Letters about the Jackson Family in Indiana

The following are transcribed copies of handwritten letters from Mrs. Ruth Jackson regarding the genealogy of our respective Jackson families in Jackson County, Indiana.  She had responded to an advertisement that I (Bonnie Bunce) had placed in a genealogical magazine.  There are several letters dated from Aug. 27, 1977 through Sept. 7, 1978.

Aug. 27, 1977
Los Alamos, N.M.

Dear Mrs. sic Bunce,

A notice you placed in The Genealogical Helper caught my eye.

I’m wondering if your Elisha Davis Jackson could have had a brother, Joel? Joel Jackson was my husband’s great-great grandfather, and all I’ve been able to find out about him was his wife was Luanna Cordell. Their oldest child, William I., was born in 1839 sic, possibly in Indiana.  I know their youngest child was born in Indiana, but I don’t know where, in 1848.

I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Thank you.


Ruth Jackson

Sept. 5, 1977
Denver, CO

Dear Mrs. Jackson,

I was very interested in your letter. As you can see from the enclosed material [a photocopied summary of our Jackson family record], my great-great grandfather Elisha Davis Jackson, did have a brother by the name of Joel, but beyond that we know very little. According to records that my father has, he was unmarried, but it is possible he may have married at some later date.

According to our family records, Elisha Davis Jackson was born in Indiana, supposedly near Medora, Jackson County, on July 4, 1820, which coincides with the age he gave in the 1850 census as being 30 years old. On October 19, 1842, he married Isabel Celia Milholland in Jackson Co., Indiana. In 1845, they moved to Iowa, where they stayed for 2 years. In 1847, the E. D. Jacksons moved to Oquawka, Henderson County, Illinois, where they lived until 1869.

During the time they lived in Illinois Elisha D. Jackson went to California in the 1849 Gold Rush. He is listed in the 1850 census as being at El Dorado County, California. It is said he staked a claim, but got cholera while there and had to hire someone to work his claim, and didn’t make much money that way. Returned home in 1852 via a boat from San Francisco to Mexico, crossed the isthmus of Mexico, crossed the Gulf of Mexico and went up the Mississippi River. Took the long way home because he was afraid of the Indians. On the way to California, the wagon train he was with came upon the scene of the Cherry Creek massacre near Salt Lake the day after it happened.

In 1869, they again moved to Monmouth Township, Shawnee County, Kansas, and settled on a 160 acre farm in Section 32, Range 17.

Elisha Davis Jackson and his wife had six children:

  1. Martha Jane Jackson b. April 16, 1844, m. James C. Mehaffey July 4, 1863 in Warren Co., Ill. They had five or six children, the youngest of whom was my grandmother, Estella May (Mehaffey) Bunce. d. Jun. 27, 1921 Wilsey, [Morris Co.,] Kansas.

  2. Culver Jackson, b. April 29, 1848 at Oquawka, Illinois, d. September 14, 1849.

  3. Mary Davis Jackson b. July 24, 1850 Oquawka, Ill. m. Dr. J. D. Stevens of Peru, Kansas. d. July 24, 1936 Guthrie, Okla.

  4. Bellina J. sic Jackson b. Nov. 25, 1852 d. Sept. 4, 1853 Oquawka, Illinois.

  5. Amanda L. Jackson b. Nov. 4, 1854 Oquawka, Ill. m. William C. Council Nov. 12, 1876 Topeka, Kansas. d. Cedar Vale, Chautauqua Co., Kansas. Oct. 8, 1926.

  6. Lewis E. Jackson b. April 3, 1857 Oquawka, Ill. m. Amanda Ashpaugh of Fairbury, Nebraska. d. Sept. 6, 1896, Guthrie, Okla.

E. D. Jackson died February 1, 1896 at Cedar Vale, Kansas, and his wife, Isabel C. Jackson died October 30, 1902 at Cedar Vale, Kansas.

As to the parents of Elisha Davis Jackson, we have very little information. His mother's name was said to have been Mary (Davis) Jackson, as it has come down in the family that he named one of his daughters after his mother. It has also been said that E. D. Jackson claimed to be a cousin of Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson of the Civil War, but so far have found no proof of this. In the 1880 Shawnee County, Kansas census, Elisha Davis Jackson stated his father’s birthplace was Virginia and his mother’s birthplace was Tennessee.

