GEORGE JACKSON, who was formerly actively engaged in farming and stock-raising, is still connected with the agricultural interests of this county as the proprietor of one of its finely improved farms, pleasantly located in Chesterfield Township. There he and his wife are serenely and happily passing the declining years of lives spent in usefulness and well-doing, enjoying an ample income and the respect and regard due to their genuine worth.
Mr. Jackson is of English birth and antecedents, born in the village of Wistow, Yorkshire, England, January 18, 1823. His father, William Jackson, was a native of the same village, and a son of George Jackson, who was also born at Wistow. The latter, who spent his entire life in his native land, was well-educated and was a practical surveyor. The father of our subject learned the trades of a wheelwright and carpenter, and followed them during his active business life in the village of his nativity, where he always lived. He married Mary Durham, who also passed her last years at Wistow.
He of whom this biography is written was the only member of the family to come to America. When quite young he worked with his father and learned the trades that he carried on, and he remained with him until he was twenty-one. On February 14, 1844 he set sail for this country from Liverpool in the vessel "Caledonia", and landed at New Orleans after a voyage of six weeks. He came by the way of St. Louis and Alton to this county, and located in Chesterfield Township. His means were limited at that time, but in the practice of his trade as a skillful carpenter, at which he worked until 1849, he procured the wherewithal to purchase one hundred and twenty acres of land that year in Chesterfield Township. Fifty acres of his land were under cultivation, and a small frame house and a log cabin constituted in improvements at the time of purchase. He resided there eighteen years, and then rented the place and bought the farm upon which he now lives, and which constitutes three hundred and twenty acres. Two hundred and forty acres are well improved prairie land, which yield fine harvests, and are amply provided with substantial buildings. A view of this estate appears on another page.
Though he still retains possession of his farm and looks keenly after his interests Mr. Jackson has retired from active labor. He and his wife know well how to enjoy the good things that life has brought them, and have also extended their pleasures by much traveling in the land of their adoption, and in 1876 they returned to England to revisit the scenes of their childhood. They are people of high character and standing in this county where so many years of their lives have been passed, and they are universally esteemed for those traits that have made then true to all obligations in the relations that they have sustained towards others. Mr. Jackson was reared within the fold of the Episcopalian Church, and still holds to that belief, while Mrs. Jackson gives her sanction to the Baptist faith by her attendance at the church of that denomination.
Our subject and his wife, who were married February 11, 1849 have been eminently happy in their domestic life. They have nine children living, namely: Alice, wife of Joshua Rafferty; Zerilda, wife of Ebenezer Kerby; Nettie, wife of Samuel Waters; Maud, wife of Benjamin Brown; Gresham, married Irene Bosemworth; Estella, wife of Edward Marshall; Captilla, wife of Edward Miller; Villa Bella, wife of Edgar Middlecof; and Rufus, who married Nellie Daniels and lives at home with his parents.
Mrs. Jackson bore the maiden name of Mary Morris, and she is, like her husband, a native of England, born four miles from the village of Thorne, Yorkshire, May 6, 1825. Her father, John Morris, was also born in that shire, and he there grew to manhood and married Ann Sexty, who was likewise of Yorkshire birth. In 1832 he emigrated to this country with his family, taking passage on the vessel "Sarah", and landing at New York eight weeks later. He came directly to Illinois by the most convenient and expeditious route at that time, traveling by the Hudson River to Albany, thence by Erie Canal to Buffalo, by Lake Erie to Cleveland, from there by the Ohio Canal to Portsmouth, by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis, and from there to his destination in this county with an ox-team.
Casting in his lot with the early settlers of what is now Chesterfield Township, Mr. Morris was one of the first to settle there. He entered land from the Government, and also purchased land which had been entered by others, which he improved into a good farm, and he devoted himself assiduously to agricultural pursuits until death closed his earthly career. His wife also passed her last years at Chesterfield. Their daughter, Mrs. Jackson, is one of the oldest if not the oldest inhabitant in this county in point of settlement. She was seven years old when the family located here, and she still has a clear remembrance of the wild condition of the country then, when deer, wolves, bears, wild turkeys and other game were plentiful. In those early days there were no railroads and her father and husband used to team their grain to Alton, the nearest market. She has thus witnessed the entire development of the county from the wilderness to its present populous and flourishing condition.