< Jackson Co MN Genealogy

Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

Home Page
Biographies and Obituaries
Historical Links
Historical Society
Towns and Townships
Other Resources

Got books? Call the historical society if you need any: 507-662-5505... ...click here for the books-page...

Welcome...to the
Jackson County MN genealogy website!
Jackson County is located in southwest Minnesota and borders Iowa.

Gretchen Steffen-Wendel

My last photo with my Grandmother, taken mid-January.

Randy Wendel photo

Welcome to the Jackson Co MN genealogy website! ------PLEASE READ!
My name is Randy Wendel (meet Randy), Rootsweb MNGenWeb volunteer County Coordinator and webmaster for Jackson County, MN since May 2007, and lifetime member of the Jackson Co Hist. Society. The Jackson County Historical Society does not have a website but is fully aware of this one which I maintain, but please feel free to say "hello" to Mike, director of JCHS, should you ever visit to talk with him. Mike and I communicate somewhat regularly and it's not unusual for researchers to contact him for items or information after having visited here or corresponded with me. My goal is to keep this website regularly updated with Jackson Co genealogy and Jackson Co Historical Society information. It is my primary goal to concentrate on the PEOPLE and genealogical roots of Jackson County, although there may be some expansion to other direct historical information (i.e. events and buildings) in Jackson county since it may have been an important or direct factor in the life of someone (genealogical standpoint). I'm always interested in contributions to post on this website so please pass along any photos, person or family history/genealogy related items! Also be aware I live 150-miles from Jackson County (Bloomington MN) and the distance keeps me from regular on-site research activities, cemetery visits for this website or volunteer work at the historical society/museum for that matter. Therefore, the least I can do in any volunteer-capacity on a regular basis is maintain this web site.
Click here to email me with questions, submissions, etc.


FEBRUARY What a relatively mild winter we've had. Minimal snowfall events in Minnesota, which started on Christmas Day. Up until then, we had mostly bare grass for the start of the winter season with the exception of a few traces of snow which melted soon after.

My wife and I recently enjoyed a visit to Bayport MN (along the St. Croix River just south of Stillwater. There's a restaurant called Bayport BBQ, owned by Chris Johnson, a native of Jackson and 1981 JHS graduate. His wife (from St. Paul) and kids work at the restaurant and do a wonderful job. The restaurant is basically a buffet (or menu items if you prefer) of Texas BBQ. There is usually a selection of brisket, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket for meats, and sides of creamed corn (wonderful), au graten potatos, pasta, corn bread, BBQ baked beans (also very good). Most of Chris's family hail from Slayton MN, but after being raised in Jackson, much of his family moved to a few locations in Wisconsin and now reside in Hudson, just across the river from Bayport. In any case, if you're ever going to be in Bayport, look up Chris and the Bayport BBQ, but be sure to check the hours because they are open mainly for lunch and supper hours only, and closed Mon/Tue. Talk a little Jackson while you are there.

Back in the 1980's, I had an interest in photography and had a nicely outfitted Ricoh SLR with various lens's, but basically did not follow through with the interest thereafter. This past fall, I did spring for a new (digital) camera and lens's, tripod, bag, filters, etc., and have been enjoying photography once again. It's more enjoyable now because you don't have to send in film (and wait) for development. It's also more enjoyable because I can upload images for others to see and enjoy. I must admit I've had a bit of a fascination with photos from around Duluth and North Shore. We took a trip there after I got the camera (not to specifically take photos) and while I did take several photos, I have been following others (on Facebook) who actually live in that area and are also into photography. My interest in photography has been a nice distraction.

My Grandmother Gretchen (Steffen) Wendel turned 95 in mid-January. She had been living in assisted living in St. Peter (near my parents) after leaving Lakefield behind about 8 years ago. I was able to spend some time with her a few days before prior to her 95th birthday. However, the following week she was not feeling well. She passed away 8 days after my visit in her sleep. A funeral was in St. Peter and drove down to Rost town cemetery for burial in the afternoon (Jan 30). Several people attended the funeral, and we also had a nice turn-out of folks in Lakefield at the community center after the cemetery service. It was wonderful to see so many people, especially those I haven't seen (or rarely see) for some years.

