in the state.  The courthouse burned four times!  Seven Springs burned.  Johnston County records burned.  Census and various records of Wake burned.  I could go on and on with what is missing. What remains is the DNA.  DNA has been passed down to each of us. We are walking repositories.  But no Jordan kit has been submitted so far from Matthew’s direct line except ours.  So if you are reading this and you come through a line of Jordans with the name Merit (also spelled Merritt) or a James or John or Matthew who was born in the mid to late 1700s or early 1800s please get your eldest living boy Jordan to do a DNA kit so I and all Jordan researchers can accomplish our best work.

The previous generation from Grandpa CC is another Cornelius Jordan. Great Grandpa Cornelius Cleveland Jordan aka Nealy Jordan to be exact.  He married Fannie Dupree, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Dupree and wife Fannie Love Dupree.  Great Grandpa had a very large family and called Angier home.  I don’t know a great deal about “Nealy”.  By the time I began my research project Grandpa CC and Grandma Garnet had gone on to glory.  As I reached out to make contact with Grandpa’s siblings, I was told over and over about a great aunt who was the family historian.  She actually married into the clan and was born a Beasley raised in the Latter Day Saints Church, so genealogy was something she took very seriously.  She was a classic genealogist and had worked on the Jordans longer than I have been on this planet yet we both were and are stuck at Matthew.   I was able to DNA map our Jordans to Great Grandpa Nealy’s generation and fortunate to have one of his sons help me with our family history work.

family photo. please contact me before you use it.

Great Grandpa Nealy Jordan was raised in a home with very few children.  His parents were Edward Marcus Jordan and Eugenia Catherine Young Jordan.  Great Great Grandpa EM Jordan as he was known (and signed everything!) had a tragic life.  He was one of three tiny boys born just before or during the Civil War to Cornelius and Tabitha Parrish Jordan!  His father died before he was 4 years old. The sheriff of Wake County J J Nowell was named guardian ad litem for EM and his brothers during their dad’s probate case.  He and his brothers helped their mom Tabitha Parrish Jordan survive.  I can only imagine the hard life all of Cornelius’ sons endured.  At some point EM met and fell in love with Eugenia Catherine Young, “Jeanie” to all.  They wed Feb 16, 1882 in Willow Springs. Great Grandma Jeanie was a member of the Angier Primitive Baptist Church (as was her daughter-in-law Fannie Dupree Jordan).  Eugenia Catherine Young Jordan’s grave was easily found in the Angier church cemetery. She was the daughter of John T and Sarah Sallie Fish Young.  Jeanie’s Uncle Reuben Young never married and he left Jeanie (and his other nieces and nephews)  land when he died.  EM and Jeanie had their first child, a son, within their first year of marriage.  They named  him Arthur.  The baby died before his second birthday.  (Grandma Fannie’s Bible held the particulars).  It is commonplace to find photos of families outside their homes.  The one for EM and Jeanie is so sad to me. It is only the pair, no children at all.

family photo. Please contact me before you use it.

EM and Jeanie had only two other children, a boy our Great Grandpa Nealie (named Cornelius Cleveland) and a girl Varina Placid Jordan, who went by Varnie and wed Thomas “Boyd” Dove.   EM can be found in the newspaper for various road contracts he obtained.  He can be found in several of the directories listed as a farmer.   There are numerous deeds for him in Wake County.  His life took two tragic turns in the 1930s during the Great Depression.  He killed a man who according to newspaper accounts broke into his home and tried to rob him one Sunday morning.  There was no Castle Act at the time (ironically that law was making headlines as I was learning about these events in my own family).  The murderd man was a Mr. Baker.  Mr Baker’s descendants say EM owed Mr Joe Baker money.  All the newspaper accounts claim Mr Baker broke in and found EM in bed at home.  EM warned him to leave and not come closer.  Mr. Baker approached with a knife.  Our family related to me that EM kept a shotgun by his bed.  He was 70 years old and was not feeling well that day.  He and his wife were on the outs. It is unclear if EM routinely attended church with Jeanie.  What is clear is Mr Baker worked land owned by EM.  EM would buy the seed and provide some of the equipment and Mr Baker who had a very large family, eight children, worked  he crop and after harvest the men would split the proceeds.  These were terrifically difficult times for all.   I could speculate all the day long about what each man might have been brought to that fateful day.  What is clear is two families suffered a great deal because of choices made that Sunday morning in Angier.   I couldn’t help but feel terrible as I  read about this horrible event.  EM according to family had been on the outs with Jeanie and Jeanie was staying with her daughter and husband, Varnie and Boyd Dove.  I would reckon the whole town knew of their strife.  I wondered what happened to Mr. Baker’s children?  EM had suffered as a child not having his dad and now he had taken eight children’s dad from this world. Was this sad event why I had difficulty getting folks who are actually kin to help me with our family history?

