William Jordan Sr. [ 1826 (Approx.) - 1909 ]

The Jordans were a prominent local family of early settlers. The family came to Canada when William was a small boy and they were the neighbours of John Langton in 1834 [Kirkconnell; 45]. Their descendants remained prominent in the agricultural, business and political communities of the village and surrounding townships.

In 1860 the family purchased what became known as the Jordan Farm, “a mile south of Fenelon Falls”, and eventually purchased the farm next to them. William was listed as a farmer for much of his life; the 1871 Census lists William Jordon (1826?-1909) as a 45 year-old, Irish-born farmer, but his interests extended well beyond agriculture. “Mr. Jordan had a strong liking for speculation in real estate, and accumulated a good deal of property besides his farms. When the Winnipeg boom was on he went out there and made a good deal of money, and got clear before the boom collapsed. Fenelon Falls, and Lindsay, and even Vancouver, were also scenes of quite extensive and successful real estate speculations.”

The 1904 Souvenir succinctly sums up his life:

William Jordan resided in Verulam before he moved to the farm just south of the Village where he lived for many years1. Mr. Jordan is one of the largest land owners in Fenelon Falls, and was a member of the first council of the Village. A couple of years ago he rented his farm and moved to the Village where he now lives.

Although he spent most of his life in Fenelon and Verulam Townships, Jordan was very active in village business and its concerns. In 1864/65 William Jordan is listed as the Justice of the Peace, a position he held “for many years”. In 1866 Jordan offered the Methodist congregation “one half acre of land in the village for the purpose of building a church…” [Suggitt; 87], and Jordan was one of the first councillors of the newly created village of Fenelon Falls in 1875. In 1904 he was the only one still resident. The papers occasionally made reference to other activities: “Our statement last week… that the burnt bakery was built over fifty years ago by a man named Brady, was wrong, as it was put up by Mr. Jordan about 42 years ago…” [FFG 9 Oct 1886; 5].

In 1885 Hand also commented on a new brick yard that Jordan had opened about two and a half miles from Fenelon Falls “opposite John L. Brown’s farm in Fenelon.” Hand noticed the brick “with the name of Jordan thereon” in Heard’s hardware store [FFG 1 August 1885; 2], and mildly complained that Jordan would charge Lindsay prices even though the bricks had to travel a shorter distance. “….Mr. Jordan, who doesn’t set up for a philanthropist, built his brickyard for his own benefit and not for other people’s.”

By the 1880s Jordan was active as a grain merchant. Jordan built a grain storehouse on Lindsay Street near the track of the Victoria Railway, in the summer of 1880 [FFG 7 Aug 1880; 2]. In December he purchased a new scale with a capacity of 2000 pounds [FFG 11 Dec 1880; 2]. He rented the storehouse to John A. Ellis in 1884 [FFG 27 Sept 1884; 2]. Jordan’s warehouse is mentioned in the papers in October 18851 [FFG 3 Oct 1885; 2] and continued to be mentioned until the 1890s [FFG 3 Aug 1894; 5]. Jordan was also in partnership with Joseph[?] McArthur from 1882 to 1885, although the partnership disappears after that date.

Jordan may have also owned a General Store in the late 1880s; at least one was listed in D&B under the name of W. Jordon [1887-1890?]. Walter B. Jordan may have continued to operate this store after 1890 before closing it in 1891, although there is no evidence of a direct connection.

Jordan died February 12th, 1909, aged 83 [FFPL 09.3] and was buried in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery [LP 19 Feb 1909; 8]. He was heralded as one of the “Old Settlers.”

408 “The men were at a “Bee” of Jordan’s; the result of which is the logging of five acres. Jordan is a very thriving man. His family are all come to working years, and he makes them work.” [Langton Records (18 June 1840); 222]. According to one account the original Jordan farm was the next lot north of Mr. Langton [Lindsay Post 19 Feb 1909]

409 A son was named William Langton Jordan ([1858?]-1920) [FFPL 20.17].

410 The “Wm. Jordans” traveled to Manitoba in 1887, as the papers noted their return [CP 30 Sept 1887; 8].

411 In A History of Fenelon Township (1987), Concession 9, Lot 21, West half was granted to “William Jordan the Younger” in 1852. [p. 123].

412 Souvenir of Fenelon Falls (1904). There is also a portrait of “Wm. Jordan, Sr.”

413 There were four grain buyers in the village according to this article: McDougall, Brandon & Allan; William Webster and R.M. Butler; Mr. Joseph McArthur; and Mr. Jordan. Jordan had his own warehouse – the other three shared the “railway storehouse.”

© Copyright 2022 - Maryboro Lodge Museum