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G. Gunby Jordan Papers (MC 12)

Biographical Sketch

George Gunby Jordan (1846-1930) was one of the most dynamic businessmen of Columbus, Georgia from the 1880s until his partial retirement, around 1915.  He was born June 19,1846 in Sparta, Georgia and died on May 9, 1930.  He served with Nelson's Rangers during the Civil War.  After the war, he moved to Columbus and became an officer in the Eagle & Phenix Mills until the 1880s when the Mills began to falter.  He then headed the Georgia, Midland and Gulf Railroad to McDonough, the Columbus Southern Railroad to Richland, the Columbus Power Company, the Columbus Manufacturing Company, and many other businesses.  After the Eagle & Phenix Mills entered receivership in 1896, he returned there and reorganized and modernized the company.  He also served on the Muscogee County Board of Commissioners, where he focused on road paving projects, as well as on the Columbus Public School Board, the Railroad Commission of Georgia, the National Civic Federation, and the International Commission for Industrial Peace, among other organizations.

Scope and Contents

The papers contains correspondence and published reports about his business concerns, including the Columbus Railroad Company, Columbus Savings Bank, the Third National Bank, the Perkins Hosiery Mills, Bibb Manufacturing, Columbus Manufacturing, Columbus Power Company, Eagle & Phenix Mills and the General Fire Extinguisher Company.  Other material relates to his campaign for County Commission; his activities on the commission, especially his advocacy of paved roads (1920s); his service on the Georgia Railroad Commission; as well as correspondence between the Jordan family and French orphans whom the Jordans helped to support after the First World War.

3 boxes (1.5 l.f.) 1884-1939

Permission to Publish

Permission to publish material from the G. Gunby Jordan Papers must be obtained from the Columbus State University Archives. Use of the following credit line for publication or exhibit is required:

G. Gunby Jordan Papers, MC 12
Columbus State University Archives
Columbus, Georgia

Note to Researchers

See also:

Eagle & Phenix Mills Collection (MC 13)

Wallace P. Culpepper Collection (MC 54)

Randolph L. Mott Collection (MC 289)

Panola Land and Improvement Company Records (MC 415)


This bulk of this material was found by Jim Suddreth in the attic of a building he acquired in downtown Columbus. He contacted both the Columbus State University Archives and G. Gunby Jordan II, Jordan's grandson, who donated the materials to the Archives in 1978. Twelve items were added from a donation by Katherine Jordan Waddell in 2013 which included mostly material relating to Randolph L. Mott.

