Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Andrew William Jackson
At times we
of early settlers in
William Jackson was born in 1835 in Choestoe District,
Andrew was the youngest of eight known children. The others were Rebecca who married Jonathan Cook; Armelia who married William Neely; Johile who married Jane Duckworth; Susan who married John W. Duckworth; Kimsey who married Lucinda Thomas; Mira who married Jehu Wimpey; and William Marion who married Minerva Goforth.
and Nancy Jackson moved from Rutherford County, NC where they were
William Jackson and Margaret Minerva Goforth were married on
The story is
told that at
one time when his pursuers were looking for him, he climbed up into the
of their home to hide. Minerva and her
little children tried to be calm while the search went on.
The men left the home and Andrew stayed several
hours in the chimney before he came down.
He and sixteen other deserters were captured and sent to a jail
Andrew found a way to get a message to Minerva.
He asked her to visit him at the
One of the men imprisoned with Andrew Jackson had lost a leg and walked with a wooden leg. Andrew asked him for his wooden leg so he could fashion a key to unlock the jail. The man, at first reluctant, said, "If I don't have my leg, I can't walk out."
The story goes that Andrew Jackson told him, "It's either your wooden leg or we'll be shot to death in the morning." How he had that knowledge is an untold part of the story. Andrew did take the wooden leg and carved a sort of key that worked to open the lock. Evidently the guards were asleep or not aware of what was going on within the jail. Andrew was successful with springing the lock and the men walked out. They set fire to the stockade and burned it down, escaping through the woods.
in the woods was Minerva with the two horses and their children,
her husband. They made their way from
what year Andrew and Minerva and their by then four children decided to
Choestoe is not certain. But evidently
the unrest of the war years was still upon the land.
They packed up their meager belongings and
set out with their young family heading west.
They had great difficulties along the way. Andrew
still had to hide out because he was
wanted for having escaped the Confederate jail.
When they crossed the
was a sad journey. The two middle
children died on the journey and were buried along the route. Their names are unknown to this writer. Milton Bert and Dicie survived the trip. The
Milton Bert was given the responsibility of herding sheep. He took the sheep to open range on the mountains near where they lived. The lad was only fourteen when he began this herdsman's job. Andrew went every week to take Bert food and to check on him. The lad did a good job of warding off wild animals and caring for the sheep.
Andrew liked seclusion. When other settlers began to move onto the Creasy Plains and get too close, Andrew would stake out another claim in a less-populated area. He did not like to talk of his Civil War experiences or of the hardships the family endured. One day Bert saw a large scar on his father's side and asked how he got it. Andrew told his son, "It's none of your business."
day a group of men with winded, exhausted horses rode onto the
Soon afterward, a sheriff's posse came by looking for the men. Noticing the many horse tracks near Andrew's barn, they wanted to know why. Ever the man of few words, Andrew told the sheriff that a lot of riding had been going on there the last few days. The sheriff explained that the Dalton Gang had robbed the bank the day before and the posse was trailing them.
A few days later, Andrew's tired horses reappeared at the ranch. He took off their saddles, and there under the blanket were fastened several $50 gold pieces. Whether Andrew kept the gold or turned it over to the authorities is unknown. Maybe he went by the old adage, "Finders, keepers."
and Minerva Goforth Jackson did not return to
Jones; published March 25, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]