Category Archives: All Families

Latest update: Non-traditional Pioneers in the “Old West”

Americans have always been fascinated with the “Old West.”  Hollywood has produced some of its biggest stars and profitable movies telling the stories of the brave early pioneers seeking a their fortune, a fresh start, or new opportunities in the Western United States.  In most of these stories, the pioneers are eastern-based Americans or recently-arrived European immigrants, and their narratives normally involve homesteading, mining, or a noble effort to bring law and order to a wild environment under harsh conditions – the perennial “good guys.”  And until the revisionist Western movies beginning around the 1980s, the native inhabitants of the land, the Chinese railroad builders, and the Mexican laborers were nearly always depicted as dirty, savage, lazy, and foreign – the evil “others” of the lawless frontier.  Certainly these depictions by now have been exposed for being simplistic at best to utter nonsense at worst.  And as general population trends since the 1970s have seen swaths of Americans moving from the Northeastern and Midwestern United States into the Southwest, there is renewed interest with the origins and stories of the early settlers of the of the “Wild West.”

Mule Train

A Mule Train hauling ore in an early Arizona mining camp.  Photo courtesy of Mining World

Unfortunately there is a dearth of scholarship regarding non-traditional early settlers, such as the early Mexican immigrant pioneers in the Southwest, United States.  We know the stories of those who trekked thousands of miles West, but what of those who trekked thousands of miles north to contribute to the founding of early settlements in the Southwestern?  My GGG grandfather Jose Maria Jordan was one of those early pioneers that went first north, and then west to seek a better life for himself and his young family.  He was a fourth generation Mexican whose family originated in the southeastern region of Murcia, Spain.  In the early 1860s, while the United States was embroiled in its great Civil War Jose Maria became the first of the Mexican branch of Jordans to trek north across the Rio Grande.  With him went his young bride, Clara Hermosillo Jordan, whose family had lived in Chihuahua city since the mid 1700s.  From the birth records of their children, we know that the family lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico beginning at least in 1863.

Over the next 20 years, the Jordans were some of the earliest residents of several Southwestern U.S. boom towns – from Las Cruces and Silver City in New Mexico Territory to Clifton in Arizona Territory.  It is likely that Jose Maria was familiar with mining, particularly as significant operations existed at the time in the Mexican border states of Sonora and Chihuahua, some with partial investment from U.S. mining companies.  He is noted as an overseer of a coal pit in Silver City in the 1880 U.S. census and later as the owner of a freighting operation hauling mining ore and supplies between Lordsburg, New Mexico and Clifton, Arizona.  Tax records denote that he owned dozens of horses, mules, and oxen, as well as four wagons and an ambulance.  For many years, Jose Maria was employed directly by the Longfellow Mine, the first mining operation in Clifton.  As an important and respected businessman in town, Jose Maria was chosen to serve as a trial juror on several cases in Clifton’s inaugural session of the Graham County District Court.  This almost certainly implies that he spoke fluent English.  Records indicate that he naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1873 in New Mexico and that he paid taxes on the aforementioned wagons, horses, oxen, and mules.

So while this short biography does not include saloons, prostitutes, or gunfights, it does reflect the true life account of a hard working pioneer who sought a better life for his family and contributed to his society and whose descendants continue on in Arizona and throughout the United States some 150 years later.

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December 2017 Update: Nathanael Greene, “The Fighting Quaker”

Paine Portrait of NG

Portrait from Charles Peale, 1783

When I was younger, family members would always note with pride that we were related to Nathanael Greene, George Washington’s number two during most of the Revolutionary War.  He is my second cousin, eight times removed.  Only recently have I undertaken to research more about the Revolutionary War and Greene’s contributions to the founding of the United States of America.

What follows in this link is a short biography of a Quaker with a limp from the smallest British colony in North America who became a gifted military strategist and rose to become a legendary general of the American Revolutionary War – second in esteem only to George Washington himself.

Greene did it all during the course of the war.  He was commander of the city of Boston in 1776 once it had been evacuated by the British; during the remainder of 1776 he commanded Fort Lee in New Jersey and Fort Washington in New York; he served as Quartermaster-General of the Continental Army from 1778-1780; he succeeded Benedict Arnold as commander of West Point in late 1780; and lastly, after being recommended by George Washington and approved by Congress, Greene assumed command of all Continental troops from Delaware to Georgia beginning in December 1780.  By the end of the war in 1783, Greene and Washington were the only two generals to have served the entirety of the eight year war at the rank of General.

