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Profiles from the Archives: Luther J. Jordan

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

Luther Jackson Jordan was born on November 28, 1894, in the town of Elm City in Wilson County, N.C., to John Randle and Fannie Lillian Viverette Jorden. By 1910, Luther’s father worked as a farmer in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where the Jordans raised their large family. At the time of his draft registration for World War I, Luther Jordan was living in Elm City, N.C., where he worked as a farmer, justice of the peace, and a substitute mail carrier.

Luther Jordan was inducted into military service for World War I in Nashville, N.C., on September 5, 1917. He was sent to Camp Jackson, S.C., for basic training, where he was assigned to Company A, 306th Engineers, 81st Division (“Wildcat Division”), U.S. Army. Jordan reached the following ranks during his military service: private first class on October 10, 1917; corporal on November 7, 1917; and sergeant on January 31, 1918. Jordan served overseas in Europe from July 31, 1918, to July 18, 1919, and was honorably discharged on July 23, 1919.

After the war, Luther Jordan married Lula Elizabeth Kennedy on September 7, 1922, in Gaston County, N.C. Jordan attended North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (present-day North Carolina State University), and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1922. By 1923, the Jordans had come to live in Winston-Salem, N.C., where Luther was working as an assistant engineer with the engineering firm L. V. Edwards. He would go on to work as superintendent of water and sewer facilities in Bessemer City, N.C.

By 1928, Jordan was working as an engineer with Tucker & Laxton Inc. of Charlotte, N.C. In 1929, he acted as resident engineer during the construction of the Charlotte City Airport in Charlotte. By 1931, Jordan was working as a civil engineer for the government in Charlotte. In 1934. Luther Jordan began employment with the U.S. Coast Guard as a technical assistant, working on North Carolina Coast Guard facilities. He worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Public Works Administration at different times in the 1930s during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.

By 1940, Luther Jordan was working as a civil engineer in Wilmington, N.C. He would become an associate engineer with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, designing the sea plane ramp at Manteo, N.C. Jordan continued in his profession until his retirement in 1959. Luther J. Jordan died on December 13, 1991, in Raleigh, N.C., and was buried in Pineview Cemetery in Rocky Mount, N.C.

To learn more about Luther Jordan’s WWI service, check out the Luther J. Jordan Papers (WWI 46) in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C. You can also learn more about Jordan's post-war engineering work through the Luther J. Jordan Photograph Collection (PHC.17) 

This blog post is part of the State Archives of North Carolina’s World War I Social Media Project, an effort to bring original WWI archival materials to the public through the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ (NCDNCR) various social media platforms, in order to increase access to the items during the WWI centennial celebration by the state of North Carolina.

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the State Archives of North Carolina will be posting blog articles, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, featuring WWI archival materials which are posted on the exact 100th anniversary of their creation during the war. Blog posts will feature interpretations of the content of WWI documents, photographs, diary entries, posters, and other records, including scans of the original archival materials, held by the State Archives of North Carolina, and will be featured in NCDNCR’s WWI centennial blog.