Person:James Jordan (43)

m. Bet 1777 and 1779
  1. John Jordan1780 - 1817
  2. Margaret Jordan1782 - 1846
Facts and Events
Name James Jordan
Gender Male
Birth[1] 1725 Pennsylvania
Marriage Bet 1777 and 1779 Spartanburg District, South Carolinato Margaret Fairbanks
Death[1] 1802 Spartanburg County, South Carolina
  1. 1.0 1.1 Public Member Trees: (Note: not considered a reliable primary source).
  2.   Landrum, J.B.O. (John Belton O'Neall). History of Spartanburg County, embracing an account of many important ev ents and biographical sketches of statesmen, divines and other public me n and the names of many others worthy of record in the history of their county. (Spartanburg, South Carolina: Reprint Co., 1960).


    In the early h1story of Spartanburg county no one figured more prominently than James Jorden, who was among the first settlers on the Tygers. On his paternal side it is said that he was Scotch, and on his maternal side Irish. He was doubtless well nurtured and trained by his parents, receiving the best education that could be obtained at his day and time. His birthplace was probably in the State of Pennsylvania, as most of the Scotch-Irish settlers on the Tygers came from that country.

    In the annals of the documentary history of the important events which occurred within the territory embraced in the original county of Spartanburg, which we gather in fragments here and there, the first record we find of any public service rendered by James Jorden was when he was cominissary of old Fort Prince during the year 1776. As an evidence of this fact, his old record book, while serving in this capacity, was found eighty-two years afterwards, and copies of entries made therein are at present to be found in Spartan files under date of October 7th, 1858.

    The book referred to is described as being two by four inches in size, much mutilated, and containing about thirty or forty pages. From the appearance of the copies made from the original entries, a splendid system of bookkeeping is displayed, well worthy of modern imitation.

    The site of Old Fort Prince is seven miles west of Spartanburg, one mile below Mount Zion Church, and very near the old historic Blackstock road. It was built by the early settlers, says Draper, about twelve years before the beginning of the Revolution, as a defence against the outbreak and massacres of the Indians on the borders during the war between France and Great Britain, some particulars of which we have given in an other volume.* It was called from the Princes, who lived near by. Among the earliest settlers living in the vicinity of Fort Prince, were the families Vernons, Jordens, Timmons, Reas or Rays, Millers, Dodds, Collins, Lawrences, Bishops, Goodletts, Jamisons, and others. These came to this section before the Revolution, and some of their descendants still hover around the home of their ancestors.

    It was during the Indian outrages of 1776, instigated by Indian emissaries or agents, an account of which we have published elsewhere, that the early settlers in the vicinities of Fort Prince, Poole’s Fort near Wofford’s Iron Works (now Glendale), Nicholl’s Fort at “Narrow Pass" near the residence of the late Captain David Anderson, Blockhouse near Landrum, Thickety and other forts gathered and erected forts to defend themselves from an impending danger. During these trying ordeals it was necessary that a proper.person. be selected to purchase supplies for the maintenance of these people, and the person selected for this responsible duty at Fort Prince was James Jorden.

    At the period when the entries referred to were made, James Jorden was an old bachelor, and lived at the house of Robert Goodlett, about one mile from the fort, which was sufficiently near for him to attend to his duties as commissary of the fort.

    Some time during or after the Revolution James Jorden married to Mrs. Margaret Miller, whose name appears in the old commissary book. In another volume* we have given an account of the killing of Mr. John Miller, which occurred during the Indian outrages of 1776, at or near Barry’s Bridge. The writer is in possession of a MS. letter from Mr. Lawrence D. Miller, Jacksonville, Ala., under date of July 7th, 1890, which states that at the time this murder took place, Mrs. Margaret Miller, wife of John Miller (to whom James Jorden afterwards married), and her son Samuel were, with other neighbors, in Fort Nicholls for protection, which was about one mile distant. The son Samuel referred to was a known character well known to many of the older citizens of Spartanburg county.

    It would appear from the letter of Mr. Miller referred to and the old account book of James Jorden, that Mrs. Margaret Miller was the inmate, at different times, of the two forts during the years 1776—77. It was some time during these years that James Jorden, then an old bachelor, became enamored by her charms and made her the wife of his bosom. By this union three children were born, viz.: Elizabeth, John and Margaret. The latter became the wife of James Vernon, son of Alexander, whose name also appears in the MS. accounts of James Jorden.

    We are unable at this time to state fully the part that James Jorden took in the great Revolutionary struggle for independence but can as without fear of contradiction that it was a prominent one, and that he greatly aided in the work of disenthrallment from British tyranny. It may be truly said of him that he was a prominent and distinguished man for his day and generation, not only for his advocacy of letters, but as an administrator of law, having received the commission of judge of the first courts held in Spartanburg county, as shown elsewhere. He was also a member from Spartanburg county of the first ConstitutionalConvention of South Carolina held after the close of the Revolution; and he, with the entire delegation from his county, voted for a form of government that pertained more to a monarchy than a republic, the latter being an experiment rather than a reality. But, despite the immaturity of public opinion which prevailed at that time, he, in this, as in all other public acts of his life, consulted not the public sentiment of his day, but boldly and independently pursued the leadings of his own judgment.

    As shown elsewhere, James Jorden was a representative to the State Legislature from 1788 to 1790, and senator from the same county from 1800 to 1802. His death occurred in 1802.

    During the time that he was a membe1 of the Legislature of South Carolina, owing to his high appreciation of the advantages of education, he voted for the first appropriation for the establishment of the South Carolina College.

    It has been said of him, that, despite themany virtues that shone resplendent in his private character, the Hon. James Jorden was not influential alone from private worth, but in his day stood preeminently forth as an orator. He was not only remarkable for his flow of language, but also for the chasteness of his style, the development of his argumentative power, and the earnestness, grace and elegance of his manner. Such is the testimony handed down by those who heard him in debate as well as on the rostrum.

    We are unable to obtain the date of birth of James Jorden, but we would fix it not far from 1725. His wife, Margaret, whose first husband, John Miller, was killed by the Tories, as already stated, was born April 1st, 1740. Her son Samuel Miller (Sheriff Sam), by first husband, was born June 11th, 1768. The children of James and Margaret Jorden, being three, were born following dates: Elizabeth, September 8th, 1778; John, July 11th, 1780; and Margaret (wife of James Vernon), October 13th, 1782.