|Frank and Lenora (Knight) Jordan established their ranch on Home Creek
near Trickham before 1870. He was born in Alabama and they married
there. Frank’s origins and progenitors are unknown. Kindred
Karter and Nancy (Cannon) Knight were the parents of Polly Lenora Knight.
Two of Polly Lenora’s brothers, William Charles and Benjamin Franklin also
migrated to Coleman County. She also had two sisters and two brothers
who remained in Henderson County. Between 1844 and 1847 Nancy E.
(Cannon) Knight died, and her father (Kindred Karter) married Hepsibah
Jennings Owen. Kindred and Hepsibah had twelve children. They
moved from Randolph County, Alabama to the Athens area in Henderson County,
Texas where they settled. Apparently Polly Lenora married Frank Jordan
either in Alabama or in Henderson County. Lenora’s brother William
Charles married Martha E. Maranza Owen and her brother, Benjamin Franklin
(nickname Dock) married Catherine Stirman. The Jordans and the William
Charles Knight families established ranches side by side on Home Creek.
Benjamin Franklin Knight settled with his family on a ranch near Concho
Peak in Coleman County.
William Charles Knight, born 1831 in Alabama, died about 1873, married
January 4, 1857, Martha E. Maranza Owen, born January 25, 1840 in Alabama,
died about 1873. Their children: Kindred Karter, born August 17,
1859, Henderson County, died young; Charles Eller, daughter, born April
19, 1861, Henderson County, died February 27, 1885, Coleman County, married
September 8, 1880, William Henry Burns in Coleman County, children: William
F., born August 31, 1881, Coleman County, died unknown, married Daisy Weathers,
Sweetwater; and Ausker, July 26, 1883, Coleman County, died March 188?;
Jesse Forrester, born April 3, 1867, Henderson County, died October 23,
1939, South Dakota, married March 25, 1908, Nannie Place, South Dakota,
died December 24, 1948, South Dakota; William D., July 15, 1868, Henderson
County, died February 28, 1885, Coleman County; John W., July 19, 1869,
Henderson County, died March 2,1885, Coleman County; James A., January
18, 1870, Henderson County, died before 1880; Edna (Eddie) April 17, 1872,
Henderson County, died October 15, 1899, Coleman County, married September
18, 1889, Coleman County, Rial Anslem Ford, September 14, 1861, Comal County,
died November 17, 1940, Kelso, Washington; and Betty, December 22, 1873,
Frank Jordan and Polly Lenora (Knight) Jordan did not have any children.
Tragedy struck the William C. Knight family, about 1873, when both William
C. Knight and his wife died. The Knight children became the first
of many to be welcomed into the Jordan household. Frank became their
guardian and held their family ranchland in trust for them.
The family of Benjamin Franklin Knight is listed in the 1880 census:
Benjamin Knight, age 40, farmer, born in Alabama; Catherine, 30, wife,
born in Arkansas; their children: Rolland, 12; Emma, 10; Winchester, 8;
Mary, 4; and Dillard, 2, all born in Texas. The family of Benjamin
(Dock) and Catherine increased as eight additional children were born after
1880. They were: Kate, Jesse (daughter), Johnny, twins Willie and
Lillie, Essie, Dock and Tine.
The 1880 Census also lists members of the Thomas, Ford Haley, Tooke
and Mathews families. All of those families were important contributors
to the history of the Jordan ranch. The Thomas family migrated to
Texas from Mississippi in company with members of the Haley family.
