Ellen Jordan, one of twelve children, was born on 25 October 1922 in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and grew up in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina. She attended school through seventh grade and then took some GED classes. She held a number of mill jobs before World War II, and married and divorced Garland Talbot.
In spring 1944, Jordan entered a recruiting office and signed up for the Women’s Army Corps [WAC]. She completed basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, in June 1944, and then was stationed in the upper respiratory therapy ward at Camp Wolters, Texas. She was discharged when Camp Wolters closed near the end of 1945.
Jordan worked for a short time for a doctor in San Angelo, Texas. She returned to Greensboro and worked at Southern Bell Telephone, Western Electric, and Wesley Long Hospital. After retiring, Jordan taught creative crafts at Greensboro Technical Community College.