I was able to speak to Clyde Dove, a son of Varnie and Boyd Dove and one of our cousins.  He and his family lived right there in Angier when this happened.  EM was his grandpa.  He recalled EM demeanor afterwards.  EM talked to his grandson about the heavy burden of taking a man’s life.  The Harnett County Sheriff, William E Salmon, a new Sheriff at the time, arrested EM and he was charged with murder.  The first trial ended in a hung jury. There is only the newspapers accounts. The courthouse records are gone.  The second trial never happened. It was scheduled for May 1933.  You see, EM walked into a pond on the farm wrapped in heavy chain and a duster coat and drown himself. It was April 4, 1933.  I have been unable to find EM’s death certificate. Was it because of the many fires or could it be his attorney, Franklin Dupree, Grandma Fannie Dupree Jordan’s brother had to submit it to the court and  a copy may be among his law records?  I have been trying to reach out to our Dupree kin for some time. So far I have been unsuccessful.  The actual court case records were lost.  The only remnants which survive are the jury list and their schedule as well as a witness subpoenas.  It looked like every neighbor for miles was called by the defense as witnesses for EM.  Clearly as I was tracing our Jordan line, it shrank to a thin line in just one generation from Grandpa Nealy to Grandpa EM Jordan.


Found at Olivia Raney Library after mentioned by a cousin on James Justice Jordan’s side. It was on microfilm for Raleigh Weekly Newspaper.

Edward Marcus Jordan was the middle son of Cornelius Jordan and Tabitha Parrish Jordan.  The couple had two sons Rufus Henry and Edward Marcus and Tabitha was pregnant or just had delivered the youngest, James Justice Jordan, when she received word her husband Cornelius had died at Ft. Fisher.  I can’t imagine the hardships this young family faced.  Rufus Henry Jordan the eldest son never married. His interest lay with growing trees.  He made the newspapers!  He accepted the challenge of a local merchant who offered a prize for the first peach grown in Wake County.  Rufus Henry (who flipped his name in later years to Henry Rufus Jordan) preferred trees to plants.  Just after his mom died he moved to Pitt county to help a Griffin family start a tree nursery business, a business still today!

The baby of the family was James Justice Jordan.  He never met his dad.  On his death certificate the father is recorded as “Josephus Jordan”. I don’t know if that was part of Cornelius’ name or if someone confused Cornelius and his dad, Joseph (aka Josephus) Jordan.   I made contact with James Justice Jordan’s descendants the first year I began this work.  It was my logical next step at the time.  I recall seeing the most beautiful Jordan Family BIBLE records I have ever seen in any family and in James Justice’s own hand. I wondered why James Justice had recorded his mother-in-law’s death but not his own mom or any of his brothers.  With the missing vital records I had hoped the particulars about the deaths of Cornelius, Tabitha, and Rufus Henry might be found in James Justice Jordan’s family records.  Our Great+Grandpa EM died died a year after his youngest brother and I didn’t know when I met with James Justice’s family if they even knew E M or what had happened.  James Justice’s family lived in Willow Springs at the intersection of Jordan and Sauls Road right off Hwy 42, known as the old Raleigh Road.

Both James Justice and EM died during the Depression but their lives were so different. There was a photo of James Justice Jordan’s family taken like EM (and so many other families all over the US at that time) family in the foreground and their home the backdrop.  EM’s had been the saddest one I had even seen. James Justice’s was just the opposite.

Photo belongs to descendant of James Justice Jordan. Shared with me during a visit. Please do not copy without permission.

There were kids all over the place, dogs, horses, mules, and even some cattle!  I remember the hat he wore in that photo had been passed down. It was wonderful!  I learned from James Justice’s family Grandma Tabitha died of a heart attack at James Justice’s home.  It brought hope to finding her death record!  However, Tabitha’s death certificate, EM’s death certificate, and Rufus Henry’s death certificate are all still missing.  I have found four boxes of records at the State Archives from the Wake Health Dept which might hold the missing record for Tabitha at the very least. Where they are buried may be known but it is not clear.  Some believe a Hobby acquired a portion of some of James Justice’s land and sold it to a developer in the 1970s and a house sits over the Jordan graves at this time!  It is my understanding EM was not laid to rest beside Jeanie but beside his mom along Jordan Road in Willow Springs.  Rufus Henry lay on one side and EM on the other. Her husband was laid to rest in a mass grave in Wilmington during the war.

I am trying to find the aerial photos taken and sold during the 30s, 40s, and 50s so I can confirm or clarify where the graves were/are. Our family recounted to me visits to graves at this same possible site.  I wonder if the people who live there know there are bodies underneath their home?

Image shared by motherinlaw of Sally Speed Jordan Rohrbach via Text. Do not own this image. DO NOT COPY.
Photo shared by descendant of James Justice Jordan. Not mine. DO NOT COPY.

