Most of my posts here on Jordan’s Journey have centered around the Armuchee Valley area of Walker and Chattooga Counties. This is because three out of four of my grandparents are deeply rooted there (it’s also where I grew up). My other grandfather–Earl Jordan–is rooted in Whitfield County and has a slightly different history. I have not touched as much on these lines because I don’t know as much about them–and the interesting connections don’t come up as often since those lines are more segregated from the other three major branches of my tree.

But there are still some exciting connections to explore. So, I’m going to look at one of those today.

If I follow the Jordan line back a few generations, James William Jordan married Mary Jane Evans (my 2nd great grandparents). Mary Jane’s mother was Charity Hackney, my 3rd great-grandmother and daughter of Joseph P. Hackney and Mary “Polly” Phillips (my 4th great-grandparents). Mary “Polly” was the daughter of William Phillips and Piety (maiden surname unknown).

Now, we’ve moved beyond Whitfield County into Wilkes County. This is where William Phillips died in about 1795. He was only 24 at the time. His and Piety’s daughter Mary “Polly” would have been just a baby at the time of his death. Piety and John Ogletree–apparently a family friend and possibly neighbor–were named as the administrators of the William Phillips estate. Sometime after her husband’s death, Piety even married John Ogletree, making John step-father to Mary “Polly”. Given that Polly was just a baby then, she would have had no memory of her biological father (Davidson; Kiser).

Piety was not John Ogletree’s first wife (he seems to have had at least two earlier marriages), so he had other children who would be step-siblings to my 4th great-grandmother Polly.

Piety was John Ogletree’s wife at the time of his death, though. She is named in John’s will and is left one-third of his plantation, as well as an enslaved person named Peter. James Hackney, husband of John’s daughter Patsy Ogletree, is also left a third of his plantation (and an enslaved person named Nance). The remaining third (and an enslaved person named Joe) is left to his son Edmond (and wife Patsy) (Davidson).

Did you notice the Hackney name there again? Yep, this is another case of brothers from one family marrying (step) sisters from another.

But this brothers/sisters connection isn’t even all I have to share here. I’ve found another fascinating connection.

When I first noticed the Ogletree name in my tree, I immediately became interested… as I have an old friend with the same surname. Terry is not even a friend from my days in Georgia. I met Terry over a decade ago while living in New York due to our shared interest in the art of Yoko Ono. I knew he had roots down south, though, so I immediately became curious about the Ogletree in my tree. I asked him about it, and he shared his primary ancestry line. Sure enough, John Ogletree is his 5th great-grandfather. He descends not through Piety but one of John’s earlier wives, Frances.

Let me review my and Terry’s relationship with Mr. John Ogletree:

Polly married Joseph Hackney, and they are my 4th great-grandparents. This makes Piety and William Phillips my 5th great-grandparents. As the second husband of Piety (and step-father of Polly, my 4th great-grandmother), John Ogletree is my step 5th great-grandfather. Likewise, from Terry’s perspective, John Ogletree is his 5th great-grandfather, and Piety, John’s later wife, is his step 5th great-grandmother. So, I suppose that makes Terry and I step-cousins!

I hope this confusing web is made clearer by the graphic at the top of the page (be sure to click to view the whole thing).

At the old Homor Diner on 10th Street in Greenwich Village, NYC

Above is a photo of Terry and me taken at the old Homer Diner on 10th Street in Greenwich Village. Just around the corner from my apartment, I always loved this place, and Terry and I would often hang out there. Who knew that, even then, I was already on the path to Jordan’s Journey?

I said it in the very beginning… everyone is connected! It’s a philosophical idea that I never had any doubt about. The ability of genealogy to illustrate it as fact over and over is astounding. We’re all connected. We’re all one. This is the single most valuable lesson I take from genealogy. Oneness is an essential truth about who we are as humans, about where we come from. And it’s also necessary as we look forward to remember that, no matter the differences between ourselves and others, at the core–at the root–we’re all the same.


Davidson, Grace Gillam, comp. The Early Records of Georgia, Volume II, Wilkes County. Original published in 1933 in Macon, GA. Digital version published at Wilkes County, Georgia Genealogy by Keith Giddeon, 2005. Web. Accessed 13 Sep 2012 at

Kiser, Nancy J., comp. “Phillips in Wilkes Co GA.” Early North Carolina Phillips Families. Web. Accessed 20 Sep 2012.

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