Colonel Ephraim Jordan was born probably in Chester Co., Pennsylvania about 1763, although the exact day, month and year has yet to be proven? He died in Jordanville (now known as Verne), Harrison Twp., Knox Co., Indiana on Friday morning, January 14, 1820. He is buried, along with his wife, Mary in the Jordan-Gilmore Cemetery in Palmyra Twp., Knox Co., Indiana.
As to the Jordan ancestry, it is said that he was of Scotch-Irish extraction and claim descent from an Irish Earl of Royal ancestry? But more recent information leads me to believe that the ancestry of the Jordan family was Dutch and early ancestors came from Holland? In the "History of Knox & Daviess Co., Indiana" by Goodspeed 1886, page 543, there is a biographical sketch of Thomas J. Beckes, son of William J. Beckes and Margaret Jordan. Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Jordan (1765-1835) and Catherine Gilmore (1775-1834). This sketch of Thomas J. Beckes states that his mother's ancestors were Dutch-Irish origin. The Irish descent would be from the Gilmore family and his Dutch descent would be from the Jordan. So this would more or less prove the theory of the Jordan family being of Dutch extraction? Tostate that the late Dr. Isaac Beckes, now deceased, President Emeritus of Vincennes University claims descent from the above Jordan-Gilmore-Beckes families.
Colonel Ephraim Jordan married Mary Gilmore at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Va./Ky. on November 2, 1791, with the Reverend John Whitaker officiating. She was born in Chester Co., Pennsylvania in 1772 and died in Knox Co., Indiana in 1855. She was the daughter of Robert Gilmore, Sr., a Revolutionary War soldier who served three years as a Private in the First Virginia State Regiment. Robert, Sr. was born between 1740-45, Chester Co., Pennsylvania and died in Knox Co., Indiana sometime after February 15, 1814. He married Catherine, maiden name unknown. During the Revolutionary War, Robert, Sr., served in companies of Captain William Campbell, Captain Thomas Merwether and Captain John Shield under the command of Colonel George Gibson. He also served in Captain Shield's Company at Valley Forge in 1778-1779. After his service he received 100 acres of land from the State of Virginia. He was an early settler of Louisville where he served as a Private in Captain Aquilla Whitaker's Jefferson City Militia from May 31 to June 22, 1782.
Ephraim Jordan and Mary Gilmore had seven children: Jane, born 1795 and married Isreal Mead in Knox Co., Indiana on March 9, 1819; James Calvin was born Dec. 25, 1800 and married Malinda Scott on Aug. 3, 1825; John was born on Oct. 8, 1803 and married Jane Gamble on Oct. 14, 1826; William was born in 1805 and married Jane Hunter on Nov. 6, 1828, also married Mary Ramsey on March 1839; Malinda was born on Sept. 15, 1806 and married Absolom Reel on January 3, 1824; Ephraim, Jr. was born Dec. 6, 1812 and married Elizabeth Hunter on March 6, 1834; Thomas Ephraim was born on June 1, 1816 and married Jemima Westfall on Oct. 4, 1840.
Most of the children settled in Knox Co., Indiana area, but James Calvin Jordan settled in Jasper Co., Illinois where he died in 1844.
Ephraim Jordan served as a Private in the Virginia Frontier Militia under the command of Colonel George Rogers Clark. He was with Clark at the capture of Kaskaskia in the Illinois Territory. From Kaskaskia he came with Clark to Fort Sackville at "Post Vincennes" on Feb. 25, 1779.
Many of the men who served with Clark had seen the land around Vincennes and liked it. Following the Revolution, many returned and brought friends and relatives. Two such men were brothers, Ephraim and Thomas Jordan, who settled in Knox County around 1785.
Under an Act of Congress, March 3, 1791, there was granted 100 acres of land to each man who had done militia duty. Both Ephraim and Thomas received 100 acres for their militia duty during the American settlement of the Vincennes area.
In addition, there were other Acts of Congress which allotted other tracts of land to the French and American settlers. In 1806, Ephraim was a claimant to 400 acres of land granted to him a "head of a family". He also had land of 100 and 150 acres granted to him by right of improvement. Most of his land grants were located near some stream of water as he operated a watermill at the headwaters of the DeShee River. Most were located in the Old Donation numbers 6, 7 and 8, geographically six miles southeast of Vincennes near the Lower Indiana Presbyterian Church on the Monroe City road on Route 61.
