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Archive for September 21st, 2007

Campbell Ambrose JordanI’ve heard it said that Granny’s father, Campbell Ambrose Jordan (pronounced Jurden), was a mountain man, resourceful and a hard worker. As a young man he went to live with his mother’s family for a time, possibly in the vicinity of present day Kansas. There is a tantalizing note in a spiral notebook left by my grandmother, “per Cam’s memoirs.” If I had one wish, it would be to find someone with a copy of such memoirs.

Cam’s father was James Jordan from Georgia. He was the product of unknown parentage, a foundling, the soul survivor of an Indian attack on a wagon train. The little red headed, blue eyed infant was adopted. It is not known if Jordan was his birth name or if it was the name of his adopted family.

Cam’s mother, Martha Bull, was Indian. The little spiral notebook notes, “She  must have been born about 1820 because she remembered when the stars fell (November 10-12, 1833). She had dark hair, dark eyes and might have had an accent, reportedly calling her husband “Jeem.” The children remembered her telling them to be proud of their native ancestry because they were kin to the great chief Sitting Bull. Some believed that she was not Indian but French. To further complicate matters, Aunt Jip returned from a trip back east and told everyone she had visited the Bull plantation. She said they were descended from the English Bulls. This seemed even less likely.

Jim and Martha’s children were a mixed bag of his fair complexion and her dark complexion. Even today, older family members refer to the “dark Jordans” and the “light Jordans.” The two oldest boys, Jim and Bob, died while serving in the Confederate Army. Cam returned from his stay with Martha’s family with the intention of enlisting but the war had ended. After Cam, there were two younger brothers, Tom and Dan. There were four girls: Ann, Mary, Susie and Rebecca.

After returning to Arkansas, Cam courted and wed Alice Martha Taylor and they settled on a farm. He built a nice little log cabin with a puncheon floor, a luxury in those days. Their first two children, Nick and Emma, were native born Arkansans. After a few years, Cam got the idea to move to Texas. Their land in Arkansas was wooded and hilly and the men wore themselves out clearing it for farming. The word was Texas had lots of good, clear farmland available. So preparations were made to move the family to Texas. As the time to leave neared, Alice did not want to leave her home. She sat on the porch in her rocking chair as the wagon was loaded. Cam left her a horse and wagon and told her that when she was ready, she could come on. Then Cam, the kids and all their belongings drove away. She sat for awhile absorbing every last detail of her home. After a bit, she put the rocking chair in the back of the wagon and took off after her family heading to Texas. 

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Griffin Lewis Taylor was born in Virginia about 1815 or 1816.  Elizabeth Wardlaw was born in South Carolina about 1822. They married in Greene County, Alabama on November 24, 1841. At the time, Greene County was the home of Elizabeth’s family. By 1849, Lewis and Elizabeth had relocated to Lafayette County, Arkansas. Most of Elizabeth’s family, the Wardlaws, moved to Bradley County, Arkansas. There is more about them on the Bradley County ARGenWeb. A notable exception was Elizabeth’s brother, Addison Wardlaw, who settled in Ellis County, Texas.

Lewis and Elizabeth had four (known) children: Alice Martha born 19 Sep 1849, Emma born about 1852, Griffin Lewis born 02 Aug 1854 and Charles Dillard born about 1857. The birth dates for Alice Martha and Griffin Lewis are from their gravestones. The 1860 federal census records the place of birth for all four children as Arkansas.

The young family must have done well for themselves in Lafayette County, Arkansas. The 1850 federal census for LaGrange Township lists Lewis’ occupation as farmer. The 1860 federal census for Roane Township lists his occupation as overseer.

I put Elizabeth’s death at about 1861, sometime between the 1860 census and Lewis’ marriage to Emeline Munnelly 18 May 1862.

So far, the 1862 Lafayette County tax roll is where the document trail ends for Lewis. The next mention of the Taylors come in 1865 when Emeline Taylor is listed on the tax rolls. I don’t know if we can ever know the circumstances of his death or when and where he was buried. It is quite possible that the story is true and he died in Texas. He had two brothers-in-law in Texas, one in Ellis County and one in Falls County. Both are not so far from Waco, the seat of McLennan County. I’m still looking.

By the 1870 census:

Emma’s husband, J. M. (Jim) Forbes living with 4 month old Cora T.  (Taylor) and Susanna Forbes, 56 in Lafayette County. (Emma died young, either in childbirth with Cora or in the 4 months between the birth and the census date.) The next family is E. N. Taylor, 32, female, born in Tennessee and Munerly N., 11.

Twenty year old Alice is married and living with Cameron (sic) Jordan in Bradley County. They have no children but she must have been pregnant with Uncle Nick by this time.

Fifteen year old Lewis is living with John and Jane Wardlaw, his mother’s brother, in Bradley County.

Twelve year old Charles is living with Nick and Mary Jarrott, his mother’s sister, in Bradley County.

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