Inof (or Jno. ?) Thomas, born unknown, died before 1860, buried unknown,
married October 23, 1835, Mary Anne Haley, born in Mississippi, died unknown,
buried in Thomas plot at Trickham. Children: Craft H., born December
11, 1836, Mississippi, died September 7, 1913, buried, Thomas plot, Trickham,
married October 6, 1867, Sylvia Haley, buried in Biloxi, Mississippi; William
I., born December 11, 1838, died January 29, 1839; Elizabeth (Bettie) A.,
born May 26, 1840, died unknown, married (1st) Rial Anslem Ford, June 22,
1858, died September 22, 1861, in Comal County. (Rial Anslem Ford had driven
his stock to market and did not return. A search by John Haley, brother
of Mary Anne, located Rial’s body (murdered) in a Mesquite tree along the
trail to the Ford home.) Their children: James B., born September
3, 1859, died age 12; Rial Anslem, September 14, 1861, died November 17,
1940, Kelso, Washington; Elizabeth (Bettie) A. Thomas, married January
8, 1867, W. D. (Drayt) Mathews. Children of this marriage picked
up 1870 and 1880 census: Victoria Armenta, born February 15, 1842, died
January 8, 1929, buried in the Thomas plot Trickham, married Frank A. Jordan,
December 13, 1887, in Coleman County. This lady became Aunt Vickie
to all family members and most friends. Mary E. J. (S. I. ?), March
18, 1847, died September 6, 1869; Clarissa Isabella (Bella), September
18, 1849, death unknown, buried in Thomas plot Trickham, married Isam Tooke,
October 8, 1872; John B., birth and death unknown.
By 1870 the family group had moved to Hays County, and listed as two
households: W. D. Matthews, age 31, farmer, born Georgia; Betty (Elizabeth
A. Thomas Ford) 30, wife, born Mississippi; children: Willie, 3, son; Mary,
8 months; James Ford, 11, stepson and Ryam (Rial) Ford, 9, stepson, all
children born in Texas (see W. D. Mathews). The second household
was listed under Craft Thomas and his wife, Sylvia Haley (not related to
Mary Anne [Haley] Thomas, Craft’s mother). The household included
Craft’s mother and two sisters, as well as uncle. 1870 Hays County
Census: Craft Thomas, age 33, farmer, born Mississippi; Sylvia, 23, wife;
Mary A., 52, retired; Victoria A., 23, Clarissa J., 20; and John Haley,
36, Blacksmith, all of these were born in Mississippi.
By 1880 the Mathews family and the Thomas family, except for Craft Thomas
and his wife Sylvia, who had returned to Mississippi, had migrated to Coleman
County. Clarissa J. (Bella) Thomas had married Isam Tooke and they
were the parents of four children, three are listed in the 1880 census,
the fourth, Annie, was born after 1880. The family households as
they were listed: Isam Tooke, age 35, farmer, born Georgia; Bella, 25,
wife, born Mississippi; children: John, 7, and Cappie, 2, a son and daughter,
both born in Texas. William Matthews, age 41, farmer, born Georgia;
Elizabeth, 39, wife; children: William, 11; Mary T., 9; Elizabeth, 8; Ellen,
6; Walton, T., 3; Anslem, stepson, 19, all born in Texas; plus Mary Anne
Thomas, 62, mother-in-law; and Victoria Thomas, 29, sister-in-law.
Both the Tooke household and the Mathews household were established
near the Jordan Ranch which became an important part of the lives of both
households as the years passed.
Subsequent to 1880, Mrs. Mary A. Thomas moved to Trickham, a few miles
away, and with her daughter, Victoria A., opened a little store.
Her brother, Thomas Haley, operated a blacksmith shop in Trickham for many
years. When he could no longer work in his shop he became a member
of the Jordan family and lived in a log room added to the ranch house to
accommodate him. Frank was steadily building and improving.
The ranch house was of logs as were the corncribs, barns and some of the
fences. Most of the fences were built of rocks, which Frank removed
from the fields as he cleared and tilled them. Years later, the doctors
who attempted to treat Frank’s blindness stated that he had toiled himself
Early in 1885, two of the Knight children, Jesse and Edna, were at the
ranch of their uncle, (Doc or Dock), attending the Concho Peak School when
tragedy struck the Jordan ranch. Their other brothers and sisters,
including their married sister, Charles Eller (Knight) Burns, was visiting
at the Jordan ranch. Her two sons, William Frank and Ausker were
with their father. In late February, Typhoid (it is believed) struck
the Jordan household. On February 27, 1885 Charles Eller died, followed
closely by Lenora (Knight) Jordan and William D. Knight on the 28th.
