This is entry #24 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
52 Ancestors: #24 Jordan N. PETERS 1796-1890 – War of 1812 Pensioner
Update (21 June 2014): A correction has been made to the name of this ancestor. Jordan N. PETERS’ supposed middle name, “Nichols,” has never been proven. His records only include the middle initial “N.” The middle name “Nichols” has been removed/changed to the middle initial in this blogpost.
My 3rd great-grandfather Jordan N. PETERS was born in Amherst County, Virginia, on 10 October 1796 to Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY. Zach and Kesiah were married nearly two years when Jordan was born. Following his birth the PETERS family continued to grow and moved to Franklin County, Virginia, some time before the 1810 census. By 1810 Jordan, 14 years old, had 7 brothers and sisters. Four more would be born by the end of the War of 1812.
Of the dozen children born to Jordan’s parents, the names are not known for two girls and two boys however they are documented in the pre-1850 census statistics. Jordan’s known siblings were Mary, William, Betsy, Lucy, Willis, Joseph and Susannah.
War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 18 February 1815)
In 1977 Paula Kelley Ward obtained Jordan’s complete War of 1812 file from the National Archives and Records Administration. She transcribed and typed all the documents in the file. The complete transcription and the full story contained in the records came to nearly 50 typewritten pages. With information gleaned from his War of 1812 records Paula wrote “Jordan’s Story”.
In the years that I have done genealogy I’ve learned that it is very important to share with other researchers. We can’t do everything on our own. A different perspective often helps push past the problems we have in our research. Paula, my 4C1R and 4C, has kindly allowed me to use her images of documents she has found. Excerpts from “Jordan’s Story” are included here to allow Jordan to tell his story in his own voice and through Paula.
Jordan said he enlisted in 1814 “to keep my father from being drafted.” He was about 17 years old then, six feet tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a dark complextion. He gave his occupation as “farmer” when he volunteered at Franklin Court House under Captain William Jones…..During his first term of service, Jordan said he “worked in the trenches and mustered every day for two months and 22 days.” He then became ill with the “bloody flux” and at about the same time his shoulder was dislocated…..Jordan was granted a discharge…
The second time he enlisted he was 18 years old and volunteered at Franklin Court House on February 6, 1815 in Captain Robert Hairston’s Company…. The Company had marched as far as Chester (or possibly Chesterfield), Virginia when word reached them that a Treaty of Peace had been ratified on February 16. “Peace was made, and we marched over the Bridge and were paid for our time,” he said. The Company was discharged at Richmond on February 19, 1815, and Jordan went home to Franklin County.
The Jordan and Polly Era (1817-1837)
Mary “Polly” TROUP was 18 years old when she married Jordan N. PETERS on 6 October 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her parents Henry and Dorothy TROUP gave permission for their daughter Mary to marry Jordan PETERS. He was the first of the PETERS children to marry. His brother William married Polly’s sister Alice in December 1818.
In 1820 Jordan is first seen in the census as the head of household with his wife and young daughter. Interesting is that Jordan is enumerated after Austin PROFFITT, the uncle of the young lady he would later marry, have children and spend the rest of his life with.
By 1830 Jordan’s family had grown to include 5 boys and 3 girls. One of these girls may have died young OR daughter Jane who is said to have been born 22 June 1831 may have actually been born in 1830 as reflected in the above census.
Jordan’s wife Mary “Polly” TROUP died on 5 January 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia. She died at the age of 37 after bringing ten children into the world. When she died, her oldest child Cynthia was 17 and her youngest William was just 1 year and 3 months.
