Jordan’s journey from Crenshaw County to the Camellia City

Published 1:36 pm Monday, May 10, 2010

She grew up on a farm in Crenshaw County and learned to bake her first biscuits at age 12. “My grandmother used to keep us during the summer while my parents worked, and she is the one who taught me to cook,” says Frances Byrd Jordan, long-time resident of Greenville. “I used to do all the cooking for the field hands.”

Jordan was the oldest child and only girl in a close-knit family of five. Her dad sharecropped and her mother worked at Reigel-Boss in Greenville.

She recalls her youth with fondness, when kids “still had fun at home instead running up and down the roads.”

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“Neighbors’ kids would walk to each other’s houses. I remember having a big bonfire and toasting marshmallows and having a really good time,” Jordan says.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of money, but we raised our own vegetables, and had hog butcherings, so we had plenty to eat. We didn’t know we were poor; everyone else was pretty much in the same boat.”

Jordan and her first husband moved to Greenville where they raised four children: Tommy, who died in an auto accident in 1981; Barbara, currently an HR manager for the Ford Motor Company Division in Rockledge, Fla., and Greenville residents Cindy, who works for local chiropractor Dr. John Stephens, and Lisa, who is employed in Dr. Robert Martin’s dental practice.

“They were all good kids and still are, and I am so proud of every one of them,” she says.

She started her work career at Fortex in Fort Deposit in 1967 and when that plant shut down, went to work at Vanity Fair in Luverne. As more and more sewing factories across the southeast were shuttered, Jordan spent a year studying computers and landed a job with Colonial Mortgage (later Union Planters) in Montgomery.

After retiring in 2003, Jordan spent time traveling with her second husband Wesley, until his poor health ended their journeys.

Nowadays she enjoys being part of the Senior Nutrition Center. “People are always so nice, I look forward to coming,” Jordan says.

Going to gospel singings is a favorite pastime – not surprising for a woman who has served as East Greenville Baptist Church’s choir director since 1972.

“All my children got saved there. It’s just been a part of my life for so long I can’t imagine going anywhere else,” she laughs.

And while she enjoys visiting Barbara in Florida, land of “the best yard sales,” she is content to remain in the Camellia City.

“There is just something about Greenville that I love. I don’t really want to live anywhere else,” she says with a smile.