Francis Jackson, the First
Information furnished by Carmine Jackson
The surname of the Jackson Family is of ancient English origin. It is derived from the baptismal name, John, by virtue of its nickname, Jack. It means "Jack's son." Early records of the name may be traced to Charlemagne. Among the first immigrants who came to America from England were Edmund Jackson, who was living in Boston, Mass. In 1635 and John Jackson, who came from London to Salem, Mass., the same year. From these, the various branches of this family sprang and spread throughout America. The bearers of this surname have been noted for their energy, courage, and leadership, having nobly distinguished themselves in the founding and growth of this great nation from the Revolutionary War to the present time.
In the State of Virginia, the County of Amelia, the Parish of Nottoway, Will Book 2X, page 128, 26 Nov 1759, Thomas Jackson willed 500 acres of land be equally divided among his three sons, Thomas, John and William. No other children are mentioned. His home place of 100 acres, bounded on the north by Birchin Creek, went to his wife, Amey Jackson. Two brothers of Thomas Jackson Sr., Charles and William, were to be his executors. This will was recorded on 6 Oct 1765.
In Will Book 2 (dated 1785-1795) page 128 in Prince Edward County, Virginia, appears the will of Thomas Jackson, who died in 1792. His wife was Mary Franklin Jackson (1745-1790). The terms of this will are not explicit, though not copied here. To this union ten children were born: Elizabeth, James, Agnes, Mary, Thomas, William, Sally, Francis, Milly, and Tabatha. Of the ten children listed above, Francis was the one who came to Versailles, Tennessee. During his declining years, after his wife died and their eleven children had all left home, he wrote an account of his life which was found among his papers after his death in 1845. An exact copy of this autobiography follows:
"I am an old and have reason to believe my days to be nearly numbered, therefore, for the purpose of informing my children or anyone else who feels an interest in my life, I here give a brief sketch of it, in the following manner, that is to say: I, Francis Jackson, son of Thomas and Mary Jackson, was born the 12th day of January in the year of our Lord, 1766. On the 5th day of October, 1789, I was married to Elizabeth Woosman Childress who was born on the 7th day of April, 1766. Her first son was born the 15th day of Dec 1789 and named Thomas. Her second son was born on the 4th day of Feb 1791, and named Robert. Her third son was born on 22nd Dec 1792 and named Richard. Her fourth son was born 24th Dec 1794 and named James. Her 5th son born 21st Sept 1796 and named John Childress, Her first daughter was born 15th March 1798 and named Polly. Her second daughter was born 7th Sept 1799 and named Nancy. Her sixth son was born 11th Jan 1801 and named Nathan. Her seventh son was born May 1, 1802 and named Williams. Her eighth son was born 31st Jan 1804 and was named Francis. Her ninth son was born 2nd April 1808 and named David. These children were all born in the State of Virginia except the last two, who was born in Rockingham County, North Carolina.
"Myself and wife were both born in the State of Virginia on Sailor's Creek near the line that divides the Counties of Amelia and Prince Edward. After we were married, we then left the neighborhood and lived sometime in the County of Amelia and sometime in the County of Cumberland and lived sometime in the County of Buckingham, Virginia from which last named County, I moved in the spring of the year 1803 and did arrive at the place of our destination on the ninth day of April, this being on Town Creek, Rockingham County, North Carolina at which said place we resided until the thirteenth day of March in the year 1811. On that day I started with part of my family to the State of Tennessee. About the middle of the month of April, I hove [sic] on the waters of Harpeth in the County of Williamson, rented a plantation known by the name of the Sink Holes, abode there until about the 12th of July. I then took the wagon and same horses that brought me out and started aback to Rockingham for the balance of my family whom I brought to Sink Holes in time to gather our crop of corn. I then moved from that place to one of my own in the same neighborhood and stayed there until the ninth day of August 1831. On this date my wife died.
Previous to her death, all our children were married, but one, and were gone from us. The unmarried one was gone farther off than any of the others. I was then left alone except for my servants. This was an unpleasant situation, which induced me to look out for another wife. On the fifteenth day of March (at night) I was married to an old maid of Bedford County by the name of Mary Allison. She, in a very short time, became discontented and on the eleventh day of Nov 1832, she went off and said she would live with me no more; nevertheless, she did come on the seventeenth of the same month for her things which consisted of cattle and household furniture. She then lived until the spring of the year 1835 and she then died.