John W. Knight on March 2, 1885. All were buried in a family cemetery
on the ranch. Only Jesse and Edna remained of the William C. and
Martha E. Maranza (Owen) Knight family. Frank Jordan married Victoria
A. Thomas, December 13, 1887.
Rial Anslem Ford experienced greater and greater difficulty in his life
with his stepfather, William Matthews, and often left the Matthews home
to live with his Aunt Vickie and his grandmother in Trickham. After
Victoria married Frank Jordan, Rial Anslem Ford also became a member of
the Jordan household. By 1889 Rial Anslem and Edna Knight were in
love and Frank Jordan gave his permission for them to marry. They
were married on the 18th day of December 1889 in Coleman County.
Following their marriage, Rial Anslem and Edna (Knight) Ford settled on
80 acres of land that was Edna’s legacy from her parents. With the
help of Jesse Knight, Rial built a house on the land and started farming.
Four children: (1) Eula Frank, born August 14, 1890, died August 8, 1937,
married Burna Lee Blanchard. (2) Bessie Lee, born July 10, 1892,
died in 1983 in Washington, married Fay John Hockett, December 9, 1918
in South Dakota, where she had gone to work in her Uncle Jesse Knight’s
store on an Indian reservation. (3) Ella Kate, born February 27,
1895, died about 1952, married Church Deer, June 10, 1917, who worked on
the ranch. (4) Vickie Alma (Tina), born September 27, 1897, married
Curren Daniel, January 24, 1917. They made their home on his farm
The Ford farm joined the Jordan ranch and Bessie Lee Ford Hockett’s
recollection of the life there is quoted as follows. “My mother and
father were extremely happy on the 80 acres that was their own home.
All four of us children were born in the little cottage. Father made
good crops and had grassland for four horses and several cows. We
had two homes, the Jordan ranch and our cottage.
In 1898 heavy rains caused high water, which flooded the Ford farm and
ruined the crops. Upon seeing the damage, Rial and Edna decided to
sell the farm. When the farm was sold the family moved to Santa Anna
and Rial built a store at Rockwood. Edna did not see the store, she
died of typhoid in October 1899. The Ford children were sent to the
Jordan ranch and the Jordans were parents again, living with their Aunt
Vickie and Uncle Frank for seven years until their father rented a farm
near Mereta and moved them there.
After five and one half years (about 1911) the Ford girls returned to
the Jordan ranch to live while their father worked freighting oil drilling
equipment to the oil fields. Eula Ford found farm work near Wichita
Falls and remained there until his marriage in 1917. Life was wonderful
for the girls. They attended church in the summer in outdoor gatherings
in Trickham and surrounding communities. Aunt Vickie was an accomplished
dressmaker and made most of their nice dresses for them. A real highlight
was to go to town in the surrey and pick out goods for their dresses.
Aunt Vickie set high standards for the girls’ lives, clothes and deportment
which she enforced through love and understanding in her quiet way.
Life on the ranch included a full round of chores such as milking and feeding
the cattle, hoeing in the garden, cotton picking and general housework.
Uncle Craft and Aunt Sylvia Thomas lived at the ranch after years of
shuttling between Texas and Mississippi. Craft died on the ranch
and was buried near his mother and sister in Trickham. Sylvia returned
to Mississippi where she lived the rest of her life. John Haley went
to visit relatives, where he died.
Frank Jordan died November 20, 1920, buried in the ranch cemetery.
Kate and Church Deer left the ranch for South Dakota shortly after Uncle
Frank’s death, so that Aunt Vickie had only herself to care for.
She continued to manage the ranch until her death January 8, 1929, buried
in Trickham. The Jordan ranch passed to Frank Burns, a nephew of
Frank Jordan and the son of Ella Knight Burns who had died on the ranch
(Images to be added)
Corn crib built by Frank Jordan
Rial Anslem Ford
The Ford Girls: Bessie Lee, Kate and Tina, with Aunt Vickie
Elizabeth (Thomas) Ford Mathews