Two of E. D. Jackson’s nephews were Billy and Dan Jackson, who went to Kansas City, Missouri, where they engaged in business. We don’t know whose children they were, but I thought perhaps there might be a link to your family since you mentioned your Joel had a son named William.

It might interest you to know that [on] the 1840 Jackson County, Indiana census there is a Joel Jackson listed. The following is what I copied:

Joel Jackson (head of household) [p. 39]
1 male under 5 years
2 males between 5 and 10 years
1 male between 30 and 40 years
1 female under 5 years
1 female between 5 and 10 years
1 female between 20 and 30 years
1 female between 60 and 70 years

I would appreciate it if you would send me all you have on Joel Jackson, so if we do find a link, I will have your information. I have enclosed a picture of Elisha Davis Jackson. Thought you might like to see if there’s a family resemblance. A postpaid stamped envelope is also enclosed.

Yours truly,

Bonnie Bunce

Sept. 12, 1977
Los Alamos, N.M.

Dear Ms. Bunce,

I was very excited to receive your letter. I feel almost convinced that we are working on the same family, but it may be a while before we can get to any positive evidence. Could you tell me what kind of record you have that shows Joel Jackson in this line? Do you have a Bible, or is it all in the letters?

The following information is from Mr. James Fletcher, _______, Neoga, Ill. There is no apparent connection with his family and the one I am working on, but he seems to have a great deal of information about Jacksons in Indiana that he is very willing to share:

A biography from Henderson Co., Ill. (he didn’t tell me the name) gives the following information about Asa Jackson. He was born Jan. 28, 1817 in Jackson Co., Indiana, son of Willington and Elsie Davies Jackson. Asa was one of 13 children (12 sons), three of whom were living in 1894. He came to Henderson Co., Ill. (Rozetta Twp.) in 1849.

Asa Jackson m. Louisa Hinderlider (Hinderliter?). (Three daughters are mentioned)

  1. Eliza M. m. Alexander M. Smith March 9, 1876 one child, Ralph.

  2. Emily A. m. Eli Beaty - Dec. 25, 1861

  3. Lavina F. m. George M. Brown - Feb. 10, 1867

Two other brothers of Asa mentioned were Elisha and Lewis.

From your information, Asa, Elisha and Lewis were apparently the ones still surviving in 1894.

The 1820 Indiana census for Jackson Co. shows:

Meliton (undoubtedly, the clerk wrote Weliton,

and it is really Willington) Jackson

4 males under 10
2    "   10-16
1    "  26-45
0 females

I have a birthdate for Joel Jackson of Oct. 12, 1801, which doesn’t exactly match up with anybody living in this household in 1820, but possibly at 19 he was gone from home. Also, I’m not absolutely certain about the accuracy of the birthdate, though I think it is pretty close.

Mr. Fletcher gave me the following list of marriages in Jackson Co., Ind.:

Betsey Jackson — John Johnston — Dec. 11, 1816

Jane Jackson — George Kelley — July 22, 1817

Wilma Jackson — Alexander Evans — Aug. 7, 1824

* Joel Jackson — Susanna Cordell — Nov. 28, 1829

Byron Jackson — Nancy Mitchner — Aug. 19, 1842

?Elizabeth Jackson — Isaac Williams — Dec. 23, 1835

*Jordan Jackson — Lavina Hinderliter — Apr. 18, 1836

Obviously Jordan and Lavina are the ones in your family. I expect Elizabeth m. Isaac Williams is the sister in the family. I am sure that Joel Jackson m. Susanna Cordell Nov. 28, 1829 are my husband’s ancestors. Her name was really Luanna Cordell, a very easy misinterpretation of some clerk’s handwriting. Family records show their marriage date as Dec. 3, 1829. I imagine they applied for and got the license on Nov. 28, but a religious ceremony was held Dec. 3.

Mr. Fletcher said that somewhere in his records he has that Willington Jackson came from Virginia, which matches your information about the father of Elisha Davis Jackson.

Here is my information about Joel Jackson. [See also confirming 1850 census record below for household of Luanna Jackson.] I apologize for the form it is in, but I am out of my genealogical blanks at the moment.