"I then looked out and got another, a widow woman by the name of Sally Revel to whom I was married on the night of the 16th day of June, in the year 1835"
(This concludes the autobiography of Francis Jackson I.)
When Mary Alison came to make her home in The High House, she brought considerable property, consisting of livestock, household furniture and slaves. Fighting began between the slaves of Mary Allison and those of Francis Jackson. Under such circumstances, the decision of Mary Alison to return to her own Bedford County home may have been wile, although sad. The marriage of Francis Jackson Sally Revel proved to be successful, lasting for ten years. After the death of Francis Jackson I, 10 Feb, 1845, Page 241 of Record Book 13 in the Rutherford County Courthouse shows that he made ample provision for his widow.
As was the custom at that point in time, every southern plantation provided burial space for the family for the servants, preferably on a high hill, for the purpose of drainage. After the death of Elizabeth Woosman Childress Jackson, Francis Jackson wrote in his Family Bible"
"...Elizabeth W Jackson departed this life on the ninth day of August 1831 and her remains were interred in a grave dug for that purpose about six and a half rods due west of the dwelling house of him, the said Francis Jackson."
When Francis Jackson died, 10 Feb, 1845, he was buried beside his wife.
This swelling house of Francis Jackson I was a two-story log house built on the exact site on which the modern brick home of Willie Floyd Williams stands today (1982). This is less than one mile south of Versailles on the left side of the road as one travels south toward Longview. This two-story house built on a high elevation near the road became known as "The High House", a name still remembered. It could have been used as a fort in case of an Indian attack. The family cemetery is nearby.
The plantation which Francis Jackson rented when he came to Tennessee in April 1811, is thought to have been in the vicinity of Link on what is known as the Haskins or Thomp Smotherman Place. It was called the "Sink Holes". In this area is a creek called "Sinking Creek", which flows above ground for a distance, goes underground, and farther on comes to the surface again.
The plantation of his own, on which he built The High House, is in this general area. The land of Francis Jackson was located within the bounds of what is snow Link, Rockvale, Jackson Ridge, Little Rock, North Lane, Puckett Store, Bunker Hill and Kingdom, with the exception of a few small tracks near the boundary. This acreage was probably in excess of 5,000 acres, but, be it remembered, that this was a point in time when land was cheap, plentiful, and early settlers were few.
While Francis Jackson and his wife were in their prime, there was much gracious living in The High House. There were many servants to help in every way; abundant food was produced on the plantation; and eleven lively children to brighten the home. Elisabeth Childress Jackson was a cousin of Sarah Childress, who married James K Polk. President and Mrs Polk were sometimes guests in The High House as they traveled by horse-drawn carriage from the Polk home in Columbia to the Childress home in Murfreesboro, using the Old Columbia Dirt Road which came through Versailles.
When Francis Jackson came to Tennessee in 1811, he brought three of his sons: Thomas, the oldest, age 22; Robert, age 20; and Richard, age 19. On 10 Aug 1813, Thomas married Ruthie Hendricks (see Hendricks family for their 9 children). They made their home on a part of the Jackson land near Jackson Ridge. In 1833 Thomas sold 3 acres of land on whicj to build a "meeting house". This became the Jackson Ridge Cumberland Presbyterian Church with a cemetery adjoining the churchyard. Both are well kept and are in use at present (1982). In 1848 Thomas and Ruthie moved to Christian Co., (where they are buried) rather than face in court charges for beating a slave to death. He was also convected for making false accusations when he accused a neighbor of stealing hogs. He claimed intoxication.
Robert married 25 June 1818, Nancy Wyatt and made his home in Maury Co., TN, where his descendants live today. One of these descendants is Mrs Edward Jones, 108 Fourth Ave., Columbia, TN. Robert died 3 May 1877 -- Nancy died 15 March 1873. Both are buried in Jackson's Bend Cemetery in Maury Co. (See the Thomas Jackson family.)
Richard was of a restless and adventurous spirit. He joined the United States Army and fought in the Battle of New Orleans. On his way home, after the war, he worked for a number of years in Mississippi. He reached home and The High House 3 years before the death of his father and married Elizabeth Clark. (See the John Clark family.)
