Jackson Family Genealogy
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BENJAMIN JACKSON was born March 5, 1752 near the village of Rockaway,
township of Pequannock, county of Morris, New Jersey.
William Jackson, a nephew, has recorded that Benjamin lived in the house
his father had lived in until his removal to Ohio.
William locates the place more exactly in writing to his own father,
Stephen Jackson, and who was Benjamin’s older brother, when he says, "near
the village of Rockaway on the west bank of the Rockaway River, about one mile
above the upper forges."
Of Benjamin’s boyhood we have no knowledge.
We can safely assume some play, much work and just a little schooling
Between his 17th and 18th birthdays his father
died, leaving, as the records show, little of worldly goods.
Then no doubt, life called the boy to the duties of manhood.
Probably in conformity of the custom of that time he was apprenticed to
learn a trade. His grandson, James
M. Allen wrote that he learned the trade of "Bloomer"- and explains that a
"bloomer" is one who makes "bloom" or ingots of iron by melting the ore
in a forge fire (not a furnace).
The discovery of rich deposits of magnetic iron are in Northern Jersey,
at an early date, brought an influx of settlers, the Jacksons among them.
About 1725 a forge was built on a tributary to Rockaway River near Dover.
This was the second forge in Morris County and the first in the Rockaway
Valley which was soon to become the center of the iron industry in that colony.
The builder of this forge was John Jackson, an uncle to Benjamin.
When Benjamin was a small boy and watched his father as he worked in a
bloomery, and later when he took his place as a bloomer, this is what he saw:
The ore was brought from the mines up in the hills fifteen or twenty
miles distant, in leather bags on pack horses.
The fuel, which was charcoal, came from the places of burning in the
near-by forests. Page
2 The iron, when beaten into bars, was sent by pack horses to Elizabeth or
Newark for shipment, and on the return trip the pack horses brought sea shells
gathered along the cost which were used for flux.
Blast for their fires was furnished by a crude bellows, pumped by water
power. The same power was used to
operate their heavy hammers. The
ore, fuel and flux being assembled ready at the forge, it was reduced to bar or
ingot in this manner:
The dry pulverized ore was slowly sprinkled on the fire while the bellows
supplied the blast. After five
hours of constant feeding an incandescent mass had accumulated in the fire box. This was dug out by the aid of iron bars and hooks and thrown
on the earthen floor, and there beaten into a rather compact mass.
Then, by the aid of tongs and a crane, it was put on an anvil and the
power hammer reduced it to the desired shape.
When this mass was dug out of the fire it was called a "loop" and
weighed from 200 to 300 pounds. About
25% or more of the weight was cinder and was removed by the hammering.
Five hours to form one "loop" and three loops per day was a
"bloomer’s" turn. That was
Probably the forges did not operate in summer on account of the great
heat and too, the men would turn to the cultivation of their farms.
The output of these crude plants was insignificant when compared with
modern results. Yet it was
sufficient to make such inroad on British iron trade, that the making of iron in
New Jersey and other parts of New England was ordered to be stopped about
1750-60 by the English government. Some
forges did not exceed five or six tons per year.
Probably the blast was off and the bloomery shut down in August 1774, so
on the 20th Benjamin was married to Abigail Mitchell.
I believe the Mitchells were then residents of Morris County. Another two years and Benjamin is devoting part of his time
The records in the office of the Adjutant General of New Jersey credit
Benjamin with performing service on seven occasions.
In each instance he served Page
3 in the Eastern Battalion of Morris County Militia, and each time in the
capacity of sergeant, - in tabular form this record shows:
Under Captain Josiah Hall, Colonel Jacob Ford, Jr., brigade not given.
June 1776 – 3 months.
2nd Under same Captain and Colonel, Lord Sterling’s brigade, 1776 – 2
Under Captain Jonas Ward, Colonel Ellis Cook, brigade not given.
1777 – 2 months.
Under Captain Benjamin Minard, Colonel Oliver Spencer, General William
Wind’s brigade. 1777 – 1
5th Under Captain Josiah Hall, Colonel Sylvanus Seely, brigade not given.
