The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Jordan, Levi (ca. 1794–1873)

Diana J. Kleiner Biography Entry

Levi Jordan, planter, was born in Georgia in 1792 or 1794 and moved to Brazoria County, Texas, with his wife, Sarah (Stone) Jordan, in 1848. Previously, he had owned adjoining plantations on the Louisiana-Arkansas border with his son-in-law, James Campbell McNeill, who married the Jordans' only daughter, Emily. Both families traveled to Texas in wagons with their slaves walking alongside. After killing a mountain lion at his first campsite, Jordan established a sugar and cotton plantation near the Four Forks area on the San Bernard River, west of the Fannin-Mims Plantation and not far from Brazoria. There he built a brick sugar-house, brick slave cabins, and what some historians consider the first sugar mill in Texas, with six-foot rollers. Between 1852 and 1858 Jordan made two sugar crops, and by 1860, according to the census, he had real property valued at $69,200, personal property valued at $130,740, and 134 slaves. In that year the plantation comprised 600 improved acres and produced 3,000 bushels of corn, 77 bales of cotton, and 193 hogsheads of sugar. In 1854 Jordan constructed a plantation house from yellow long-leaf pine lumber carried by ship from Florida, transferred to barges, and towed up the San Bernard River. Slaves hand-hewed the sills and studs of the house from local oaks and made bricks for the fireplaces. Part of the original house remains, owned by Jordan's descendents. Jordan also purchased one of two sugar plantations belonging to the Rowe family, west of Hinkle's Ferry on the San Bernard River, and left it to J. C. and C. P. McNeill, his grandsons. Jordan died on February 3, 1873, aboard the steamer George W. Thomas at Christmas Point.

Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Galveston Daily News, February 6, 1873. Abner J. Strobel, The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County (Houston, 1926; rev. ed., Houston: Bowman and Ross, 1930; rpt., Austin: Shelby, 1980). Ralph A. Wooster, "Wealthy Texans, 1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 71 (October 1967).


  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Jordan, Levi,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 31, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995