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The Jordan Boys

I post this piece today in honor of my father, Victor L. Jordan, 1913-1982.

My dad was born the sixth child of Edwin and Jenny Jordan, both of whom died before I was born. His father, born in Urbana, Ill., was a railroader who worked all through the depression years, thus sparing his family the harsh conditions that befell most of the unemployed. Nevertheless, my father, along with his siblings, were very much aware of the tough economic times and grew up knowing that they had to work hard to survive.

From what I have been told Edwin was kind of a crusty, kiddingly brusque man who always meant to rule with an iron hand but winked a lot at his children’s antics. He knew his boys were always up to something, but he never had the heart to catch them. My dad said he remembers times when he and his brothers were out past curfew and Pop would sit on the stairs, waiting for them to come home. He would always fall asleep and the boys would sneak in and step over him on their way to bed. The next day he would forget all about it. Jenny, my grandmother, added softness to the home and helped the boys “get away” with many of their tricks. Her maiden name was Jones, but her mother’s maiden name was Jackson. Through that name, my dad claimed a connection to the Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson. He recalled a picture of a man with a big black beard hanging over the fireplace while he was growing up and assumed that it was General Jackson.

There were nine brothers and one sister in my father’s family. They are all gone now, but they were all characters. Their names were Alonzo (Lon), Peter (Pete), Clifford (Snip), John, Paul, Victor, Kenneth (Tenny), Glenn and Robert (Bud), and one sister, Thelma. The girl ruled the roost, according to her brothers. They were all rollicking, irreverent, fun-loving boys who were always pulling stunts and making life interesting. John was the most eccentric of the bunch. He used to sit in his bedroom and pluck out a tune on a guitar for hours on end, making the same mistake over and over. It drove everyone in the house nuts, but he would just smile and keep it up. The dictionary was his favorite book and he would read it like it was a novel, memorizing many words and definitions just for fun. Paul was the most mischievous. Often, he would make wisecracks or stupid faces at the supper table, getting his brothers to laugh at him. When Pop looked up at the disturbance, Paul kept a straight face and the others would get sent away from the table. My dad was closest to Paul, Tenny and Glenn, and they spent the majority of time roaming around the neighborhoods, parks and swimming holes of the Brightwood section of Indianapolis where they lived.

When I was born, my father was a machinist, working at a shop called Challenge Gauge & Tool. He had also worked at many handyman type jobs over the years—painting, wallpapering, barbering—especially during the Great Depression. He married my mother in 1935 and, like many young men of that day, he did whatever he had to do to make a living. Later in his adult life, be became an Apostolic minister.

The eldest brother, Lon lived in Indy all his life and sold ice cream. He died of liver cancer in 1955. He received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on his death bed. Reverend N. A. Urshan was present and verified the experience. Pete moved to New York, Snip went to California. I’m not sure, but I would assume that they moved after joining the military. Both of them died of heart attacks. Paul was an adventurous soul and hopped freight trains all over the country. His mother prayed that he would come back home. One day, he misjudged his jump and a train wheel rolled over his foot, severing his big toe. Fortunately, he recovered from his injury, but walked with a limp from that time on. His unsympathetic brothers nicknamed his Step-and-a-Half. At any rate, his handicap forced him to move back home and his mother’s prayers were answered.

Paul, in a story that I’ll get to later, became the pastor of Christian Tabernacle in Indianapolis. After pastoring successfully for over forty years, he retired and lived into his eighties. My Dad, Victor, was called into the ministry in his twenties. He assisted my maternal grandfather, Reverend Alexander Anderson in his small church in Indianapolis. Later, he ventured into the west side of Indianapolis to start a home missions church. In 1956, he assumed the pastorate of Christian Temple Church in Jackson, Michigan after my mother’s brother, Gus Anderson resigned and went to Herrin, Illinois to become pastor of Radio Tabernacle. He continued pastoring until September, 1982, when he died of a heart attack. Tenny lived and worked in Indianapolis all his life. He served as the main song leader for Pastor Nathaniel Urshan of Calvary Tabernacle. He died of a heart attack in 1978. Glenn spent some time in the Army and came back to Indy where he lived and worked the rest of his life. He died in a freak accident, falling down the basement stairs of his house. Bud was the baby of the family and got everything he wanted. His older brothers catered to little Bud and never got jealous of him, even when he got the only new bicycle that anyone in the family ever had. He moved to Noblesville and then to Fishers, Indiana. He died of a heart attack in the early nineties.


My dad, Vic, along with Tenny and Glenn had excellent singing voices. They often sang together in duets and trios. After Paul, Vic and Tenny started going to church, they sang in many services. They were invited by Raymond Hoekstra, the pastor of a large oneness Pentecostal church in Indy, Calvary Tabernacle, to sing on his weekly radio program several times. My dad always thought that was worthy of note, and especially funny since neither Tenny nor Glenn had received the Holy Spirit at the time, something that Brother Hoekstra strongly preached about in his messages.

The series of events that changed the course of my father’s life began with a lady preacher, Sister Leona Spillman who started an Apostolic church in Brightwood. The Jordan family did not live far from the church. In those days before air conditioning, the church opened their windows open wide during the hot summer months. The lively music and worship wafted out the openings and carried for blocks. Many people complained, but others were touched by the sounds of praise. My father was one of them. One night in 1930, he stood across the street from the church, listening to the music. The Holy Ghost began to move on his heart and he felt irresistibly drawn to the little building. After smoking for eleven years, he flipped his last cigarette into a mud puddle in the parking lot of the gas station and entered the front doors of the church. He went to the altar, repented, was baptized in Jesus’ name, received the Holy Ghost and never looked back. His brothers, Paul and Tenney, soon followed suit and were saved. My Dad said after they were saved, the Brightwood Police Force laid off half their officers! Probably a little exaggeration.

Paul became a preacher almost as soon as he got in the church. He was a gifted speaker and mastered the scriptures in record time. When Pastor Spillman died in 1953, Paul became the pastor of the church, Christian Tabernacle. The church has produced many Apostolic preachers and dedicated Christian workers since it was established in 1929.

He, my dad and Tenney became solid men of God and their wives and families were dedicated to the Apostolic truth. The Jordan legacy continues on to this day.


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Reader Comments (2)

I really appreciate you writing this. I had heard most of those stories, but one forgets over time. I plan to send this to some of our family members who would really enjoy it too!

March 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Teets

Thank you very much for posting this about the Jordan history. I know you don't know me, but I'm Paul's great grandson (Joe>Kent>me). While I have heard some of those stories and names, there was a wealth of knowledge about my heritage that I didn't know.


April 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjkjordan

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