May 7, 1776 – length of service not given.
Under Captain Josiah Hall, Colonel Jacob Brake, brigade not given.
1776 – 2 months.
Under Captain Job Allen, Colonel Sylvanus Seely, brigade not given.
1776 – 1 month.
Long after he removed to Ohio, Benjamin made claim for a pension.
This claim had to be made before a Court of Common Pleas, and besides
making a written statement of his service he had to reply to certain questions.
Four of these and the answers given are of interest and follows:
and in what year were you born?
In Morris County in the State of New Jersey, in the year 1752, on the 5th
day of March. 2nd
Have you any record of your age and if so, where is it?
I have a record of my age on the blank leaf of my family Bible. 3rd
Where were you living when called into the service, where have you Page
lived since and where do you live?
Answer: I lived, during the
Revolutionary war, in the county of my nativity where I continued to reside
until about the year 1812, when I removed to my present place of abode.
Page 1 BENJAMIN JACKSON was born March 5, 1752 near the village of Rockaway, township of Pequannock, county of Morris, New Jersey.
William Jackson, a nephew, has recorded that Benjamin lived in the house his father had lived in until his removal to Ohio. William locates the place more exactly in writing to his own father, Stephen Jackson, and who was Benjamin’s older brother, when he says, "near the village of Rockaway on the west bank of the Rockaway River, about one mile above the upper forges."
Of Benjamin’s boyhood we have no knowledge. We can safely assume some play, much work and just a little schooling added.
Between his 17th and 18th birthdays his father died, leaving, as the records show, little of worldly goods. Then no doubt, life called the boy to the duties of manhood. Probably in conformity of the custom of that time he was apprenticed to learn a trade. His grandson, James M. Allen wrote that he learned the trade of "Bloomer"- and explains that a "bloomer" is one who makes "bloom" or ingots of iron by melting the ore in a forge fire (not a furnace).
The discovery of rich deposits of magnetic iron are in Northern Jersey, at an early date, brought an influx of settlers, the Jacksons among them.
About 1725 a forge was built on a tributary to Rockaway River near Dover. This was the second forge in Morris County and the first in the Rockaway Valley which was soon to become the center of the iron industry in that colony. The builder of this forge was John Jackson, an uncle to Benjamin. When Benjamin was a small boy and watched his father as he worked in a bloomery, and later when he took his place as a bloomer, this is what he saw:
The ore was brought from the mines up in the hills fifteen or twenty miles distant, in leather bags on pack horses. The fuel, which was charcoal, came from the places of burning in the near-by forests.
Page 2 The iron, when beaten into bars, was sent by pack horses to Elizabeth or Newark for shipment, and on the return trip the pack horses brought sea shells gathered along the cost which were used for flux. Blast for their fires was furnished by a crude bellows, pumped by water power. The same power was used to operate their heavy hammers. The ore, fuel and flux being assembled ready at the forge, it was reduced to bar or ingot in this manner:
The dry pulverized ore was slowly sprinkled on the fire while the bellows supplied the blast. After five hours of constant feeding an incandescent mass had accumulated in the fire box. This was dug out by the aid of iron bars and hooks and thrown on the earthen floor, and there beaten into a rather compact mass. Then, by the aid of tongs and a crane, it was put on an anvil and the power hammer reduced it to the desired shape.
When this mass was dug out of the fire it was called a "loop" and weighed from 200 to 300 pounds. About 25% or more of the weight was cinder and was removed by the hammering. Five hours to form one "loop" and three loops per day was a "bloomer’s" turn. That was hard work.
Probably the forges did not operate in summer on account of the great heat and too, the men would turn to the cultivation of their farms. The output of these crude plants was insignificant when compared with modern results. Yet it was sufficient to make such inroad on British iron trade, that the making of iron in New Jersey and other parts of New England was ordered to be stopped about 1750-60 by the English government. Some forges did not exceed five or six tons per year.
Probably the blast was off and the bloomery shut down in August 1774, so on the 20th Benjamin was married to Abigail Mitchell. I believe the Mitchells were then residents of Morris County. Another two years and Benjamin is devoting part of his time to war.
