In government, politics, business, industry, and military affairs, few West Virginia families have produced more persons of distinction than the Jacksons. The family was descended from John (1716–1801) and Elizabeth Cummins Jackson (1720–1825), of Scotch-Irish stock. John was described as a ‘‘diminutive man’’ and his wife as ‘‘a stately blonde,’’ who was well educated and the person from whom ‘‘the Jacksons got all their brains.’’ In the early 1760s, the couple settled in the Tygart Valley, where John became a farmer and land speculator. Three thousand acres, including the site of Buckhannon, were patented to Elizabeth.
Of their 10 children, George and Edward were the most prominent. Their sons and grandsons became important political and business leaders. George (1757–1831) was a three-term congressman. Edward (1759–1828), the grandfather of Confederate Gen. Thomas ‘‘Stonewall’’ Jackson, founded Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County. During the 1820s, his son, David E. Jackson (1788–1837), after whom Wyoming’s Jackson River and Jackson Hole were named, was a prominent explorer and fur trader in the West. In 1827, Jackson, William Sublette, and Jedediah Smith became partners in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and engaged in a profitable fur trade along the upper Missouri River.
The Jackson family produced an unusual number of state legislators and congressmen. They included George Jackson, John George Jackson (1777–1825), Edward Brake Jackson (1793–1826), William Lowther Jackson (1825–90), John J. Jackson Sr. (1800–77), James Monroe Jackson (1825–1901), all of West Virginia; and William Thomas Bland (1861–1928) of Missouri, a grandson of John George Jackson. Jacob Beeson Jackson served as governor of West Virginia from 1881 to 1885. The family also produced a long line of prominent judges, local, state, and national, from the late 18th century to the 20th century. They included George Jackson, John George Jackson, John J. Jackson Jr. (1824–1907), William Lowther Jackson, and James Monroe Jackson. John J. Allen (1797–1871), a justice of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, was a son-in-law of John George Jackson.
For generations, the Jackson men were active in military affairs. The most prominent were Thomas J. ‘‘Stonewall’’ Jackson (1824–63) and his cousin William Lowther Jackson, humorously known by comparison as ‘‘Mudwall’’ Jackson. Others included George Jackson, John George Jackson, and John Jay Jackson Sr. Several family members developed important business interests, including ventures in railroads, engineering, banking, mining, timbering, and retailing. They included Andrew Gardner Jackson (1856–1942), James Madison Jackson (1818–71), and Thomas Moore Jackson (1852–1912).
This Article was written by Stephen W. Brown
Davis, Dorothy. History of Harrison County. Clarksburg: American Association of University Women, 1970.
Miller, Thomas Condit, and Hu Maxwell. West Virginia and Its People vol. 3. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1913.
Jackson, John C. Shadow on the Tetons: David E. Jackson and the Claiming of the American West. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press, 1993.
Cook, Roy Bird. Family and Early Life of Stonewall Jackson. Charleston Printing, 1948.
Cite This Article
Brown, Stephen W. "Jackson Family." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 24 May 2012. Web. 23 March 2017.