18 January 2012

Ilah Dunlap Jordan Little: Her Travels, Death & Legacy

After her marriage to John D. Little, there was no change in Ilah's lifestyle. She was wealthy in her own right, and combining with a successful husband was all the better. In 1920, John and Ilah were living in their home at 760 Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA. Among the servants in their employ was a chauffeur, a laundress, and a maid.

1922 Passport Photo
Ilah also continued to travel, often to Europe. Passport applications are plentiful for the 1920s and 30s. For example, in August 1916 she accompanied her husband for a 3 month visit to France. And in 1922, Ilah D. Little intended to visit France and Switzerland for 8 months simply for pleasure.

Though her second husband died in 1934, Ilah continued her travels through Europe. In fact, her death occurred abroad. Ilah Dunlap Jordan Little died 26 July 1939 at Hotel Bristol in Carlsbad, Sudetenland. Her remains were cremated a few days later and shipped to the United States, where they were put to rest in the Dunlap Mausoleum at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Ancestry.com. Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad,
1835-1974
 [database & images online]. Provo, UT, USA:
Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.  Original data from National Archives.


Ilah did not have any children from either marriage, so what happened to all the money?

Ilah Dunlap Little Memorial
Library, from University of Georgia Libraries
"The Ilah Dunlap Little memorial Library...opened in 1953. It honors the memories of Mrs. Little, her husband John D. Little, her father Samuel Scott Dunlap, her brother Samuel Scott Dunlap, Jr. and her first husband Leonidas A. Jordan. Mr. and Mrs. Little left their entire estate to the University of Georgia Libraries for the creation of a new library building." (Account Book for the Estate of Ilah Dunlap Little) Read more at the This Day in Athens blog.

17 January 2012

Wealthy Southern Widow Will Wed

Philadelphia Enquirer (Pennsylvania)
22 May 1906
After finding out Mrs. Ilah Dunlap Jordan's engagement to Senor Don Luis F. Corea, the Nicaraguan minister to the United States, was broken, I wondered if the still young woman would ever marry again. It did not take much digging to find a newspaper to provide me an answer.

Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia)
22 May 1906
RUMOR THAT J. D. LITTLE WILL WED MRS. JORDAN
...The Atlanta Georgian [italics mine] of yesterday published the following:

"Rumor of almost incontrovertible strength has it that Hon. John D. Little, of Atlanta, and Mrs. Ilah Dunlap Jordan, of Macon, will be married in Macon, June 16.

...Mr. Little has for years been considered the handsomest man in the state, while Mrs. Jordan's beauty is of trans-Atlantic renown..."
Men of Mark in Georgia, pub. 1912
Compiling information from a couple of additional articles, I found these tidbits about Mr. John D. Little:

- "...John D. Little, former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives...Mrs. Jordan's new fiance is one of the foremost lawyers in Atlanta. He is thirty-six years old, and his father was Chief Justice of the highest court in that State." ("Wealthy Southern Widow Will Wed," Philadelphia Enquirer (Pennsylvania), 22 May 1906)

- "Mr. Little...is a native of Columbus, Ga, though for several years a resident of Atlanta." ("Social Functions," Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 22 May 1906)

- "Mr. Little, son of Judge William A. Little, formerly justice of the state supreme court, was graduated with honors from the University of Georgia in 1890..." ("Rumor That J. D. Little Will Wed Mrs. Jordan," Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia), 22 May 1906)

I hope you'll keep following for the last life stories and legacy of Mrs. Ilah Dunlap Jordan Little.

13 January 2012

Heroine of an International Romance Which Dwindled in Mystery

When we last left the life of Ilah Dunlap (whose final resting place is the Dunlap Mausoleum), she had just inherited the entire estate of her late husband, Col. Leonidas A. Jordan. She also received one fifth of her father's estate upon his death in 1902.

As you might imagine, young Ilah seemed to crave more glitz, glamour, and societal functions than what was available in the little city of Macon, Georgia. As a result, she sometimes sojourned to Washington, D.C. and hobnobbed among the in-crowd there. And there is where she met Senor Don Luis F. Corea, the Nicaraguan minister to the United States.  The couple became engaged to be married in 1904.

After the announcement, all heck broke loose with the receipt of some letters that attempted to discredit Senor Corea.  Here is a sample of headlines that plastered the front pages of newspapers across the United States:

"SAY COREA IS PARTLY NEGRO"

"Nicaraguan Minister Alleged to Have a Strain of Dark Blood in Veins."

"Sensational Disclosure May Stop Marriage With Rich Southern Widow."