The records in the office of the Adjutant General of New Jersey credit Benjamin with performing service on seven occasions. In each instance he served
Page 3 in the Eastern Battalion of Morris County Militia, and each time in the capacity of sergeant, - in tabular form this record shows:
1st Under Captain Josiah Hall, Colonel Jacob Ford, Jr., brigade not given. June 1776 – 3 months.
2nd Under same Captain and Colonel, Lord Sterling’s brigade, 1776 – 2 months.
3rd Under Captain Jonas Ward, Colonel Ellis Cook, brigade not given. 1777 – 2 months.
4th Under Captain Benjamin Minard, Colonel Oliver Spencer, General William Wind’s brigade. 1777 – 1 mo.
5th Under Captain Josiah Hall, Colonel Sylvanus Seely, brigade not given. May 7, 1776 – length of service not given.
6th Under Captain Josiah Hall, Colonel Jacob Brake, brigade not given. 1776 – 2 months.
7th Under Captain Job Allen, Colonel Sylvanus Seely, brigade not given. 1776 – 1 month.
Long after he removed to Ohio, Benjamin made claim for a pension. This claim had to be made before a Court of Common Pleas, and besides making a written statement of his service he had to reply to certain questions. Four of these and the answers given are of interest and follows:
1st Where, and in what year were you born?
Answer: In Morris County in the State of New Jersey, in the year 1752, on the 5th day of March.
2nd Have you any record of your age and if so, where is it?
Answer: I have a record of my age on the blank leaf of my family Bible.
3rd Where were you living when called into the service, where have you
Page 4 lived since and where do you live?
Answer: I lived, during the Revolutionary war, in the county of my nativity where I continued to reside until about the year 1812, when I removed to my present place of abode.
4thHow were you called into the service; were you drafted, did you volunteer, or were you a substitute?
Answer: I was a volunteer on every tour.
The following is the full text of his claim for a pension, called a "Declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress of the 7th of June, 1832."
State of Ohio )
County of Knox )
On this 15th day of June, 1833, personally appeared in open court before the Court of Common Pleas now sitting, Benjamin Jackson, a resident of Morris township, Knox County and the State of Ohio, aged 81 years, who being first duly sworn to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress, passed June 7, 1832.
That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated.
In June 1776 he entered the service in the company of volunteer militia commanded by Captain Josiah Hall and marched through Newark to a place called Hackensack, now called Jersey City, and from there was ordered back to work at the chevaux-de-frise to be placed in Hudson River, where he continued for about three months and was discharged.
In the same year, month not recalled, he entered the service again in a company of militia commanded by Captain Josiah Hall, attached to a
Page 5 regiment commanded by Colonel Jacob Ford and brigade commanded by General Lord Sterling, that he marched to Elizabethtown and served two months was discharged.
In the same year, (1777), month not recalled, he entered the service again in a company of militia commanded by Captain Benjamin Minard, attached to a regiment commanded by Colonel Spencer, brigade commanded by General William Winds, marched again to Elizabethtown, served one month and was discharged. In this service, was engaged in two severe skirmishes with the enemy.
In the year 1778, month not recalled, he entered the service in a company of militia commanded by Captain Josiah Hall, attached to a regiment commanded by Colonel B. Drake, brigade commanded by General William Winds, marched to Elizabethtown and from there to New Brunswick, returned to Elizabethtown and was discharged after serving two months.
In the year 1778, month not recalled, he entered the service again in a company of militia commanded by Captain Job Allen, field officers not recalled by name, marched to the lines, kept guard for one month and was discharged.
He further declares that he repeatedly entered the service at other times on alarm and in scouting parties, officers and dates not recalled, and that by reason of old age and consequent loss of memory he cannot swear positively as to the length of his service in the above alarms and scouting parties, but according to the best of his recollections, it amounted
Page 6 to not less than three months, making in all one year and two months. He served in all cases in the capacity of a sergeant in his company. That he resided, when at home during the Revolutionary war, in Morris county in the State of New Jersey.
That he has no documentary evidence and that he knows of but one person whose testimony he can prepare, who can testify to his services.