- Cynthia born 8 Oct 1819
- Henry T. born 17 Mar 1821
- Zachariah born 14 May 1822
- Stephen born 13 Mar 1824
- Mary born 6 Aug 1825
- Jonathan born 23 Apr 1827
- James born 25 Jan 1829
- Jane born 22 Jun 1831
- Martha Ann born 19 Jan 1833
- William Edward born 2 Oct 1835
In a letter written to Zachariah PETERS on 2 July 1864, James PETERS wrote, “Dier Brother I comply with your request and send you the register of our ages as furnished me by our father I send it in short hand and you can copy it.” The dates of birth seen above followed. I received a transcript of the letter in 2003 but was not sure that all information was transcribed correctly. Genealogy research has been Paula’s life work since the age of 16 so it was no surprise to me that she had a photocopy of the original letter which she shared with me. I found that the things I questioned in the transcription were errors. Lesson learned: Do not rely on transcriptions – always verify with an image of the original when available.
Jordan’s Siblings and Parents
Let’s back up here a bit. While Polly and Jordan’s family was growing, his siblings were marrying in Franklin County and starting their own families:
- William PETERS married Alice “Alla” TROUP on 12 December 1818
- Mary PETERS married Samuel SMITH on 18 December 1823
- Elizabeth “Betsy” PETERS married Jesse EDWARDS on 17 June 1826
- Lucy PETERS married Joseph JARRELL on 4 October 1827
- Willis PETERS married Ruth SMITH on 21 March 1829
- Joseph PETERS married Martha “Patsy” SMITH on 1 September 1830
- Susannah PETERS married Andrew REEL on 16 October 1839
Their parents most likely saw most of them marry except for their youngest Susannah. It has been assumed that Kesiah LIVELY and Zachariah PETERS both died between 1830–1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. There is no record of their deaths. Neither was enumerated as a head of household in 1840. None of their “known” children had older individuals in their households in 1840.
The Jordan and Sarah Era (1837-1841)
Jordan wasted little time in marrying again. Polly died in January and seven months later on 15 August 1837, he married Sarah COX. Her mother Peninah COX had given permission for Sarah to marry Jordan on 9 August 1837. We don’t know how old Sarah was but she immediately became the stepmother of ten children. Three months later Jordan’s oldest child Cynthia married Sarah’s brother Moses COX on 26 November 1837. Both marriages took place in Franklin County.
Sarah’s first child, Penenah, born on 14 November 1839, was named after her mother, Penniah WALDEN, widow of Francis COX.
Jordan and Sarah’s second child was born on 1 July 1841 and died the same day without being given a name. Sarah died about a week later on 8 July 1841.
Jordan now had eleven children, all presumably still living at home except for Cynthia who married in 1837. Zachariah would marry in 1846, Henry in 1847, and Stephen and possibly Jane in 1848. The rest of his children from his first marriage were married by 1855.
The Jordan and Rachel Era (1841-1890)
On 8 December 1841, just five months after Sarah’s death, Jordan, age 45, married a third time to my 3rd great-grandmother Rachel PROFFITT, age 24. They married in Franklin County. In the next 23 years she gave him 9 more children while the family moved back and forth between Franklin County, Raleigh County and Floyd County. This is well documented in the War of 1812 papers, births of children, and census.
- Sarah “Sallie” PETERS (1842-1899) born 2 Nov 1842
- Joseph W. PETERS (1844-1862) born 12 May 1844
- Moses Samuel PETERS (1846-1915) born 25 Jan 1846
- Keziah Lucy PETERS (1847-1934) born Abt 1847
- Amanda A “Mandy” PETERS (1850-1895) born 2 Oct 1850
- Caroline “Callie” PETERS (1855-1930) born 31 Jan 1855
- Milla Susan PETERS (1856-1891) born 6 Dec 1856
- Mary Elizabeth F. “Emma” PETERS (1860-1944) born 22 Mar 1860
- Nancy Ellen “Nannie” PETERS (1864-1942) born Jul 1864
In 1850 we see Jordan living next door to several COX families in Raleigh County which would later be part of West Virginia. Daniel COX and his family are next door to his mother Peninah and three siblings. Jordan’s daughter Cynthia and her husband Moses COX are in the next household followed by Jordan and his family.
By 1860 they were once again in Franklin County.
