(Transcribed by Suzanne Forte ([email protected]), March 2005, based on information

furnished by Benny Hawthorne


Transcribers note:  Mr. Henry Bonner Jordan was born in 1839 and died in 1929 at age 90 and is buried at the Monticello Presbyterian Church Cemetery.


            A record of the early history and some of the personal recollections of Henry B. Jordan of the county and its people, he now the oldest man living in the County:  Jasper was originally a part of Baldwin County, Georgia, and has an area of (321) square miles, is situated in the Piedmont Section near the center of the State, it is bounded by the counties of Putnam, Jones, Monroe, Butts, Newton and Morgan.

            The County was surveyed by the Government in land lots of 202 1/2 acres then allowed the soldiers and the adult male citizens each to draw one lot at a nominal cost for a homestead.  The County originally first made and named Randolph in the year 1807 with the present site for Monticello as the Capitol.  In the year 1812, the name was changed to that of Jasper in honor of Sergeant Jasper of the Revolution. It has a mild and healthful climate, numerous fresh water springs and ever running branches and creeks.

            The surface of the land is hilly and was originally covered with a forest of the largest and best of hard wood timber trees namely: white, red and post oak, yellow poplar, hickory, gum and other kinds most of which was cut down and cleared for building and agricultural purposes.  Later the land became worn and turned out, then grew up in a second growth of short leaf pine good for fire wood and cheap lumber.

            The top soil of the land originally was a dark fertile loam, with a heavy red clay subsoil that would produce well everything that was good for man, beast or fowls to eat that grew almost anywhere in the United States except the tropical varieties.  

        The population prior to the year 1867 average about 16,000 of a few more negroes, slaves than white people. During this time only the adult white men were legally allowed to vote numbering then about 1200.  There was then only two political parties, namely, Whigs and Democrats, with very little material difference as to the rights or well being of the people of the County or Country.

            My Grand father, Fleming Jordan, Sr., and his two brothers Reuben, Sr., and Charles, Sr., and my father, a lad or 3 or 4 came here from Oglethorpe County, Georgia, about the year 1818, others came along about the same time with their families from the same county, namely, Merriwether's, Reese's, Henderson's, Marke's, Goolsby's and many other.  

        My earliest recollection of the oldest citizens residing in Monticello were Thomas Brodus, Sr., Jessie Loyal,  Antony Deer,  Jevvz Peason, William Gibson, Mrs. Martha Penn, Mrs. Fulton and a few others.

            The next in age in the town were Capt. Eli Glover (who led a Company of volunteers from here to the Creek Indian War in South Georgia)  Dr. David Rees (once Congressman), Gen. J. W. Burney, Dr. Edward Broddus, Col. Joshua Hill (once a congressman), Dr. W. D. Maddux, Col. William Anderson, Charles S. Jordan, Sr., Judge G. T. Bartlett, Col. Jack Dyer and others.

            At the same time were living on their farms in the county some of prominent citizens and their families, namely, Allen, Barnes, Bentons, Banks, Blackwells, Bullards, Campbells, Cornwell, Davis, Dozier, Ellis, Ezell, Flournoy, Fish, Greer, Faulkner, Goolsby, Howard, Holland, Henderson, Jones, Kelly, Jordan, Johnson, King, Kinard, Lane, Lewis, Leverett, Minter, Malone, Maddux, McDowell, McElheney, Newton, Oxford, Powell, Preston, Penn, Pearson, Person, Reid, Roberts, Spear, Spearman, Tyler, Talmadge, Wyatt, Whitfield, White and others worthy ones and their descendants, most of all which came here were from the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina and were of pure Anglo Saxon Blood.

            During this period of time there was a most excellent class of citizens in the towns and on their farms in the country, engaged in varied agricultural work, producing the best that the land would grow for a good living and stock raising.  All and money making, veritably it was then a place of peace and plenty, those that were living here or that knew the history thereof were agreed that the inhabitants then were the most contented, industrious and prosperous than any at any time before or since.  The negroes were good servants and obedient laborers.

        The foregone, gives most of the history of the county from 1807 to the year 1861.  In the Spring of 1861 all of the Southern States seceded from the Union and established the Southern Confederate States, Government, to maintain their Constitutional rights to their Property, unfortunately that action caused the Civil War between the Northern and Southern States.  When War was declared and volunteers were called for by the Congress and President of the Southern States, Jasper County was one  of the first to offer her services, of a full company of young men, named Glover Guards in honor of Capt. Eli Glover with George T. Bartlett their Captain they were mustered into service in Augusta, Georgia in April 1861.  Then went to Virginia and joined the Fourth Georgia regiment under Coles.

