Historical Details

Jordan Family History

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 11/29/1989

Jordan family gets together for 100-year reunion

A Jordan family reunion was held in August in Harrison with about 57 people attending. While at the reunion, the family fathered its history of the past 100 years in Nebraska. That history, as compiled by family members, follows:

Although official documents were not recorded until the early 1890s, records and personal papers establish that the Jordan family has resided in Sioux County, Neb., for 100 years. The homestead celebrated its 100th anniversary this past summer. Descendants of Sarah and Cornelius Jordan celebrated that 100th anniversary and enjoyed a family reunion and birthday celebration.

History began in Ireland
The Jordan history began in County Cork, Ireland, where Dennis McCoy was born in 1804. He became a seaman and as a youth worked in the sail boat yards and later made many trips across the Atlantic Ocean. He even sailed around the "Horn."

He met a ballerina from the County of Donnegal, Ireland, named Hannoraugh Galoria Gallagher and fell in love. They were married in Ireland in 1844. On Oct. 31, 1845, their first child James Thomas was born in County Donnegal, Ireland.

With their second child on the way they decided to leave Ireland with its starvation and disease, brought on by the potato famine, and boarded a sailing vessel bound for America. Their second son, Anthony has been listed in records as being born in Ireland, but more likely he was born on board ship before they reached land in 1847. It took at lease 30 days to make the crossing.

They first settled in Pennsylvania and lived there for three years. There, their first daughter, Sarah Frances, was born on May 3, 1850.

By covered wagon and oxteam they left Pennsylvania and traveled to Clinton County, Iowa.

Their fourth child, Joseph, was born in 1853. It is not known if he was born in Clinton County, Iowa, or in Pennsylvania, but the federal census of 1880 lists him as born in Pennsylvania. While living there six children were born in Center Township.

Traveled by covered wagon
Dennis and Hannoraugh in 1866 again loaded their belongings and eight children into a covered wagon. They moved to Boone County, Iowa, where they settled on a farm in Des Moines Township, northeast of the city of Boone (then called Montant). The new home was a dug out cave. Later a small house was built. Dennis farmed in the summer, and in the winter walked five or six miles each morning to work in the coal mines.

Dennis and Hannoraugh were thrifty, hard working people, honest and very conscientious. They prospered and were able to accumulate ownership of several farms.

In 1890 Dennis and Hannoraugh moved into Boone. They had scarcely settled into their new home, when Dennis died, at the age of 86 years, Hannoraugh died in 1903. Their nine children included Sarah who later married Cornelius Jordan.

Served in Civil War
On the Jordan side of the family Cornelius Jordan, the fifth son of Richard and Darth Ellen Hickey Jordan born April 2, 1846 in Kenosha, Wisc. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the Civil War, serving as a private in Company B of the 17th Regiment of Wisconsin. At the close of the war he was liberated from the Libbyville prison and transferred to a recuperating center in Texas.

In the year 1867 or 1868 he enlisted as a Government Independent Scout using the name of Bolleen and was sent to Fort Laramie then in Dakota Territory. From there he traveled to Fort Fetterman on the Platte River west of what is now the Town of Douglas. He also scouted during the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. He was sent from Fort Fetterman to Fort Abiconda on the Red River there he met his brother Peter, who had been a teamster under General Custer. Cornelius and Peter returned to the surveying of the Nebraska and Wyoming line.

Peter continued to be a government teamster. When Cornelius' enlistment as a government scout expired, he traveled back to his home in Wisconsin. On the way he stopped at Boone, Iowa and purchased some land. When he arrived home he found his mother had died and the remainder of the family had packed all their belongings and moved to Boone, Iowa. He joined his family in Iowa and Peter joined them later.

Jordan and McCoy are married
Cornelius met Sarah Frances McCoy in Boone. They were married there Feb. 16, 1871 in the Catholic church by Rev. P.M. Delaney. Sarah's parents presented them with a large Bible that is still in the family.

The new couple bought a farm where they lived until Cornelius died. Their eight children were Cornelius, Daniel, Joseph, Michael, Dora, Robert, Richard and Albinus.

Family moved to Sioux County
After her husband's death Sarah Jordan came to Sioux county, Neb. in 1889, a young widow of 37, and filed on a homestead on Sow Belly Creek, north of Harrison. Her oldest son, Neil (short for Cornelius) had come west a year earlier and had urged his mother to bring his seven brothers and sister, ranging in age from 14 years to 19 months, to Sioux County and begin a new home.

Through her excellent business capabilities, Sarah acquired other land holdings in the valley where she was engaged in the cattle business. She lived through many desperate and terrible happenings in the pioneer days of Sioux County and the surrounding country side, withstanding Indian scares, droughts, and prairie fires and fought to keep her family safe and healthy.

"Grandma Jordan," as she was known in later years, was beloved by all who knew her and only kindest words were spoken by neighbors and friends of her life spent among them.

'Grandma' served as midwife
She was a midwife who delivered 125 babies without loss of life to mother or baby. She delivered all but four of her 41 grandchildren. She would travel for miles with her horse and buggy or someone would come with a big wagon and team to pick her up and take her to the house of an expectant mother. She often would spend a week or more away from her own home caring for the mother and the new baby before returning home. She was often sought out by those suffering from illnesses and concocted many poultices that were proven effective. Her poultice for pneumonia, made of corn meal much and onions were especially effective. She was credited with saving many lives that were given up for lost.

In 1905, Sarah returned to Iowa and sold the family farm to Michael Henneberry Jordan, son of her late husband's brother. Then she returned to Nebraska where she lived out the rest of her life.

Her children filed on homestead adjoining her land and as they married moved to their own homes. Acquiring property in Harrison in later years, she made her home there, but she also made frequent visits back to Boone, Iowa to visit family members. Eventually she sold her land in Sow Belly to her son, Dan.

Sarah Jordan died Nov. 22, 1932, at her son Dick's home. She is buried in the Montrose Cemetery about 25 miles north from Harrison.

The Sioux County homestead and land is now owned by Sarah Jordan's granddaughter, Gertrude Quintard Harkins of Harrison. The homestead house was moved to near Montrose on her grandson, Allen Jordan's ranch. that is now owned by his widow, Mary. A granddaughter, Cecilia Jordan now owns and lives in the home Grandma built in Harrison.

Grandma Jordan had a total of 41 grandchildren, 21 of whom are now living. Fourteen of the 21 were present for the 100-year reunion. Those attending were Della Clarke, Dan E. Jordan, Margie Chard, Iola Hubbard, Cecilia Jordan, Sarah Hartman, Ellen Lacy, Verona Bristol, Helen Jordan and Sadie Lohr.

Represented at the gathering were seven states, including Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, California, South Dakota and Montana. As part of the celebration, the attendees toured the area north of Harrison visiting the site of grandma's homestead, those of her children, grandchildren and including the churches and cemteries at both Montrose and Bodarc communities where some of grandma's decedents are buried.

As of the reunion in 1989, in the past 100 years, the decedents of Grandma Jordan number 276.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Hartman, Sarah (08/06/1906 - 12/21/1999) View Record
Obituary McCoy, Frances (09/13/1915 - 03/03/1997) View Record
Obituary Jordan, Allen (09/06/1905 - 09/14/1974) View Record
Obituary Lohr, Sadie (07/13/1914 - 05/28/1994) View Record
Obituary Clarke, Della (02/10/1915 - 07/13/2009) View Record