George Ord – Ship Chandler
Philadelphia was a major seaport. Many of the families that lived in Philadelphia and the surrounding area made their livings from the water.
One such family was that of George Ord, Sr. Ord was born in England in May, 1741 and settled in Southwark, Philadelphia County. He married Rebecca Lindmeyer on January 17, 1767. They lived on the west side of Front Street north of Catherine St. Ord was a rope maker and ship-chandler. Prior to settling in Philadelphia he was a ship captain. In April, 1785 he was chosen as a Warden of the Port of Philadelphia.
The ship chandlery was a retail and wholesale source of supplies for both individual seamen and vessels. The chandler knew the needs of his local economy and was a specialist in meeting those needs, be they whaling, shipping, fishing or ship building. Contracting for provisions at the chandlery was the responsibility of the ship’s agent, a man authorized by vessel owners to manage supplies and equipment, as well as repairs, freight, towage and the hiring of officers and crew. A chandler himself might serve as an agent for ships. His skill at being an information broker paid off in purchases at his shop.
Ord is buried next to the Church, near the rectory. His tombstone read “Beneath This Stone are deposited the remains of Captain George Ord. He was born in The Kingdom of Great Britain May 26, 1741 and died in Philadelphia October 13, 1806. Age 65. In his will he requested that his wife and son George carry on his business for eight years. Ord’s wife, Rebecca died June 13, 1823 at the age of 81. Ord’s tombstone is fairly easy to spot as the top of the grave resembles the upside down hull of a ship.
The Ords had four children including George, Jr., Ann Pinkerton, Maria McMullen, and Henrietta Ord. George, Jr. became an ornithologist and worked closely with Alexander Wilson. We’ll have more on George, Jr. in another issue.
(Riverside, September 2008)