Select Jackson Miscellany

Here are some Jackson stories and accounts over the years:

Eske and the Jacksons

Eske is a hamlet in the East Riding of Yorkshire, about three miles northeast of Beverley.  It was the ancestral home of the Jackson family, starting with Richard Jackson in the first half of the 16th century.

From this family came Sir Richard Jackson, who saw service for James I, and Anthony Jackson, born in Eccleston near Chorley in Lancashire, who took the side of Cromwell during the Civil War and was rewarded with land in Ireland.  His descendants became Quakers.  Ephraim Jackson, born around 1658, set off for America (Delaware Co, Pennsylvania) in 1687.

Meanwhile, John Jackson had moved from Eccleston to London where he became a wealthy merchant.  His son John went to visit his uncles in Ireland and then crossed the Atlantic to New Jersey.

Ralph Jackson and His Diary

Ralph was one of nine children born to George and Hannah Jackson of Richmond in North Yorkshire.  In 1749, aged thirteen, he was sent north to start a seven year apprenticeship with a merchant in Newcastle.  He then returned to North Yorkshire where he subsequently inherited his uncle's property and business interests.  In the following years Ralph matured to become an integral part of Cleveland's community and to fulfil the various roles incumbent upon a member of the landed gentry.

Jackson was a contemporary and near neighbor of the explorer James Cook.  He never achieved anything comparable to Cook's discoveries.  But he has received some renown because of the meticulous diary which he kept throughout his life.  His hand-made journals, written in a neat copper-plate style, provide a unique insight into life in Cleveland in the 18th century.  The diary describes his personal interests, business dealings, and social contacts with people throughout the region.

John Jackson and Elizabeth Cummins

Most researchers agree that John Jackson was born in Ireland, near Coleraine in county Derry.  Some accounts claim that he was born in 1715, others as late as 1719.  All agree, however, that his mother died when he was very young and that he later moved, with his father and two brothers, to London.  At the age of 10, we are told, John was fortunate to be apprenticed into the builder's trade.  In 1748 he contracted to build a house for as landowner in Maryland and sailed for America.

The tales surrounding Elizabeth's immigration are somewhat more complex.  Most family histories state that Elizabeth was born in London in 1723.  Her own account, as recounted by her grandson, was that she was born in 1729.  This latter date would seem the more likely in that her last child was born in 1774.  It would mean, however, that she did not live past the age of 100.

According to early biographers, Elizabeth's father owned land in Ireland and was the proprietor of a public house in London known as The Bold Dragoon.  Soma accounts say that her father died and Elizabeth's mother married her own brother-in-law.   Others state that Elizabeth's mother died and her father later married a woman that Elizabeth despised.  Whichever the case, Elizabeth is then said to have lost her temper, thrown a silver tankard at her step-parent, and fled to America. 

John and Elizabeth are buried in the Jackson cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.  John is described there as an "Indian fighter and Revolutionary soldier."  He lived to be 85.  Elizabeth has a marker indicating that she lived to be 105.  But this is unlikely to be the case.

The Jackson Sugar Plantation in Texas

Abner Jackson came from Virginia in 1840 with his wife, children, and slaves to start a plantation in Brazona County, Texas.  First called the Lake Place, it later came to be known as the Lake Jackson plantation.

By all accounts, the plantation was an elegant complex, with a columned colonial-style main house, brick outhouses, ornamental gardens, and a state-of-the-art sugar mill.  The following was a description made by a descendant, Abner Jackson Strobel, in 1926.

"The residence was a two storey house in the shape of an "I," with six galleries and immense brick pillars the length of the galleries.  Its cost, exclusive of slave labor, was some $25,000.  The sugar house was made of brick and the best of machinery for the making of sugar was obtained.  There was an artificial island in the lake said to have cost $10,000.  Fine orchards and gardens were on the plantations."

By 1850, the Lake Jackson plantation had grown to 3,744 acres.  Prosperity and abundance ruled for a brief period.  In 1860 census takers listed Abner Jackson as owning 285 slaves, making him the second largest slaveowner in the state. 

But death and the Civil War brought an end to the Jackson family fortunes.  Abner's two sons fought over their inheritance.  In 1867 George killed his brother John during a confrontation at the plantation. 

The Experience of A Slave in South Carolina

John Andrew Jackson was born a slave on a plantation in Sumter County, South Carolina.  His mother was named Betty, and his father was known as 'Dr. Claven' for his practice of folk medicine in the slave community.  Jackson, a field hand, was owned by a Quaker family and was harshly treated.  When he was separated by sale from his wife and child in 1846, he fled slavery.

Jackson worked briefly as a Charleston dockhand and then stowed away on a vessel bound for Boston.  He settled in Salem, Massachusetts and worked as leather tanner and part-time sawmill operative.  But passage of the Fugitive Slave Law awoke his fear of being returned to slavery, and, assisted by Harriet Beecher Stowe, he left Salem for Canada.

Jackson settled in St. Johns, New Brunswick, married a former slave from North Carolina, and worked as a whitewasher. In the spring of 1856, still seeking to purchase family members in slavery and hoping to add to the funds he had already saved for that purpose, Jackson returned to Boston to obtain personal references from Stowe and a number of Boston businessmen.

In the spring of 1857, he journeyed to Britain with his wife to solicit contributions.  He lectured in Scotland and England with the assistance of several antislavery leaders.  Jackson and his wife established a residence in London and remained abroad until after the Civil War, but eventually returned to live in South Carolina.  In 1893, describing himself as "old and feeble," Jackson raised money for an orphan home and school for destitute children in Magnolia, Sumter County.

Jackson's book The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina is a powerful testimonial of the sufferings and toils of black people in the 19th century America.

The Jacksons in Oregon

Moving into the Oregon country as western representatives of the Jackson family of western Virginia, three sons and one daughter of Henry Jackson exhibited traditional propensities for land acquisition, milling, and public involvement with a tendency towards litigation.

The compelling hunger for land that led John Jackson and his sons across the Virginia mountains in 1768 was continued through the pioneer period in the Pacific Northwest.   The overland trail across the Great Plains had been proven by their fur trading cousin, Davy Jackson, in 1830.  But it was another eleven years before the first immigrants to Oregon took the trail.  In 1843, John B. Jackson edged towards the jumping off place on what was called "the coast of Missouri." 

The Jacksons came to exploit the Donation Land Law in Oregon with four claims and then went on to acquire the whole or part of ten additional locations.  Considered later to be the largest landowner in Washington County, Ulysses Jackson held title to 2,680 acres.

A granddaughter and her husband continued the public lands tradition as late as 1910 when they filed for land in Montana under the Homestead Act.  By then available free land in the West was getting scarce and a great bonanza was coming to an end.  During a little less than a hundred and fifty years, federal policies had drawn the Jacksons across the continent.  Their history was representative of the national westward movement.

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