James Justice’s line suffered a recent tragedy.  Some may know the name Sally Rohrbach.  She was very interested in her Jordan family history.  She came through James Justice Jordan’s line. We would be 3rd cousins once removed.  She was brutally killed in Charlotte while on a job assignment for the State Insurance Commission where she worked.  I was heartbroken to learn of her death and the circumstances during my visit to James Justice’s home place.  My prayers have remained with her family to this day.  Every day I do this work I try to do my best not just out of a personal desire but because I feel a duty to go the extra mile for Sally, Sandel,  and our Great Aunt. All three ladies worked diligently on our Jordans.  They all worked before DNA was possible.  Now I can use genealogical DNA tests to help us break through our  Matthew Jordan brick wall and and discover Joseph Jordan’s first wife Rebecca’s surname as well as connect all of Cornelius kids and Matthew’s kids to one another. At times in the recent years I have been disappointed with still being stuck and I wonder what Sally and/or Sandel would do if they were here?  I wish she and I could have been research partners!  I believe if she or Sandel Sauls Jordan, wife of James Jefferson Jordan, son of James Justice, were alive today we would be further along and both sons of Cornelius and Tabitha who had families would be properly established in the database.  James Justice Jordan’s line cooperation is so vital because our own EM Jordan line has a mystery parent along our DUPREE line (see my BRICKWALLS page).  Our Johnson/Dupree mystery makes working family finder tests extremely difficult. James Justice Jordan’s line doesn’t have that difficulty.  Their first brickwall is Grandpa Joseph A Jordan’s wife, Rebecca’s surname.   I have asked for help.  I have asked who has Sally’s work. Her mother-in-law shared a photo she had of Pinkney Parrish in his uniform.  At least I think it is Pinkney. It was initially represented to be Cornelius but looked nothing like him.  You see when I was at James Justice Jordan’s home place I was allowed to make a copy of a book Sally had created as a Christmas gift.  One of the photos was labeled “Rufus Henry and lady unknown”.


I took that photo to the State Archives and spoke to someone in their images department.  She explained the photo looked exactly like some marriage photos of that period for couples in the region.  I also found a poor copy of a photo of Grandpa Justice Parrish, Tabitha’s dad at the Smithfield Heritage Center.

Image found in vertical file at the Smithfield Heritage Center. I DO NOT OWN this image. DO NOT COPY. If you have the original please contact me.

Grandpa Justice, a cobbler, was a very short man and the girl in the photo looked like him. The expert concluded she would bet the photo had been mislabeled and actually was Cornelius and Tabitha’s wedding photo.  I wonder if Sally found the photos among James Justice’s family photos or Margaret Jordan Parrish’s?  I wonder if Sally found Margaret’s Bible?  Sallie had the advantage of being raised in that area and going to school with Parrish line cousins.  I have hoped for years someone from James Justice’s line would help me.  Their DNA will help to create enough centimorgans where I could triangulate particular generation nodes which are not available to me any other way.  There are no other sibling lines who can used.  Rufus Henry had no wife or children. It comes down to James Justice Jordan’s line and Edward Marcus Jordan’s line working together.

James Jefferson Jordan’s wife Sandel received a letter from our Great Aunt Jordan years and years before DNA was possible. I have a copy of Sandel’s reply to our Great Aunt.  Sandel mistakenly told our Great Aunt we were not related. Sally correctly found our shared family connection, Grandpa Cornelius and  Grandma Tabitha Parrish Jordan.

It was and is my hope their eldest living patriarch will do a DNA kit for me so I can confirm our connection to Cornelius Jordan and have enough DNA to help me where we have holes in our pedigree.  If you are reading this and you come through James Justice Jordan and Lura Helen Stephenson Jordan please contact me. If you come through Margaret Jordan Parrish please contact me. If you come through Justice Parrish, father of Pinkney and Tabitha Parrish please contact me.  I need help from our Great Great Great Uncles and Aunts lines.  I continue to hope we can work together on our shared family history.

Image shared by JJ Jordan descendant. Permission granted to use. DO NOT COPY.

James Justice Jordan was an upstanding citizen who was appointed postmaster for a time.  He and Lura Stepheson Jordan had a large family. And it seems clear he was a beloved father and grandpa.  When I visited his homeplace I instantly felt a kinship.  The looks and mannerisms were the same!  Court records and stories suggest James Justice was very close to his Parrish kin.   Since Margaret Jordan Parrish was the only surviving child when her mom and dad died it is logical for their descendants to have records, heirlooms, photos, or even Rebecca’s bible!  I  still don’t know if Sally or Sandel had reached out to our Parrish kin?  Perhaps precious items or notes are among her raw research.  I understand Sally worked on family history for decades. I was told a brother received her work.  It took me years to build up the courage but I did send a letter to him.  So far no reply.  James Justice Jordan was named in part for his maternal grandpa.    I have no idea yet where the JAMES originated but I have my suspicions. Remember James was the name of one of Matthew’s sons too.  And this son, James Clifton also married a Parrish gal, Rhody – one of Tabitha’s elder sisters.  So the James could track back to James Justice’s Jordan side of the family.   I need DNA to resolve and this means cooperation from men who may or may not realize they are family but who know their Jordans have lived in NC since before 1800.



Our line had the name Cornelius which was passed down over and over. I initially thought it was because our Jordans had to connect to the Edgecombe’s early Cornelius Jordan. I now know that family is an entirely different JG Tree.  James Justice and Edward Marcus connect us to Grandma  TABITHA Parrish, daughter of JUSTICE PARRISH and MARY STEPHENS OR STEPHENSON, wife of Justice Parrish.  James Justice’s wife was also a Stephenson. Another reason our Great+ Uncle’s line could help us bring inherited DNA information forward to better understand our Stephens ancestral lines too.  And we are not alone there is another JORDAN line,  Calvin C Jordanof Wake whose second wife was a Stephenson.  James Justice’s line can help there too.

Image shared by JJ Jordan descendant. Permission granted for my use. DO NOT COPY.