James settled at Huntsville, Alabama.
John C moved to Franklin Co., Alabama but later returned to live in Rutherford and Bedford Counties, TN, married 1818, Elizabeth Elam.
Polly married Adam Hendrix and lived near Jackson Ridge. In Williamson Co., TN Deed Book O. p. 381, is stated that on 17 Sept 1838 Francis Jackson made a gift of land, "...for love and affection which he hath and beareth toward his daughter, the said Polly Jackson Hendricks."
Nancy married Matthew Elam and moved to Illinois where her descendants live today. She came to Tennessee at the death of her father and received her inheritance in money upon signing a quitclaim deed, 22 Sept 1845, filed in Rutherford County Courthouse.
Nathan remained in Rutherford Co. On what is known as the Charles McLain and N.R. (Boat) Jackson Farms near Concord and Jackson Ridge. (See Nathan Jackson family.)
Williams Jackson also received a gift of land from his father (Williamson Co Deed Book N, p. 439) This land covered the heart of Versailles. Later, Williams Jackson and William G Hight exchanged land. This exchange located the land of Williams Jackson along the Bedford-Rutherford Co. Line, mostly north of the Kingdom Church and Road.
Francis Jackson, namesake of his father, received a gift of land. This deed is recorded in the same book as was that of Williams Jackson (Deed Book N, pages 438-439, Williamson Co.). The deed was registered 5 Sept 1836.
"This indenture made this twenty-third day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine between Francis Jackson, Senior of Williamson County and State of Tennessee of the one part and Francis Jackson, Junior, his son, of the other part witness that the said Francis Jackson Senior for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which he hath unto the said Francis, his son, hath given and doth by these presents give, grant, and convey unto him the said Francis Jackson Junior, one certain tract or parcel of land..."
This land is on the Versailles Road, one mile north of Versailles and one mile south of Rockvale, Rutherford Co., TN. Through the many long years since 1829, this land has passed from father to son and remains the ancestral home of five Francis Jacksons in direct descent.
David, the youngest son, made his home lin Mississippi. Francis Jackson had purchased 80 acres of land from Edward Eggleston in Lauderdale Co., Mississippi. It is believed that he made this purchase while his son, Richard, was in Mississippi and later gave it to his son, David.
Information from family records
Francis Jackson II married Elizabeth Hale, daughter of Mary and Meade Hale, who lived in the Flat Creek Community of Bedford County, Tennessee. Soon after their marriage (1826) they began planning their home on the land given Francis by his father. The building site selected was on the old Columbia Road, which is the Versailles Road today. The dwelling was to stand later equidistant between Versailles and Rockvale.
The first unit of the house was three rooms built of very large red cedar logs; these rooms became the nucleus around which the rest of the house was later built. As time passed, a definite plan for the front was decided on. This plan was for a tall, white, frame, two-story structure with four twenty- foot square rooms at the front, one room on each side of a broad center hall both upstairs and down. A long staircase was to lead from the first floor center hall into the center hall on the second floor. This upper hall, with the room on the right, was for the boys; a separate short staircase, was to lead from the lower room to the right of the main entrance into the room above which was for the girls. There would be no connecting door between these upper rooms. The lower room to the left of the entrance was to be the parlor; the lower room to the right was to be the family room. Back of this lower front unit was a broad open breeze-way, called the "dog-troy", designed to keep food odors from the front rooms; there was also a long, broad back porch in L shape. Attached to this "dog- trot" and long porch were the three original log rooms, used as one bedroom, the dining room, and the kitchen.
Dour massive columns were placed at the front entrance. These columns were built in Murfreesboro and hauled home in wagons. Each column was built of red cedar planks without seam and long enough to reach from ground level to the roof above on upstairs balcony. The columns were hollow. During the War, this hollow space was filled with wheat to prevent the armies form confiscating it. A decorative design was sawed and chiseled out by had and placed at the top of each column under the front eaves. Hand-made window blinds, painted green and still in use today, were hung with hinges so they could be closed during storms.
The roof was made of hand-drawn red cedar shingles and lasted until 1914. A few of the original shingles have been preserved.
The heat was furnished by wood-burning, open fireplaces in four rooms and open coal-burning grates in the parlor and the room above the parlor. The hallways were without means of heat. The light was by tallow candles, and later, by kerosene lamps. There was no indoor plumbing until the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Co-op brought electricity in 1944; bathing was by pouring water into a wash bowl.
