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The Cordell Family


The Cordell family have been and will remain elusive to find. They are mysterious to me for that reason. It seems as if federal records omit the name, even if they can be found on local census records.

WPA Marriage records on microfilm in Jackson Co., Ind., have 24 Cordells listed in 1881. But the Jackson Co. marriage books show only 5.

Only 5 Cordells appear in the Jackson Co. obituaries, or cemetery records. Yet Fairview Cemetery, and Freetown Cemetery, alone show 8.

Thomas Payne Cordell, my great-grandfather, was born 15 Jan 1802, Va, d 9 April 1882, in Freetown, Ind. He married Catherine Waters, 20 Feb 1824, Va. Catherine was born 4 May1807, Va, d 4 Sept 1891, in Freetown. Both are buried at Freetown Cemetery, in Jackson county. They married extremely young. Left the hog-back mountains for Ohio. Catherine was pregnant with their first child, a son. Her brother Jacob accompanied them to insure Catherine's safety. And old family letter(I have a copy) states they had 13 children, born in Belmont, Ohio. Yet I cannot find them on a census there, and have as yet only identified 9 children: William, Sarah, Lucinda, Margaret, George, Catherine, Eliza Ellen, Mary, and Thomas Tobias Cordell.

I believe that Howard Cordell is also a son, b 1826, d 3-26-1863, Jackson Co, Ind, of lung infection. He married Rachael Cox, 3-27-1850, Jackson. Daughter of Evan and Castinda Cox. Rachael d 3-19-1863, New Farmington, Ind. Rachael's obit reads: d Mon lung infection, husband Howard, soldier, now in the army.

And Rebecca Cordell, b 4-23-1833, d 9-19-1902, Jackson Co, Ind, bur: Freetown Cem East.

Possibly Eliza A.

Thomas and Catherine later moved to Jackson where Thomas bought 80 acres of government land, 1 1/2 miles east of Freetown, Ind. He worked for C.L.Dunhams, near Honeytown, and walked 5-6 miles each way to work.

Jackson County at this time was wilderness area. Fort Vallonia was not far away. Farmers took their rifles with them to work the land, for wild animals such as bear, and cougar were here, as well as the indians. Interesting that my other grandfather moved to this area around 1863-64. But feared to venture any farther into indian territory (later called the Indianapolis area), so they settled along Salt Creek.

Abraham Lincoln was president at the time. The Cival War had begun in 1861, along with the Battle of Bull Run, on July 21st of that year. The war took a toll on the lives of the people who lived then. Just as the great earthquake of 1811 changed the lives of the settlers and indians alike. The quake left aftershocks until 1812. Settlers knew nothing of quakes, and the land trembled. Many were re-babtized, and even more moved away. Life was rough, and men died for many reasons, but records were not kept. The first census was in 1790, and even then few could read and write well (if at all).Census takers mis-spelled names. Birth records were not required until 1883, and even then an entry simply said ....female child.

1 William Cordell, b 1830, d 1894, married Matilda Moore.

1860 census, Jackson Co, 004 William and Matilda Cordell/ Sarah E., Mary C., and George W.

2 Sarah Cordell, b 1833, d 1910, married Wilson Boston.

3 Lucinda Cordell, b 5 May 1836, d 16 Oct 1915, married Samuel Larswood Bush Moore. Son of Solomen Moore and Mary Truax.

4 Margaret Cordell, b app 1838.

5 George Washington Cordell, b 18 Oct 1839, d 4 Sept 1914, married 23 Dec 1863, to Rebecca Jane Hughs. Daughter of Mikle and Winfor Hughs. He had seven children.

6 Catherine Cordell, b 1841, d 1876, married John Scott.

7 Eliza Ellen Cordell, b 1 Jan 1847, d 30 Dec 1883, married Levi M.Cross, and had five children.

8 Mary Cordell, married William Golden, 10 April 1858, then Robert McMillian.

9 Thomas Tobias Cordell, was born app 1851, Ohio, the youngest child. He married Amanda Shipley, 11 Feb 1876, in Jackson Co. One son, John Thomas, b 7 Aug 1877, d 10 Feb 1951, and one daughter, Nora M. Cordell, b 14 Nov 1875, d 26 Jan 1958.