Nov. 28 (Dec. 3?), 1829
Joel Jacksonm.Luanna Cordell
b. Oct. 12, 1801
b. Apr. 24, 1814
d. Nov. 18, 1847?


  1. Elizabeth b. March 21, 1831?

  2. Greenwood (Green) b. Dec. 16, 1833

  3. Joel, Jr. b. April 30, 1835

  4. Margaret Jane b. Feb. 8, 1838

  5. Byram b. May 5, 1841, d. Dec. 23, 1842

  6. Jesse b. Dec. 22, 1843

  7. John b. June 9, 1845

  8. William Ira b. Apr. 10, 1848

Joel Jackson died shortly before or after the last child was born and Luanna was left to raise the family above. She later remarried a man named Blevins, and that union produced one child, Robert Blevins. Mr. Blevins had 4 or 5 older children, himself.

The following is a synopsis of what I know about Joel and Luanna’s children:

  1. Elizabeth — nothing known except birthdate. Possibly died young.

  2. Greenwood — nothing positive except my husband’s great-uncles knew an Uncle Green who lived around Ames, Okla.

  3. Joel, Jr. — lived in Indiana. Three children:  Laban, Jeff, Lottie.

  4. Margaret Jane — m. George Burch (Birch), no children, raised John’s youngest child, Jesse, when his wife died, buried at Ames, Okla.

  5. Byram — died in infancy. However, the name makes me wonder if there is connection to the Byron Jackson in Mr. Fletcher’s list of marriages. Could the 12th son of Willington have been Byron?

  6. Jesse — died Jan. 13, 1917, buried at Rose, [Woodson Co.] Kans. Married Nancy Ann Forgey Apr. 11, 1867 at Freetown, Jackson Co., Ind. Ann’s birthdate was Jan. 5, 1844. [Note: Nancy Ann Forgey was probably a dau. of Hugh and Delilah (Henderson) Forgey, whose name appeared on the 1850 census p. 176, Carr Twp., Jackson Co., Ind.] Moved to Yates Center, [Woodson Co.] Kans. by covered wagon about 1871. Children of Jesse Jackson & Nancy Ann Forgey:

    1. Leander Willington! b. Apr. 19, 1868 in Indiana

    2. Edna Jane b. Aug. 3, 1870 in Indiana

    3. Effie Mae b. Jan. 13, 1872 in Yates Center, Kans.

    4. John Forgey b. March 10, 1872 Yates Center, Kans.

    5. Cleophas Hugh b. Nov. 3, 1875 Yates Center, Kans.

    6. Jesse Lafayette Jackson, b. 1 Nov 1878 Yates Center, Kans.

    7. Louanna Caroline b. Feb. 25, 1881 Yates Center, Kans.

    8. Grover Cleveland b. Nov. 3, 1884 Yates Center, Kans.

    9. William Ira b. Feb. 25, 1887 Yates Center, Kans.

  7. John died Feb. 5, 1923; buried at Alden, [Caddo Co.] Okla. This is my husband’s great grandfather. Fought in the Civil War with Union forces. Was legally too young. — drummer boy at beginning. Later was involved in Indian campaigns with Sherman & Custer. Story is that his 1st wife & baby were burned up in a prairie fire. Married Katherine (Kate) Robinson. Her birth date was July 11, 1850; death date was Oct. 12, 1889, when her youngest child was 4 months old. Their children were “farmed out” to his brothers and sisters when Kate died. They never saw much of their father after that, and my husband’s grandfather and great uncles held some bitterness to their father for this. Children of John Jackson & Mary Katherine Robinson:

    1. Mary Katherine (Mollie) b. Apr. 1, 1878 in Deerfield, [Vernon Co.,] Mo.

    2. Laura b. 1880 in Deerfield, Mo.

    3. John William b. Nov. 15, 1881 in Deerfield, Mo.

    4. Harry Robinson b. Apr. 20, 1883 in ?

    5. Grant (my husband’s grandfather) b. Dec. 24, 1885 in Ark.

    6. Jesse Oscar b. June 7, 1889 in Kans.

    John Jackson remarried (3) a woman named Julia, probably in Burlington, [Coffey Co.,] Kans., and they had a daughter named Jewel. They were later divorced. This was when he was around 50 years old.

  1. William Ira — died Dec. 25, 1930; buried at Humboldt, [Allen Co.] Kans. Married Carrie Eliza? She was born in 1855. They had no children, but raised two of John’s sons.

