The Story of Virginia—Jordan’s Journey, 1621-1640

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture’s signature exhibition The Story of Virginia includes a display of artifacts recovered at Jordan’s Journey.

The Story of Virginia exhibition; Jordan’s Journey, 1621-1640 display; Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 2019.

The display description reads:

Jordan’s Journey, 1621-1640

Excavations at this site in the 1980s yielded information about the architecture of early settlements, lifestyles and standards of living, and the extent of trade in early Virginia.

Survivors of the 1622 Powhatan attacks relocated at eight Virginia settlements; one was Jordan’s Journey. Four complexes were built there to house fifty-five people in fifteen households. Six buildings provided housing; sixteen were agricultural. The largest complex—Samuel Jordan’s—was the size of a football field. Its principle residence was a “longhouse,” 55 x 16 feet, wooden and built on posts set into the ground.

Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Most of the artifacts on display can be found in Artifact Images from Jordan’s Journey [1].


References:
[1] Catherine Alston. Artifact Images from Jordan’s Journey. 2004.

Jordan’s Journey

Jordan’s Journey fortified settlement, Colonial Virginia, circa 1620-1635. [1, 2]

In early 1624/25, the Colony of Virginia made a record of its inhabitants and provisions, known as the 1624/25 Muster. There we find 30 miles upstream from Jamestown, on the south side of the James River, the plantation of Samuel Jordan—known as Jordan’s Journey. Samuel Jordan was a member of the first Virginia Assembly in 1619.

In the Muster, on 21 Jan 1624/25, we find [3, 4]:

  • William Farrar aged 31 [arrived] on the Neptune, Aug 1618
  • Sisley Jordan aged 24 on the Swan, Aug 1610
  • Mary Jordan age 3 years, borne heare [meaning Virginia]
  • Margarett Jordan 1 yeare, borne heare
  • Temperance Baly [Bailey] 7 yeares, borne heare
  • 10 servants, listed with name, age, and arrival
  • 41 others including several families, also listed with name, age, and arrival

The provisions include [4]:

  • 22 houses for 15 households
  • 3 boats
  • 37.5 pounds powder
  • 554 pounds lead
  • 130 pounds shot
  • 18 piece [arms]
  • 11 armor
  • 26 coat of mail
  • 1 coat of steel
  • 6 head piece
  • 1 petronel [“a portable firearm of the 15th century resembling a carbine of large caliber (Jester and Hiden 1987:18)]
  • 561 bushels corn
  • 1 bushel beans
  • 2 bushels peas and beans
  • 1,250 dry fish
  • 20 neat cattle
  • 24 swine
  • 227 poultry

Sisley, or Cicely, is the widow of Samuel Jordan. Mary and Margaret are her daughters by Samuel. Temperance is believed to be her daughter from an earlier marriage.

On 12 Mar 1621/22, the Powhatan natives attacked the colony, killing 347 settlers, a quarter of the population. 10 settlers were killed at William Farrar’s home. None were killed at Jordan’s Journey. After the attack, William Farrar abandoned his home and lived with the Jordans at Jordan’s Journey. Samuel then died in 1623 of unknown causes. William Farrar was made administrator of Samuel’s estate on 19 Nov 1623.

Before 2 May 1625, William and Cicely married. There is an interesting story there—the first breach of promise suit filed in North America—but that is for another day.

The illustration above is the fortified settlement at Jordan’s Journey as it likely appeared on 21 Jan 1624/25 [1]. How do we know this?

From 1987 to 1993, an archaeological excavation was performed at Jordan’s Journey—site 44PG302. 60,000 artifacts of both Indian and English origin were recovered. Twenty-four graves were excavated during the 1992 field season. [1]

From the pattern of post molds (evidence of wooden posts in the ground), evidence of wall trenches, hearths, and chimneys, and other evidence, artist Twyla Kitts created the above illustration. From the 1624/25 Muster, we know that Jordan’s Journey consisted of 22 houses for 56 settlers. Five houses are listed for William Farrar and Cicely Jordan; likely the five largest structures in the illustration. The majority of the houses were therefore outside the palisade fortification (wooden fence). [1, 4]

Jordan’s Journey fortified settlement artifacts map. [7]

The palisade fortification is in the shape of an elongated pentagon measuring approximately 260 feet at its greatest length by 110 feet. The walls are estimated to have been 7 feet to 8 feet high. The evidence does not prove whether the houses were one or two stories high. [1]

The excavation reports [1, 5, 6, 7] provide incredible detail on the six archaeological sites at Jordan’s Point, including the protohistoric Indian settlement located there before, and are well worth a read.