Box and Folder List

Box 1

  • Folder 1 – Correspondence, 1884-1889
    • Letter of recommendation written in Spanish on behalf of G. Gunby Jordan to Romero Rubio of the Mexican Mercantile Exchange (Bolsa Mercantil Mexicana) by Pearl Wight, President of the Mexican, Central American and South American Commercial Exchange in New Orleans. March 3, 1884.
    • Letter on the letterhead of Wm. A Little, Attorney at Law, signed by him and others attempting to avert a duel between Jordon and B. T. Hatcher over a business dispute, as reported in the Columbus Enquirer of that day. July 6, 1889
    • Photocopy newspaper clippings of the exchange of letters between G. Gunby Jordan and B. T. Hatcher printed in the July 6, 1889 issue of the Columbus Enquirer. July 6, 1889
    • Another letter from Wm. A. Little informing Jordan that B. T. Hatcher has temporarily withdrawn the charges, and adding that they hope to “adjust the differences between you”. July 10, 1889
    • Letter from Hoke Smith saying that the differences between Jordan and Hatcher appear to be resolved. July 11, 1889
  • Folder 2 – Correspondence, 1890-1899
    • Draft of a condolence letter on the death of Alfred I. Young, probably to his father, W.H. Young, Secretary of the Eagle & Phenix Mills in Columbus,Georgia, written on letterhead of the Metropolitan Hotel in New York City, with partial date of 188_, but presumably written after the death of Alf I. Young in April, 1890
    • Assumption by Toombs Crawford of the liabilities of the firm of Jordan & Crawford Fire Insurance Agents as of August 1, 1891 “. . . in consideration of the voluntary retirement of G. Gunby Jorda nfrom the firm . . .” August 4, 1891
    • Copy of the minutes of the Court of Commons regarding a request to set aside Motts Green as a public park. September 11, 1891
    • Letter and transcript of letter to Jordan, signed “Annabel Lee”, perhaps pseudonymously. September 23, 1892
    • Letter and transcript of letter to Jordan, signed “Annabel Lee”, perhaps pseudonymously. December 10, 1892
    • Letter from J. D. Billings, Dealer in Gas Fixtures, Hose, Hose Reels, Cast Iron and Wrought Steel Ranges regarding a dispute over some work to have been done for Jordan. June 12, 1893
    • Letter from W. A. Wright, Comptroller General of Georgia, regarding the taxation rates for various counties levied in 1894. May 3, 1895
    • Letter from Porter King, Mayor of Atlanta to G. Gunby Jordan regarding the tax rate for Atlanta. May 3, 1895
    • Letter from Mayor's office of Augusta,Georgia regarding the tax rate for 1896. May 4, 1895
    • Letter from Mayor Henry F. Dunwody, Mayor of Brunswick, Georgia regarding the tax rate for 1895. May 6, 1895
    • Letter from G. Gunby Jordan to Mr. Murphy regarding a business transaction involving $100,000 in bonds. May 23, 1895
    • Receipt from Georgia Treasury Department for $10,000 in 20-year state bonds. May 23, 1895
    • Letter from W. W. Thomas to G. Gunby Jordan concerning the purchase of bonds on behalf of the Southern Mutual Insurance Co. of Athens, Georgia. May 30, 1895
    • Unsigned letter, probably from G. Gunby Jordan, to the National Exchange Bank in Augusta regarding various Georgia state bonds. June 5, 1895
    • Petitions endorsing G. Gunby Jordan for mayor of Columbus, October 13, 1897
    • Informational sheet from the Columbus Railroad Company detailing the length of Columbus Power Company's track, side tracks, and amount of rails and switches. April 30, 1898
    • Memo of business transactions between the Columbus Power Company and the Columbus Railroad Company. April 30, 1898
    • Letter to G. Gunby Jordan from General Samuel D. Lee, President of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, discussing an application for a pension by L. W. Dixon; the offer of a Major General-ship or a Brigadier-ship, both declined by Lee; and thanking Jordan for the gift of some “Luxury Turkish Towels” which Lee says will show to others that Jordan's mills “have surpassed the limit of coarse goods”. January 3, 1899
    • Three-page fragment and partial transcript dealing with mythology. n.d.
    • Five-page fragment dealing with painting, aesthetics, nature and ships. n.d.
  • Folder 3 – Correspondence 1900-1918
    • Draft contract between the Columbus Power Company and the Columbus Manufacturing Company. 1900
    • Letter from F. B. Gordon of the Columbus Manufacturing Company to G. Gunby Jordan as Treasure of the Columbus Power Company regarding a contract to cover “recent verbal agreements” between the two companies. March 12, 1900
    • Letter from G. Gunby Jordan to J. M. Terrell, Governor of Georgia, resigning his post as a member of the Railroad Commission of Georgia. May 16, 1904
    • Letter from G. Gunby Jordan to Monte Moore requesting date of Jordan's election as a trustee of the Public Schools, with Moore's reply at the bottom of the page supplying the date of July 6, 1904 for Jordan's first election to complete the unexpired term of a commissioner who resigned that date. May 19, 1910
    • Typed letter to W. C. Bradley, Vice-President of the Eagle & Phenix Mills from G. Gunby Jordan (but unsigned), discussing Jordan's planned retirement as president of the company effective no later than the annual meeting in February of 1914, and perhaps at the meeting in February of 1913. He also touches on general business conditions, factors for improving profits, desirable qualities in his successor, and proposing that a new vice-president be appointed by the Board who could use the intervening months to learn the company and be ready to step in as president. November 9, 1912.
    • Typed letter to E. T. Comer from G. Gunby Jordan (but unsigned) concerning Jordan's impending retirement from the Bibb Manufacturing Company as its president. He gives an overview of the Company's position and his personal evaluation of various company officials and the organization of the Company, past and present. January 9, 1913
    • Letter to G. Gunby Jordan regarding the Eagle & Phenix Mills, written from the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Only the first two pages survive. No signature. October 8, 1915