I was interested to note that your Elisha D. Jackson claimed to be a cousin of “Stonewall” Jackson. John Jackson, my husband’s great-grandfather, claimed to be related to “Stonewall” Jackson, though no one seems to remember the specific relationship he claimed, if he ever stated it.

There certainly is a family resemblance in your picture and some of the ones I have. A picture of Danny’s grandfather, Grant Jackson, looks very much like this through the eyes. The ears are almost identical, and the mouth is similar, though the whiskers make it a little hard to tell.

I feel very encouraged that there is a connection between our families, but it is disturbing that your records show Joel Jackson as unmarried, since our Joel was married and had a family before Elisha Davis Jackson left Jackson Co. Ind. I have not been able to find out for sure yet, but I think Joel Jackson died in Jackson Co., Ind. about 3 years after the E. D. Jacksons moved to Iowa.

My apologies for my writing paper here; I’ve just run completely out.

Thank you for the information from the 1840 census. It matches up exactly with our Joel Jackson’s family except for the youngest son. I have that that child wasn’t born until 1841.


Ruth Jackson

Denver, CO
September 18, 1977

Dear Mrs. Jackson,

Thank you for your lengthy letter on the Jacksons. The information you sent was most appreciated. It does appear that we are indeed working on the same family. As to your question about our source of information on Joel Jackson, we have no Bible record, but apparently at one time one did exist on Elisha Davis Jackson’s family. I got a rather vague story from my folks that apparently Isabel C. Jackson had the family Bible. Upon her death it was passed onto her daughter Amanda (Jackson) Council. At one point some member of Isabel C. Jackson's family, who had gone to settle in Oregon, wrote to Amanda for information on the family and rather than make a copy of the record in the Bible, she simply sent the pages, which were just loose in the Bible. No one knows exactly what the record contained, whether it referred to the Jackson or Isabel’s family, the Milhollands. My father has tried to locate this record, but has had no success. So, the information we have on Joel Jackson is based on old letters, chiefly from Mary Davis (Jackson) Stevens, Elisha D. Jackson’s daughter, and from Bertle (Council) Ransom [Maher], Amanda’s daughter. Some of this information especially from Bertle was based on her memories of what her mother said, so could possibly be in error. It’s quite possible that Elisha Davis Jackson might not have known that his brother was married since it appears his brother left home before Elisha was born or shortly thereafter.

I am hoping to learn something from the National Archives concerning Lewis Jackson. He served in the Civil War, but I don’t know from which state he enlisted. We do know that he was supposed to have died at an old soldiers home in South Dakota. According to a book which I have, the National Archives has custody of the old soldiers homes’ records. So since I’ve had no luck requesting his military and pension records I wrote the National Archives regarding these old soldiers homes' records, but have gotten no response as yet. He was a bachelor all of his life. These records are supposed to list among other things the veteran’s next-of-kin, so perhaps there will be some clues there.

Also yesterday I wrote to the Jackson County clerk, asking for a probate record for Willington Jackson. If he died in 1847, then that would seem to tie him to Elisha D. Jackson. It’s possible of course that he left no property or will.

My father copied the following from History of Jackson County, Indiana by Brant & Fuller Chicago 1886. He thought you might be interested in it.

Page 2

Page 439 — “One of the first settlers in Salt Creek Township was John Lutes, who built a small log cabin a half mile north of Houston. George Waggoner settled a quarter of mile east of Houston; Joshua Brown a mile to the west, and William Winkler and Samuel Stockdell were in the same neighborhood. A few years later came James Acton and George Gable, James Mulkey, Michael Randolph, Solomon Cox and Joseph Young. Contemporaneous with the settlement made at Houston, which was sometime prior to 1820, other settlements were made on ‘Muddy Fork’ and at Finley’s. At the former were Joel Jackson and . . .” eight others.

I found the following in the 1850 Jackson County, Indiana census, Salt Creek Township:

274th family to be visited.

