In preparing a work of reference of this nature for the use of later generations, the historian is proud to record the names and achievements of the brave pioneers who came when the country was new, and braved the hardships of frontier life in order to open the way for the civilization, wealth, and prosperity that we now enjoy. E. T. Jackson, whose name leads this article, is a worthy representative of one of the pioneer families that have won distinction and respect in Des Moines county.
The founder of this family in Des Moines county was Nehemiah H. Jackson, grandfather of our subject, who came to this region when it was government land, and homesteaded a large tract. Nehemiah Jackson, was born at Addison, Addison county, Vt., in the year 1801, and lived there till manhood. Sometime after his marriage he went to New York State, near Oswego, where he remained for two years. From there he moved with his father, the great-grandfather of our subject, to Illinois, where he remained one year, and in 1834 came to Iowa.
The trip from New York to Illinois was made in a wagon drawn by an ox-team, six weeks being required to make the journey. On coming to Iowa, Nehemiah Jackson homesteaded a farm of three hundred and twenty acres in Section 19, Benton township, the present farm of our subject, his grandson, as well as the farm on which another grandson, Burton Jackson, now resides. Here he built a log cabin, by his own labor even splitting the clapboard for a roof, and hewing a floor out of split hickory with an adze. After he had made the beginnings of the new home, he brought his family from Illinois, they arriving in June, 1835.
They crossed the river at Burlington on a flatboat. Burlington was then a village of log huts, with only one frame building on the north side of the landing. Their first year's crop was five acres of small corn. Old Black Hawk, with one hundred warriors, soon camped by their home, and wanted to "swap" some things for salt. The country was unoccupied at this time, and Mr. Matthew Latty was the only other settler in this part of the country for miles around. He had come as early as 1833.
Nehemiah Jackson was the main promoter of the cause of education in the community. Whenever a settler came in, he at once went to see him, and inquired if he had children, and if he was in favor of schools. At first they were compelled to have subscription schools, but later he aided in getting public schools. His activity in this and other lines pertaining to the public welfare made him practically the foremost man of his neighborhood until the close of his life. He died at the home place on May 26, 1853, and lies buried in Loper cemetery, at Sperry.
In early manhood, before leaving Addison, Nehemiah Jackson was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Pond, who survived him by twenty-five years, her death occurring in 1878, when she was at the age of sixty-six years. To them were born several children, of whom two, Elliot F. and Mrs. Melissa Howard, made their homes, in later years, in Malcolm, Nebr.; while Myron H., father of the subject of this history, made his home on the old homestead.
Myron Hull Jackson was born at Addison, Vt., April 25, 1828, and was only five years old when, with his parents, he made the long overland journey to Illinois, and seven when they came to Iowa. His schooling consisted of a few terms at the district schools of Benton township, supplemented by home lessons. The home environment was such as to encourage him to add to his education by his own efforts, and he became a great student and reader, being throughout his mature years a man who was always thoroughly informed on all the vital topics of the day.
While he was receiving his education he was also assisting in the heavy farm work always to be found on a pioneer homestead. He always made his home on the place which his father had preempted, adding to it another forty acres. Besides general farming, he carried on a stock-raising business very successfully, raising many Shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs. He inherited part of the home place, and to this he made additions from time to time until he owned three hundred and forty acres of farm land, all improved except a small tract of timber.
Myron H. Jackson was a Republican in his political faith, throughout his entire life, and was always active in politics, although he preferred to be part of the power behind the throne, rather than to aspire to public office for himself. Although he was in the midst of a strong Democratic community, his reputation for being a public-spirited citizen who always sought for the best interests of the community, made him a very influential figure in all political affairs. He served as justice of the peace for a number of terms, with credit to himself and satisfaction to his neighbors. He was also Republican township chairman for many years, and an indefatigable worker for the good of his party, at the same time being broad and liberal in his views.
In early manhood Myron H. Jackson became a member of Pisgah Baptist church, at Sperry, remaining an active member till the end of his life. He was a trustee and deacon in this organization for something like forty years. He always took great interest in church matters, giving liberally to its support, and also taking an active part in revival services. His life was that of a Christian man and a good neighbor. Besides his efforts in church work, he was also an earnest worker in the cause of temperance. He was a power for good in the community to a ripe old age, passing away at his home near Latty, Jan. 1, 1902, in the seventy-fourth year of his life.
