After hissing and moaning over the difficulties anticipated for my newest project—finding enough documentation to connect my mother-in-law's family to Revolutionary War Patriots Lyman Jackson and William Ijams—it turns out I actually have quite a few resources already assembled.
Primary among them is an excerpt I found in a book entitled History of Fairfield and Perry Counties, Ohio: Their Past and Present. Being a book published in 1883, of course the title runs on for at least seven more lines of text—ending, incidentally, with the helpful "Biographies and Histories of Pioneer Families, etc., etc."
I'm always overjoyed to stumble upon such entries in the history publications of that prior century. I don't, however, see them as gospel truth. I tend to use the information gleaned from their pages as guide and trailblazer for my own research. If you are not convinced of the wisdom of this approach, perhaps the observations of the next couple days will persuade you otherwise.
John Jay Jackson, supposed son of Patriot Lyman Jackson and husband of the daughter of Patriot William Ijams, merited an entire paragraph in this book of over twelve hundred pages. Yes, you read that right: the book has 1222 pages—yet another of the many reasons why I love digitized and searchable manuscripts.
At face value, the text contains a number of clues to guide our research:
John J. Jackson, of this township, and the latest surviving soldier of the War of 1812 in it, though a quiet, modest man all his life, has rather an eventful history. He served through the War of 1812, and drew a pension to the day of his death, for military services rendered the United States Government. After the war was over, he in some way drifted to St. Louis, and he emigrated from that place, or vicinity, to Bearfield township, Perry county, Ohio, and his name will be found in the history of that township as one of the first settlers. His first wife was an Ijams, a sister of William, John and Joseph Ijams, well remembered by the older citizens of Perry county. Mr. Jackson and others journeyed from St. Louis, across the country, to this county, in 1815 or 1816. It was a journey full of strange adventures. So far as now remembered, Mr. Jackson and companions are the only pioneers of Perry county who emigrated from the West. All the others came from the East or South, and nearly all from the East.
Besides the dates and locations mentioned in the narrative, the big prize is the detail about John Jackson's involvement in the War of 1812. Even more important than that was the fact that he drew a pension following his service. While the tedium of having to sift through a list of numerous other pensioners with a surname as common as Jackson coupled with a given name as oft-used as John will be the main obstacle, at least this gives us the possibility of finding documentation that may include other details I need. Remember, the goal is to construct a paper trail connecting my current day relatives with either John Jay Jackson or William Ijams—or, hopefully, both.
Above: "Blue Hole, Little Miami River," 1851 oil on canvas by Robert Seldon Duncanson; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.