Things get a bit fuzzy starting with Cornelius.  He apparently owed a William Poole over $730 before he married Tabitha Parrish. How this happened is not clear. He sold some land in Wake county very close to Johnston County where a rock quarry was located to help satisfy the debt. He sold lot #15 in Raleigh to A J Crocker.  Because the boundary between Wake and Johnston was blurred and there has been so much records loss for the region I have not been able to find where he got that land to sell!  There also was a newspaper article about an attorney James Smith who lost a wallet in August 1861 with a deed transfer from Edward Yarborugh to Cornelius Jordan. Our Cornelius was the lone Cornelius living in Wake at that time. The deed appears to never have been recorded. When Tabitha Parrish and Cornelius wed on September 12, 1857 the bondsman was John Crocker.  Cornelius died with no will and his dad Joseph A Jordan was made administrator.  Tabitha’s dad Justice Parrish, her brothers Wiley, Mordecai, and Pinkney were all away from home fighting at the exact time Joseph A Jordan was handling his only son’s probate.  I would venture to argue that if the Parrish boys had been home circumstances for Tabitha and her sons would not have been so dire. It took me years to accept that the Joseph A Jordan who handled that case was even related to us!  He subpoenaed his grandsons who ranged in age from 1 to 4 to gather property information. What on earth did he hope to gain?  He forced Tabitha to relinquish everything and move in with her parents while Joseph moved from Morrisville into the heart of Raleigh on E North Street.  Maybe Joseph’s conduct was so egregious it is rippled through the community?

Our Joseph and wife Rebecca (maiden name unknown at this time) appeared to have four children in the 1840 census but by the 1850 there were only two, Cornelius and Margaret. I didn’t know if perhaps the other two had married and moved away or what happened to them.  Joseph’s estate papers (he also didn’t have a will) did not mention any other heirs!  So I have to assume one of the three scenarios:

  1. the two teens died sometime between the 1840 census and 1850 census
  2. the people in that 1840 census report were not children of Joseph and Rebecca
  3. they died between the 1840 census and 1873 when Joseph died they also died and left no heirs.
Image found on DO NOT COPY.

Joseph A Jordan is a man I do not like at this time frankly. I have no photo of Joseph A Jordan ( I envision Snidley Whiplash when I think of him!) What he did to Tabitha and why he did so little for his only son’s children after their dad died bothers me.  I know I may learn something some time that will turn my opinion around but for now (and it has remained this way since the first year!) I don’t like him!  He was married to Rebecca and the family lived in or near the Morrisville area but Joseph bought and sold lots in Raleigh. And his son Cornelius had that lot by the Quarry he sold!  One was a tiny lot (#27 on the Raleigh map according to a deed) along Bloodworth Street, and the lot on  North Street. There was a deed between him and a Rex Foundation?  I wonder about Rebecca a lot.  Did she connect to the Griffin or Crocker families?  Is this why Cornelius sold land to A J Crocker when he got into a jam, John Crocker acted as bondsman for his marriage to Tabitha, and he joined the War effort alongside a Crocker?  There is a JOHN Crocker who called the Oneals Township home. His first wife was Celia Narron.  There was and is a Jordan Nairn/Narron Road in Johnston county in the Oneals township and an unincorporated town, maybe crossroads would be more to the point, called JORDAN along Jordan Narron Road.  Look how close Hwy 42 is!

































The women in our Jordan lines fascinate me and if I can get any cooperation from Great Uncle James Justice Jordan’s  descendants, Great Uncle James Clifton Jordan’s descendants, Great Grandpa Justice Parrish’s descendants, and Great Grandpa Benjamin Dupree’s descendants our pedigree would have far fewer holes and our work would be much further along.

Tabitha was said to be a tiny stoic lady. I believe she must have married for love and adored Cornelius. They married when she was only 16. And their third child was conceived after her husband had experienced his first battle scars which included time as a Prisoner of War.  He had returned to Camp Mangum in Raleigh where his regiment was being reformed under Colonel J V Jordan of Craven County.  Maybe that could explain why Tabitha was so close with her youngest child? She was unusual.  Most War widows, especially young widows with able bodied sons, remarried!  Not our Great Grandma Bitha! Was she too grief stricken to be able to remarry?  Was she so consumed with trying to raise three boys on her own she didn’t make time for herself?  Her eldest brother Willis Parrish deserted not long after Joseph (and Rebecca?) treated Tabitha so cold and hard.  Did he worry about his own wife and children?  Did he want to be closer to home to help his family?  The Parrishes appeared to be a close family.  Grandpa Justice mentions “Tabithy” twice in his will.  One mention was for Tabitha to take possession of a note owed to her dad by M. Parrish.  Was this Mordecai, another brother?  Grandpa Justice seemed genuinely concerned about his daughter.  It is clear from documents Cornelius received a bonus when the regiment was being reformed and he used it to purchase a parcel of land.  What is unclear is why Joseph did not provide Tabitha with a widow’s dower or any land after Cornelius died?  Had losing his last living son hardened his heart?  Joseph and Rebecca had three grandsons! Yet there is nothing so far that suggests any of them received anything or had any sort of relationship with their Jordan grandparents. (I keep hoping something will come to light to change my opinion of Joseph and Rebecca.  So far there was nothing passed down through EM’s line about Joseph or Rebecca.  I asked James Justice’s line and was told no.  They had no memory or stories about Joseph or Rebecca.  Rebecca died first between 1870 and early 1874.   I don’t know where Rebecca was laid to rest. I haven’t found any notice in the paper.  I truly would love to have help determining Rebecca’s surname and family.  I need more DNA from our Jordan cousins who all come through Matthew or his grandson Cornelius for me to properly work Autsomal Family Finder DNA matches.  And DNA from the Crockers, Griffins, and Scarboroughs will help too.

