Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Thanks to a Grandson,
We Learn More About a Son


Piecing together a family's story can be challenging, especially when we are missing essential documents to provide the barest of details, like the names of the family's sons. In searching for details on the family of my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandfather, Lyman Jackson, I had come up far short when researching the only son I knew, John Jay Jackson. I've been on a quest this month to flesh out the family constellation with the names of John's siblings.

Bit by bit, the names are falling into place, but the research trail has led far and wide. One son we discovered, thanks to a grandson's biographical sketch in a nineteenth century local history book from Kansas, far from Lyman Jackson's last residence in Pennsylvania. Today, we'll learn a bit more about Lyman, thanks to discovery of another grandson.

This grandson I discovered quite by accident yesterday, when my failed attempt to locate a will for Lyman led to the discovery of another nineteenth century local history book. This time, rather than being as far-flung as the publication reporting on Judge Horace Mortimer Jackson in Atchison County, Kansas, the story comes to us from back home in the Jackson family's last settlement in Erie County, Pennsylvania.

In a modest entry in History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, the 1884 report on the Jackson descendant focused on a man named Lysander P. Jackson. Following his brief biographical entry there was challenging, as Lysander's grandfather wasn't exactly referred to by name. To complicate matters, Lysander's father was apparently also named Lyman, same as the presumed grandfather.

However, here are the facts which can be gleaned from the history book's entry. The first detail we've already learned: that the Jackson family came to Erie County in 1805. According to this version, the family first settled in a town called Albion—the same place where Lyman Jackson is now buried. Apparently, when the Jackson family first settled at that location, they called it Jacksonville, according to this book (although I've also seen the settlement called Jackson Crossing).

Just as we learned from the Kansas history book, the Erie County history repeated the detail of Lyman Jackson's thirteen children—ten boys and three girls—though with one exception, the text once again failed to name any but the one son who was father of the report's subject, Lysander. But we do learn that, at the time the book was published in 1884, the only son remaining from Lyman's thirteen children who was still living was a man named Abner, who had moved to Wellsville, Ohio. We also learn that Lysander's own father, also named Lyman, had been a local preacher of the Methodist church for fifty years, and had died in Wisconsin on January 11, 1879.

One by one, we are picking up the details on Lyman Jackson's thirteen children. Perhaps the pace of discovery is painstakingly slow, but at least it is progress. Thankfully, I found another such local history book which turned out to afford us a glimpse of yet another child of Lyman Jackson. We'll take a look at that report tomorrow, and see what this third resource can add to the list of Lyman's thirteen children.

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