    • Copy of a letter from G. Gunby Jordan to Oscar S. Jordan, offering to establish a trust to provide Oscar with an income of 50 dollars a month for his life, after which the principal would revert to the estate of G. Gunby Jordan. The cover has the note, “Copy letter to O. S. Jordan May 26th 1918—For R.C. Jordan's information”. May 26, 1918
    • Menus and stationary from Squantum, Cuttyhunk clubs and New Hoffman House, new York, 1910
    • Memo from E. B. Nordtman, National Oil and Pipeline Co.
    • Typed letters (2) from State of Georgia Treasury Department to g. Gunby Jordan
    • Receipts (3) from Mrs. l.E. Swift, agent for H.H. Swift
  • Folder 4 – Correspondence, 1921-1938
    • Letter to G. Gunby Jordan from A. H. Bickerstaff accepting the resignation of Jordan as president of the Columbus Clearing House Association. January 18, 1921.
    • Letter to Theodore H. Price from G. Gunby Jordan, inclosing notes of a speech made by Jordan welcoming Price on behalf of the Textile Manufacturers Association of Columbus, Georgia, outlining the history of the Eagle & Phenix Mills from 1857 through the Civil War and its aftermath. An early president of the mill was Jordan's maternal uncle, R. M. Gunby. November 2, 1923. On the back is an undated note about complaints from users of the River Road, north of Land's store, who reported that Campbell's' pipe leaks at joints, causing potholes and is a waste of water, as well. November 2, 1923
    • Typed letter to G. Gunby Jordan from R. B. Daniel acknowledging Jordan's comments on a musical program at the Fifth Avenue Colored School and also his request for information on the McIlhenny Relief Fund. He also enclosed a detailed accounting of the fund from its establishment in 1915 through February, 1927. March 7, 1927.
    • Typed letter from Jordan to W. C. (Clyde) Woodall concerning the Georgia Midland Railroad, giving a detailed history of the formation of the railroad, its operating history, and technical details of its construction and financing. Attached is a completed questionnaire about this railroad. February 24, 1928.
    • Typed letter from Jordan to W. C. (Clyde) Woodall concerning the Columbus Southern Railroad, giving a detailed history of the formation of the railroad, its operating history, and technical details of its construction and financing. He discusses convict labor and cotton futures manipulation and their effects on design and procurement issues. Attached is a completed questionnaire about this railroad. February 24, 1928.
    • Typed letter from S. H. Hitch, London dealer in prints, engravings, antiques, etc. to G. Gunby Jordan regarding the Jordan coat-of-arms and family history. January 25, 1930. Also includes five copies of Hitch's letter.
    • Typed letter from an unidentified person at the Perkins Hosiery Mill to D. C. Huggins of the Jordan Company concerning an invoice. October 21, 1931.
    • Typed letter from R. C. Jordan to Mrs. Frances Jackson concerning business transactions relating to the Perkins Hosiery Mills, Jordan Mills, Columbus Bank and Trust Co. and other related entities. September, 3, 1937.
    • Letter, possibly from C. L. Amos of the C. L. Amos Coal Company of Syracuse, NY, to G. Gunby Jordan (II?) about hunting and dogs. An appended note indicates that his was a fraternity brother ofJordan. January 14, 1938.
  • Folder 5 –Jordan's Credentials of Identity from City of New Orleans. March 5, 1884
  • Folder 6 – Various Speeches, 1901-1928
    • Two copies of a speech by G. Gunby Jordan o the Convention of the Georgia Industrial Association in Warm Springs,Georgia.Jordan discussed manufacturing in the South, the need to improve education in Georgia to enable it to improve the quality of its exports, and proposed a State Immigration Agency to encourage new immigrants to the settle in the South and in Georgia in particular. May 30, 1901
    • Two copies of a speech given by G. Gunby Jordan to the Trustees of the Public Schools of Columbus, Georgia on the subject of Industrial Education (Morning Session). June 16, 1911.
    • Excerpt of Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Public Schools of Columbus, Georgia concerning the McIlhenny Pension Fund (also known as the McIlhenny Relief Fund), established by John D. McIlhenny to create a pension and relief fund for needy and deserving teachers of the Public Schools of Columbus, Georgia. July 13, 1915.
    • Typed speech of G. Gunby Jordan to the Columbus Rotarians about whether Muscogee County public roads should be cement or asphalt. 1928.
  • Folder 7 – Will, 1927-1938
    • Last Will and Testament of G. Gunby Jordan. 16 April, 1927.
    • Letters Testamentary and probate records. 1930-1939
  • Folder 8 – Delia D. Burnett (Sister of G. Gunby Jordan) Items, 1916
  • Folder 9 – Statement of military service for Samuel P. Mendez, Private, Company D, 12th Virginia Infantry, CSA. 1912
  • Folder 10 – Listing of births, marriages and deaths in the Gunby family from 1766-1889. n.d.
  • Folder 11 – Article “The Pursuit and Capture of Streight's Raiders: an Incident from the Life of General N. B. Forrest” by John a. Wyeth, M.D. Printed in Harpers, August, 1899.
  • Folder 12 – Two Newspapers—the Boston American of July 23, 1911 with an article “What is Wrong with the Textile Industry?” and the Atlanta Constitution of June 10, 1908.
  • Folder 13 – Misc. Papers – Includes stray pages of letters, bank books, menus, insurance quotes, extracts, news clippings, business cards, etc.
  • Folder 14 – IRS Correspondence, 1915-1925
  • Folder 15 – Tax Returns, 1896-1928
  • Folder 16 –U.S.Treasury Department Circulation Statements, 1922-1929
  • Folder 17 – Correspondence with French Orphans, 1917-1918 (Detailed listing of postcards and letters sent and received attached to back of the Folder)
  • Folder 18 – Memorial Day inFrance: What French Children Think About the United States of America. 1922
  • Folder 19 – Lists of Common Stock and Preferred Stock holders in the Bibb Manufacturing Company, n.d.


