Saturday, December 29, 2012

Charles Jordan - Reverand and Mayor of Tauranga

Rev Charles Jordan BA (1838, Ireland - October 1912, Tauranga) married Eleanor Anne (Armstrong?) (1836 - 1935) prior to coming to New Zealand to become the first Church of England Minister in Tauranga.  Newspaper reports after Charles' death set out what an important person he was to those in Tauranga around the turn of last century.  It might seem backwards to post his obituary first, but it gives more of a sense of the man, and the esteem in which he was held.  

Upon Charles' death, the following obituary was printed in the 7 October 1912 edition of the Bay of Plenty Times:

The news of the death of Rev. Charles Jordan, which occurred at the vicarage at 1.15 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, will be received with profound regret by the whole community, of which he has been so prominent and useful a member during the last forty years. Up till about six weeks ago Rev Canon Jordan appeared to be in his usual health, but as the result of a chill caught while returning from the last meeting of the Bay of Plenty Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, at Whakatane, he was smitten with illness and was forced to take to his bed on the 11th ultimo. His condition became so serious that several members of his family, who reside in various parts of the Dominion, were summoned to his bedside. His great heart, combined with medical skill and careful nursing, enabled him to make a slight rally but unfortunately, complications set in, and the patient gradually became weaker until he expired peacefully as above stated.
The late Rev. Jordan was seventy-three years of age and was born in Ventry, near Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland. He received his education at Trinity College, Dublin and took his degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1866. He was ordained by the Honorable and Right Rev. Dr. Bernard on July 14th, 1867, in St. Mary's Cathedral, Tuam, County Galway, for the curacy of Bangor, in the parish of Kilcomon, Erris.  Rev. Jordan continued in Church work in Irelaud till 1872, and left on September 11th of that year for the cure of Tauranga, being appointed thereto by the commissaries of the then Bishop of Waiapu, Rev. Dr. William Williams.
Deceased arrived here on December 31, 1872, so that he had completed almost forty years service in the Tauranga' parish. About six yours ago he paid a visit to the Old Country. The late Rev. Jordan was an eloquent preacher, and although he had been offered several other charges he preferred to stay in Tauranga. For a long period he associated himself with the public life of the town he loved so well,  and his practical knowledge of men and things made him a citizen of inestimable worth. There was hardly a local body with which he had not been identified and in all his public life he displayed considerable administrative ability. A gentleman of remarkable industry and enthusiasm, and one who always had the courage of his convictions, he earned the respect and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. He was elected Mayor of the Borough in 1887, and has occupied the mayoral chair on many occasions since. He was a Justice or the Peace. A quarter of a century ago he was elected a member of the Hospital Aid board of which body he was chairman for a long period, and was one of the County representatives at the time of his death. For nearly two decades he had been a member of the Licensing Committee, and:his demise leaves a yacancy on the Tauranga Bench. He showed his conceal in educational affairs, and had been a member of the local School Committee, while he was instrumental in having Tauranga made a centre for the conduct of the Civil Service, matriculation, teachers', and scholarships' examinations. He was also a chaplain of the New Zealand Defence Forces. After a long association with public bodies Rev Jordan leaves behind him an honorable record
of excellent service, and it may be said of him that he sacrificed his personal interests for the good of the people. He took an interest in Dominion politics and was an intimate friend of the Right Hon. R. J. Seddon and also of Sir Joseph Ward. He always exhibited a kindly concern in the welfare of Tauranga boys, whether of his own denomination or not. Numerous individuals who to-day hold worthy commercial and public positions in many towns in New Zealand have to thank him for the assistance which he accorded them at the outset of their careers, and all that he has done in this direction will probably never be known. One instance, perhaps, is worth recording here. A young man of strict integrity lost his position in a Government department through an insignificant occurrence. The dismissal was brought to the notice of Rev. Jordan, who interested himself on the youth's behalf, with the result that he was re-engaged in another branch of the Government service, and has risen by his talent and perseverance to one of the highest positions in the branch. Rev. Jordan was one of Nature's gentlemen. There was nothing narrow about him, and his tolerant views won him the love and respect of people of every creed. Taurauga, in particular and New Zealand, in general, will miss one who for forty years was closely identified with Church and public life, and whose optimism was of that cheery, breezy nature that made men look hopefully to the futuro, when there was a latent tendency to see a dark lining to almost every passing cloud. The community can ill afford to lose men of the stamp of the late Canon Jordan, who was a colonist of the very truest sort.
Deceased leaves to mourn their loss a widow, three sons, and two daughters. The sons are- Mr James Jordan, clerk of the Court, Thames; Mr Joseph Jordan, Surgeon dentist, Dunedin; Mr Charles Jordan, of the staff of the Post Office, Whangarei. Mrs H. H. Clemson and Mrs Gibson Clark are the two surviving daughters. With the bereaved family and other relatives the utmost sympathy will be expressed and the town will mourn the loss of one of its noblest citizens, in whose mind the thought of duty was ever uppermost and who gave of his best ungrudging.
The pulpit of Trinity Church, which been occupied by the late Rev. Canon Jordan for so long a period, was yesterday draped in black. “The Dead in Saul” and "Crossing the Bar" were played by the organist and the bell of the Church was tolled. Feeling reference to the death of Rev. Jordan was made by the lay reader, Mr C J. Butcher.
The funeral will leave the vicarage at 2.30 o'clock on Wednesday after noon for Trinity Church, where a memorial service will be held, after the conclusion of which the cortege will leave for the new cemetery. Elsewhere the Mayor requests the business people to close their places of business from 2 to 4 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon out of respect to the memory of the late Rev. Canon Jordan.

