Tuesday, January 4, 2011

James Jackson Jr.

  • Name: James Jackson Jr.
  • Born: February 6, 1826 in Prattsbottom, Kent, England
  • Died: September 5, 1897 Toquerville, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Langford

James Jackson Jr. was born February 6,1826 in Prattsbottom, Kent, England, the first son and second child of James Jackson Sr. and Mary Anderson. As a young man he apprenticed and trained as a roof thatcher, but this must not have proved too satisfactory, for he later followed the work of a butcher whereby he dressed out and prepared animals for the London Market. He embraced the gospel and was baptized into the church on Jan. 6, 1856, in his 29th year. At this time there were many Jacksons in the Bromley Branch (Chelsfield) of the British Mission who were joining the church. It is supposed that some were most likely relatives, although not immediate family. His mother Mary joined the church the following year in 1857 and his father James Jackson Sr. was baptized in 1862 by a relative, J. Siney. Mary, his mother died in England in 1877 and her husband James Jackson Sr. then came to America and died in Toquerville the following year at age 83.

James Jackson Jr. became active immediately and immigrated to America on the "George Washington" that same year, 1856. One of the Pratt brothers was in the company crossing the ocean, and he prophesied that they would have a short, pleasant journey. It was a speedy voyage leaving March 28 and arriving in Boston April 20, only 23 sailing days! James crossed the plains in the Handcart Co. of Israel Evans. They left Florence, Nebraska June 13, 1857, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley September 13. The journey, thankfully, was made without the suffering and death that accompanied those traveling in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies the year before. It is believed that he was alone with his cart but could manage well, being a husky young man. On the journey he became acquainted with a Miss Stevens and they planned to be married when they arrived in the valley. When they arrived in Salt Lake they were met by a large group of people and they became separated, she being sent to one place and he to another. He was to meet her on a certain evening, and when he went to see her he found she had married a man who was a widower.

He made himself a little dug-out on the bank of City Creek where he lived the first winter. Having become proficient as a butcher he readily found employment in the valley butchering animals about the neighborhood for which he received as his pay -- the heads of the different animals that he had killed. He also worked on various farms for which he received produce such as onions, and potatoes.

The next year he moved to Utah Valley where he settled in Lehi and became a farmer himself. During his second year there he met at the boarding house where he worked, a young school teacher named Annis Bedford who was also from England and had been on the same boat and in the same handcart company as he had. After a brief courtship they were married in Nov. 1859 by Israel Evans. When their first child was born they were living in a dugout in Lehi. Mary Lydia was born in 1860 and they lived in Lehi until the Fall of 1861, when Pres. Brigham Young called James on a mission to help settle the Dixie Country. Between then and 1865 when ancestor Rose Ellen was born, they had three more children all of whom died very young. By now they were living in Toquerville where they made their permanent home. They again lost another girl before having two more children who lived, Adelaide in 1868 and George Samuel in 1875.

In 1863 James and Annis went to the Endowment house to be sealed and then in 1868, when Annis was 35, he was also sealed to two other women -- Martha McFate and Sarah Ann Stapley. All together these three wives bore him 25 children. (By the time of the Manifesto two of his wives had died: Annis in 1876 and Martha in 1882. At the height of the investigation in 1890 he was called to Beaver for a government investigation, but could easily prove himself free of any violation).
James and Annis

James and Annis lived a now white-stuccoed home at 132 North Toquer Boulevard (he built a separate home for each wife). The home is still standing. There is a legend that James buried his gold in that empty lot next to this home, but died without telling his family where to find it. Folks in town dug all over that lot, trying to find where that gold was planted but the gold has never been found.

In 1873 James returned to England on a mission. His appearance was rather noticeable as he wore homespun, homemade clothes. The story goes that his trousers were over-large, baggy at the seat and impressed. When he went aboard ship and registered and paid for first class passage, there was surprise and raised eyebrows among the passengers. But he felt he was equal to anyone as he knew he had $600 in his pocket, which was quite a sum in those days. On this mission he converted several members of his immediate family, baptizing a brother William and his wife Hanna as well as others. Not long afterward many of his family immigrated to America and settled in Nephi, Cedar City, Toquerville and other places.

James became well established in the sheep business, his main source of income. He also hauled by team and wagon fresh fruits and vegetables to neighboring towns. He spent considerable time traveling between Salt Lake and Dixie. On the return trip he would bring clothes, etc. for his large family. Among the things he brought was a large box of shoes, called ankle-jacks, of assorted sizes from which each boy could select his size.

According to Toquerville town historian, Dr. Wesley P. Larsen, James owned five hundred acres -- more than anyone else in town, getting a beautiful yield from his land.  Practical man that he was, Brigham declared that if the Gentiles were going to buy wine, they might as well buy it from "the Mormons."  This area of southern Utah was known as the “wine” mission. James Jackson's grapes were a good source of income, as were other products of his fields and orchards. Larsen relates:  "Like many other Dixie pioneers, James hauled, with team and wagon, fresh fruits and vegetables to nearby towns, principally the mining towns of Silver Reef in southern Utah and Pioche in eastern Nevada.  He received five cents per peach, which at that time was a large price.

His son Jesse Jackson relates: One time Father took . . . one of these trips to Pioche with a load of produce.  After selling out and making preparations to return home, Father noticed some men watching him. See, in those days there were no greenbacks, the money being all in gold and silver. He carried his money in a buckskin bag. Being suspicious, Father nailed the bag of money on the underside of the "reach" of the wagon.

Sure enough, when they had traveled some distance from Pioche, they were held up at gunpoint by this group of highwaymen who ransacked the wagon thoroughly, but could find no cash and so had to let Father proceed."

As to religious matters he was a strict tithe payer and was also generous to any worthy cause. At one time he was the leader of the Toquerville choir. He did considerable temple work considering how much time he spent traveling on business. In 1893, at 67 years of age he drove with his wife Martha by wagon all the way to Salt Lake City to attend the dedication of the temple. The next couple of years he suffered strokes which eventually left him paralyzed and unable to speak. He died in 1897 at the age of 71. His son characterized him as a man who was as good as his bond, whose nature seemed more stubborn than it really was, and possessed by a somewhat irritable or quick temper with a generosity that few equaled. 

This article was compiled and edited by Norene Green and Sharlene Gardner, July 1997. Thanks to them for posting it on their family history site. You  can view the original here.

1 comment:

  1. James Jackson was a member of the Israel Evans Handcart Company

    Annis Bedford was a member of the Jesse B Martin Company

    Also there is no MISS Stevens in the Israel Evans Handcart Company

    There is a Mrs Simmons however she was married to Henry Simmons.
    These are not the same people