At the age of twenty-seven, Myron H. Jackson was united in marriage at Sperry, Iowa, on Jan. 18, 1855, to Miss Sarah Penny, whose home was near Latty. Mrs. Jackson was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. Jan. 30, 1830, the daughter of John and Rebecca (Weddell) Penny. The father, John Penny, was a native of Pennsylvania, born Sept. 11, 1802, and came to Iowa in November, 1844, locating one mile east of Latty. He was a farmer and miller, and was married Sept. 12, 1822, to Miss Rebecca Weddell. He took a prominent part in the politics of the new country, following the fortunes of the Democratic party, and was elected to the House of Representatives in the Territorial Legislature of Iowa, which met at that time at Iowa City.
John Penny also found time to carry on active work in church matters, being a member of the Baptist church at Sperry, and acting as deacon for a number of years. He died Dec. 14, 1886. His wife, Rebecca Weddell, also came of an old Pennsylvania family. She was born Jan. 30, 1805, and lived till Oct. 1, 1880, when she died at the home place near Latty. She was a devoted Christian, holding membership in the Baptist church. Mr. and Mrs. Penny were the parents of a large family of children besides Sarah, the wife of Myron H. Jackson.
Mrs. Myron H. Jackson, mother of our subject, is still living, and resides on the old home place, making her home with her son. To Mr. Jackson and her were born nine children, of whom seven are still living. Those living are as follows: Fremont, of Altamont, Kans., whose wife was Miss Mattie Hunt, and to whom have been born three children, Clay, Josephine, and Frances; Hattie, wife of James Howard, of Danville, Iowa, to whom have been born three children, Murle, Grace, and Wallace; Denira, wife of Wallace Miller, of Mediapolis, to whom have been born two sons and one daughter, Espey, Genevieve, and Burton; Burton, of Latty, whose wife was Miss Idaho Pershing, and who has a little adopted daughter, Ethel: Edgar, whose career is the special subject of this review; Frank, whose home is in Prosser, Wash., where he has a farm; and Sadie, who is at home.
Edgar Thomas Jackson, the immediate subject of this history, was born on the home place, Aug. 3, 1868, and received his early education in the district schools and in the Burlington high school. After leaving high school, he spent a term in the Dixon Business College, at Dixon, Ill. Most of his time there was given to the study of telegraphy. After attaining a mastery of this profession he secured a position as operator and station agent for the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, at Kamrar, Hamilton county, Iowa. This position he filled very satisfactorily for two and a half years. At the end of this time his father needed his assistance so greatly that he returned to the home place and took the supervision of the farm. At this work he has been very successful, making a specialty of stockraising, raising high-grade cattle and hogs, and some sheep, besides carrying on general farming.
On Sept. 16, 1903, E. T. Jackson was united in marriage to Miss Emma Jackson, the daughter of William and Adeline (Wassom) Jackson, of this township. Mr. and Mrs. William Jackson came from Pennsylvania, and have always followed the business of farming. To Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Jackson one son has been born, William Herbert, born Oct. 14, 1904.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Mr. Edgar Jackson has shown his love of country by taking an active part in the political life of the community, affiliating himself with the Republican party. He has served for about five years as chairman of the township central committee of his party, and has several times been a member of the county convention. In the midst of his other interests, Mr. Jackson has always found time to advance the cause of right in the community by doing his share of church work. He is a loyal member of the Baptist church at Sperry, of which his father and mother and his maternal grandfather and grandmother were members, the grandfather and father both being deacons for many years. Mr. E. T. Jackson has always worked in the Sunday-school in various capacities, and is also clerk of the church.
Coming of an excellent family, genial by nature, and possessing a high degree of native ability, Mr. Jackson enjoys the fullest confidence of all who know him, confidence in the soundness of his judgment, the absolute rectitude of his every act, and in his ability. Mr. Jackson is a man of such force of character that while achieving a private business success he can contribute in a material degree to the general advancement and upbuilding of the community.