            The next company of volunteers were led by Capt. John C. Key (afterwards was made Major) the next was led by Capt. C. W. Jordan, the next was led by Capt. John W. Phillips, all of them served as infantrymen.  The next was a Cavalry Company led by Capt. Andrew J. Walters.  Then a few young men as independent Scouts with General Wheelers Cavalry.  All of which made loyal and valiant soldiers.

        When Gen. Sherman started to invade Georgia on his memorable and destructive march through the State, Governor Joseph E. Brown called out all of the States reserved Militia and later as the enemy advanced on Atlanta he called out all the older man and boys from the ages of 16 to 50 years.  Jasper County responded promptly to this call with all that were able for service.

        Jasper County was about the center of General Sherman's line of march and the citizens suffered greatly in the loss of provisions and work stock taken, also in the burning of houses and bales of cotton, that was then worth one dollar per pound in New York and in six months the war ended then cotton was selling here at 40 cents per pound.

        The woman of the county and the country during the war were as loyal as the men doing their part in making clothes helping to feed and support and encourage their husbands and sons in the cause for their independence.  Even some of the negroes from here went to the Georgia coast to help fortify it against invasion of the enemy and a few in the army as servants were loyal to their masters in time of battle.

            A great number of them on the plantations in this county and elsewhere as agricultural laborers were kind, protective and obedient to their lady mistress while their husbands and sons were away in the army.

        Many of the negroes are due credit for their conduct since their emancipation under the circumstances.  Veritably, the older ones deserve a monument from the Southern white people for their services and loyal before and during the Civil War (Especially for those of Jasper County and the State of Georgia)

        The casualties of the war much depleted the population and financial condition of the county and state.  In the year 1898, several young men of the county volunteered their services fo the United States Army and served loyally and bravely during the Spanish American war.

        During the Franco German (World) War, Jasper County men complied with every enlistment made by the United States for soldiers and they served loyally and valiantly until the Armistice, many were wounded and several sacrificed their lives.

        Since 1865 there has been a gradual increase in the population and improvements in commercial and financial and agricultural conditions.

        Franchise has been granted by the United States Government to all adult citizens, men and women, white and colored.  Business conditions, commercial, schools, highways, roads, made north, south, east and west through the county.  Agriculture changed from the cultivation and production of so much cotton to an increase year by year to varied crops.

        In the year 1911, the maximum crop of cotton here was 32,000 bales, good crops were continued to be made until the arrival of the cotton bool weevil in 1920 then in 1921 they were most destructive, the county then made only 260 bales.  The weevils have continued their ravages since so much that the county has not made an average of only about 3500 bales.  This condition has so changed the agricultural employment of labor that many of the best of the young white and colored laborers have gone from here to the cities north and south and elsewhere for employment, causing much of the land formerly cultivated to be abandoned and thereby reducing the demand and price of real estates.  The system of most everything has been changed since the Worlds War, business, employment, schools, fashion and CT.  Contracts with common labor for work time and wages as compared with the past as before the worlds war on the farms, when a good hand man's wages for a year was about $100.00 and board.  Now very few contracts per annum are made at any price, now wages by the month is $25.00 and per day is $1.25!

        For power changes made greatly from animal to electric and gas.  The Ocmulgee river is the western boundary of Jasper County.  Across which is a large and high concrete dam with a wide and long lake which furnishes water pressure for electric power.  It is located (11) miles west of Monticello, Georgia. 

        There is an elevated ridge of land the watershed between the Ocmulgee and the Oconee rivers on which the Central of Georgia Rail Road track is laid and runs from Macon to Athens, via Hillsboro, Monticello, Machen and Shady Dale through this county. 

        There is another Central of Georgia Rail Road running through this county from Eatonton to Covington, Georgia, via, Machen and Kelly.  

        The county has changed its plans of agriculture greatly from large cotton crops to growing more corn grains, grasses, hay, vegetables, peaches, pecans and chickens and dairying for food and money profits.  There is now being an electric power line constructed along the east boarder of the Ocmulgee river through this county, from a connection with other lines at Porterdale, Georgia and running south to Macon, Georgia.

Respectfully submitted,

Henry B. Jordan