12 January 2012

Ilah Dunlap: the Queenliest of Macon's Young Women

In the last post, I introduced Samuel Scott Dunlap and the Dunlap Mausoleum. This enormous architectural beauty is just inside the arched gateway to the Central Avenue division of Rose Hill cemetery. All five of Samuel's daughters are buried within, and that includes Miss Ilah.  She was born 9 February 1873 in Georgia to Samuel and Mary Ann (nee Burge).

I don't know too much about Ilah's childhood. Being a daughter of a wealthy man, I'm sure she was a desired and welcome guest at all civic functions and the greatest parties. The society columns in the local papers definitely bear that out.

I was somewhat surprised as to who Ilah married -- Colonel Leonidas A. Jordan, a man approximately 55 years her senior. Apparently, no one else thought twice about it. Of course, this is the South. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot of whispering, and I have to wonder if Ilah really wanted the marriage. One thing is for sure, she had to know it would be profitable.

The Consitution (Atlanta, GA)
Thursday, 26 April 1894
The Marriage of Miss Ilah Dunlap to Colonel Lee A. Jordan at Macon...
Macon, Ga, April 25 -- (Special) -- The marriage that Macon society has been lo[o]king forward to some time, occurred today at high noon, when Colonel L. A. Jordan and Miss Ilah Dunlap were united in matrimony. The wedding took place at the residence of the bride's parents, Captain and Mrs. S. S. Dunlap, on High street, in the presence of only relatives and a few intimate friends.

...Colonel Jordan is one of Macon's most popular and highly esteemed citizens. He is a cultivated gentleman of great wealth, and is known throughout the state as one of the largest planters and real estate owners in Georgia. The bride, as Miss Ilah Dunlap, has reigned a social queen of great beauty and grace, and has been admired as one of the south's loveliest and most accomplished belles...
Ilah Dunlap Jordan about the year 1900.
The marriage lasted less than 5 years, for Col. Lee Jordan died 22 January 1899 at their home on College Street in Macon. He left his entire estate to Ilah. A few years later, upon the death of her father, Ilah received another inheritance of a fifth of his fortune. And a wealthy southern widow she became.

Ilah can be found heading her household on College Street in the 1900 census. She has a maid, a coachman, a cook, and a butler. Her occupation? Capitalist.

There is much more to Ilah's story. Next, I'll tell you about her engagement to Luis Corea, the Nicaraguan minister to the United States.

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