HACKETT, JAMES HENRY, retired merchant of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., is a native of Vermont, born in Orange County, that State, March 30, 1841, a son of James and Hannah (Richardson) Hackett. His ancestry is traceable to the colonial period, he himself being a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. His great-grandfather, Daniel Hackett, was born May 25, 1753, and died in Tunbridge, Vt., July 11, 1841. Daniel Hackett served in the earthworks thrown up on Bunker Hill, and his father was a member of the Patriot force who received from General Israel Putnam the famous order to hold their fire until they could see the whites of the enemy's eyes. He was in Captain Samuel McConnell's Company, of Col. Daniel Moore's command.
James H. Hackett attended the public schools of his neighborhood in Vermont, and later Canaan (N.H.) Union Academy after which he was engaged in teaching at various points in Vermont and New Hampshire. At the conclusion of his work as a teacher, he secured an official position in the State Penitentiary, at Concord, N.H., and later became connected with the Insane Asylum at that place, where he remained three years. In 1863 he was appointed Clerk of the Hospital for the Insane at Jacksonville, Ill., and at once entered upon the duties of his position. The task was a very important one, and involved much responsibility, as he was required to keep all the books and purchase all the goods and materials used in the institution. On the termination of this connection, Mr. Hackett became connected with the clothing business, in which he continued for eighteen years. He was also engaged in other business enterprises in Jacksonville, being a partner in a flour mill under the firm name of Scott & Hackett, which was afterward changed to the Morgan Roller Mills Company.
Mr. Hackett is of a literary turn of mind, and, in addition to supervising his business interests, finds time to write largely for "The Farm," of which he is editor. Mr. and Mrs. Hackett live on the handsome suburban residence property, where they commenced housekeeping more than forty years ago. Mr. Hackett has a farm in Greene County, Ill., of about 700 acres. He also has lands in Texas and Kansas, and has for many years devoted his time largely to farming and live stock.
On September 11, 1865, Mr. Hackett was married to Mary Bailey, a daughter of James R. and Ann (Henderson) Bailey. For several years previous to her marriage Mrs. Hackett performed the duties of Matron of the Hospital for the Insane here. She was born November 21, 1841. Her father was a native of Bucks County, Pa., and her mother of New Jersey. James R. Bailey learned the printer's trade in the old Benjamin Franklin office, in Philadelphia; for many years after coming to Morgan County used an old Franklin press, which he had shipped here, and was for many years editor of the Jacksonville "Sentinel," the first Democratic organ established in Morgan County, now known as the "Courier." (See sketch of James R. Bailey in this volume).
Mr. and Mrs. Hackett have five children: Eva May, wife of William A. Patterson, of Chicago; James Dutton, of New York City, manager of a branch of the Colonial Bank; George Arthur, of Decatur, Ill., general manager of the Central Malleable Iron Company of that city; Charles H., Superintendent of the Jacksonville Electric Railway; and John S., of the firm of Johnson & Hackett, house furnishers, of Jacksonville, Ill.
Mr. Hackett has been prominent in politics, having been a candidate on the Republican ticket for the State Senate, and for membership on the State Board of Equalization. Fraternally, he was made a Mason of Blazing Star Lodge, A.F. & A.M., of New Hampshire; afterward a charter member of the Jacksonville Lodge (of which he was one of the organizers and Master for one term), as well as a member of the B.P.O. Elks, Jacksonville Lodge, No. 682. In 1899, he became a Mystic Shriner in the Peoria Lodge. He is also a Knight Templar. Religiously, he is a member of the State Street Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, of which he was Stated Clerk for twenty years. He is a life member of the American Board of Foreign Missions.