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William Jordan was a Very Religious Man

December 5, 2021

William as a respected older gentleman of Fenelon Falls.

So said his neighbour Anne Langton. He was also a very industrious man—William and Jane Jordan conscientiously attended prayers, drank no spirits and worked diligently every day—except Sunday, of course.

The Jordan family were among the first settlers in Fenelon Township, taking up a farm at Blythe on Halloween 1834. The project of making a farm from the forests, using only muscle power, was a Herculean task that families would be fortunate to complete in a generation. The Jordans, being the kind of family was evoked by the “Protestant Work Ethic” were very well suited to the life of backwoods farming. Though he was more educated than most, William Jordan did not put on the airs of a gentleman, or hire choppers to make his clearing—unlike his genteel neighbours. Before long, the Jordans had the largest and most productive farm of any family that did the work themselves. Unlike their neighbours who relied on other people’s labour, they made a living at it.

The Jordan’s discipline paid off, and in practical ways became one of the most successful families in the area. Their son, William Jordan Jr. served as Reeve of Fenelon Falls, owned a lime kiln on his farm in Fenelon, was the village’s largest grain merchant of the early 1880s, owned a large block of stores, and bred fine Durham cattle and sheep. Jordan’s block was destroyed in the Great Fire of Fenelon Falls, on April 22, 1884, but he immediately rebuilt. Jordan Jr.’s farm was on the south shore of Cameron Lake, Near Byrnell’s Today. He briefly operated a brickyard, until it was flooded out when Cameron Lake was raised with the construction of the Fenelon Lock.

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