One can only speculate about what else Greene might have achieved in service to his country, but his life was cut short tragically at the young age of 43 of heat stroke.

Nathanael Greene’s longer biography link is here.

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August 2017 Update: Refined DNA Results

The incredible world of DNA Testing continues to evolve and as testing becomes more accessible, the results have gotten all the more accurate.  For those that know the science, our family volunteer DNA tester’s haplogroup results are:

R-FGC16979 Icon   and

MtDNA Haplogroup

The tester updated Y-DNA from the 67 to the 111 marker test and also tested positive for a subclade further down the P312 family known as R-FGC16979.  There have been no further updates to the MtDNA results although our tester has been closely matched to several other testers in recent months after going a few years without any matches.

In April 2017, Family Tree DNA’s My Origins site, which maps autosomal DNA to capture a person’s ethnic breakdown back 5-6 generations, launched it’s 2.0 update.  The results altered our family’s volunteer tester results quite significantly to include Ashkenazi Jewish and Sub-Saharan African markers for the first time (5 and 3 percent respectively), while the European and New World percentages (64 and 26 percent respectively) remained largely the same.  The full results are below.

My Origins Breakdown Aug 2017

For the full discussion on DNA testing, click on the following link.

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April 2016 Update: Francisca Vielma – the Pioneering Academic

This home page is the where I post periodic updates made to the website.

Click on this link (or click on the Vielma tab from the Main Menu at the top of the page) and scroll down to the fifth generation to check out the discussion on Francisca Vielma.  Francisca is our family’s academic pioneer – a Mexican-American woman who graduated from High School in the early 1920s in the small and then-largely segregated mining town of Clifton, Arizona and who later earned a degree in teaching from the Tempe State Teachers College (the forerunner of Arizona State University) in 1928.  To put this incredible achievement in context, U.S. Department of Education statistics show that in 1930 (two years after Francisca graduated) less than three percent of women in the United States even attended a college or university.  To say that Francisca was part of a tiny minority is one thing – add to this the fact that she was a Mexican-American woman, and the magnitude of her accomplishment is even more apparent!

Francisca Vielma (for post)

**NOTE: All photos are the property of Greeneandmiranda.com unless otherwise noted. If you wish to use or copy any photos on this site, please contact us through the feedback form requesting permission. Thanks!

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March 2016 Update: Killingly, Connecticut Page

This home page is the where I post periodic updates made to the website.

Click on this link (or alternatively click on the Our Towns tab from the Main Menu at the top of the page) and scroll down to the United States heading to check out the most recent update – the creation of the Killingly, Connecticut page!  Killingly is second largest town in northeastern Connecticut and was the home of our branch of the Greene family for five generations between approximately 1850-1950.

IMG_3216

**NOTE: All photos are the property of Greeneandmiranda.com unless otherwise noted. If you wish to use or copy any photos on this site, please contact us through the feedback form requesting permission. Thanks!

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August 2015 Update: Lorca, Murcia page

This home page is the where I’ll be posting information about periodic updates made to the website.

Click on this link (or alternatively click on the Our Towns tab from the Main Menu at the top of the page) and scroll down to the Spain heading to check out the Lorca, Murcia page!  Lorca is in Southeastern Spain and was the home of our Jordan line until the mid 18th Century, when Antonio Jordan emigrated to New Spain (Mexico) as a soldier.  We we fortunate to visit the city in April 2015 and walk in the steps of our ancestors.

2015 Lorca Spain - 09

**NOTE: All photos are the property of Greeneandmiranda.com unless otherwise noted. If you wish to use or copy any photos on this site, please contact us through the feedback form requesting permission. Thanks!

bar41

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December 2014 Update – Gillingham Page

This home page is the where I’ll be posting information about periodic updates made to the website.

 

Click on this link (or alternatively click on the Our Towns tab from the Main Menu at the top of the page) and check out the creation of the Gillingham page, about a town in England where the Greene family lived for several generations duing the 15th – 17th centuries !

 

**NOTE: All photos are the property of Greeneandmiranda.com unless otherwise noted. If you wish to use or copy any photos on this site, please contact us through the feedback form requesting permission. Thanks!

bar41

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