The site was first settled by Thomas Jackson’s grandfather, Edward, around 1800. He constructed a house, gristmill, and sawmill on the property. Thomas’s father, Jonathan Jackson, was raised there but moved with his new bride, Julia Neale, to nearby Clarksburg in 1818 to practice law. Thomas was born in Clarksburg in January 1824. Following the death of his father in 1826 and his mother in 1831, Thomas and his sister, Laura, were brought to live at Jackson’s Mill. The property at that time, which consisted of 1,500 acres, was owned by Jackson’s bachelor uncle, Cummins Jackson, who farmed the West Fork River bottoms with the assistance of several slaves. Thomas lived there until 1842, when he left to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. In 1919, a large stone monument was erected at Jackson’s Mill in his memory.
Cummins Jackson left Jackson’s Mill in 1847 to search for gold in California and died there in 1849. His property at Jackson’s Mill was held in heirship until 1868 when it was purchased by his sister, Catherine Jackson White. Upon her death in 1876, the farm was sold outside the Jackson family. In 1915, a five-acre tract of the original property, which included the old gristmill and the site of Cummins Jackson’s house, was purchased by the Monongahela Power Company. In 1924, the property was donated to the state of West Virginia as a statewide meeting place for youth enrolled in the 4-H program. The first 4-H camp at Jackson’s Mill had been held in 1921.
Since that time the facility, which has 500 acres of land, has been extensively developed. Major features include a large dining hall patterned after Mount Vernon, an assembly hall, 14 cottages donated by various West Virginia counties and named for them, and the building that housed West Virginia’s exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Other features include a small airport, the McWhorter cabin, constructed in the 1790s near neighboring Jane Lew and moved to the site in 1929, numerous gardens, and the Jackson Lodge for small conferences. Blaker’s Mill, a water powered gristmill constructed in 1794 near Alderson in Greenbrier County, was relocated to Jackson’s Mill in the 1980s. Sites associated with the Jackson family include a gristmill constructed around 1841 and now maintained as a museum, the family spring, the Stonewall Jackson monument, and the Jackson family cemetery where his paternal grandparents and other relatives are buried.
Jackson’s Mill is operated by the West Virginia University Extension Service as a multipurpose year-round conference center for adults and youth.
This Article was written by Michael M. Meador
Stewart, Guy H. A Touch of Charisma: A History of the 4-H Club Program in West Virginia. Morgantown: 1969.
Cook, Roy Bird. Family and Early Life of Stonewall Jackson. Charleston Printing, 1948.
Meador, Michael M. Historic Jackson's Mill: A Walking Tour. Parsons: McClain, 1991.