At this point in time, the forests were filled with the best grade of virgin timber. Building the residence of the plantation owner made small inroad on the vast supply of lumber. The huge trees were cut down by strong men using saws and cross-cut saws. The logs were sawed at sawmills, but the planks had to be planed by hand. A skillful local carpenter by the name of Hendricks was chosen as foreman of the crew of carpenters. The massive timbers were expertly nitched so they could not slip in any direction. Wooden pegs were also used to hold timbers in place. Blacksmiths made various sizes of square iron nails. Sturdy oak was a favorite wood for the framework; the floors in the rooms downstairs were of white ash; upstairs blue poplar was used and for the porches red cedar. Work was never done in a hurry; perfection and long endurance were the main objectives.
This was only one of four ante-bellum homes in the Versailles area, built similar to this same pattern. In Deed Book 11, Page 344 in the Williamson County Courthouse on 8 June 1836 Richard Jackson sold town lot number 6 in Versailles to Richard Ransom for ten dollars. An ante-bellum home stands today on the old Ransom homestead, which must be lot number 6. Jim Adcock bought this Ransom Farm in 1905; Luke Adcock lives there today.
Very near the Ransom-Adcock home in the heart of Versailles on the left of the crossroad stood another imposing residence built in 1859 by Richard Nance. Sad to say, it was burned, but John Nance, a descendant, has built his modern home near the original site.
Two miles south of Versailles where the Link Road intersects the Longview Pike is the former site of a very beautiful ante-bellum home built by Richard Nance about 1833-1834. This was also burned. The site is owned by Grady Covington who has built a modern brick home.
With the building of the residence of the owner of the plantation, building had only just begun. In the yard and close by there were many log buildings, each for a definite purpose: a smokehouse; the loom house; poultry houses; storage houses for fruit, vegetables, and blocks of ice for summer use; a wash house for laundry; carriage houses; a cobbler shop where shoes were made; and rooms for the cook and other household servants. Scattered about over the plantation were many houses for the slaves who tilled the soil; a home for the overseer; blacksmith ships, barns fro great herds of livestock, a cotton gin and a commissary.
Francis II and Elizabeth Jackson became the parents of thirteen children:
1 Jasper Jackson, born 1828, married Judith Ann Primm. After her death, he moved to Scottsboro, Alabama.
2 Meade Jackson, born 1830, married Sarah Nance. After her death in 1871, he moved to Memphis where he practiced medicine.
3 Newton Jackson (1832-1896) married Mary Hendricks. They made their home on a part of the Jackson land, joining the Francis Jackson II toward the south on Versailles Road. Their nine children became widely scattered at an early age, with none of them becoming permanent residents.. Issue:
a Wash Jackson.
b Roxanna Jackson married Henry J Ivie, a Methodist minister from Nashville, where they made their home. One of their five children, Mary Ann Ivie, was a frequent visitor in the Versailles community where she met and married John J Garrett, a young medical doctor. For a detailed account of their family, see the chapter on Dr Garrett.
c Thomas Jackson
d Sidney Jackson
e Andrew Jackson married Mollie Carlton, daughter of William J Carlton, and sister to Lizzie Carlton who married Andrew's brother Jasper. They moved to Nashville.
f Jasper Jackson married Lizzie Carlton, daughter of William J Carlton, and sister to Mollie Carlton, who married Jasper's brother Andrew. They moved to Nashville.
g Dora Jackson
h Meade Jackson
i Kitty Jackson
4 Emlyann V Jackson (1833-1841)
5 Oceana Jackson, born 1834, died in infancy.
6 Mary L.E Jackson (1835-1853)
7 Francis Marion Jackson was born 28 March 1838, twin of Annia. (See Francis Marion Jackson III.)
8 Annia Stager Jackson, born 28 March 1838, twin of Francis, married Tom Johnson of Bedford county. Their only child was Tennie Johnson, who married John Dudley Tarpley of Longview.
9 Ridley Jackson, born 1840, lost a leg in combat during the Battle of Jonesboro. He reached home married Sophia Brooks, moved to Nashville and became a photographer.
10 Lucretia Jackson (1842-1889) married Dr Sharber on 7 March 1860. After his death, she married her cousin, James Jackson. Their two daughters remained unmarried and are now deceased.
