I'm always curious, in examining the stories of brave immigrants who left home—and all else, apparently—to travel great distances at considerable risk, just to have a fresh start in life.
In the case of Marshall Jackson, he left the place of his birth—Ontario, Canada—as a young adult headed for Dakota Territory. Best I can tell, he married after his arrival there, to a young woman named Hester Jane Harvey.
But did he come west on his own?
It was thanks to those archived newspapers that I discovered he was not alone in that immense journey. For at least part of the way, he had the company of family. While I don't yet have all the details, one brief newspaper mention in The Pioneer Express on June 1, 1894—for which scant detail I'm certainly grateful—opened up the picture for me. Under the headline, "Died," was found this brief entry:
JACKSON.—At Lake City, Iowa, May 11th. Mrs. Astor Jackson, aged 52 years. Mrs. Jackson was the mother of Marshall Jackson of Walhalla and sister of Wm. Rose, of Ernest, in this county.
Part helpful and yet part not helpful—I have yet to find the town called Ernest on a map, and more to the point, anyone named William Rose in that county—it does tell me a few things. First of all, that Marshall had family who had also left Canada and headed west in the United States. Second, it provided the name of his mother, and—especially valuable—her maiden name. Then, too, if she hadn't been coy about revealing her real age, it gave me the reference point to extrapolate the year of her birth. Coupling that with an educated guess that she might also have been born in Ontario, it held out the hope I could trace Marshall's own documentation to his birthplace in Ontario, as well.
Given the precise date of death and the location, it wasn't difficult to confirm that record in Lake City, Iowa. The location, in Calhoun County, was a railroad town founded in 1856 whose population peaked at the turn of the century—just a few years after Mrs. Jackson's passing—and has gone steadily down from that high of 2,703 ever since.
As it turns out, the newspaper got one detail wrong, though: her name wasn't Astor, but Esther—although throughout the many years of documentation in which her record was captured, her given name suffered the predictable spelling permutations, so "Astor" is forgivable. She, her husband, two sons and a daughter had apparently lived in Lake City since at least the 1885 state census, giving us a snapshot of Marshall Jackson's immediate family. Perhaps he, too, had once lived there before venturing further westward to the Dakota Territory.
Esther Rose Jackson, who predeceased her husband, was buried at the cemetery in town. At least that's what I gleaned from her memorial on Find A Grave. I can safely say that's a record I would never have stumbled upon, had it not been for that brief mention in the North Dakota newspaper linking her with her son, Marshall Jackson.
That, however, was not the only nearby family connection for Marshall's family. A few hints in property records made me wonder whether Marshall's wife might also have had connections in town.
Marshall had married a young woman with a name similar to his mother's. In the case of his wife, most documents listed her name with the spelling Hester. Her maiden name was Harvey, and her own mother's maiden name had been Burnett—thus providing the explanation for the given name of Hester and Marshall's eldest son: Burnett Harvey Marshall.
There did happen to be, in Pembina County, several entries in the 1885 Territorial census for the surname Harvey. Although I don't know yet which ones were related to Hester, it was interesting to learn that there were some Harvey family members named in relation to the original land grant Marshall Jackson had obtained in 1891.
If Marshall and Hester both had family which had moved west with them, what was prompting them to leave home once again? Were they going it alone, this time? Or was this move back to Canada also going to be done in the company of others?