Later Tobias married Mary Canzada Shortridge, on 13 July 1881, Jackson Co. The daughter of Eli T. Shortridge, b 19 May 1839, d 14 Jan 1909and Hanna Elkins, b 1841, d Jan 1910. They had two sons, and one daughter: Charles Wesley, b 7 Nov 1875, Jackson Co, d 29 Jan 1951, Jefferson Co., Edgar, b 1887, d 12 July 1900, Hendricks Co., and Pearl May, b 6 March 1883, Freetown, Ind, d 1 Aug 1947, Bartholomew Co.


Tobias is buried at Norman, Ind., off Rt 58, at Liberty Church Cemetery, Jackson Co., in an unmarked grave. He died in 1889, at age 38. An older descendant of the family wrote that he could remember aunt Pearl, Charles, Tommy, and Nora, traveling by a horsedrawn wagon all morning to get to Norman to decorate their father's grave. *Note: It took me years to find Tobias, and prove where he was buried.

Charles W. Cordell, b 7 Nov 1882, d 29 Jan 1951, Jefferson Co., Ind., bur: Fairview Cem. He married 7 Nov 1908, Jackson Co., to Keturah M. Blevins. Daughter of John Wesley Blevins and Julie Hamdon. They had one daughter, Julia Dee, b 21 July 1912, d 22 Oct 1912. Keturah died 4 Jan 1951. He then married Pearl Boling, 5 Sept 1914, Jackson Co. They had five children.

Pearl May Cordell, was born 6 March 1883, Freetown, Ind., d 1 Aug 1947, Bartholomew Co. She married George Washington Moore, 13 May 1901, Brown Co., Ind. They had four children: Arnold Joshua, Raymond, Estelle Martha, and Nora Belle.

Pearl Cordell Moore and George W. are buried at Walesboro Cemetery, as is their son, Raymond.

Nora Belle, b 16 Feb 1902, d 9 April 1973, Marion Co., married Charles Heidenreich. One daugher born to them: Evelyn, who married Fred Kennedy.

Arnold J., b 26 March 1914, d 11 Aug 1975, married Edell Stater, and had six children.

Estelle (Stella), b 24 April 1916, d ? 1995, married Clinton Maze and had three children.

Raymond, b 20 Aug 1911, Brown Co., d 30 March 1947, Monroe Co., Ind., of phneumonia. He married 24 Feb 1943, Monroe Co., to Gladys Katheine Cox. Daughter of James Clayton Cox and Lola Lay Flynn. They had two children: Richard Lee (Buck), and Carolyn. After Raymond's death, Gladys married Clinton's brother, Chester Ray Maze.

In ending, I would like to say that many people have claimed that different people were the parents of Thomas P. Cordell. I found them all wrong. (I truly believe the dates on the old gravestone were changed) A possible lead would be the son of George Cordell, and Sally Jennings, married 5-15-1793 in the same county. But I can't find a connection to anyone. (Frederick Cordell married, same county, to Frances Lang, 3-9-1816, and may be Thomas' brother.)I believe his middle name was Payne. For the only obituary to be found in old records, says Thomas Payne Cordell passed away today.

*Note: Also a Thomas Cordell, married Elizabeth Evans, 3-20-1797.

I do know that Catherine and Thomas were very young when they married. They left the hog-back mountains of Tennessee, for Ohio. She looked back at her family, and never saw them again. Her brother went with them. Catherine was pregnant, and walked many miles, then took her brother's horse.

Catherine is on the 1820 census with Jacob Waters. I presume her brother. Her family was from Ireland. Census shows an Isaac Waters, with 3 sons, and 3 daughters. Also a William W.Waters, wife, and 2 sons, and 3 daughters/ H.L.P. Cordell and family.?

1820 census, Ohio Co, Va, shows Thomas Cordell, wife, 6 sons, 2 daughters. Martin Cordell, and wife. Samuel Cordell, wife, 1 son, 2 daughters. Eliza Cordell, wife, 2 sons, 1 daughter. Alexander Cordell, 3 sons, 2 daughters. (Also the Isaac and William Waters noted above)

Census 1860, Jackson Co

007 Thomas and Catherine/ Eliza Ellen, George, and Tobias.

035 Howard Cordell and Rachael (Cox)/ baby, Charles, Melissa, and Rachael.

090 Eliza A. Cordell/ Johnson, Thornton, and William. *Note below

004 William and Matilda Cordell/ Sarah E., Mary C., and George W.

* Johnson married Margaret (Grimes), on 1880 census, with William H, Eliza A, Evaline, John, Mary K, Kathleen, William Jasper, Thornton, and James K.