John Woolf Jordan, eldest son of Francis and Emily (Woolf) Jordan was born in Philadelphia September 14,1840, died Wilmington, Delaware, June 11,1921. Early education was received at home from private tutors. Attended school in this city by
Mr. Verkins. At the age of twelve (1852) he entered the Moravian boarding School for Young Men at Nazareth, Northhampton County, Pennsylvania, now called �oeNazareth Hall Military Academy”, from which he graduated in 1856. In 1902 the degree
of Doctor of Laws, LL.D. was conferred on him by Lafayette College.
He was a member of the first Moravian church of Philadelphia throughout his life and actively interested in the affairs of the Moravian Church in America. As a young man he published and edited a church paper and many of the articles prepared appearing in it, were written by him and are on historical subjects, chiefly having to do with the early life of Moravians in Pennsylvania.
Throughout his life, he was a contributor to �oeThe Moravian” the official church organ of the Moravian Church. some of his writings on the history of Moravians in America include �oeNarrature of John Hackwelders’ Journey to the Wabash in
1792.” �oeBethlehem During the Revolution”. �oeThe Military Hospitals of Bethlehem and Lilitz During the Revolution” �oeBishop Spangenberg’s Notes of Travel to Onandago-1745”, and �oe Notes of Travels of John Heckenwelder to Chic-1797”
In 1858 at the age of eighteen, he entered the business firm of his father, Francis Jordan, who conducted a wholesale grocery and chemical business at Third and Race Streets, Philadelphia. The family founded the business in 1776, and in 1860 was admitted to the firm as partner. During the years his business called him away from the city a great deal. In looking after the extensive trade maintained by the firm in all parts of Pennsylvania, especially in the mining regions of the state. It was about this time that he developed a keen love for the historical, to which he had leanings to as a lad. Through coming into contact with the old settlers and tradesmen in various parts of the state, and the local students and archivists whom he eagerly sought out on his numerous business trips. Upon the death of his father, Francis Jordan in 1885, he retired as a member of the firm, and entered business for himself engaging in the heavy chemical trade on North Front Street for a short time.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, he organized with some other Philadelphians, McClellan’s Squadron of Light Calvery. Being elected Lieutenant in Captain Theo. Burkhart’s Company, later he became on of the organizers of the
Union Artillery Company, Capt. Jas. Starr Commanding, also called �oeStarr’s Battery” of which he was Quartermaster. He was called out in 1854 when the rebels invaded Pennsylvania and was stationed near Chambersburg, Pa., where his battery was held in reserve during the Battle of Gettysburg. He was a member of the First Regiment. Veteran Corps, and the Geo. Meads Post, Grand Army of the Republic.
He is librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies; vice-president of the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania; registrar of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution, and connected with other learned societies. Dr. Jordan's contributions to local and general history are numerous, among which may be specified: " A Red Rose from the Olden Time, 1752-1772"; "Friedenstahl and its Stockaded Mill"; "Narrative of John Heckewelder's Journey to the Wabash in 1792"; "John Heckewelder's Notes of Travel to Ohio, 1797"; "Bishop A.G. Spangenberg's Journey to Onondaga in 1745"; "Military Hospitals at Bethelem, 1775-1783"; "Franklin as Genealogist", ect.
Dr. Jordan married first , in 1866, Lillie Moore, and had issue Edgar F., Born November 4, 1867, by profession a civil engineer, and Wilfred, born April 19,1872, and died June 23, 1873. He married, secondly, Anne, daughter of Alfred and Rebecca S. Page, and had issue: Wilfred, born April 3 , 1884; Helen, born June 14, 1887; and Bevan Page Yeates, born February 5, 1893.
John Woolf Jordan (Sept. 14,1840-June 11,1921), librarian, antiquary, was a descendant of Frederick Jordan of Kent, England, who settled in New Jersey in the second half of the eighteenth century, and the eldest son of Francis and Emily (Woolf) Jordan. He was born in Philadelphia, where his father was a prominent merchant, a member of the grocery and chemical house of Jordan and Brother. After preliminary education in private schools of his native city, John was sent to Nazareth Hall Military Academy near Bethlehem, Pa., where he graduated in 1856. After leaving school he was taken into his father's office to learn the business, and when he had reached his majority, was made a member of the firm. In 1863 when Pennsylvania was invaded by the Confederates, he served as quartermaster-sergeant in Starr's battery, attached to the 32nd Regular Pennsylvania Militia. He retired from business later, and in 1885 became assistant librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In 1903 he was elected librarian, and retained that office until his death.