purchased image. copyright protected. DO NOT COPY

This brings us to MATTHEW our enigma.  He appears to have wed an Abigail Medlin in 1814.  No idea if Medlin was her maiden name or  if she too was marrying for a second time.  The bondsman was a Henry Smith.  DNA from our two known close Jordan lines will help.  Our Great Aunt who was known as the family historian has a direct MEDLIN line via the wife of her Great Grandpa Bartlett Yancey Underwood.  His bride was Emeline Medlin, daughter of Alfred and Hixey Medlin.   Bartlett Yancey Underwood’s branch has been established and Medlin men who hail from Chatham to Johnston counties can help tremendously by establishing their branch.  There are a few Medlins who have established their branches and interestingly Great Aunt Marie’s ALFRED/ALFORD MEDLIN line has a close connection with some SMITHS of Wake.  The very Smith line who sold the land which became forever more associated with Dorothy Dix State Hospital.  But with a name like Henry Smith it has been tough to sort out the exact Smith line and how and why this man was the bondsman when Matthew married Abigail.

I believe some of the children in Matthew’s will were the children of Abigail ad Matthew.  James Clifton Jordan I believe may be the James Jordan listed in Matthew’s will. James Clifton’s war pension says his father was a “MATHER” Jordan.  There wasn’t any other Matther or Matthew Jordan in all of the region at that time!  James C. married Rhody Parrish, big sister to Pinkney and Tabitha.  Poor Rhody – she is often ignored by Parrish researchers because of the work found on a website called wemaybekin.  Several of our direct family were missing or excised from that site including Tabitha, even though she is found twice in her dad’s will and Aunt Margaret Jordan, wife of Uncle Pinkney Parrish was made administrator of Grandpa Joseph Jordan’s estate.   I don’t know where the CLIFTON middle name originated?  As I built out James Clifton Jordan’s descendants’ lines I found a man through Ancestry whose wife is a cousin of ours through James Clifton’s line.  I asked for a DNA kit.  I have asked so many over the last eight years and yet our enigma remains a brickwall because I continue to wait.  Just last week a seasoned researcher from Wake County who shares our Adams lines (among others) reached out to me to offer a possible new contact to help me finally break through our Jordan side research brick walls. I continue to wait.

I am hopeful this will be the year for our cousins to work with me and together we can gain much needed genealogical ground! I have been waiting for eight years for any Jordan anywhere to match our Matthew Jordan kit closely. We have page after page of matches which are 2 or more markers different but zero kits which are close.  I know where two can be found – through James Justice Jordan’s son’s lines and James Clifton Jordan’s son’s lines.  And there is autosomal DNA which can help where the daughters of Matthew goes.

Here is a descendant fan chart for Matthew.  It is a work in progress.  All of these families can help me solve the mysteries surrounding Matthew.  You can click to enlarge the chart to make it easier to read.

Made using ChartingCompanion software.


Matthew is our turnkey and brickwall!  Our of the folks in this chart are related to me.  I need their help if I am going to solve who Matthew’s parents were.


To understand the reason I am stalled and asking  Jordan men from various counties to do DNA kits one must understand the history of Johnston County itself.   I have used the history of the county per the Smithfield Heritage Center and inserted map images from my Animap software (highly recommended software for early NC research) and my notes (in red).

“Johnston County was formed from Craven County in 1746 and named for Gabriel Johnston who was the royal governor of North Carolina from 1734-1752.”

* Many folks will recognize Animap slides.  I bought the software (highly recommend for anyone working on early NC families) and found it offered me a clear view of the land and where records might be found. It also helped me understand how so many early Jordan genealogies were confused. The software used David LeRoy Corbett’s book “Formation of North Carolina Counties”.  There is an immediate problem.  The first slide is 1664.  Here is what it looks like. Keep in mind the history of NC included the river known today as the Cape Fear but from 1526 to the late 1600s or early 1700s depending on whom you want to believe that body of water was the River Jordan.  And on Animap the region is not populated. 

made using my purchased Animap software. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. DO NOT COPY.











Let’s go forward to when I have the earliest JORDAN record in Johnston County, a deed for Abraham Jordan for land on both sides of the Neuse which added to his real estate holdings.  There also is mention in that document of a neighbor Charles Jordan. The date stamp was 1721. Here are the two relevant slides. Remember Johnston County was created in 1746.  So my JOHNSTON COUNTY specific work began before the county existed!  Does this mean I need to look at Craven County records or also early Craven County JORDANS?  Or were our Jordans somewhere between the River Jordan and Neuse and simply ignored by early histories because they were not planted by the English?









































“It was later used to form parts of Dobbs, Orange, Wake and Wilson counties, but gained territory from Orange County in 1761 and from Duplin County in 1777. In 1752, parts of Johnston County, Bladen County, and Granville County were combined to form Orange County. On April 8, 1754, the creation of Johnston County was repealed by King George II along with several other counties. It was recreated in September 1756 by the legislature in response to Crown instructions. The eastern portion of Johnston County became Dobbs County (now extinct) in 1759, while parts of Johnston, Cumberland, and Orange counties were combined to form Wake County in 1771. In a final partitioning, portions of Johnston, Edgecombe, Nash, and Wayne counties were combined to form Wilson County in 1855.”

