Massey Cemetery


NW1/4 SE1/4, Section 24, Twp. 15N, Range 11W

As one gazes at the beautiful lawn at the southwest corner of the intersection of Massey Lane and Mound Road in Jacksonville, there is no visible indication of the burials there. About 1964 W.E. (Ted) Coates related that as a child he often saw tombstones standing at the location, then known as Massey Cemetery. Illinois Veterans' Commission records list the site as Massey Farm Cemetery.

The best known description of Massey Cemetery was written in 1903 by 77 year old Julia Wolcott Carter. A reprint of her description of the cemetery can be found on page 18 of the Jacksonville Journal Courier of Sunday, August 5, 1979. Mrs. Carter, wife of William Chauncey Carter, described the cemeter in this manner. "My mother died a few days after the wedding (of two of my sisters on November 28th, 1832) and I have a dim vision of two little girls with older members of the family, standing in the bleak, cold wind around the open grave where all that was mortal of my dear mother was laid to rest. It was a spot out on the Mound Road, west of town where a few of the early settlers here were buried, and was used in that way but a short time. It was never a public cemetery and the graves were soon lots, but my mother and my sister will surely rise with all the other sleepers there when the angel of the resurrection shall come and call them forth."

JORDAN, James     15 Nov 1755 - 9 Jul 1935
     There is considerable evidence this man was known as John Jordan and "Father" Jordan, the first Methodist society within the present limits of Jacksonville was formed on Oct. 17, 1821. The worshipers were segregated, the men in one room and the women and children in the other room. Rev. John Granville conducted the service from the area between the two rooms. On Oct. 3, 1971, the congregation of Centenary United Methodist Church dedicated a plaque commemorating the event. The plaque is embedded on the lawn of the Father Formaz Memorial Church of Our Saviour (Catholic) at the norteast corner of Brown and East State Streets. The church now occupies the site where the Jordan cabin originally stood. A Jacksonville historian, Ensley Moore, once chose the Jordan family as the topic of his column "Old Jacksonville". He wrote, in part "In their historical accounts of this region, both Charles M. Eames and dr. W.F. Short refer to Mr. Jordan as John. This was not his name, it was James Jordan.

Mr. Jordan was born November 15, 1755, and Mary, his wife, was born March 30, 1756. They presumably came from Virginia to South Carolina, for the first definite record of the family is at Union, S.C., about eighty miles from Charleston, where their son, John R., is known to have been born. From the Palmetto state the Jordans came to Golconda, Pope County, Illinois, where they remained a short time, and then went to near St. Charles, Missouri. The family came from there to Jacksonville, in 1822.

Mr. & Mrs. Jordan were the parents of Jane, born 1784(?); James M., born 1785; Mary, 1787; Sarah, 1790; Catherine, 1793; John R., 1794; Elizabeth, 1797; and William Scott, 1803. James died July 9, 1835, and Mary, his wife, died May 2, 1832. Mr. Jordan served in the Revolutionary War, as his pension certificate, dated May 19, 1835, and signed by C.A. Harris, acting Sec. of War shows. The document is now possessed by W.H. Jordan, grandson of "Father Jordan" generally known as "Tip" Jordan.

Father Jordan had a double log cabin on the Hardin-Passavant lot as his residence here in 1822, and in it, Eames says: "The statement is undisputed that the first Morgan county church was organized in 1822 by a few persons who held their meetings for worship in this famous large log cabin of "Father" Jordan."

JORDAN, Mary     30 Mar 1756 - 2 May 1832     Wife of James Jordan

(In 1980, Mrs. Florence Hutchison furnished the following information taken from a newspaper dated February 17, 1899. This was a letter to the "Editor Journal" by C.B. Bartin, which evidently referred to an earlier letter of controversy between Dr. Prince and a Mrs. Vail, daughter of Mrs. Catherine Kendall Carson. Better known as "Mother" Carson, Mrs. Carson was a well known figure in Jacksonville's early days." ....An instance in her life (of Mother Carson) illustrates the qualities of her mind and heart. In 1860 and on I was acquainted with a minister then preaching in Shipman, Macoupin County. He inquired of me about his brother, Dr. Sayer, if I knew where he was buried. I told him he died before there was any public burying ground here and was probably buried on the Mound Road, where interments were mostly made at that time. He afterward told me he had been to Jacksonville to find his brother's grave. He said "I inquired for some old citizen who would most probably know where it was, and was directed to John Henry. He went with me to the cluster of graves on the Mound Road, but could not identify my brother's. So he drove me back to town and found Mother Carson who said she could show me just where he was buried. "Mr. Henry took her into his conveyance with us and returned to the place where the remains were deposited. We opened a gap in the rail fence and passed through. She went direct without hesitation or examination to the spot distinguished by no other marks than what time had wrought. I procured the help of an undertaker and beneath that sod we found the remains of my brother and took them to the East Cemetery for re-interment." This incident shows that Mrs. Carson had an intimate friendship with one of the best men in town, too strong for death to sunder; and a mind of clear observation, which connected with such a heart must have treasured up much that was profitable to others. She had a large experience in the service she rendered and that experience in the early days was unquestionably sought for by the learned men...."

WOLCOTT, Helen     Died May 1831 Age about 71 Yr     Dau of Elihu & Juliana Wolcott
From page 18 of Jacksonville Journal Courier of Sunday, Aug. 5, 1979, in a reprint of "Diary, not an autobiography" written in 1903 by her sister, 77 year old Julia Wolcott Carter. "In this same spring, in May of 1831, my little sister, Helen, two years older than I, died of scarlet fever. I was first taken with the fever in a most virulent form, and it did not seem possible that I could get well, but little Helen was not thought to be dangerously ill until a short time before her death. I cannot fix the face of this sister in my memory, but I catch occasional faint glimpses of a little child, my companion and playmate; older sisters say she was a very bright and lovable child."

WOLCOTT, Juliana     Died Dec. 1832     Wife of Elihu Wolcott
To learn of this woman's life and her death from consumption - tuberculosis - see page 18 of the Jacksonville Journal Courier of Sunday, Aug. 5, 1979. Microfilms of old Jacksonville newspapers are available at Jacksonville Public Library and the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield.

Cemetery Index