A passerby can’t see the cemetery until he is in Jackson City Park. We walk
down the gentle slope toward the playground.
The iron fence around the graveyard finally comes into view. Around the corner, gates
are open. Stonewall is buried in Lexington, Virginia, but this visit provides insight into
the land-owning, Indian-fighting, civic-minded, somewhat wealthy and connected family
he hailed from.
His father Johnathan Jackson is here, and his marker indicates that he was born in 1790
and died (of typhoid fever) in 1826--lived only 36 years and died when Stonewall was
only 2. Stonewall’s sister Elizabeth was an infant and died of typhoid, too, at the same
time, but his mother gave birth to his other sister Laura the next day after the death of her
husband. (Stonewall was particularly fond of his sister Laura and grew up with her at
Jackson’s Mill, near Jane Lew.) After recovering from the death of her husband and baby
daughter, Stonewall’s mother, Julia Beckwith Neale, made a meager living teaching and
sewing for three years and then married a man who made not much of a living and didn’t
like her children.
She died at age 33 during childbirth when Stonewall was 6, and some say that her
malnutrition that she suffered during her second marriage may have caused the lung
ailment that killed her. She had sent all her children to live with relatives before
she died, and one might speculate that her home with her second husband wasn’t safe for
her children or herself. Her emaciated body was buried in Amsted, West Virginia in an
unmarked grave until a sympathetic patron later bought her a marble marker. Her
absence here in the Jackson family cemetery and the tragic details of her life serve to
illustrate the difficulties of the isolated frontier life, especially for women, who were
estranged here from their parent families, who might have intervened. (Julia came from a
Other difficulties, too, become apparent in the graveyard.
Captain John Jackson is labeled as "INDIAN FIGHTER, REVOLUTIONARY
SOLDIER," and I understand that these were one and the same in these parts, where
Delaware Indians were instigated by the British to attack settlements. He must have been
a very successful indian fighter, for he lived to age 85! Born in Ireland, he was
the first of the family to immigrate. (His brother, Dr. Joseph Jackson may have
been the grandfather of President Andrew Jackson, but there are problems with this
genealogy.) John’s wife, Elizabeth Cummins Jackson, has a marker indicating that she
was born in London and lived to be 105! If that is accurate, then a good family could
prosper here. These Jacksons, Stonewall’s great-grandparents, had a better life
than did Stonewall’s parents and provided "good stock" for the Jackson family here in
Another sign tells us that this land was the original Jackson family farm, an "outpost of
pioneer Clarksburg and scene of Indian raids." Another sign near Dolly Madison’s
sister and mother (Mary Payne Jackson and Mary Coles Payne) explains that this particular spot was the orchard and that the land was deeded as a public cemetery by George Jackson--he appears to have been a brother of Stonewall's grandfather Edward, who started the plantation farm at Jackson's Mill, farther south, where Stonewall was raised by Edward's son Cummins.
Most of the Jackson men outlived their wives, so many of them had two wives in their long lifetimes. Some of these grand sires had as many as fifteen children. Looking at the family tree, I see a James Madison Jackson, and I notice that a number of the Jacksons married members of the Brake family. One Brake woman (Elizabeth Weatherholt Brake) was married to Edward, so we'll learn more about her and her relatives at Jackson's Mill.
I rarely dabble in genealogy, but the Jackson family is rich in research. Many books have
been written about the descendants of Captain John Jackson and the Jackson family tree.
This particular branch of history would drive me mad, I’m sure, with a steady diet of it,
but it is friendly enough for mastering just one early local family with a perfectly clear
lineage: Captain John Jackson (original Jackson stock and
Stonewall’s great-grandfather), Col. Edward Jackson (grandfather, who started
the plantation farm at Jackson’s Mill near Jane Lew), Jonathan Jackson
(Stonewall’s father and brother of Cummins, inheritor of their father Edward’s
farm and uncle who raised Stonewall).
This much, we have straight before we head to
Jackson’s Mill, Stonewall’s boyhood home. That’s another journal that includes two Civil War sites
south of here--Jackson's Mill and Bulltown. These figures here in the Jackson family cemetery turn up again at Jackson's Mill in the tourguide's narrative, so we're glad we've stopped here first to get to know them.