Confused?  The history of Johnston County makes it SO important to use LOCATION when you are working with JORDANS (or any of the early families!).  And one needs to be as specific as possible. It isn’t enough to have the name of a county. The ports of Brunswick and Portsmouth/Ocracoke and Currituck were in full motion but no immigration records were kept.  People were coming and going, land was called by one name one day and a different name the next, and many families living in close proximity to one another named their children the same names!  Then add in two wars, the REVOLUTIONARY WAR and the CIVIL WAR and men from other colonies and in some cases countries found their way to North Carolina!  Cornwallis burned. Sherman burned. I believe the best we have to bring to our family history work is genealogical DNA which has been inherited by our true ancestors!  That information can help us filter and see the raw paper records with refined eyes. That information allows us to connect to true kin in our clan.  This is why before the first year was done. I had our JORDAN branch established in the database!  It was not an add on.  It was a necessity. 

“The first county courthouse (1747) was located near what is now Clayton, while a second was built in Smithfield in 1771. Replacement courthouses were built in Smithfield in 1786, 1843 and 1921. According to the Story of The Counties of North Carolina With Other Data, Federal troops advancing on Raleigh in 1865 threw out a number of courthouse records although very few were actually lost.

The first book of wills begins in 1760 as part of a complete set, but the entries are not in any particular order. Minutes from the county court begin in 1784, however several books are missing. Marriage bonds from 1760 to 1868 are indexed into a special book. Although missing the year 1800, deed books are complete starting from 1759.”

Image found on JOHNSTON COUNTY REGISTER OF DEEDS site. Also made a copy while at the Register’s office. DO NOT COPY.

This is an example of the quality of records found in Johnston County. Note the tattered and missing lower portions of the page. This is part of the complete set mentioned.  It is called the Land Division Heirs book. The book is supposed to contain records from 1789-1929.  Also I discovered a Strickland who was Register of Deeds just after 1900 decided to remove records and burn them on the courthouse lawn.  Witnessed ran for the Sheriff who made Mr. Strickland stop. It is still unclear exactly what this man burned or why! Considering the amount of records I still seek I question the veracity of the claim “few records were actually lost”.


When it comes to Matthew, we have a man who born at the latest around 1770.  The area where he called home morphed several times.  This made me focus on any Jordan who lived in  JOHNSTON, WAKE, WILSON, EDGECOMBE, PITT, BERTIE, CRAVEN, WAYNE, SAMPSON, HARNETT, CUMBERLAND, CHATHAM, GRANVILLE, ORANGE, and FRANKLIN, and ORANGE counties. I need to understand how the various Jordans who lived in those counties during the 1700s related to our Matthew Jordan.













The first specific geo point for me is where Matthew died.  Because his will did not include anything about a single parcel of land all I had was the county!  So I began first to build out the children of Matthew and see if their information might help me with Matthew.   If you google Jordan NC you will find an unincorporated tiny location in the Oneals Township not far from Wilson.  There is even a Jordan Narron Road cutting through it.  The second farm is commonly associated with the Watson family and one of the later homes, the Watson-Sanders home, applied for historic preservation status.  In their application,section 8 they include the original name of the farm was Jordan Plantation and they claim it was named for a slave.  I have been unable to locate any slave by that name owned by the Watsons.  I have consulted with experts at Harvard, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina and the Smithsonian and if this was the case it would be the first where a landowner named their property after a slave.  What I did find was the land was part of land owned by Abraham Jordan who lived there during the 1710s/20s when he received additional land from the Lord Proprietor Richard Everard.  There also was a Charles Jordan next door. The grant can be found at the State Archives.   I included the two mystery farms in Johnston County where Grandpa Matthew died and the two roads using the name JORDAN. Interesting those two roads share a fairly close relationship with what was called the Raleigh Road (now HWy42) .  At the Smithfield Heritage Center I asked about the road information. I was furnished with a vertical file for a Strickland.  The man was the chair of the second Johnston County Road Commission in 1931.  He was a local attorney and he was the man who was the Register of Deeds who burned some records on the Courthouse lawn.  In his vertical file were the minutes for the Commission and there was one entry about a dormant road from James Jordan’s farm being brought into service. That’s all there was.

With so much records loss, the Watson-Sanders family and I have been unable to determine just what the circumstances were for the land to to pass from JORDANS to Dr. Josiah Ogden Watson.

