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JAMES JACKSON, Company "H"


Contributed by Craig Tower.

     James Jackson's age in the Adjutant General's Report was 20 years old, but having been born in 1846 he was actually 17 years old. James died in 1898 and is buried in Clarington, Ohio. (Tombstone Photo)

     As far as James Jackson, of Co. "H" I can offer only a few other facts about his life, but one somewhat "tantalizing" story.

     James is believed to have been born in Parkersburg, West Virginia in 1846. His father, also named James, headed west for the California Gold Rush in 1849, leaving behind his young son, James, and wife, possibly named Eliza. James (the father) would unfortunately die in the gold fields of California that very year, 1849. James (the son) would at age 17 join the First West Virginia Cavalry in 1863 and muster out in 1865. After the war, he returned to Parkersburg, West Virginia and seems to have been a farmer. There he married Florence Foggin of Ohio. While living in Parkersburg my maternal great-grandmother Carrie Jackson was born in 1867. She was followed by four brothers and two sisters. At some point, James and Florence moved the family to Clarington, Ohio which, like Parkersburg, is located along the Ohio River. in 1890 Carrie, now a school teacher in Monroe County, Ohio, married Albert Dietrich, a merchant in Clarington. Her father, James, our subject and veteran of the 1st W. Va Cavalry, died in 1898 and is buried in Clarington. In 1893 my grandfather, Frank, was born to Carrie and Albert. Later the family moved to Ravenna, Ohio which is in the Canton-Akron area. Carrie died in 1958.

     In the 1970's and early 1980's my maternal Aunt, one of Carrie's grand-daughters, began doing some "digging" into our family's roots. Unfortunately my aunt lived in upstate Pennsylvania, too far to allow regular trips to southern Ohio or West Virginia. And of course this was in the days before the internet. Nevertheless she was able to interview some family members in Southern Ohio, who are now deceased. Those interviews and the materials she gathered provided me with an invaluable starting point as I took over in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

     I can still remember reading over all the materials and my excitement as I read the following notes:

     My aunt was able to talk to my great grandmother Carrie Jackson Dietrich's younger sister and last living sibling, Rebecca, in 1970. Among the things my aunt was able to see was a hand written note in Carrie's Bible. As was a common practice, Carrie's Bible detailed the birth/death dates and relationships for many family members. Among those was an entry about James (that's James' father) having died in the California Gold Rush in 1849. Also in the Bible was an entry for a CUMMINS JACKSON, who also died in California in 1849. When my aunt asked who Cummins was, Rebecca told her, "Oh that was Stonewall's uncle" My aunt pressed Rebecca to explain the relationship to James, but she couldn't, other than to say "Carrie used to talk about it".

     History tells us that Cummins Jackson was in fact Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson's uncle. Cummins raised Stonewall at a place called Jackson Mills, not far from Parkersburg, W. Va. and Cummins did, in fact, die in 1849 in the California Gold Rush. These little tidbit's of information seem to infer that my Jacksons were somehow related to Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. Over the years the best supporting evidence I've been able to find is a passage from Roy B. Cook's book "The Family and Early Life of Stonewall Jackson". In it, there is a letter dated July 4, 1911 in which Sylvanus White writes "I will give now the names of the little party that left Virginia (West Virginia) on April 1, 1849, bound for California. In the party were Cummins Jackson, Edward Jackson, Calvin Brown, myself and my brother George White all of Lewis County; James Jackson of Parkersburg and Jonathan Ireland and John Gibson of Upshur County..."

     This would seem to support what Rebecca Jackson had told my aunt, and the information found in my great grandmother Carrie's Bible, but of course it's not an absolute. Never the less, it is an interesting story. It has been a lot of fun over the years trying to find some conclusive evidence that would link my "Jacksons" to Stonewall Jackson.


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