From this settlement came Jordanville named after Colonel Ephraim Jordan. Many of his children settled on the land allotted to them after their father's death. The Jordan-Gilmore cemetery, 0.115 acres, the resting place of many family members.
After the American victory of "Post Vincennes", the Secretary of Way, Henry Knox, ordered Lieut. Colonel Josiah Harmar, commander of the First Regiment of U. S. Army to take command at Vincennes. During his command, Ephraim Jordan served on expeditions against the Wabash Indians. He held the rank of Corporal and was promoted to Sergeant sometime between 1791-97. In January, 1790, General St. Clair sent Winthrop Sargent to Vincennes to take military command and to lay off a county which became Knox County. During that period of General St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory, Ephraim Jordan served under the command of Colonel Armstrong as an Indian Scout with the rant of Sergeant. On Oct. 27, 1797, Ephraim Jordan was appointed Lieutenant. While serving under Colonel Armstrong he brought Acts of Congress as well as looking into Indian activities starting at Presque Isle in Pennsylvania, down the Ohio River to the Wabash and Mississippi Rivers, then to Vincennes.
Between the Revolution and the start of the War of 1812, the settlers were troubled with the Indians, stealing their livestock and murdering family members. William Henry Harrison, Governor, called upon Ephraim Jordan many time to serve as a Scout and report to him on Indian activities.
Ephraim was Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the First Regiment of Knox County Militia at the Battle of Tippicanoe, where he served as a Scout in Captain Toussaint DuBois' Company of Spies and Guides from September 18 to November 12, 1811.
During the War of 1812, Ephraim Jordan was elected Colonel of the First Regiment of Indiana Militia. Under orders of April 25, 1812 the officers of the First Battalion sent a written request to the Governor that Ephraim Jordan should be appointed Colonel. The officers of the Second Battalion concurred in the request as to Colonel Ephraim Jordan on May 13, 1812.
On January 28, 1814, Colonel Jordan submitted his resignation, but served until July 7, 1814, when Lieut. Colonel Scott succeeded him. In his resignation he stated "his health is such that he could not attend to the discharge of the duties of an officer being subject to frequent and violent attacks of rheumatic pains".
Most all of Colonel Ephraim Jordan's life was in the military but he was also active in the civil affairs of Knox County. By order of the Court of Quarter Sessions in 1801, Ephraim Jordan an "esquire justice", along with James Johnson and Antoine Marechall laid out two townships. The first composed the village of Vincennes and was called "Vincennes Township" and the second was called "Harrison Township" in honor of General William Henry Harrison.
He served as a tax collector, a Coroner and a Letter carrier between Vincennes and Louisville from 1807 to 1810. On November 5, 1800 he was appointed Justice of the Court in General Quarter Sessions of the Peach for Knox County and Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. On February 3, 1801, he was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and Justice of the Court of General Quarter Sessions for Knox County. He also held many minor offices, such as Overseer of the Poor, Overseer of the Roads, Appraiser of Houses and Supervisor of Palmyra Township. On February 11, 1818 he was appointed a Commissioner for Knox County and served in that capacity until his death in 1820.
He was an active member of the Vincennes Subscription Library, which later became the Vincennes Public Library. He was a Mason of the Vincennes Lodge No. 15, he was a Junior Warden in 1814 and was an active Mason until he died.
The exploits of Colonel Ephraim Jordan will always be remembered by his descendants. His death was due to "the sudden affliction of a paralytick attack". Colonel Ephraim Jordan's history is the history of the early Northwest Territory. He came to Vincennes with Colonel Clark when most of the area was a vast wilderness. He lived to see the State of Indiana gain its statehood in 1816.
Perhaps the best summation of Colonel Jordan's life is stated in his obituary.
"A Heart warm and benevolent, a mind and understanding always actuated by condor, Uprightness and many fortitude, his memory will be embalmed with a solitary objection. Never perhaps has any many passed through life occupying active public stations, so universally beloved...his character will be a legacy to his children and it is to be hoped they will emulate his virtues."
"An honest man is the noblest work of God."
(This data appeared in the Northwest Trail Tracer published by the Northwest Territory Genealogical Society, Knox County, Indiana)