Matthew was born sometime before 1770- where remains a mystery.  He married an Abigail Medlin in Wake County November 12, 1817. The groom and a Henry Smith were the bondsmen.  There are few deeds for Matthew.  The only two I could find were found in Johnston County and involved small parcels located near Benson NC. Then in November 1846 Matthew bought 60 acres from a Richard Byrd paying $1 a acre.  The description includes ‘east side of Camp branch” – this creek per the NC Gazatteer  “Camp Creek rises in Johnston County and empties into the Black Creek”. This means the land Matthew bought from Richard Byrd was most likely in Panther Branch.  The details of the Byrd bought property included  Matthew’s neighbor included JUSTICE PARRISH [the man who would become father-in-law to two of Matthew’s grandchildren, our direct ancestor Cornelius who wed Justice Parrish’s daughter Tabitha (aka Bitha) and Margaret, Cornelius’ sister, who wed Tabitha’s brother Pinkney Parrish.  Pinkney would be appointed administrator for Cornelius’ dad’s estate when Matthew’s son Joseph A Jordan died.  Joseph’s only son to reach adulthood Cornelius had died during the Civil War at Fort Fisher in Wilmington and Margaret was the only child left]. Another neighbor was Burwell Jones, son of William W Jones SR and Amy Barber. Amy Barber is our sixth great aunt but this connection is not found along the JORDANs but inside the lines of Grandpa CC’s wife, our beloved Grandma Garnet Adams.  The Adams work is also part and parcel of our paternal branch because of the marriage between Grandpa CC and Grandma Garnet.  Her grandma was Mary Ella Jones, daughter of William Ebenezer Jones and Edith Whittington.  That line tracks to Plyer Barber who is our 6th great Grandpa and his daughter Amy who married William W Jones Sr is our aunt.  Another neighbor listed was Britton Langdon SR. A witness to the Byrd-Jordan transaction was Carrel Langdon, Britton’s eldest son.   Carrell Langdon would be bondsman for James Clifton Jordan and Rhody Parrish, another daughter of Justice Parrish who married Matthew’s son.  This marriage bond was the most peculiar one I have found.  You see, I found two exact bonds one in Johnston County and one in Franklin County for this couple!  It gave me pause that perhaps Rhody was not Justice’s daughter but Joel Parish of Franklin’s daughter.  However, court records regarding her children and guardianship put that notion to rest.  James Clifton Jordan returned from the Civil War badly wounded. He lived next door to Plyer Barber III. He lingered for years and when he died Rhody’s brother Nathan was appointed guardian to her children.  When Cornelius died Tabitha’s three tiny sons’ guardian ad litem was not Joseph, their grandfather or any of Tabitha’s brothers.  The Judge appointed the Wake County Sheriff Jeremiah Nowell.  WHY?  I don’t know!

When Matthew wrote his last will and testament he did not make any of his children executor.  He chose his daughter Rebecca’s husband, Young A. Barber, son of Drury Barber and Edith Woodall.  He also did not have any of his children witness his will.  Joseph our direct ancestor and son of Matthew lived only a short distance from his father and was an adult at the time the will was made.  Matthew chose Robert W Stevens and “Lizer” (Eliza) Barber to act as witnesses.  Matthew died sometime between May 7, 1849 and the August term  of the same year for Johnston County’s court.  It was Robert W Stevens, son of Robert Stevens and Celia (Celah) Creech, who appeared in court to prove Matthew’s will.  There was a single sentence in the record recognizing Young Barber as executor.  There was no followup report made to the court.  And the Will itself is different from other wills I have found.

Matthew’s will did not mention a wife.  (apparently Abigail had died before him).  His will did not list any property at all.  The entire document seemed to be an effort to set up trust funds for a few select grandchildren who had lost a parent.  It is unclear if these trusts were ever completed.   I have been unsuccessful making contact with Young A Barber and Rebecca Jordan Barber’s descendants.  I hope if you are reading this and you come through any of the lines mentioned you will use the contact form to find me!

As I built out some of Matthew’s children’s families I had an idea how old Matthew was when he died.  However, he could have been much older than the 1770 date I use.  Our Jordans, like some others from this region lived long lives.

His children and their ages seemed to suggest Matthew had two different wives but I never found a marriage bond for the first marriage.   I also have never found a grave for Matthew or any of his children!  Our direct ancestor Joseph A Jordan’s probate records include details for the coffin, the wagon, and the horses which pulled the wagon with the coffin BUT it does not include where in 1874 Joseph was laid to rest.  It is believed he was laid to rest in Raleigh’s old cemetery but like so many records these too have suffered loss because of fire!  I have been on a hunt for Joseph and Rebecca Jordan’s bible for eight long years.  The logical line to find it would be Margaret and Pinkney Parrish’s children’s descendants.  A long shot would be a descendant of Flora Morris Jordan Carter, the second wife of Grandpa Joseph A Jordan.  The couple wed in March and Joseph died in October of 1874.   She asked for and was given several family heirlooms but there is no record of any Bible.  How Joseph met and married Flora is a mystery. She was the daughter of Matthew B Morris,a tailor by trade, and a Margaret. Flora A was from Moore County. brother

Joseph and Flora were wed by Dr A W Mangum who at the time was the pastor of Edenton Street Methodist Church.  During the Civil War Dr. Mangum was the pastor of St Pauls Episcopal Methodist Church in Goldsboro in Wayne County and he served as chaplain to the very Confederate regiment Joseph’s son Cornelius served.  Wayne County is said to have lost a great number of marriage records. We also lost records for Seven Springs, many Johnston county records were moved to Lenoir county where there was fire.  I can do a great deal of speculating and have tried to look everywhere possible.  I believe what I seek is with family.  I just don’t know exactly who!