  1. Luannah Jackson, female, 38 years old, no birthplace given.

  2. Greenwood Jackson, male, 17 years old, occupation farmer, born in Indiana.

  3. Joel Jackson, male, 16 years old, born in Indiana.

  4. Margaret Jackson, female, 15 years old, born in Indiana.

  5. Jesse Jackson, male, 8 years old, born in Indiana.

  6. John Jackson, male, 5 years old, born in Indiana.

  7. William Jackson, male, 2 years old, born in Indiana.

In the 1840 Jackson County, Indiana census I think I found Willington Jackson, though at the time I copied the record I didn’t know what I know now. The handwriting on the microfilm was very light and rather scrawling, so I had trouble reading it. At first I wrote dowm Wellington and then I wrote down Arlington, but it was probably Willington.

Wellington(?) or Arlington(?) Jackson [Millington in index, p. 5]
    2 males under 5 years
    1 male between 5 and 10 years
    1 male between 10 and 15 years
    2 males between 15 and 20 years
    1 male between 50 and 60 years
    1 female between 15 and 20 years
    1 female between 50 and 60 years

So apparently Willington Jackson was the male between 50 and 60 years of age possibly born in the early 1780’s in Virginia.

In the Henderson County, Illinois [1850] census, I found the fo1lowing

107th family to be visited
  1. Asa Jackson, age 31 years, occpation: farmer, born in Indiana.

Page 3

  1. Louissa(?) Jackson, 29 years old, born in New York.

  2. Michael Jackson, 11 years old, born in Indiana.

  3. Adaline Jackson, 10 years old, born in Indiana.

  4. Caroline Jackson, 8 years old, born in Indiana.

  5. Lavinia Jackson, age 7 years, born in Indiana.

  6. Mahalia(?) Jackson, age 5 years, born in Indiana.

  7. Mary Jackson, age 2 years, born in Indiana.

108th family to be visited.

  1. Elisha D. Jackson, age 29 years, occupation: farmer, born in Indiana.

  2. Isabel C. Jackson, age 29 years, born in North Carolina.

  3. Martha J. Jackson, age 6 years, born in Indiana.

  4. Nimrod(?) Jackson, age 20 years, occupation: farmer, born in Indiana.

  5. Lewis(?) W. or Davis(?) Jackson, age 18 years, occupation: farmer, born in Indiana.

Note, Elisha appears on two census records in 1850, one in Indiana and the other in El Dorado County, California. According to family records and a history of Kansas, he was actually in California in 1850. His wife Isabel probably gave his name as being the head of the household. I don’t know who Nimrod was. Lewis was probably his brother.

Well, I would certainly appreciate it if you would share any new information you should come across and I will do the same for you. Thanks again for answering my ad in the Genealogical Helper.

Yours truly,

Bonnie Bunce

Nov. 6, 1977
Los Alamos, N.M.

Dear Miss Bunce,

Thank you so much for the copy of the Jackson Family Line that you compiled. It certainly is nice to have all this information in one place. I’m sorry I didn’t get a letter written to you sooner, but ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ and we were away from home about 3 weeks out of that month.

Since I last wrote you, I have gotten some more interesting leads that may or may not pan out.

A biographical sketch of Joel Jackson, Jr. states that his father, Joel, Sr., moved with his parents from N.Car. to Jackson Co., Ind. in 1813. He was a lifelong Democrat, and was the captain of a company of militia for a time. Joel, Jr. was a wagonmaker and farmer who owned 120 A. in Salt Creek Township.

I was interested to see that Jordan Jackson was born in 1815 in Tenn. This doesn’t quite jibe with Joel coming to Jackson Co. with his parents in 1813 at the age of 12, unless perhaps his mother went back to be with her parents for the birth because of the wild and unsettled state of the country at that time. The biography said that Joel, Sr. came from N.Car. with his parents in 1813 at the age of 12, and they came by team and wagon. It also says the family was among the first settlers in the county.

I also note that there was no woman in the Meliton (Willington) Jackson household in the 1820 census. Could it be that the mother had gone to her parents in Tenn. for a while with the new baby, your ancestor, Elisha D.?

In the 1820 census there are only 3 Jacksons:

  1. Meliton (Willington) Jackson household had -

    4 males under 10 - one of them was Jordan, another was Asa,
    and possibly one was Elisha, though that seems a little unlikely
    since there is no female listed in the household.

    2 males 10-16 - These must have been some of the older sons,
    though no way to determine which ones at this time.

    1 male 26-45 - This would be Willington.

