Saturday, December 15, 2012

Military Genes?

Finding the information—no matter how little, and no matter how doubtful—about John Jackson’s second wife was a necessary detour for me. For one thing, I need to be able to sort through the children and appropriately assign them to the right mother. Considering all the misinformation I’ve already encountered—mostly thanks to replicating the story from one newspaper report—I do want to proceed cautiously here. You’ll see why in a day or so.

For now, though, I want to take the detour to revisit the History of Fairfield and Perry Counties, that 1883 volume from which I had extracted the original biographical sketch on John Jay Jackson. Perhaps you’ll recall the mention there—as well as in other posts—of John’s involvement in the War of 1812. Elsewhere, I had also seen mention that both John’s father and grandfather may have played roles in the American Revolutionary War. John’s uncles may also have been quite militarily inclined.

In that 1883 history book, I happened to run across mention of another Jackson in Perry County, Ohio. It was a Jackson, however, that did not fit into the family data I had already found, so I had set it aside.

Now, however, both the name and the story will make a good fit for today’s post. For the name—Lyman James Jackson—belongs not to John and Sarah Jackson, but to John and Mary Jackson. Lyman, it turns out, is Mary’s son.

Whatever military prowess may have been part of the Jackson’s family, it seems to have been distilled and concentrated in this one young man, and released upon declaration of war during the prime of his life.

The Perry County biographical sketch notes of Lyman

He was the first volunteer from the county in the Union army. Immediately after the firing on Fort Sumter, he raised Company E, Seventeenth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Militia, which he commanded as Captain during its three months service in West Virginia. When it was mustered out, he was appointed in August, 1861, Captain of Company G, Thirty-first Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served as such until January, 1862, when he was promoted and commissioned as Major of the Eleventh Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. With this regiment, a great part of the time in command of it, he served, in 1862, in Maryland and Virginia through some of the severest battles of the war. Resigning this position, he was in May, 1864, appointed Colonel of the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and commanded it during its term of service.

Quite a list of achievements, don’t you think?

Don’t go thinking everything listed here is absolute truth, though. The rest of the bio contains information I’ve already learned is disputable. Remember: everything needs to be checked. Even—for those of you so inclined to pursue this name for your own family’s history—military information.

Whether Colonel Lyman Jackson completed every detail of this biography’s excerpt or not, I’d say it was a pretty impressive list of accomplishments. If nothing else, the man exhibited a great deal of determination and a can-do spirit of allegiance. Much the same—at least that’s what I’m wondering—as his father and grandfather might have done. Through the war of 1776 to the War of 1812 to the war of Rebellion, the battle scenes may have changed, but the human tendencies and talents often remain the same.

Above right: Currier & Ives lithograph of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, on December 13, 1862; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Are you saying Lyman James was son of Mary and someone else or son of Mary and your John?

    1. Oh, definitely, this was the son of John and Mary. It does get confusing with John's second marriage, but his second wife was not previously married. I just find it fascinating that the military heritage seemed to be passed along from grandfather, through father, and down to this particular son.


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