Edenton Street Methodist’s records do not list Joseph or Flora as members or Joseph and Rebecca. Joseph and his first wife Rebecca lived for a long time near Morrisville  in Wake County and then moved into Raleigh to North Street after Cornelius died.  The new Jordan home was just a few blocks from the church.  When  Joseph married Flora Morris the witnesses included Annie Harris, Mary White and  W.White. None of those names were found to be members of Edenton Street Methodist either!  The only Jordan who was a member was a CHARLES JORDAN.  Who this man was remains a mystery and if and how he connects to our Matthew line is unclear.

Matthew’s children  –

Merit Jordan apparently was alive when Matthew wrote his will. I have not found him!  The only Merit Jordan found is for a man who set up a lawyer’s office in Norfolk just before 1800.  Maybe someone out there can help me learn what happened to Merit?

Martha Jordan married John Adams March 1, 1844.  They had a daughter Effie Isabelle or Arabella Adams.  Martha was widowed before the 1850 census. She was found in the 1850 census living in the home of Charles Bingham and his wife Cassandra Langdon Bingham.  Cassie was the daughter of Britton Langdon Sr and Margaret “Peggy” Carrell.  She was considerably younger than Charles who was born in VA and worked as a blacksmith.  Cassie was his second wife.   I believe Martha and Matthew were related to the Langdons.  I don’t know exactly how.  DNA is needed to properly understand the fragments of information I have found.  I don’t know what happened to Martha or her daughter Effie Isabelle after the 1850 census.  Maybe someone reading does? Please let me know!

Allana Jordan is the next child.  She wed Daniel/David Gurley August 21, 1837 in Johnston County.  NOTE: Many people have confused the three Daniel/David Gurleys. They all were born within a year of each other.  Two were from Wayne County. One married a Sarah Hines. They lived in Fork Township.  The second Daniel Gurley married Edith Phillips and later married Chelly Sasser.  He also lived in Wayne County in Fork township.  Our fella was from Johnston County. I don’t know who his parents were but he and Allana and their daughter Sarah Jane lived in Rock Fish township and this was where Allana died.  Matthew specifically mentioned Sarah Jane and her dad, Daniel Gurley.   I have not found Allana Jordan Gurley’s grave.  Daniel remarried to an Anne and moved first to Wilmington where he and most of the family worked in the mills.  Daniel died in Wilmington and Anne and Sarah Jane and Sarah’s half siblings moved to Chatham Co to work in different mills.  Sarah Jane never married.  Her death certificate has not been found. Her grave has not been located.

Next was a mystery son who apparently died before his dad.  Matthew says he wants the residue of his property to be sold and the money split between several heirs.  The next to the last one mentioned was Tabitha Winifred Jordan, daughter of Susan C Norris and Bryant H Norris.  So it appears from the document Susan C was first married to a son of Matthew’s and then married Bryant  H Norris when Matthew’s son died.  The other way to view this is Susan C was a daughter of Matthew and had Tabitha Winifred before she married Bryant Norris.  Bryant Norris’ mom was Darcas.  She was born in Pitt County and resided most of her life in Harnett.  She died at Susan and Bryant’s home in Wake.  I have not been able to find a DNA candidate to help me solve Tabitha Winifred’s parentage.  I also haven’t connected with any NORRIS researcher who might be able to shred some light on Bryant H and his mother, Darcas.  You see there is a MATTHEW Jordan of Pitt record which could belong to our Matthew. With Gray Jordan’s family being rooted in Rocky Mount and Matthew also belonging to the same tree it is easy to see the possibility of a PITT CO Jordan connection.

Rebecca Jordan wife of Young A Barber is the next child.  She is most likely the eldest child of the union with Abigail Medlin.  Rebecca and Young had six children and called Elevation Township home.  Their children were Brazilla who married Jesse Martin Barber; Lucinda Barber who married Haywood Dixon; Smithey Barber (a daughter); Emily Barber; Perrin McRae Barber who married Julie Ann Dixon Poole; and Sarah Barber.  I don’t know when Rebecca Jordan Barber died or where she was laid to rest.  Maybe there is someone out there who can help.

John Jordan is the next child.  I know nothing about him.

James Clifton Jordan, the youngest of Matthew and Abigail’s. He married Rhody Parrish, of of Justice Parrish’s elder daughters. They had eight children: Zadock Alexander Jordan who married Mary Catherine Wood, daughter of Alfred and Eliza Whitehead Wood; Martha Jordan (died before her dad’s probate and no heirs); Josephus (Joseph) C Jordan who married Marticia (sic) Stephenson, daughter of Jesse Gaston and Charlotte Stephenson Stephenson, after her first husband Orren Williams died; John P Jordan; Ira Marshall Jordan who married Mary Ann Johnson, daughter of John H and Jane Harris Johnson; James Paschal Jordan; Julian Putney Jordan who married Lula Jane Atkinson, daughter of Joseph Henry Atkinson and Penny Byrd Atkinson; and Chloe Florence Jordan wife of William Edward Stanley.

This gives the reader all of the particulars for who, where, and when for Matthew and all I do know about his immediate family.  I welcome all help!  Maybe someone will read this and something will spark. I sure hope so.