Over the next few weeks there will be a number of very personal posts that give intimate details on my life and my family. I hope that this is not off-putting. I think we can all learn a great deal from each other. All of us have some very interesting histories and experiences, good and bad, that we could share. You can skip these personal anecdotes if you wish. After a few weeks I will return to my usual posts on history, politics, religion, and what all. Of course, if something unusual pops up in the news I will interrupt the family narratives with a special post.
As a bit of background, here are a few facts about my family:
- My father’s direct line of descent is from an English family (Jordan) that resided in Southwest England (Devon, Dorset, And Wiltshire) in the late 1500s. A cousin arrived in Jamestown in 1610. My father’s direct ancestor arrived in the Virginia colony some years later, and his great-grandfather moved west to Halifax County, Virginia, about 1778.
- My mother’s family (Rives) lived in the same area of England (Dorset) in the late 1500s, and some of her people arrived in Virginia shortly after the English Civil War (mid 1600s). Her great-grandfather moved to North Carolina in the late 1700s.
- The Jordans and the Rives were much like other English families that left the old country and staked their hopes on building a new life and fortune in America. As they forged a civilization in the wilderness, many of the old class distinctions began to break down. As a result, both families have a great variety of people in their family trees. Some were from prominent families. More were likely to have been middle class farmers and merchants. Others may have arrived as indentured servants. Most were English, but there were also Scots, Germans, Welsh, and persons of indeterminate ancestry.
- My grandfather Clement Hopkins Jordan was born in 1841. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in April 1861 and served actively until March 1865, when he suffered his second major wound in the fighting around Richmond. During the war he was in the 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment, part of General Pickett’s division. He had five brothers who also served in the Confederate Army. Four of the six suffered battle wounds, but all somehow survived the war.
- My maternal grandfather (Edwards Andrew Rives) was born in 1859. Of course, he was too young for civil war service. His own father died in 1861.
- My father, Robert Saunders Jordan, was born in 1873. He graduated from medical school in 1899. He married a young lady from Mississippi, Sarah Poindexter, and they had three children, Clement, Robert, and Sallie. Sarah died in 1926, and afterwards my father moved from Virginia to North Carolina and established a medical practice near Greensboro.
- My mother, Annie Belle Rives, was born in 1891. She married a young physician, Branch Tucker Fields, in 1912. There were four children, Branch, Florence, Roberta, and Harold. Branch Fields died in 1924, leaving my mother a widow with four young children.
- My father and mother met at a physician’s office in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1927 or 1928, where she was serving as a receptionist. They were married in October 1928. I was their only child together and was born on August 30, 1929.
Many other elements of the family story have been or will be included in past or future posts.