William Farrar (1583-1637) is 11th great-grandfather of MKS in the Spratlin and Knight branches.

Cicely NN (1600-1681) is 11th great-grandmother of MKS in the Spratlin and Knight branches.

References:
[1] Douglas C. McLearen, L. Daniel Mouer, Donna M. Boyd, Douglas W. Owsley, Bertita Compton. Jordan’s Journey: A Preliminary Report on the 1992 Excavations at Archaeological Sites 44PG302, 44PG303, and 44PG315. Virginia Commonwealth University Archaeological Research Center, 1993.
[2] Illustration by artist Twyla Kitts for exhibition Breaking New Ground, curated by Dr. Tom Davidson, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. The illustration is featured on the title page of [1].
[3] Alvahn Holmes. The Farrar’s Island Family and Its English Ancestry. Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc., 1977.
[4] Jamestown 1624/5 Muster Records, Virtual Jamestown, The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia.
[5] L. Daniel Mouer, Douglas C. McLearen, R. Taft Kiser, Christopher P. Egghart, Beverly Binns, Dane Magoon. Jordan’s Journey: A Preliminary Report on Archaeology at Site 44PG302, Prince George County, Virginia, 1990-1991. Virginia Commonwealth University Archaeological Research Center, 1992.
[6] Tim Morgan, Nicholas M. Luccketti, Beverly Straube, S. Fiona Bessey, Annette Loomis, Charles Hodges. Archaeological Excavations at Jordan’s Point: Sites 44PG151, 44PG300, 44PG302, 44PG303, 44PG315, 44PG333. Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 1995.
[7] Catherine Alston. Artifact Distribution Maps from Jordan’s Journey. 2004.

Say Anything …

“Shall we never, never get rid of this Past?” cried he, keeping up the earnest tone of his preceding conversation. “It lies upon the Present like a giant’s dead body!”

—Holgrave, The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

John Franklin Spratlin Funeral Notice

John Franklin Spratlin funeral notice, 9 Mar 1928.

John Franklin Spratlin, husband of Lucy Frances O’Kelley, died on 9 Mar 1928 in Barnett Shoals, Oconee County, Georgia, at the age of 46. According to his death certificate, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage 10 days earlier on 28 Feb.

John was an electrical worker with the Georgia Power Company.

The relatives listed in the funeral notice are most of his siblings and children.


John Franklin Spratlin (1882-1928) is 2nd great-grandfather of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

Source: The Banner-Herald (Athens, Georgia), 9 Mar 1928, 4 (newspaper funeral notice).

Photo Friday—William Spratlin

William Martin Spratlin.

William was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, and lived there through his childhood. He attended the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1876.

He married Daisy Eugenia Hance on 26 Oct 1882 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. They had 8 children, and lived in Atlanta, Georgia, after 1893.

William practiced medicine in Wilkes County, and in Atlanta, but later gave up his practice to devote his entire time to a hardware business he also operated.

William is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.


William Martin Spratlin (1854-1928) is 2nd cousin 5x removed of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

Source: Ancestry.com user gototea (photograph).

Say Anything …

For there is no heroic poem in the world but is at bottom a biography, the life of a man: also, it may be said, there is no life of a man, faithfully recorded, but is a heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed.

—Sir Walker Scott

Photo Friday—William Phillips Log Cabin

William Phillips log cabin, Meriwether County, Georgia, built 1830’s.

William Phillips built this log cabin in the 1830’s. It was located on land lot no. 123 of the 11th land district in Meriwether County, Georgia, north of the Hogansville-Lone Oak Road (Highway 54).

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on 28 Jun 1982. The nomination statement of significance reads:

The William D. Phillips Log Cabin is significant in architecture and exploration and settlement. Architecturally, it is significant as an example of a rare surviving log cabin with intact materials and details of craftsmanship that exemplify the type of building that was often built on the frontier by pioneers. In exploration and settlement the cabin is significant as an expression of the last westward migration within the current boundaries of Georgia following the Land Lottery of 1827.