His most significant work was done as editor of the Society's quarterly magazine, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, which he conducted from 1887 until his death. For its pages he edited many important manuscript sources, including a number of Revolutionary orderly books, "Narrative of John Heckewelder's Journey to the Wabash in 1792" (January, April, July 1888), "Noted of Travel of ...John Heckewelder....to Gnadenhuetten on the Muskingum....1797" (July
1886), and "Spangenburg's Noted of Travel to Onondaga in 1745" (1878,1879). He was the author of a number of historical papers, published in the Magazine, among them being "Bethlehem During the Revolution" (January-April 1889), "The Military Hospitals at Bethelhem and Lititz during the Revolution" (January-April 1889), and "Franklin as a Genealogist" (April 1899). He edited W.C. Reichel's Friedensthal and its Stockaded Mill,1749-67 (1877) and "A Red Rose From the Olden Time"
(1883), and did most of the work of editing Extracts From the Diary of Jacob Hiltsheimer (1893), issued by Jacob Cox Parsons. His name appeared as chief editor of Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memorials of the Lehigh Valley, Pa (1905), and from 1914 until his death, as chief editor of the Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography (vols. I-XIII, 1914-21); with these works , however, he had comparatively little to do. He edited and contributed to Colonial Families of Philadelphia (2 vols., 1911), and Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania (3 vols., 1911). To his editorial work he brought learning and sure knowledge of Pennsylvania history, particularly of the Revolutionary period, and of its Moravian settlements, in both of which fields he was regarded as an authority. He was well informed on American history generally, and was held in high regard by historical writers who consulted him, but as a historian he made no positive impression.
In 1888 John Jordan was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution, of which he was registrar until his death. he was vice-president of the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania; Vice-president of the Swedish Colonial Society; Honorary member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati; founder and first president of the Pennsylvania federation of Historical Societies; secretary of the Valley Forge Park Commission; a member of the Commission for the Preservation of Public Records of Pennsylvania, a member of the state commission in charge of preparing the history of Pennsylvania's part in the World War; and a member of the Baronial Order of Runnymede. Lafayette College, in 1902 gave him the degree of LL.D. He was married on May 19, 1883 to Anne Page, daughter of Alfred and Rebecca Page, and had issue two sons and a daughter. [ Strangely enough, the Pa. Mag. of Hist. and biog. published no obituary. See New Eng. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., Apr. 1923, supp; Encyc. of Pa. Biog., vol. II (1914); Who's who in America 1918-19; Public Ledger and north American both of Phila., June 13, 1921. ]
Johnn Woolf Jordan, LL.D.
John W. Jordan, historian and librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has delved into history, particularly that pertaining to Pennsylvania and its people as few men have done, and the breadth of his researches has made him an authority upon all that throws light upon the development of the state and characters of the men, collectively and individually, who have guided its destinies. Dr. Jordan was born in Philadelphia September 14, 1840, his parents being Francis and Emily (Woolf) Jordan. His Uncle, John Jordan, Jr., who was born in 1808 and died in 1880 was for 28 years president of the Manufactures National Bank of this city and Vice president of the historical Society of Pennsylvania and a zealous antiquarian.
In private schools of Philadelphia John W. Jordan pursued his education until 1852, when he entered Nazareth College from which he was graduated in 1856 on completion of a four years course. Interested from youth in history, since attaining manhood his historical researches have been of a profound character and of great breadth. In 1864 he was made a lifetime member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. His labors in this connection have been of the utmost importance. He was secretary of the council, corresponding secretary of the society and for a number of years, beginning in 1855, its assistant librarian, and since that time has served as librarian. Since 1886 he has edited the Pennsylvania Magizine of History and Biography and has done other literary work connected with the publication fund of the society. His contributions to the society include the following: Proposition to Make Bethlehem, Pennsylvania the Seat of Government in 1780, (1878); Memoir of Bishop A.G. Spangenberg (1884); Notes of Trael of John Heckenwelder and William Henry,Jr. to the Muskingum, Ohio in 1797 (1886); Bishop Spangenbergs Notes of Travel to Onondaga in 1745 ( 1878); Essay on Onondaga Grammar, or a Short Introduction to Learn the Maqua Tougue by Rev. David Ziesburger, edited by John W. Jordan (1888); Occupation of New York City by the British, Extracted from the Diaries of the Moravian Church for the Years 1775, 1777,1779,1781,1782 and 1783 (1889); Bethlehem During the Revolution, 1775-1783 (1855); John Heckewelder’s Journey to the Wabash 1792 (1857); The Military Hospital at Bethlehem and Lititz During the Revolution (1896); Orderly Book of the Pennsylvania State Regiment on Foot 1777 ( 1898); Early Colonial Organ builders of Pennsylvania (1898); Franklin as a Genealogist (1899); Continental Hospital Returns1777-1778 (1899) and The State House in Philadelphia in 1774 (1909). Mr. Jordan has also
written many valuable works on colonial history of the Moravian Church and his writings also include the following articles or volumes: The Moravian Church in Pennsylvania, 1742-1746; Biography of John Henry Miller, Printer of Philadelphia
(1891); History of Use of Trombone in Church Music (1884); The Lehigh Ferry at Bethlehem (1897); Moravian Immigration of Pennsylvania 1734-1767 with lists and some account of transport vessels (1896); Friedensthal and its Stockaded Mill (1897), and A Red Rose From the Olden Time, or A Ramble Through the Annals of the Red Rose Inn and the Barony of Nazareth in the Days of the Provence 1752-71 (1883).
