Saturday, May 21, 2016

Moving Back, Moving Onward

When Marshall Jackson left Pembina County in the new state of North Dakota, it was likely with only his immediate family. Along with his wife Hester, that included sons Burnett and Earl, and daughters Gladys and Eleanor.

According to the 1906 Canadian census, the family reported arriving in Winnipeg in 1903although by then, son Burnett had married and moved to Saskatchewan, and son Earl had also moved out of the family household, likely remaining in Winnipeg.

As for the many Harvey family members related to Marshall's wife, Hester, none apparently joined them on the trek northward, when the moved to Winnipeg. For although Marshall was said to have been born in Peterborough, Ontario, the majority of census reports showed Hester as having been born in New York.

In checking the 1885 census for the Dakota Territory, Pembina Countywhere the young Jackson family had settledhad no less than thirty four people itemized with the surname Harvey, Hester's maiden name. In fact, on the land grant records for Marshall Jackson, related documents referred to both an Ellen Harvey and a John B. Harveyand then a reference to "heirs of" John Harvey in 1899.

Whether Hester was connected to this John and Ellen was not clear from documents I could locate, though. John's obituary was vague, to say the least. Here's all The Pioneer Express had to say on the matter on May 4, 1894:
Mr. John Harvey, sr. passed away Friday last, after an illness for over six weeks, which he bore with Christian fortitude. He leaves a widow and seven children, all of whom were at his bedside when he passed away. His funeral on Sunday last was largely attended, about sixty carriages following to his last resting place.

There was a John B. Harvey buried in a Pembina County cemeterythe Walhalla Hillside Cemeterywho had died on April 27, 1894, well within the parameters described by the newspaper article. Of course, a will and probate records would help determine whether Hester Harvey Jackson was among those seven children steadfastly attending to John Harvey in his last moments. As neither nor currently include digitized wills or probate records for North Dakota, and since I have no plans in the foreseeable future to journey there, that little research project will have to be put on a back burner.

However, I can certainly hunt and peck through the documents which are available, in the meantime. So I looked for any records which might contain a John, an Ellen, and a Hester in the same household. I found one: in Watertown, New York, where a John B. Harvey lived with his wife Anna and four children, according to the 1880 U.S. Census. Conveniently, the household included a seventeen year old Hester, plus a nineteen year old Ellen. The added bonus was the inclusion of a son Johnthus making his father's record agree with the "John Harvey, sr." designation we found later in North Dakota.

There were, of course, several drawbacks to this proposed match.

First was that the reporting party declared every single one of the household members to have been born in Canada, thus disagreeing with Hester's subsequent—and repeatedidentification as having been a New York native.

Second was not only the number of children, but the discrepancy between their names and those of the Harvey family I found in the 1885 Dakota territorial censuswhile I found an Ellen and a John (Hester was, by then, married to Marshall Jackson), I lacked any sign of their older brother Samuel.

Worse, while it certainly would be possible for more children to have been born to the couple after the 1880 census, it wouldn't quite as handily explain away so many discrepancies on the reported ages in each census. Not to mention, there would be some explaining to do in the matter of wife Anna turning into wife Agnes in the journey from New York to North Dakota.

At best, all I can determine at this point is that Hester's Harvey familywhoever they were in Pembina Countyall seemed to remain behind as she took her leave of them in 1903. Many of them likely remained in North Dakota for the rest of their lives, judging from the many Harvey memorials on the Find A Grave entry for the Walhalla cemetery where John B. Harvey was buried.

As for Marshall Jackson's own siblingshe had two brothers and two sisters, all but one sister still remaining in the Jackson household in Calhoun County, Iowa, in that state's 1885 censusnone of them seemed to follow him back to Canada either. One brother headed toward Montana then eventually wound up in the Los Angeles region, while the other eventually ended up in the Chicago area. One sister stayed in Lake City, Iowa, until after her husband died, when she returned home to Ontario and remarried. The other sister eventually moved to Nebraska.

The 1903 move that returned Marshall Jackson back to his homeland brought with him five United States citizens. According to the 1916 census, Hester and her daughters became naturalized Canadian citizens in 1910. That didn't last for long, though. After the tragic death of her husband, Hester eventually moved southward with her two daughters, where each of them lived in various locations in Los Angeles County in California.

As for Marshall's two sons, the eldest moved first to Saskatchewan, but eventually ended up moving closer to his father's home in Winnipeg by relocating to the city of Brandon. The youngest, at first living in Winnipeg, later moved to Saskatchewan, to Moose Jaw.

I often wonder, in the aftermath of great personal tragedy, what becomes of those left behindwhat the personal repercussions were, and how far that painful experience emanated. In the case of Marshall Jackson's family, as his children married and started families of their own, life's path seemed to tug them in different directionsa natural occurrence for many of us in these more recent eras. It's been almost one hundred years now since Marshall Jackson lost his life so tragically and senselessly, and the family has seen the passing of two more generations since Marshall's death. And yet, though the newspaper headlines of the tragedy that took his life have long faded from public view, his was a story that surely hasn't been forgotten by the ones who were the closest to him.    

Above: Where the Marshall Jackson tragedy began: boarding the eastbound train at the Canadian Pacific Railway depot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in January, 1917. From the Rob McInnes Postcard Collection, one of the collections featured at PastForward, Winnipeg's Digital Public History. Used by permission, with thanks to the Winnipeg Public Library


  1. What a great bit of history you have here for any relatives of Marshall Jacksons:)

    1. It's been interesting, delving into his story, not only during his career, but in his early life!

  2. Here's a clue for Hester's family. from The Winnipeg Tribune 17 May 1911, page 5.
    "Well Known Women Dying. --Mrs. Marshall Jackson, Jessie avenue, has been summoned to Walhalla, N.D., on account of the serious illness of her, Mrs. John B. Harvey, whose husband is one of the best known men in that section of North Dakota. This morning word was received to the effect that Mrs Harvey is not expected to live until evening."
    Jessie Avenue is just 2 blocks over from Warsaw.

    1. Jackie, that's it! Thanks so much for finding that news clipping! I'll go back and follow up from the North Dakota side and see if there are any articles there, as well.

      I enjoyed discovering your blog and taking a peek at several articles. It was interesting to see you are researching the Hogue surname, as well--although I'm sure our two lines are not related. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that resource!

  3. I wonder if there was a time when it was fashionable to play really free and loose with first names and nicknames - I know my dad's father generation (born circa 1910) was "big" on nicknames... just to confuse us researchers!


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