  2. Samuel G. Jackson household had -
    1 male 26-45 - this would be Samuel G.
    1 female 26-45 - this would be his wife.
    2 females under 10 - these would be their children.

  3. Matthias Jackson household had -
    1 male 26-45 - undoubtedly Matthias
    1 female 16-26 - this would be his wife
    1 female under 10 - their daughter
    1 male 16-18
    1 male 18-26

Matthias is also listed in the 1850 census, and he gives his age as 63, so he must have been born in 1787 and says he was born in N.Car. In 1820 he would have been 33. The only person listed who could have been Joel, Sr. is the male 18-26 (he was 19) in Matthias Jackson’s household, but Matthias was too young to have a son that age—only 14 years difference in their ages. The male 16-18 could possibly have been Matthias’ son, if he were only 16. That would make a 17-year difference in their ages. Matthias’ wife was too young for that son to be hers.

I know for sure now that Joel’s birthdate is correct (Bible record), and the Jackson Co. biography written by his son, Joel, Jr. matches with it. Since Joel, Sr. came with his parents from N.Car., which I suppose means he was born there, and since Matthias was also born in N.Car., it makes me wonder if Matthias wasn’t his uncle, and a couple of the older sons of Willington were living in their uncle’s household.

It looks like Samuel and his wife were probably a young couple with 2 young daughters, so Willington is the only possibility for a father for Joel, since I know for sure that he came in 1813. I think this proves to my satisfaction that our Joel, and the one mentioned in your family are the same person.

With that established, I think that Byrom (Byram?) Jackson was the missing 13th child of Willington Jackson.

Joel Jackson named one of his sons Byram, and that seems like a fairly unusual name to me. A much more common name would be Byron. It seems not unlikely that he might have named the child for one of his brothers. If you recall, Joel’s son Byram died at the age of not quite 20 months.

However, there is a Byrom Jackson listed in the 1850 census for Jackson Co. as follows:

Byrom Jackson, 39, b. Ind.
Nancy Jackson, 38, b. Ky.
Mary I. Jackson, 22, b. Ind.
Margaret George Jackson, 15, b. Ind.

Jackson Co. marriages include:

Byron Jackson m. Nancy Mitchner
Aug. 19, 1832

These are bound to be the same people, and he is listed as Byron instead of Byrom in the marriage record because that sounded like a more likely name to the clerk.

Mary I. must be somebody’s sister, or else is a child from a previous marriage. I wonder if Margaret George is really twins, Margaret and George. Of course, maybe they wanted to name her for a grandfather or uncle.

Do you remember that you wrote me that the 1850 census for Henderson Co., Ill. listed Nimrod Jackson, age 20, b. in Ind. as living in the Elisha D. Jackson household?

Also, Jackson Co., Ind. is only about 300 miles from here, and I've already served notice to Danny that I’m going to leave him babysitting part of one week, so I can drive over there and spend some time in the courthouse and looking for old cemeteries.

I really appreciate the xerox copy of the biography of Asa Jackson. It matches up pretty well with the information I have on Joel Jackson except for one thing. Supposedly he moved with his parents by team and wagon from North Carolina to Jackson Co., Ind. in 1813. He was 12 years old at the time. This fits O.K. with the hypothesis we had that Joel may have been the eldest child (since it says Willington was about 30). However, Virginia and North Carolina don’t quite jibe. As much as they changed around state lines back in there, I would say that it is possible that the area they came from was at one time or another in both states.

I found a list of the 1810 N.Car. census, and there was no Willington Jackson listed. There were 23 William Jacksons.

No, I don’t have access to that book from Henderson Co., Ill. I wish I did. My mother’s maternal grandparents were from Henderson Co., Ill. If you come across a copy, would you also look up George Fields of Biggsville, Henderson Co., Ill. and any McLain, Rankin, and Dial or Diel names for me? I'd really appreciate it.

Thank you again for the biography on Asa. I’ll certainly let you know if I can find out anything in Jackson Co., Ind.


Ruth Jackson

Denver, CO
August 18, 1978

Dear Ruth,

I’m glad to hear that you now live so close to Jackson County, Indiana. I’ve tried getting a copy of a possible probate record for Willington Jackson by writing to the County Clerk there, but have had no luck. The woman who answered my letter said she was not familiar with the probate records in the county office. Apparently the office has a small staff. She did give me the address of the President of the Jackson County Historical Society. I wrote to him a long time ago and have yet to receive an answer.