Mr. Jordan was the founder of the Pennsylvania society of the Sons of the Revolution, of which he is now the registrar, and has also served as general registrar of The Societies of the United States. He also founded the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, was its first president and is now one of its vice presidents. He is also vice president of the Swedish Colonial Society and is a member of numerous historical and literary societies in America and Europe. LaFayette College in 1902 conferred upon him the degree of LL.D.
In 1883 Mr. Jordan married Miss Anne Page, a daughter of Alfred Page, and they have 3 children. It would be tautological in this connection to enter into any series of statements showing Dr. Jordan to be a man of broad scholarly attainments and marked intellectual force, for this has been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. His published writings indicate the breadth of his interests and the extent and importance of his life work. In a history that will descend future generations, however it is but just to say that his friends find him a man of broad sympathy and kindly charity, willing at all times to give to others from the storehouse of his wisdom and experience or to lend a helping hand where material aid is needed
Funeral of Dr. John W. Jordan
REMARKS ON THE AFTERNOON OF JUNE 14, 1921
By Rev. John S. Roming
We knew that Dr. Jordan would soon be lost to the circles of State and church and friends and home-- but the end, except for the Divine wisdom, Seemed to come all too soon.
We knew the sun was heading for the Western horizon-- the few clouds of infirmity gilded with the glory of a mind clear as in youth and rosy with a warm affection which will be a treasured memory-- but we seemed to wait for some Joshua to stay the course of the sinking day.
The sun has set. And, with it, darkness has settled on that world of his own, of which he was the light.
It is a loss to this world whenever the upright pass away. The loss is proportioned to their service to the world- the darkness, to the light they shed. And I am sure we are all sensible this afternoon of the great loss which we have all sustained.
Life and death would be a constant tragedy if it were not for the glorious hope we have of a life beyond the grave.
I wish to speak for many today.
I wish to lay on this casket-- among these floral emblems-- wreaths of sincere tribute from those who knew, esteemed and loved Dr. Jordan.
In the name of the many friends associated with him in his historical and patriotic work and who would have so much to say of their esteem for him, had they the opportunity to-day, I pay a tribute of gratitude.
They are thinking how he gave all of his strength-- even to the very end-- in many an enterprise that would conserve the historic facts and ideals of our country; casting out many an anchor for important historical interests which might otherwise have drifted and finally been carried down the stream of time and been lost.
How fitting that he should be laid to rest on the day when all the nation is celebrating the birth of the American Flag.
For those who were his personal friends, and whose thoughts are occupied with his many courtesies and kindnesses-- with those traits which awakened affection in their hearts-- let me add a tribute of personal affection.
Again, I must lay here, in the name of the Moravian Church, a tribute of fraternal appreciation. His interest in the church and its institutions was scarcely less than his interest in the State. The entire Church-- knowing him through many sketches from his pen and through his presence at many Synods and his membership on Boards and Committees--will keenly feel its loss. Another giant tree which marked the forest of ardent sons of the Church has fallen, and we can only
pray that the saplings which occupy the ground will become giants in their turn.
As pastor of the First Moravian Church, this City, of which Dr. Jordan's father and grandfather, before him were prominent members, the former Steward from 1815 to 1836 and the latter Steward and treasurer from 1852 to 1871-- I wish to add my personal tribute. I esteemed Bro. Jordan as a friend and brother, as well as kinsman. I count him a sincere follower of our Lord Jesus Christ . As I knew him. He entered into the spirit of the Moravian worthies with those history
he was so conversant. I believe that he rejoiced in the forgiveness of his sin through that one final sacrifice on Calvary, since which the fires of all other bloody sacrifices on sacred altars, the world over, have been dying out. I know
that if there were any services which he tried to make sure of attending, they were those of the Passion Week. I believe that he had come to spiritual life, and the life eternal.
