RICHARD C. JORDAN (1840 – 1924)
Mr. R. C. Jordan succeeded to the hardware business established by his father-in-law, the late John Manley, in 1840. Mr. Manley was one of the most widely known merchants in this section of the country in the earlier days. The fine building, now occupied by Mr. Jordan, three stories in height and extending through from Main to Mill street, is one of the notable buildings in the county. It has also an extensive annex. It is literally built upon a rock, to accomplish which the heavy walls are in some portions built from a point 17 feet below the basement floor. It was built for holding iron and is probably the strongest building in the city or the county. In the forties and fifties Manley’s iron store was familiar for a half a hundred miles around Ottawa, and its owner’s cheerful greeting and smile familiar to thousands of Pioneer farmers.
The present occupant, Richard Cook Jordan, was, in the life of John Manley, closely associated with him, and is now one of the leading and enterprising citizens of Ottawa. Mr. Jordan was born in Hudson, N.Y., where his father, Allen Jordan, practiced law many years and was a prominent citizen, at one time mayor of the city. When quite young Richard Jordan attended school at Brooklyn, New York, and received his first business training under his uncle, John C. Cook, of the firm of Bruce & Cook, importers of metals, New York City. His parents removed from New York state to the beautiful county of Kendall, in Illinois. Richard joined them and worked on the farm during the summer. In the winter he taught school, beginning at the age of sixteen years. He came to Ottawa in 1861 to accept a position as clerk under John Manley in the hardware store. In this business he has since been engaged, except while in the Infantry in the war of rebellion, in which he did good service, as sergeant of Co. K 138 Illinois Infantry, and eight years when he was cashier of the National City Bank of Ottawa. From 1879 to the death of Mr. Manley in 1889 Mr. Jordan was a member of the firm of Manley & Jordan. After Mr. Manley’s death he carried on the business for one year alone, when C.R. Hamilton entered the concern, which was conducted under the firm name of Jordan & Hamilton.
Mr. Hamilton retired in January 1899, since which time Mr. Jordan has been sole proprietor. Mr. Jordan was very prominent in the recent advance movement of Ottawa, and at the great public meetings held at the Armory his eloquence, wit and earnestness won for him the highest laurels as a talker and the friendship of all the people for his earnestness and self sacrifice for Ottawa’s good. He was also president of the Ottawa Street Fair Association for two years. In politics Mr Jordan is an advocate of the single gold standard and tariff for revenue only. He has always shunned and never sought public office but has held. however, may unsolicited offices of trust. He was thrice a delegate to the Indianapolis gold convention; is past commander of Seth C. Earl Post, No. 156, G.A.R.; was president of the LaSalle County Old Settlers’ Association; several times a delegate to the Illinois Water Way Convention; is now a member of the Board of Education of Ottawa and a prominent member of the Ottawa Development Association.
Source: Nattinger’s Souvenir of Ottawa Illinois Nineteen Hundred, Complete Review, Pg. 31