JORDAN, Francis
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JORDAN, Francis, son of John and Jane Jordan, was born in Bedford county, Pa., February 5, 1820. His father was of English and his mother of Irish parentage, both highly esteemed for their intelligence and Christian virtues. He was educated by the maternal uncle, a Mississippi planter, at Augusta College, Kentucky, and at Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. He studied law, was admitted to practice, and soon after was appointed district attorney of Bedford county, and subsequently elected to the same position. At the outset his official conduct was able, his indictments being so accurately drawn that not one of them was quashed for informality. In 1850 he became the law partner of Alexander King, of Bedford, subsequently president judge, which relations continued until 1861. In 1855 Mr. Jordan commenced his public career, and was elected to the State Senate for a term of three years. There he was made chairman of the committee charged with drawing a bill for the re-adjustment of legislative districts under new apportionment, chairman of the judiciary committee, composed of some of the best legal talent of the State, and a prominent advocate of the bill authorizing the sale of the public works. He declined re-election, and was soon after appointed one of a commission of three to revise the civil code, which duty was postponed on account of hostilities and finally passed into other hands. He was also tendered the appointment of attorney general of the State, by the governor, which he reluctantly declined by reason of the complications attending it. A pressing exigency called for a sudden concentration of troops upon the central border and at Cumberland, Md., in the fall of 1861. Upon the request of Governor Curtin, Mr. Jordan accompanied the noted Reserve corps as assistant quartermaster, and while thus employed, without solicitation or even knowledge, he was appointed by President Lincoln paymaster in the army, and promptly confirmed, and served for two and a-half years in Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, during the last four months of which time being chief paymaster of the army of the Mississippi, and disbursing during his entire term four million dollars under a bond of only twenty thousand dollars, rendering a satisfactory account. Urged by Governor Curtin he resigned his position, and was appointed by him military agent of the State at Washington, where the manifold interests of the State of Pennsylvania were ably represented, and under his management the claims of our soldiers were promptly examined and paid. The Legislature, recognizing his efficient services, passed an act conferring upon him the rank of colonel of infantry. In 1886 Colonel Jordan was chosen chairman of the Republican State Central Committee, and conducted the canvass with great ability and discretion, resulting in the election of General Geary, who appointed Colonel Jordan secretary of the Commonwealth, in which capacity he served with ability for six years. In 1871, pending the agitation for the revision of the State Constitution, he wrote and published a paper advocating a revision and detailing his reasons, which was well received, and on the 19th of February, 1872, upon invitation, he delivered an address before the Social Science Association of Philadelphia, and afterwards in Pittsburgh, advocating thirteen amendments, covering the most vital defects of the old instrument, twelve of which were adopted by the State Convention. These papers served to establish the reputation of Colonel Jordan as a sound Lawyer, and elicited strong commendation from intelligent men both within and without the Commonwealth. Colonel Jordan was prominently presented in the nominating convention as the successor of Governor Geary, but withdrawn to harmonize the conflicting interests, and in the same convention his vote was next to the successful candidate for judge of the Supreme Court, although he was not before the convention for the office. Colonel Jordan took up his residence in Harrisburg upon his appointment as secretary of the Commonwealth, and in 1872 resumed the practice of law in partnership with Hon. Louis W. Hall, since which time he has acted as counsel for the Pennsylvania railroad and various other corporations. On November 4, 1882, following the resignation of Secretary Quay, he was appointed by Governor Hoyt secretary of the Commonwealth. Colonel Jordan is an esteemed citizen, recognized as an able advocate and judicious and safe counselor, and possessed of sterling integrity in all business relations. He was appointed by Governor Beaver as member of the State board of charities, but after serving thereon, and accomplishing certain distinct results, he resigned. He has been prevailed upon to accept the presidency of the Pennsylvania Telephone Company. This is a new corporation, having half a million dollars paid up capital, and its operations extending from Easton, on the Deleware, to Chambersburg, including Harrisburg, York, Columbia, Reading, Pottsville, Mauch Chunk, and other important points. His first wife, Louisa Farquhar, was the adopted daughter of Hon. Job Mann ex-State treasurer and ex-member of congress, and their children are William F. Jordan, publisher of the Era, a daily newspaper of Bradford, Pa., and Alice, who married Walter F. Moore, of Bedford. His present wife, Mary, is a daughter of Rev. William M. Hall , a Presbyterian clergyman, and sister of Judge Hall, of Bedford and of Hon. Louis W. Hall, his law partner.


Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Linda Mockenhaupt for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -

Date of Transcription: 21 November 2000

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