National Register of Historic Places [1]

Five additional photos, including one of the inside, were included in the nomination.

Unfortunately, the log cabin is no longer surviving.


William D. Phillips (1763-1849) is husband of 6th great-aunt Mary Spratling.

Mary Spratling (1776-1834) is 6th great-aunt of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

Reference:
[1] National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form, Phillips, William D., Log Cabin, Reference Number 82002454.

Source: findagrave.com user Calvin Kyle Bobbitt (photograph).

Photo Friday—Grover O’Kelley Still Lives

Grover O’Kelley in France (middle), 1918.

Grover O’Kelley, son of Benjamin Franklin O’Kelley and Mary Anderson Hix O’Kelley, was born in 1890 in Planter, Madison County, Georgia. Both of his parents died in 1903, and he was raised by a half-uncle.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1917, trained at Port Royal, South Carolina, and Quantico, Virginia, and served in the Eightieth Company, Sixth Regiment, 2d Division, American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I.

In Jun 1918, for extraordinary heroism in action at the Battle of Belleau (Bois-de-Belleau), he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross [2], Distinguished Service Cross, and Silver Star. The Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Cross are the second highest military decorations that can be awarded to a member of the United States Marine Corps and United States Army respectively, and are awarded for extraordinary heroism. The Silver Star, awarded for gallantry in action, is the third highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces.

While leading his platoon of riflemen, bayonets fixed, against German machine gun emplacements that day, his company lost 24 killed, 86 wounded, 1 missing and 1 captured, a loss of 50% of its strength. [3]

His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Grover Cleveland O’Kelley (MCSN: 88441), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the Eightieth Company, Sixth Regiment (Marines), 2d Division, A.E.F., in action in the Bois-de-Belleau, France, on June 6 – 8, 1918. Sergeant O’Kelley displayed the greatest qualities of courage and leadership in assaults against strong enemy machine-gun positions, and was killed in the performance of this splendid duty. Action Date: June 6 – 8, 1918

Distinguished Service Cross Citation, 29 Jun 1918

His family was informed of his death, and the Department of War announced his death on 9 Jul 1918.

And yet he lived to tell about it.

In late Nov 1918, after the signing of the Armistice on 11 Nov, his half-uncle John Zachariah Segars received a prisoner-of-war postal card from Grover [4], shown below.

During the attack on Belleau Wood by the 80th Company on 8 June, Sgt O’Kelley was wounded in the head only yards from reaching a German machine gun, rendering him unconscious. When he revived, he still had the presence of mind to know the only thing he could do was play dead. Due to the murderous fire and high casualties, his company was forced to retreat, leaving the (supposed) dead Sgt O’Kelley in front of the gun, with the dead body of one of the Marines of his platoon laying across his back.

After dark, O’Kelley tried to remove his dead comrade to make his escape back to his lines, but his movement was observed by the nearby Germans and he was captured. His wound was treated by the Germans and he was held as a POW until the end of the war. When the ground where he fell was retaken, no trace of him was found, and he was presumed dead and buried by the Germans.

Remembrance Military Service Page for Sgt Grover Cleveland O’Kelley [1]

An article on the front page of the 28 Nov 1918 edition of The Cullman Tribune said: “Sgt. Grover O’Kelley Still Lives—He Was Taken A Prisoner.”

After World War I, Grover finished his education, became a lawyer, and later worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He married Ruth Augusta Davis, and they had one son, Grover O’Kelley Jr.


Sgt Grover Cleveland O’Kelley (1890-1969) is 1st cousin 4x removed of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

References:
[1] Remembrance Military Service Page for Sgt Grover Cleveland O’Kelley, created by Sgt Dave Stutesman, togetherweserved.com. Photos there are courtesy of Joanne O’Kelley Kline.
[2] U.S. Marine Corps Navy Cross Recipients, World War I, 1917-1918.
[3] To the Limit of Endurance: A Battalion of Marines in the Great War (C. A. Brannen Series), by Peter F. Owen, 2014.
[4] Prisoner-of-War postal card photos are courtesy of Ancestry.com user rkline0462.
[5] The Search for Grover O’Kelley, Alabama Heritage website, 1 Dec 2015.