Despite her importance as one of the central figures in the Jordan family, only five references to the wife of James Jordan can be found in any primary-source documentation. Four of them give her first name, while the fifth is simply the digit “1.”  Kanawha County land records from 1805 and 1808, and Cabell County records from 1817 and 1820 show that James Jordan and his wife Sarah sold or gave away title to four tracts of land they owned. The 1820 census of Cabell County, Virginia, lists James’ wife as the numeral “1” under the column Free White Female oover the age of 45 in James Jordon Senr.’s household.[1]

It’s not uncommon to find family trees and histories speculating on possible surnames for Sarah and calculating when she might have been born or when she died. It’s believed that she was buried next to her husband in the old Jordan graveyard; but any tombstone has long since disappeared. The sad truth is that there is no proof of her existence other than the five references mentioned above. No one knows if she was James‘ only wife. We can’t even say for sure if she was the mother of his children. There is simply no evidence either way.

The final reference to Sarah was written by two officials from Cabell County:

Cabell County to wit

We William Fullerton and Willam Brumfield Justices of the peace in the County aforesaid in the State of Virginia do hereby certify that Sarah Jorden wife to James Jorden Senr. parties to a certain deed for the conveyance of said Estate to James Knight bearing dates the 27th day of March 1820 and hereto annexed personally appeared before us in our County aforesaid and being examined by us privily and apart from her Husband and having the deed aforesaid fully explained to her ‘she the said Sarah Jorden acknowledged the said to be her act and deed and declared that she had willingly signed sealed and delivered the same and that she wished not to retract it. given under our hands and seals this 27th day of March 1820.
Wm Brumfield (seal)
William Fullerton (seal)[2]

Land Records

  • August 13, 1805James Jordan and Sarah his wife sell for $1 to Boyd Wallace 345 acres by patent bearing date 1 July 1791 in Greenbrier County on Sinking Creek adjoining Sarah McCoy‘s land and including two old surveys.
  • April 13, 1808James Jordon and wife Sarah Jordon of Kanawha County sell for $1 to Boyd Willis (Wallace) 25 acres in Greenbrier County on Sinking Creek adj Coburne, James McCoy (formerly James Jordon and Robert Cockburner‘s land).
  • December 10, 1817James Jorden Senr. and Sarah his wife sell for $1 to John Morris Junr 150 acres in Cabell County on the Mud River.
  • March 27, 1820James Jordan Senr. and Sarah his wife sell for $1 to James Knight of Greenbrier County their interest (one equal moiety) in 2085 acres in Greenbrier County by the Laurel Run and Buckey Garden on little Clear Creek, patented to Wm. H. Cavendish and James Jorden Senr.
    NB: See the affadavit dated March 27, 1820 (above) signed by William Fullerton and William Brumfield, Cabell County Justices of the Peace, which was attached to this land transaction.

Census in which Sarah Jordan probably appeared

  • 1820 Cabell County, Virginia – James Jordon Senr.
    1 white male 16-261 white male 45 and above (James Jordan)
    1 white female 45 and above (probably Sarah Jordan)
    2 engaged in agriculture


1 Larry Shuck, Greenbrier County Virginia Deeds & Wills, (Iberian Publishing Co., Athens, Georgia) 1992; Carrie Eldridge, Abstracts of Deed Book 2 – 1814-1819, 1986; 1820 U.S. Census of Cabell County, Virginia; Greenbrier County Court Record Book, page 3/90.
NB: Some family researchers mistake Sarah for a Sarah Stodghill Jordan living in Goochland County, Virginia, at the same time. For more information see Greenbrier vs Goochland.
2 Greenbrier County Court Record Book, pages 3/90,3/91.