For reasons unknown today, Jordan did not declare his first term of service when he testified in 1855 to claim the bounty land due him. He received a Bounty Land Warrant for 160 acres in 1856. In later years when he provided sworn statements to the Government in an attempt to prove his first term of service, the records could not be found. In addition, he had received two discharges which would have proven his
service but unfortunately these papers were burned along with everything else he owned in a fire which destroyed his house in February of 1865.
The statements made by Jordan and Rachel Peters concerning the fire could be interpreted today as suggesting that the house was burned deliberately. “The year of the Surrender we got our house and Family Record Bible of Ages and Marriage and Deaths all burnt up with everything else we had,” said Rachel. When the Civil War began, it must
have been a sad event to those who had served in the War of 1812. Witness Jordan’s statement: “I loved the Stars and the Stripes that was the old Flag I went under. When I saw them pull them down [the old flag] and raise the Rebel Flag, I could not hardly keep…from shedding tears. I told them they would get enough of it, so they did. When I lived in Floyd County, Virginia, I got my house burnt up and all my papers.”
Congress approved the Act to provide pension for service in the War of 1812 on 14 February 1871. Jordan, 74 years old, submitted his first pension claim.
In 1874, after three years of testimony and correspondence, the Government notified Jordan that his claim was rejected on the grounds that “evidence of 60 days service” was not proven.
Following the rejection notice there is a four-year gap in Jordan’s file, indicating that the Government may have misfiled or lost the records during those years. Then on February 23, 1878 at the age of 81, Jordan submitted another pension claim. Seven years had passed since he had first declared his service for a pension in 1871.
The Pension Office seems to have processed this claim hurriedly. In July of 1878 he was granted a pension of $8.00 per month. Then a Government examiner reviewed the claim and recommended that “this case should be rejected and certificate cancelled.” In October of that year Jordan’s name was dropped from the pension rolls and payment of pension was suspended because of “insufficient service.”
With persistence Jordan once again declared his service of two terms. Throughout 1879 and 1880 the Government offices inspected the muster rolls again. Several months passed before the Auditor reported to the Pension Office: “There are no rolls of Capt. Mackhenry, Mackhaney, McHoney or McHaney’s Company of Virginia Militia. Nor are there any rolls of Capt. Jack or John Wade’s Company of Virginia Militia on file in this office.”
While Jordan was fighting for his pension his children from his third marriage were growing old enough to marry. Several of his children are seen marrying at his residence in Floyd County. One of these was my great-great-grandmother Milla Susan PETERS who married Gordon Washington ROOP (1862-1930) on 1 Jan 1880 in Floyd County, Virginia.
By 1880 only Jordan’s two youngest daughters were still living at home. In two years they also would be married.
It was not until April of 1881 that someone was kind enough to listen carefully as Jordan told his story. That person was Mr. C. M. Stigleman. He interviewed Jordan and wrote down Jordan’s words on the letterhead of the Floyd County Superintendent of Public Schools. Jordan was 84 years old by this time and Mr. Stigleman remarked that “his memory is not good.” Even so, Jordan recalled the names of soldiers who had served with him in Captain William McHaney’s Company in Norfolk……
Mr. Stigleman seems to have been solely responsible for providing the information that at long last resulted in a pension. For ten years Jordan had steadfastly pursued his pension and finally in 1881 the Government restored his payments of $8.00 per month. In addition, he received the accrued pension from the time in 1878 when his name had been dropped from the rolls.
Jordan died of old age on October 14, 1890 near Nettle Ridge in Patrick County, Virginia. He was 94 years old. This is not the end of the story.
 Paula Kelley Ward, “Jordan’s Story”, Wherever We Wander pgs. 24-29; compiled, designed, and edited by Carolyn Hale Bruce; cover designed by Charles Randolph Bruce. All stories in this book are copyrighted, 2005, by their authors and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author(s), except for brief quotes in reviews or for publicity purposes.
[Source: Floyd County, Virginia Mailing List Web Site maintained by Rena Worthen; online http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~barbs/]
© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey