Sexton, Coon, and Porter Letters to the Jordans
of White County, Indiana, 1844-1862

Supplement and Errata, updated Summer 2018:
[see synopsis of this book]

wttotw coverSince We Take This Opportunity to Write was first published in 2005, family researchers and Y-DNA tests have uncovered a wealth of new information about our Jordan ancestors.  This errata sheet updates and provides additional details on relatives and events mentioned in the book.  The book is available for purchase on the Heritage Books website.

Chapter 1 — The Jordans Journey Westward

  • Page 1, paragraph 2: We now know that James was a Scots-Irish settler who came from County Down in Northern Ireland.
  • Page 3, paragraph 2:  Two James Jordans were living in Greenbrier County at the time.  It’s not clear which was the father of the illegitimate child born to Jane Huggart.
  • Page 4:  Please refer to Family Members on this website for the latest information regarding the children of James and Sarah Jordan.
    • Paragraph 1:  John Jordan, the son of James, was married to Elizabeth Newman and, later, Sinah Brumfield.  The husband of Catherine Blare turns out to have been a different John Jordan–no relation to us.
    • Paragraph 2:  William Jordan died in late 1845; Blanche Fullerton Jordan died between 1830 and 1832.
  • Page 6, paragraph 3:  Although James and Sarah sold their primary land holdings in Greenbrier County to Robert Boyd Wallace for a pittance (345 acres in 1805 for $1 and an additional 25 acres in 1808 for $1), there is no evidence to show that Wallace was married to any of James Jordan’s daughters.
  • Page 7, paragraph 2:  Please refer to William Jordan‘s page on this website for the latest information regarding his children.
  • Page 8
    • Paragraph 1:  James Blake was married to William and Blanche Jordan‘s daughter, Sarah.  The Blakes did not accompany the Jordans on their 1827 migration to Indiana, but Sarah joined them after James died in the early 1830s.
    • Paragraph 2:  William Jordan died in late 1845, according to Tippecanoe County court documents associated with his estate.  He probably died in Jasper County, Indiana.
    • Paragraph 3:  Please refer to James Jordan‘s page on this website for the latest information regarding his children.
  • Page 9
    • Paragraph 1:  Please refer to John Jordan‘s page on this website for the latest information regarding his children
    • Paragraph 2:  William and Blanche Jordan had seven daughters.
    • Paragraph 3:  Please refer to Elizabeth Jordan Courtney‘s page on this website for the latest information regarding her children.
  • Page 10
    • Paragraph 1:  Nancy Jordan was born on August 15, 1808 and died in Tippecanoe County in 1867.  Please refer to her page on this website for the latest information regarding her children.
    • Paragraph 2:  Mary Jordan died around 1889 in Dickinson County, Kansas.  Her husband, Thomas Murphy, died there in 1901.  Please refer to her page on this website for the latest information regarding her children.
    • Footnote 29:  Andrew Erwin‘s estate, Tippecanoe County, IN, Final Record Book May 1850, pages 524-531.  Tippecanoe County Guardians Docket, Vol I, page 60, November 25, 1848.

Chapter 2 — The Sextons Settle In

  • Page 13, paragraph 2:  Abraham Black, the father of Elizabeth Black Sexton, was born Abraham Schwartz in Germany around 1740.  He changed his surname to Black several years after arriving in America.
  • Page 24, footnote 26:  This is probably a reference to Francis Erwin (1800-1849), husband of Jane Jordan, the sister of William Jordan.  Francis, who lived in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, at the time (September 1844), was evidently visiting relatives in Cabell County.

Chapter 3 — The Coons Continue On

  • Page 52, footnote 10:  The William Erwin referred to here is the son of Francis Erwin and Jane Jordan.  Francis and his children moved from Indiana to Hickory County, Missouri, in the late 1840s shortly after Jane died.  William Erwin, his wife, Mary C. Whillock, and their family eventually ended up in Denton County, Texas, where William died in the mid-1860s.
  • Page 59
    • Footnote 19:  Mr. Burns is John Burns, who moved from Indiana to Polk County, Missouri, in 1852.  John was married to Eleanor Jordan, sister of Margaret Jordan Coon and William Jordan (to whom the 1854 letter is written.
    • Footnote 20:  William Burns and Jasper refers to John and Eleanor Burns‘ sons, William (born circa 1825–around 29 years old when the letter is written) and Jasper (born in May 1838, almost 16 years old at the time).

Chapter 4 — The Porters Pursue a Dream

  • Page 67, paragraph 1:  The full name of Elizabeth Caroline Jordan’s husband was Cacilias Calvert Porter and their daughter’s name was Nancy Margaret Porter, according to the estate records of John Porter, father of Cacilias.  Note–Casilias has various spellings.
  • Page 74, footnote 29:  The Song of Toil, also published under the title of The Iron Harp, written by Augustine Joseph Hickey Duganne (1823-1884).
  • Page 79, footnote 33:  Extracted from The Broken Heart, by James Gates Percival (1795-1856).
  • Page 94, paragraph 1:  Extracted from “Changes,” an unattributed poem first published in Charles Dickens‘ weekly journal All the Year Round, Issue 92, Saturday, January 26, 1861.

Appendices I and II

  • Page 97, paragraphs 2 and 3:  See this website’s page on Family Origins for the latest conclusions on where our family came from.
  • Pages 105-112:  Please refer to the various Family pages on this website to get the latest details on Jordan Generations 1-5.

We Take This Opportunity to Write:  Sexton, Coon, and Porter Letters to the Jordans of White County, Indiana, 1844-1862

[Purchase this book]

Insightful annotations combine with meticulous historical and genealogical research to make this special book much more than simply a compilation of family letters; it captures the thoughts, dreams, and character of nineteenth-century Americans as they migrated westward and became involved in the Civil War. While the letters typically focus on family events such as births, illnesses, deaths, and the strong desire to visit loved ones, they also describe the success or failure of the crops that year, floods and droughts, politics and war.

(2004), 2016, 5½x8½, paper, index, 146 pp.
101-J3402 ISBN: 0788434020

The book is highly readable, with brief narrative sections that fill in the family history and explain the circumstances of the sixteen letters within. The Jordans “…moved from Botetourt and Greenbrier Counties, Virginia, through Cabell County and into Indiana where…” they settled in Tippecanoe and White Counties. The Sextons moved from Cabell County, Virginia, into Wayne County, Illinois. The Coons settled in Polk County, Missouri, and the Porters pursued their dreams in Cass and Page Counties, Iowa. Appendices contain associated readings, obituaries, and the charts and genealogies of five generations of the Jordan family. A full-name index is also included. If your ancestors were part of the nineteenth-century westward migration, you will recognize their stories here.