Rural New Yorker: A Journal for the Suburban and Country Home
January 29, 1898
Vol. LVII. No. 2505: p. 1
New York
Vol. LVII. No 2505. NEW YORK, JANUARY 29, 1898 $1 PER YEAR
Where Fruits and Females Flourish.

Far up in northern Vermont, near the New Hampshire line, lives John H. Jordan with his good wife and a family that should fill the hearts of most of us with envy. Mr. Jordan is a modest man, who does not talk much about himself, but one of his neighbors tells the following brief and truthful story:

"John Jordan is one of the most industrious, hard-working men in Vermont. His good wife is equally so. Both of them are quiet, intelligent, well-disposed people, and most highly respected by all. He was a brave soldier in the late [Civil] War, for nearly three years and was promoted [to Corporal]. He always made it a point to pay for everything as he went along, and they lived and reared all their large family, in an old and inconvenient house, until last year, when he moved into his new, large and elegant house that he has been several years in erecting. The best thing about it is that he has paid every cent for it, and owes not a dollar in the world, and all has been done by the individual efforts of himself and wife. He is a very extensive fruit grower, having now in bearing more than 2,500 apple trees, of about 100 different varieties, some pears, many plums, currants, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and some other fruits, all under a fine state of cultivation, and from which he derives a good profit. They have done all this with their own hands, as they commenced with nothing."

We will let that simple record stand without comment. Plain, country folks can read between the lines of that statement, and they will be able to fill it out, and understand how life has fared in that country home among the New England hills. It has not been all plain sailing and sunny skies for this family craft. It has been a hard pull and, happily, wife and husband have pulled together and not apart.

The picture, shown at Fig. 24, was taken several years ago. There have been 14 children in all--11 girls and three boys. One daughter [Edna Marion Jordan died of Typhoid a little more than a year before this article on 30 Dec 1896] and a son [Johnnie Leroy Jordan had also died of typhoid on 7 Apr 1895] have died, so that now there are 12 left. The same neighbor says that another family of 14 such children cannot be found anywhere in the country or State. "All bright, active healthy, industrious and of irreproachable character." The three eldest girls are married [Sylvia Kendall Jordan m. 26 Jan 1887 Elwin Davis Graham; Leonora Lee Jordan m. 29 Jan 1884 Henry Gratis Spencer; and Lilla May Jordan m. Erwin Fitts], and have good and happy homes of their own. All are good scholars, for Mr. and Mrs. Jordan have appreciated the needs of education, and have tried to help their children at school.

Now opinions may differ, but the writer regards this group as just about an ideal family. We could even stand more girls and fewer boys. We might take one boy in the way of salt, but we would consider it a privilege to work and earn the home and shelter for a houseful of good healthy girls. If this old world is to be made happier and better, the women of strong character and high purpose must be expected to do the work. Progress is along the mother's side. The father, in many instances, is getting to be a mere incident and, with each generation, a larger share of responsibility for the country's future is demanded of the mothers.

Mr. Jordan was one of a family of 14 children, while there were 11 in his wife's family. He is now but 54 years old, while his wife is under 50. They were married in 1868 [15 Mar 1868]. They came from prolific stock--good stock it was, too--that kept close to the soil and maintained its vigor and character. Take scions of the same stock that were grafted into the brick and stone of city life! Why, it will require a dozen men and women to produce such a family as Mr. and Mrs. Jordan have gathered around them, and the longer they live in the town, the weaker is the new wood, and the feebler are the "grafts" that must go back to the soil some day for fresh vigor and life.

Last Fall, we showed a picture of an Ohio family--father, mother and 10 big sons. It was a remarkable group, and that sturdy family has met with a remarkable success. The father and mother came to this county with all the enthusiasm of new and hopeful immigrants. New blood always starts new life, and with their great family of boys, Mr. and Mrs. Linder succeeded--that is, they acquired property and became respectable citizens. Will their grandchildren possess the same vigor? Would they be able to push out under hard and new conditions, and make equally successful farmers?

John Hudson and Sarah Anne (Sims) Jordan


Marshall Davies Lloyd