Though it was stated by the Dunlap family over and over that they did not believe the rumors ("which questioned Minister Corea's moral and business standing, his social position and his being white") that were circulated by form of anonymous letters, the wedding was initially postponed. Some reports state the rumors were investigated and disproved to the satisfaction of Ilah, and that she intended to go ahead with the wedding, but that it was Minister Corea that wished to fully and publicly clear his name prior to the nuptials. Either way, by the spring of 1905, the engagement was officially broken and the wedding off. The true reason why is a mystery. "Jilted By Pretty Rich Widow" was the new headline.

Here is the explanation in print via the 28 April 1905 Kansas City Star (Missouri): "Mrs. Jordan's family has made no statement, hoping the matter would die out. It is said that the sensational stories published regarding Senor Corea's race, while believed to be utterly untrue, caused a notoriety painful to Mrs. Jordan and her family." The 6 May 1905 Denver Post (Colorado) put it this way: "Mrs. Jordan refused to credit these rumors, but it is said the notoriety caused her so much annoyance that she decided it would be wise to call off the engagement."

So does Ilah Dunlap Jordan, one of the most beautiful women in the South, ever find love again? Stay tuned!

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.

06 January 2012

Captain Samuel Scott Dunlap & the Dunlap Mausoleum

You can see it even before entering the arched gateway to Rose Hill cemetery. Immediately inside and to your left is the large DUNLAP mausoleum.


The Middle Georgia Historical Society's Rose Hill Rambles describes the Dunlap mausoleum as "one of the handsomest in the cemetery." It continues:
Funeral Mound at
Ocmulgee National Monument
Samuel Scott Dunlap owned property across the river known as Dunlap's Hill, now part of the Ocmulgee National Monument. He moved to Macon and founded the Dunlap Hardware Company and amassed what was a fortune in those days. He had five daughters and one son. All the daughters married well...The mausoleum has twenty crypts and Mr. and Mrs. Dunlap, their five daughters, one son and four of the daughters' husbands and two children are buried here.
It's also interesting to note, according to the same source as above, that Mr. S. S. Dunlap was originally buried just down the street in Riverside cemetery, per his wishes. However, "his daughters traveled a great deal in Europe and evidently decided the spot was not good enough."

From Ancestry's Georgia Memoirs [originally printed in The Southern Historical Association's Memoirs of Georgia, 1895]:
SAMUEL S. DUNLAP is a leading spirit in the industrial life of Macon, Ga., to which city he came, a penniless youth, forty-six years ago. With but an ordinary education, he began his career, in November, 1849, as a clerk in a retail grocery, at $96 per year, and board. For three years he remained in the same position, and even with that insignificant salary was able to save enough to start a very small business of his own. Success attended him from the very start; his business increased, and the war found him on the highway to wealth. Heeding his country's call, Mr. Dunlap joined a cavalry company and served six months as first lieutenant. He then resigned and returned home, where he organized and led to the field, as captain, the Bibb cavalry. The company he uniformed and equipped at his own expense, selling a lot of cotton for the purpose...He returned from the war, sick and wounded in body, but not daunted in spirit. Like many others, he found himself without means....In 1867 Mr. Dunlap concluded to again try a mercantile life, and this time selected the hardware business. Again fortune smiled on him, and he continued to increase his humble beginning, until he is now at the head of one of the largest establishments of the kind in the south, the Dunlap Hardware company being favorably known all over the state.

Mr. Dunlap has always been a man of great enterprise, and instead of allowing his means to accumulate and remain idle, he invested in various industrial and banking institutions. He is president and a leading stockholder in the Macon Agricultural works, president of the Macon Fire Insurance company, a director in each of the three leading financial institutions of Macon, the Exchange Union Savings and Central bank, and a large stockholder in the Southwestern railroad. He also cultivates a magnificently improved plantation of 400 acres, lying within two miles of the city...A word concerning his family: Samuel S. Dunlap was born in Jasper county, Ga., July 31, 1830. He was the son of David and Hetty (Wingate) Dunlap...He [David] reared six sons to maturity; five of them did their duty bravely in the army, and two of them are now living, Rev. William C. Dunlap, of Covington, a Methodist preacher of note, being the other. In 1855, May 15, Mr. Dunlap celebrated his nuptials with Mary A., daughter of J. L. Birgh, of Bibb county, to whom were born seven children. Six of these are now living, as follows: Nettie, Mrs. H. M. Wortham, Macon; Florence, Mrs. Ashton Stark, Richmond, Va.; Clara, Mrs. Claude Badgely, Albany, N.Y.; Lillia, Mrs. Lewis A. Stevens, Atlanta, Ga.; Ilah, Mrs. Col. Lee A. Jordan, Macon; Samuel S., Jr., at home. In 1873 Mr. Dunlap erected one of the most beautiful homes in the city of Macon, where he lives, surrounded by family and friends, enjoying the means his industry has brought him.
Captain S. S. Dunlap died 8 March 1902.
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