As noted in his obituary, Charles Jordan was the mayor of Tauranga.  Not once, not twice, but on three occasions as follows:
16 December 1885 to 15 December 1886
21 November 1900 to 10 May 1905
1 May 1907 to 6 May 1908.

1. James Jordan (1864, Kerry, Ireland - September 1930, Tauranga).  James was educated with his brother, at the Auckland Grammar School.  He entered the Court service as a cadet in the Magistrate's court in 1884.  He then worked as a Clerk in the Court at Paeroa and Te Aroha in 1892.  James  married Helen Walker (1864 - 1938) in 1894.  Helen was a daughter of J.W. Walker, who was well known in Thames.  He commenced working as a Clerk in the Thames Magistrate's and Warden's court in 1896.  James was a Clerk with the Court in various locations around New Zealand, from Auckland to Napier, to New Plymouth and in between.  James retired from clerking at his last Court, in New Plymouth, on 31 March 1922.

   1.1 Sydney Carl Jordan (1895 - 12 October 1917).  Sydney enlisted and embarked for World War One on 9 October 1915.  He was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium on 12 October 1917.
Sydney Carl Jordan
   1.2 Edith Melville Jordan (1898 - 1949) married Ernest Townshend Gifford (19 November 1898 - 1977) in 1921.  They had at least one son:

      1.2.1 Peter Townshend Gifford (3 May 1922 - 2003)

   1.3 Dulcie Raymond Jordan (1899) married Lionel Wynn Kirkby (1894 - 1953) in 1925.  Lionel was lucky to be alive as on 17 November 1911, a farmer called George Gedge fired a shot at him, wounding him! 

   1.4 Athol Armstrong Jordan (16 January 1902 - 1981) married Catherine Patricia Arnold (14 November 1902 - 1999) in 1926

James, like his younger brother Joseph, preceded his mother in death and an obituary appeared in the Auckland Star on 6 September 1930:

A former well-known resident of Auckland, Mr. James Jordan, died at Tauranga, aged 65 years. He was born in Dublin and came with his parents to New Zealand when he was eight years of age, and the family settled at Tauranga. Mr. Jordan joined the staff of the Justice Department at Auckland, and later was clerk of the court and registrar at Paeroa. From there he was transferred to Thames, where he remained until 1913, when he was moved to Napier, and from that place to New Plymouth. He retired 10 years ago. He is survived by his wife and the following children: Mr. Athol Jordan, Mrs. Gifford, of Hastings, and Mrs. Kirkby, of Mangaweka.