Box 2

  • Artifacts
    • 2 sets of keys, one to “Mr.Jordan's Desk”
    • Ink well
    • Wax seal
    • Rubber stamp of R. C. Jordan
    • Signature stamp of G. Gunby Jordan
    • Red Cross Button
    • Scrapbook/File Folder A-Z of clippings, pamphlets, letters and notes
    • G. Gunby Jordan Hall--Columbus College 1977
    • Musical Extravaganza II Columbus College, 1984


Box 3

  • Folder 1 – Political Campaign Materials, 1920s
  • Folder 2 – Political Campaign Materials, Including Speeches, 1920s
  • Folder 3 – Columbus Railroad Company Payroll Records, 1890s
  • Folder 4 – Railroad Papers, 1880s-1915
  • Folder 5 – Contract between the Chattahoochee Brick Company and the Columbus Southern Railway Company, January 9, 1888
  • Folder 6 – Banking and Stock Papers, 1890s-1920
  • Folder 7 – Bank Account, Bonds and Perkins Hosiery Mills audit, 1915-1930
  • Folder 8 – Bibb Manufacturing Company and Columbus Manufacturing Company Papers, 1899-1902
  • Folder 9 – General Fire Extinguisher Company Papers, 1893-1936
  • Folder 10 – Photocopies of Papers within the Collection, 1890s-1930s
  • Folder 11 – Dr. Lupold's Papers on the Collection (Draft inventory of the Collection), n.d. but probably 1978
  • Folder 12 – Various Georgia Government Books, mostly relating to the Western and Atlantic Railroad, 1890-1891
  • Folder 13 -- Land deed for John Dinton, Hancock County, Georgia, 490 acres,; includes leather seal, 1820
  • Folder 14 -- Receipt of sale of boy Frank
  • Folder 15 -- Roff Sims, 1901-1902