11 Josephine Jackson (1846-1899) married William J S Farris. They moved to Oklahoma. Their descendants settled there and in California..
12 James Jackson, the youngest son, born 1848, remained a bachelor and was employed as a traveling salesman for a drug wholesale firm in Mississippi.
13 Kitty Virginia Jackson, the youngest child, (1852-1928) married Robert R Alexander of Walter Hill, Tennessee, later moving to Nashville.
With so many children to educate, Francis and Elizabeth engaged a tutor and a governess to live on the plantation to instruct their children in literary pursuits and in music. This proved to be highly successful until the horrors of war interfered.
It would be impossible to express in words the horror of this unfortunate conflict. With three sons actively engaged in combat, unrest among the slaves and war-tine shortages in all supplies, Francis and Elizabeth tried to cling to their beautiful faith and carry on as best they could. Elizabeth followed a regular morning ritual. When first arising, she would stand on her open south threshold, gaze at the majestic Versailles Knoll and quote: "This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24). "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." (Psalm 121:1). This threshold is considered a sacred spot by the descendants of Francis and Elizabeth.
Like many noble southern families, Francis and Elizabeth were kind to everyone who came to their door. During the conflict, and unconscious soldier, wearing a blue uniform, was brought to them. Without hesitation, he was given a bed in the boys' sleeping quarters. He slowly regained consciousness, and catching sight of the tall white columns, he was over-joyed, thinking he was back home in Washington City. It is not known whether he recovered, but there are three graves without names where, at that time, the grape arbor stood. Could one grave be his?
Francis Jackson II lived to reach age 74. He died on March 1, 1878. Elizabeth outlived her husband by ten years. She died on 4 Jan 1888 at age 79. Both lie buried at The High House.
Information furnished by Carmine Jackson
Like the sons of many other southern planters, Francis Jackson III, son of Francis Jackson II and Elizabeth Hale Jackson, spent a happy boyhood on the family plantation. He was born on 28 March 1838. He watched the building of the ancestral home and the building of many other structures that dotted the plantation.
During the late 1850's, however, the dark clouds of war came closer and closer. On June 20, 1861, John C Jackson, a first cousin of Francis Jackson III, organized Company "A" Regiment, Infantry, Tennessee Volunteers under the two big oak trees in Versailles.
John C Jackson was made Captain of this Volunteer Company and his cousin, Francis Jackson III, became 1st Lieutenant. The Company was mustered into the Confederate Army, 24 Aug 1861 at Camp Trousdale. Wounded 7 April 1862, several times at the Battle of Shiloh, Captain John C Jackson resigned as Commander of the Company, 17 May 1862, returned to later join a cavalry unit of General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Escort. (See John C Jackson). Lieutenant Francis Jackson III succeeded him as Captain. The 24th Regiment took part in the Battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chicamauga and Missionary Ridge. Francis Jackson III commanded the 24th Regiment during most of the remainder of the civil conflict. It is reported that he was also wounded at some point in the line of duty, but he was required to leave the Company. Wounded soldiers were often required to submit to surgery without anesthetic as the supply was very often exhausted. Francis Jackson III's son, Grover C Jackson, served with the U S Army in France during World War I. All his family have kept ties with Versailles for their entire life.
Francis Jackson III did the best he could to resume the peaceful pursuits of citizenship at his boyhood home. He became devoted to farming, raising livestock and community affairs such as improvement to the Longview Pike and schools. His family's interests remained first during his entire lifetime.
Francis Jackson III was twice married. On 20 Feb 1872, he was married to Sue Adelaide Covington of Versailles. There were no children. After her death, he married Rachael Anna George of Lincoln County Tennessee, 29 Dec 1886. Five children were born to this union. Francis Jackson IV (called Frank Hale, see following chapter), Jane Ashby Jackson , Grover Cleveland Jackson, Richard Fowler Jackson, and Annie Carmine Jackson. All these families are in the next chapter.
During the sixty-second year of his life, Francis Jackson III was stricken ill for five months, during which time he faced the inevitable with complete composure. He gave full directions concerning his family, his business and his burial, Death came on 25 April 1901. He lies buried across the Versailles Road in front of his boyhood home.
Captain Jackson and His Home