Jordan J. Heck Sr. (abt 1808 - August 19, 1868) served as regimental blacksmith sergeant for the 13th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry.
Jordan Heck was born about 1808 in Somerset, Pennsylvania to Peter and Barbara May (Shockey) Heck. He first married Sarah "Sally" Harrison (1822-1864), with whom he had at least two children. He married Louisa Jane Snider (b. 1830), while he was still married to Sarah, with whom he had at least nine children. His last marriage was to Elizabeth "Betty" Neatherly/Snider (b. 1820) [she inexplicably used two surnames interchangeably], with whom he had two children, one of whom was Jordan Heck Jr, who served as a private in Company E. Heck found himself in a lot of legal trouble because of his illegal concurrent marriages.
Civil War service
Heck enlisted as a private in Company E on September 21, 1863 in Greeneville, Tennessee for a period of three years and mustered in on October 28, 1863 at Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. He was appointed regimental blacksmith sergeant September 24, 1863 by order of Colonel Miller.
At enlistment Heck is described as 43 years old, 5' 7 1/2" tall, dark complexion, black eyes, black hair, and by occupation a blacksmith.
He is listed as present for duty throughout his term of service
Heck mustered out with the regiment on September 5, 1865 at Knoxville. He had last been paid to June 30, 1864. He owed $2.09 to the government for his clothing, had been paid a $25 bounty, and was owed a bounty of $75.
In 1860, Heck accused Johnson County Sheriff Samuel E. McQueen of false imprisonment, for "maliciously confining him to the county jail for 150 days." Heck had already been indicted for bigamy. McQueen attempted to take him into custody during an altercation over a mysterious accusation, when Heck--described in the case as a "mean man"--then "struct a violent lick" against McQueen.
Heck was shot and killed on August 19, 1868 on McQueen's farm in Johnson County, Tennessee and is buried at J. J. Heck Cemetery in Neva, Tennessee. Family tradition states that he was shot by U.S. soldiers in daylight, who mistook him for an outlaw. His wife Louisa applied for a widow's pension on March 23, 1886. She died and their daughter Sarah applied for his pension on October 19, 1882.
- 1850 U.S. Census, Civil District No. 4, Johnson County, Tennessee.
- Heck may have enlisted in the Confederate service to obtain a large bounty as a substitute. According to his widow's pension application (WC.139.631), he was paid $2,500 to be a substitute in Confederate Army for a man from Knoxville. He was appointed blacksmith and deserted a few days later. What regiment this was, if the story is true, has not been identified.
- The 1850 U.S. Census gives his date of birth as 1817 and the 1860 Census gives it as 1807. He was undoubtedly a lot older than the age of 43 he gave at enlistment.
- See: Tennessee Supreme Court Cases, Samuel E. McQueen v. Jordan J. Heck.
- This is the only grave in the cemetery. In 2015, his resting place is described as "One grave cemetery located near the Shull Farm, on a high hill." See J J Heck Cemetery.
- What Heck was doing--or going to do--on McQueen's property is a source of great speculation.
- Sarah's application was denied and subsequently denied for many years because she was already over the age of 16 when the first application was made as a minor dependent.