I can imagine you’ve had your hands full with moving and all. I work full time and sometimes find it hard to find time to do any work on my family history, but I still try to keep up an interest in it. Getting letters from people like you helps spur my interest when it flags. I noted in your letter that you said your Joel Jackson supposedly came from North Carolina. I wonder if he might not have been a son of Mathias Jackson, who also lived in Jackson County. Mathias was on the 1850 census and gave his birthplace as being North Carolina. It’s possible Mathias and Willington each had a son named Joel Jackson. I had a theory at one time that possib1y Mathias and Willington Jackson were brothers, one born in Virginia and one in North Carolina, but I have nothing to back this up. Another explanation of Joel being in North Carolina might be that Willington Jackson migrated to North Carolina at an early age and then went to Tennessee where he most likely married Elsie Davis. Perhaps they went back to North Carolina, because of the rigors of pioneer life in Tennessee? ? ?

I’m sorry to hear that you don’t have access to that book on Henderson County, where that biography of Asa Jackson appears. I’ve checked the Denver Pub1ic Library and they don’t have it either. I know that they have another county history on Henderson County and I will check it for the names you gave me.

I’ve been thinking of the trip you were going to take to Jackson County. Do you suppose you could take a camera and take pictures of any gravestones that [you] should come across with the Jackson name on it? I would be happy to reimburse you for the film and developing costs. Also when you are at the courthouse you might check into possible probate records on any Jacksons. Perhaps Willington Jackson left a will and also Joel Jackson. I would think that since Joel Jackson died when most of his children were still minors, someone may have been appointed as their guardian. I saw this happen in another family line I have been working on. Possibly one of Joel Jackson’s brothers was appointed guardian or executor or his estate, supposing he left one. If you could take along the list of names I sent you on my Jackson family, perhaps you could compare it to an index of the probate records and see if any left estates. As you may remember according to my family’s records, six of my great-great grandfather’s brothers were supposed to have stayed in Jackson County, Indiana. You might also check for land records. Willington Jackson was supposed to have entered a claim for the land from the government. Such a land record might show where he had immigrated from and perhaps a record of his children.

I know I’m asking a lot and since anything you find in Jackson County could help me, I want you to know that I’d be willing to help you with your traveling expenses. So if you go, please keep a record of your expenses and you can decide how much would be fair for me to pay as my share.

If you should find that Willington Jackson left a will, would you please get a xerox copy of it for me? The lady at the courthouse in Brownstown Jackson County said they charge 25 cents a page for uncertified photocopies.

Well, good luck and I wish I could go with you, but I’ve used up all my vacation leave this year.

Yours truly,

Bonnie Bunce

Sept. 7, 1978
West Jefferson, OH

Dear Bonnie,

It was good to hear from you. I’m glad to hear that you are still doing some work on the Jackson family. I just haven’t been able to get much done for too long.

My garden has kept me busy this summer, and I’m also teaching a childbirth preparation class. I’m changing my format this time, so it is taking a lot more preparation time before each class.

About 3 weeks ago our family took a camping trip over the weekend to Jackson Co., Ind. It was really interesting. We knew that we needed to be looking around Freetown, so easily found the cemetery we were looking for — just asked at the little country store. It is still in use (the cemetery) today. The Jacksons in it are all the family of Joel Jackson, II, who was Danny’s great-great uncle, the brother of his great grandfather, John Jackson. There had been no contact with the Indiana branch of the family since the ’20s. We found the graves of Joel and his wife, Sarah Reedy J., and several of their children. These graves were 1880-1919 in age. Thanks to the lady at the little grocery we were also able to find a grandson of Joel II. He is a man of about 74, and he directed us to a cousin of his who is 86. She evidently has the old family photos, which I would dearly love to get copies of. When we went by her house, she wasn’t home, much to my disappointment. I wrote her a letter, and got a reply last week from her daughter. I hope I can make another trip down there before too long to get copies of her photos and, hopefully, go to the courthouse. That will be something of a problem, because I will have to go during the week (or the courthouse is closed), and I will have to find some kind of all day child care if I go during the week, because my husband will have to be at work.