And into the leaves of this appreciation, let me twine a spray of affection which I found growing in my own heart for him.
For his loved ones, I shall not presume to speak. the dreaded blow has fallen. The love that will linger, the memories that cannot fade, the effort that many be made to conserve and continue his work--will be their unfading tribute to a loving husband, and a devoted father.
There can be no greater comfort for them than the consciousness that he has finished his course--a course so rich with achievement-- with honor and success. There can be no greater comfort than the memory of their ability to care tenderly for him in these lasts months-- and the simple faith in a glorious reunion some day- through the throb of the divine- the spiritual- life in the soul.
The sun has gone down, but we know that it is merely from our sight that it is hidden. There will be a glorious morrow! Than, all that truly ripened here shall surely be garnered. In that land of the day we shall come to see and understand
the purpose of the Father in all His great Creation, and the mysteries of His dealings with us in our daily lives. There, while much of the knowledge of men and things which here we prized may pass away, or be regarded with indifference, the knowledge of God and the soul and the spiritual verities shall be our new source of power and our new field of study.
How little we would care to trouble the happy ones who have entered that world-- if we could-- with the petty problems of this world of ours! How little could they give us an understanding of that spiritual world and it's wonders, even if they had the opportunity! They rest in peace! The glory in their triumph!
In the words of the Apostle John " His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads, and there shall be night no more, and they need no light of lamp neither light of sun, for lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever"
The Founding of the Pennsylvania Society
The times manifested not only strong patriotic feelings but also a national interest in family history and genealogy. There was concern at the increasing numbers of immigrants arriving in the United States. In the mid-1880s a shift in the immigration became marked, from the northern to the less familiar and more poverty-stricken southern and eastern portions of Europe. These changes were contemporaneous with a developing sense of nationalism, in place of sectionalism, and unrest accompanying the rapidly increasing industrialization of the economy. Such times supplied the impetus for the formation of numerous patriotic societies; by 1900 the movement was perhaps even more active than it is today.
These feelings were prevalent in Philadelphia as elsewhere. When, in March, 1888, J. Granville Leach was informed that New York had a society composed of descendants of those who had actively participated in the American Revolution, the idea of our Pennsylvania Society was born. Leach's personal journal tells of this event and of the sequel:
The organization of this Society came about in this way. In one of my visits to the rooms of The Historical Society in March 1888, John W. Jordan, the assistant librarian, called my attention to the fact that there was an organization in New York, descendants of those who had actively participated in the American Revolution of 1776. We agreed that Pennsylvania should have a similar organization, and discussed the advisability of taking immediate steps toward forming one. Dr.
Herman Burgin of Germantown called at the rooms of this Society this same afternoon, and Jordan mentioned the subject to him. Within a day or two I brought the matter to the attention of Major J. Edward Carpenter, Colonel William Brooke Rawle, Richard M. Cadwalader and Samuel W. Pennypacker, after which I being again at The Historical Society, reported to Jordan what I had done, and told him I had no doubt Carpenter, Rawle, Cadwalader, and Pennypacker would join with us in forming the suggested Society. Either that, or the following day, Dr. Burgin called on Jordan, who mentioned the names I had given him. Almost immediately afterwards, Dr. Burgin sent out invitations to Jordan and myself, and the others above
named, to meet at his office for the organization of a Society of Sons of the Revolution, which was done.
After a short discussion of the advisability of effecting an organization, I moved that we found a society under the name of The Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution. This motion was carried.
Name: John W. Jordan
Residence: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Relationship to Head: Son
Father's Name: Francis Jordan
Father's Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Mother's Name: Emily Jordan
Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Race or Color (Expanded): White
Ethnicity (Standardized): American
Martial Status: Widowed
Age (Expanded): 40 years
NARA Film Number: T9-1172
Page Character: D
Entry Number: 1064
Film number: 1255172
Collection: United States Census, 1880
Name: John W. Lld. Jordan
Death Date: 11 Jun 1921
Death Place: Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware
Father's Name: Francis Jordan
Mother's Name: Emily Wolf
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I09969-3
System Origin: Delaware-EASy
Source Film Number: 1944048
Reference Number: cn 1375
Collection: Delaware Deaths and Burials, 1815-1955