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Levi Jordan

My Family's History

by Dorothy Davis Cotton

According to my family history, this is a picture taken of the plantation house in about 1904.

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Levi Jordan was my great, great, great, great grandfather. He was born February 5, 1793 in Georgia.

We are told, in my family, that he was orphaned and ran away from a cruel guardian. We are also told that he applied for a land grant in the 1805 Georgia lottery when he was only 12 years old, and that he joined the army on August 26, 1813, at the age of 19. He was in the Harris Regiment of the Georgia Militia. He served until March 2, 1814. For his service as a corporal, he was paid $10.00 per month. His total pay came to $65.50.

We have also been told that he was working on the plantation of Jessie Stone as an overseer when he eloped with Jessie’s daughter, Sarah Stone. They were alleged to have started housekeeping with only a skillet. They had only one child, a daughter, Emily, who was born May 24, 1819.

Emily married a North Carolina boy named James Campbell McNeill in 1838. Now, this was when the family moved from Georgia to Alabama, to Arkansas, to Louisiana, and then to Texas. Emily and James had eight children in four states. One of these was my great, great grandmother Annie. More about her later.

Oral tradition tells us that Levi wrote home that, although they had worn out plantations in four states, he had finally find a place that would wear them out!

So, in 1848, he bought 2222 acres from Samuel M. Williams for $8,888.00. We are told that he chose this spot because a black panther awoke their camp in the middle of the night with its screams. Levi got up and shot the panther and decided this was the place. [we will insert a picture of tree thought to be the same tree]

The house was built in 1854 from oak timber. Some of the timber was brought down the San Bernard River by schooner. The house was unlike any in the county. It was functional and simple to the point of severity. The outside of each chimney was flush with the wall. In addition to the house, there was a smokehouse, a sugar house, stables, and brick slave quarters.

Levi was reputed, in family stories, to have owned 365 slaves at one point – one for every day of the year. But only 146 were on the tax rolls at one time. The sugar house was supposed to have the largest sugar making machinery in the county. The mill had two trains of 6 kettles each. [we hope to insert a picture of a sugar kettle here].

Now, back to Annie. Annie married Robert Furniss Martin who, for some reason, Levi didn’t like. They had four boys. I have been told that Annie died early, leaving four very active "juvenile delinquents" to terrorize most of Brazoria County!. Will, one of her sons, was called "McWillie". He married Eloise Masterson, a Houston socialite, and brought her back to Brazoria. They had five children. My grandmother, Furniss Eloise, was one of them. She grew up on the plantation, with a black "mammy" named Hester Holmes. My grandmother married George C. Davis on the plantation.

Levi died aboard a steamer going to Galveston on February 6, 1873. He was buried in the Cedar Lake Cemetery, fairly near the plantation. [We will someday include a picture of the invitation to the burial, and a picture of grave that is thought to be Levi’s].

Levi Jordan

Sarah Stone Jordan

Emily Jordan McNeill

Annie McNeill Martin

The "Martin Boys"

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