Joel Jackson’s grandson took us to a little overgrown cemetery about 2 miles from his house where Joel had showed him where his mother, Luanna Cordell Jackson was buried. This was when he was about 12 yrs. old and his grandfather died the next year. The grave wasn’t marked. He showed approximately where it was (one of about 3). Most of the graves weren’t marked—just a depression in the soil to show where they are. Luanna died in 1883, I’m thinking it may not be too likely to find marked graves any older than that.

This area of Indiana reminded me very much of when we were living last in Tennessee at Oak Ridge. It is very hilly, and near poverty seems to be the rule, rather than the exception. There are little pockets of corn here and there, but no farming on anywhere near the scale we are used to in the West. I can see where someone moving from North Carolina or Tennessee might feel right at home — the vegetation just isn’t quite as lush, but it is still mostly forested.

I’m hopeful that I will get a chance sometime before long to do some record searching there in Brownstown at the courthouse. I’m more than happy to do some searching for you too, if I can get back there sometime during the week. It would be easier if I could take ______ with me, but it would be just impossible for an active 3-1/2 year old to sit and be good while mom looked at court records.


Ruth Jackson

Denver, CO
September 28, 1978

Dear Mrs. Jackson,

It was nice of you to write me about your trip to Jackson County, Indiana this past summer. I can just imagine your excitement at finding the graves of Joel Jackson II and his family, and also the grave of Luanna Cordell Jackson. It must have given you a real sense of “roots.”

I hope that you will be able to contact that cousin of Joel Jackson's grandson, who has all those old family photographs. I wish you luck in getting copies of the photographs. If there should be any of Joel Jackson. Sr. or of any of his brothers and sister, do you suppose you might be able to send me copies? We have only one picture of my great-great grandfather Elisha Davis Jackson and none at all of his brothers and sisters. It would be so nice to have pictures of other members of his family, provided they are available. I would be most happy to pay you for having them reproduced and for the postage to send them to me in Denver. If you would l1ke to have a picture of Elisha Davis Jackson, I can send a copy to you.

I hope you will be able to get back to Brownstown soon, but I can imagine what a handful your 3 1/2 year old child could be. My sister has a little boy of almost 3 and if she doesn’t keep an eye on him every minute he has the house in shambles. I just can’t imagine where they get all that energy, and high spirits.

Well, please keep in touch. I will try to see what I can do from this end.

yours truly,

Bonnie Bunce

Addendum:  The following records were copied from the 1850 Jackson Co., Indiana census.

Microfilm Reel #4, p. 115, Salt Creek Township
271st family

Luanna Jackson, age 38 years, F [no birthplace given, Kentucky?]
Greenwood Jackson, age 17 years, M, occupation: farmer, birthplace: Indiana
Joel Jackson, 16 years old, M, birthplace: Indiana
Margaret Jackson, age 13 years, F, birthplace: Indiana
Jesse Jackson, age 8 years, M, birthplace: Indiana
John Jackson, age 5 years, M, birthplace: Indiana
William, age 2 years, M, birthplace: Indiana

(Note:  According to marriage records for Jackson County, Indiana, “Susannah” Cordell married Joel Jackson on 28-Nov-1829.)

275th family

Byrom Jackson, age 39 years, M, occupation: farmer, birthplace: Indiana
Nancy Jackson, age 38 years, F, birthplace: Kentucky
Naigh (?) Jackson, age 52(?) years, F, birthplace: Indiana (possibly 22 yrs. old)
Margaret George(?), age 13 years, F, birthplace: Indiana

Carr Township, p. 170
27th family

Jordan Jackson, age 35 years, M, occupation: farmer, birthplace: Tenn.
Lavina Jackson, age 32 years, F, birthplace: Kentucky
Fanny Jackson, age 11 years , F, birthplace: Indiana
Hilsey Jackson, age 7 years , F, birthplace: Indiana
Leuvisa(?) Jackson, age 5 years, F, birthplace: Indiana
William F. Jackson, age 3 years, M, birthplace: Indiana
Rebecca Jackson, age 1 year, F, birthplace: Indiana
Joel Jackson, age 1 month, M, birthplace: Indiana
James Brannuian(?), laborer [probably unrelated to the family]

(Note: According to Jackson County marriage records, Jordan married Lavina Hinderliter on 18-April-1836.)

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