2. Joseph Armstron Jordan (1868 - 17 December 1933, Tauranga) married Charlotte Mary.  Joseph was a dentist by trade and was also a capable sportsman in many fields.  

   2.1 Katherine Alice Jordan (1902 - 1959).  Katherine never married.

Joseph preceded his mother in death, and an obituary for him appeared in the 18 December 1933 edition of the Evening Post:

(By Telegraph.—Press Association.)
The death occurred suddenly on Saturday evening of Mr. Joseph Armstrong Jordan, aged 65, a well-known figure in sporting circles throughout the Auckland and Otago provinces. In the morning he had presided at the meeting of the Agricultural and Pastoral Society.
Mr. Jordan was born at Meanus, County Kerry, Ireland, and was the second son of the Rev. Canon Charles Jordan, who arrived as minister of the Church of England at Tauranga 61 years ago. He was educated at the district school and at the Church of England Grammar School at Parnell, Auckland. In the early part of his life he was on sheep stations in the Hawke's Bay and Wanganui districts and then left for Australia, where he qualified as a dentist. He returned to Tauranga 40 years ago and after practising for a time moved to Dunedin, where he practised for 13 years. He returned to Tauranga 13 years ago.
Mr. Jordan was a keen sportsman, being a notable local swimmer, runner, boxer, and Rugby footballer, and he captained tho local Rugby representatives on many occasions. He was a past president of the local Rugby union and owned several racehorses, including Marine. He also owned many fine hunters, including The Saint and Toki. He was a splendid judge of hunters and light horses, and acted in that capacity at agricultural shows. Mr. Jordan was president of the local A. and P. society, and was nominated as a judge on the official list of tho Royal Agricultural Society. He was vice-president of the Royal Agricultural Pastoral Show, Auckland,and donated cups for hockey and football. He took a keen interest in Dominion and local politics, and for some years was a member of the Tauranga Borough Council. He is survived by his wife and.a daughter.

3. Marguerite Martina Jordan (1872 - 1960) married Herbert Henry Clemson (1869 - 1938) on 23 July 1904 at Holy Trinity Church, Tauranga.  They were married by Rev Charles Jordan, Marguerite's father.  Herbert was an architect living in Tauranga, and was the second son of the Rev. William Hall Clemson, M.A., of the Diocese of Lichfield.

     3.1 Charles Rowland William Hall Clemson (1905 - 1958)

4. Eleanor Grace "Grace" Jordan (1874) married Peter Gibson Clarke on 24 March 1900 at Trinity Church, Tauranga.  The couple were married by Rev. Jordan, Eleanor's father.  Peter was of Punehu Stream, Taranaki and was the eldest son of James Clarke of Kilbirnie, Wellington.  After having their son, who they named an extremely interesting name (see below) I believe this family eventually ended up in Australia.  

   4.1 Gore Jordan Clarke (1901)
5. Charles Gore Malcolmson Jordan (1882 - 1954)

I believe there was one more daughter, older than Marguerite, but I have been unable to identify her as yet. 

Charles' wife Eleanor, outlived him by almost twenty five years, before dying in 1935, just short of 100 years old.  The following brief obituary appeared in the Evening Post on 14 December 1935:

(By Telegraph - Press Association.)
The death occurred yesterday afternoon of Mrs. Eleanor Ann Jordan, widow of the late Canon Charles Jordan, in her 100th year.  Mrs Jordan came to Tauranga with her husband, the first vicar of Tauranga, in 1872.  She is survived by one son, Charles, and two daughters, Mrs. H.H. Clemson and Mrs G.G. Norris, both of Tauranga.  Mrs W. Bell, of Wellington and Mrs W. Simpson of Waitotara, are sisters.

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