Jackson County area residents...can you help?
If you are within a short drive of the Jackson Co Historical Society and Museum, and have a little time you could spare, they could sure use your help! Why not consider dedicating 1 day out of the year (or just a Saturday morning?) to give back to your community and help preserve some history. Among any immediate items they need assistance with, there are MANY photos which need to be scanned so a digital file can be used to backup photos and documents and stored more safely. Imagine all paper-based items that would be lost if a fire or tornado destroyed them. Scanning items to digital format for safe keeping is important. Contact Mike 507-662-5505 and tell him you'd like to come in and lend a hand with something...he'll be very glad you did, and so will you!

Jackson...origin of the name
Jackson County (24 counties in the United States are named Jackson County), established on May 23, 1857, was named after Henry Jackson, the first merchant in St. Paul and a member of the first territorial legislature. You will find Jackson County in the Southwest corner of Minnesota (43.6750 N, 95.1567 W). The county seat is Jackson. The historical society is located in Lakefield.

Henry Jackson was born in Abingdon, VA, in 1811. He acquired only a limited education as a youth, but ultimately became a good penman and accountant through diligent self-study. Of a somewhat roving nature, he went off to serve as an orderly sergeant in the Texas "Patriot War" of 1836-7, then returned to Buffalo, NY, where he married Angelina Bivins (1814 NY) in 1838. Soon after, they emigrated to Green Bay, WI, then to Galena, IL. When his business failed in 1842, the family moved to St. Paul, where they rented a cabin from Pierre Parrant where the family lived temporarily. Jackson purchased 3 acres of land from Benjamin Gervais which was located in the area later bounded by Jackson, Robert, Bench, and 3rd Streets, which was then a high bank overlooking the lower levee. On this property, he built a log or pole cabin, and opened a small stock of goods suitable for the Indian trade. He soon did a prosperous business, and shortly thereafter became a community leader.

During his residence in St. Paul, he held several important offices. In 1843, he was appointed the first Justice of the Peace in St. Paul. In 1846, he was appointed as the first Postmaster, and in 1847, he was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly. He was later a member of the first Territorial Legislature of Minnesota, and was a member of the first St. Paul Town Council. In 1853, he and his family moved to Mankato, MN, where he played a role in founding the city. He died in 1857. Jackson Street in St. Paul, Mankato, and Jackson County, MN, were named for him. His real estate holdings were valued at $8,000 in 1850. He and Angeline had at least one child: William C. (1847 MN).



Annual meeting of Jackson County Historical Society will be held Saturday Jan 16, 2016 at 1pm at the museum.

Jackson Co Fair 2016 July xx-xx Official web page, click here.

- - - Jackson County is bordered by the following counties in this geographical arrangement - - -

Murray Watonwan

Thank you for visiting this website!!!

Visitors since Oct 23, 2007

Hit counter

This page last updated: (see below)
Dec 23: corrected Joseph Pribyl bio link on bio's page.
Nov 19: added Jackson children's burial inquiry to queries page
Sep 21: added digital newspaper link on resources page
Jul 5: added photo gallery resource
Jan 7: add HUEBNER query to queries page
Jan 4: add CIHAK headstone photo
Jan 2: add mn online books url to resources page
Jan 1: add add'l links on MAPS page, add GIESEL to surnames page
Nov 24: add OLTMANS query to queries page
Nov 15: add railroad map link to resources page
Nov 9: add query to queries page
Nov 5: add MNGENWEB new web page link to main page graphic
Apr 12: add STRUBE link (family photos)
Apr 5: add stjohns baptist church confirmation photo
Mar 31: add BETTIN query to queries page
Feb 9: upload st pauls cemetery headstone photos
Feb 1: added KLARNER bio info to headstone photo
Jan 13: added video link to resources page
Jan 4: added NEITSEL query to queries page


2015 Randy Wendel