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Levi Jordan
Plantation

Who were the people who lived on this plantation?

To name or not to name? See below.

These links are described more fully in the text below:

African-American Residents of the Jordan plantation

Families with documented African connections in the Brazoria area

Genealogical Information on Brazoria Families

 

Questions or Comments?
Please let us know!

Partial family genealogies on this web:

Jordan (includes Martin and McNeill families)
Johnson
Mack
Holmes (Three different Holmes families)

(We hope to put more family genealogies on this web site as descendants give us permission to do so. If you are willing for us to do this, or if you are doing research on any of these families and want to share it with us, please let us know)

Many places on this web site mention the names of the owners of the plantation – the Jordans, the Martins, and the McNeills. In fact, this is the way that the histories of plantations are frequently talked about – using the names of the owners, not the names of the people who were enslaved, or, later, who worked as tenants and sharecroppers, making the owners' fortunes possible. We're attempting to do things differently on this web site, when we have the information which makes this possible.

As most people know, enslaved African Americans were not individually named on census records. Therefore, the names of previously-enslaved people don't appear until the 1870 census. However, the names of specific African American individuals can sometimes be found by looking at voter registration records (which sometimes can be found for the period prior to 1870), family records like diaries and account books, legal documents associated with court cases, and other types of sources. (For more on this, go to Spencer McCall's description of how he used these sorts of sources to learn more about the histories of his ancestors).

The names on the attached list of African American residents of the plantation (which covers the period from 1858-1880) were taken from a variety of these kinds of sources. So was the information on list of Brazoria families with documented connections to their ancestral homelands in Africa. One thing that the participants in this project had to decide was whether to put individual names of African American residents who lived on the plantation on this web site. This was not an automatic decision, despite our instinct that it was the right thing to do. This was because some family descendants asked us not to their family names on any "public" materials about the plantation. So of course we have honored that request for people who have asked.

But not naming people creates another problem. Not naming individual people who lived and worked on this plantation could, in effect, continue to de-personalize them and their contributions to the growth of this plantation, to the history of Brazoria, and, for that matter, to the history of this country. So, the Board of Directors of the Levi Jordan Plantation Historical Society decided to include these lists of names, and certain information about individual people, on this web site. This is in recognition of the right of individuals in the past to BE individuals, and to avoid always referring to people as just "slaves" or "tenants", or "residents", and so on. Because of the scarcity of records, the information we have is incomplete. Therefore, if the descendants of the people listed here (and occasionally mentioned elsewhere on this web site) want to add information of their own, we hope they will let us know. This can be done by using a feedback form, or writing me at mcdavid@publicarchaeology.org .

One final note – out of respect for present-day people's privacy, living descendants are not generally mentioned on this web site without their permission. Some people (for example, Julia Mack, Cassie Johnson, and the Martin and McNeill families (Sarah Martin, Ginny Raska, Dorothy Cotton, and Robert Martin) have been generous in their willingness to share genealogical information about their families. If other descendants wish to do this as well, PLEASE let us know. We do have more detailed genealogical information on many family names of 19th century Brazoria residents (a list of family names that have been researched is attached). Copies of this information are available for viewing at the Brazoria Community Library, and may someday, with family consent, be available on this web site.

 

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Carol McDavid 1998