He hereby relinquishes every claims whatever to a pension or annuity except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension role of the agency of any state.
Two character witnesses follow. Then a statement by his brother, Daniel Jackson, who says he served repeated tours of duty with Benjamin.
His claim for pension was allowed and his name was placed on the rolls September 23, 1835 at $70.00 per annum for his service as a sergeant in the New Jersey militia.
In the following references to the Revolution I have tried to relate such of his services as can be clearly identified to the major events of the war in New Jersey, for it seems that he did not get beyond the boundaries of his native colony.
He gives as his first service, a volunteer enlistment in June 1776. The following item appeared in a New York paper of June 17th which gives the approximate date and the circumstances. It reads:
"We hear from Morristown that in obedience to orders received from General Dickerson, Colonel (Jacob) Ford drew up his regiment (Easter Battalion of Morris county) in order to draft one fourth of them for immediate service, who, to the honor of the county and the cause in which they are en-
Page 7 gaged, immediately turned out as volunteers.
At the time the American army was being assembled in and near New York to oppose the British army then encamped on Staten Island. So, when they marched via Newark to Hackensack they were on their way to join the main army, and had they not been sent on another mission, would no doubt have been in the disastrous battle of Long Island.
When they reached Hackensack, Benjamin says they were "ordered back," by which he means their march to New York was stopped.
Early in the war the Americans began planning means of keeping the British from going up the Hudson River, for could they control that river they could cut off direct connection between New England and the control and the southern colonies.
The fruition of this planning was the building of Fort Washington on the New York side of Fort Lee directly opposite on the New Jersey side of the river. And in addition to this they tried to obstruct the channel against the passage of the British War ships. At the forts the river was narrower than at any place below Stony Point, being about 3500 feet wide. Here then, where the guns of the forts could do their part, was the logical place for an obstruction. The method adopted seems to have originated in the fertile mind of General Israel Putnam, who was about that time in command in New York City.
Writing from there under date of July 26, 1776 to General Gates, he says in part,
"We are preparing a chevaux-de-frise (a spiked fence) at which we make great dispatch, by help of ships which are to be sunk; a scheme of mine, which you may be assured is very simple, a plan of which I send you.
The two ship’s sterns lie toward each other about seventy feet apart. Three large legs are fastened to them. These two ships and logs stop the river
Page 8 288 feet. The ships are to be sunk and when handed down on one side the picks will be raised to a proper height and they must inevitably stop the river, if the enemy will let us sink them."
That this plan was carried out is shown by a letter written from New York, August 4, 1776. The writer says: "Last night four ships chained and boomed with a number of amazing large chevaux-de-frise were sunk close by the fort" (Washington).
But in spite of Putnam’s faith in his scheme it was of no value, as the British ships could pass at will. Benjamin says when they reached Hackensack they were ordered to "work at the chevaux-de-frise to be placed in Hudson River, at which they occupied for three months."
Daniel Jackson, Benjamin’s brother, was in the same company, and in his claim for pension he records this event as follows:
"Entered the service as a volunteer June 1776, under Colonel Jacob Ford, Captain Josiah Hall, Lieutenant David Broadwell. Marched to Newark and were there detached from the army and ordered to assist in making a chevaux-de-frise to place across the Hudson, at which, continued until October 1, 1776." So we may judge that Benjamin was home about October 1st after finishing the useless task of fencing the mighty Hudson River.
But they were soon to take the field again, this time to Elizabethtown for two months. This service can also be identified.
The American army was badly defected at the battle of Long Island, and retreated to New York, which they soon had to evacuate. Fort Washington was captured and Fort Lee then abandoned. On November 19th Washington was at Hackensack with the remnants of the army and with this little band of beaten and discouraged men began his retreat across New Jersey, closely pursued by a strong British force. The New Jersey militia were called to his aid, as
Page 9 shown by the order of General Mathias Williamson commanding a brigade of militia from Bergen, Essex and Morris counties. This order issued at Elizabethtown November 25, 1776, to the colonels, including, of course, Colonel Jacob Ford, reads:
"Just had an order from Governor Livingston ordering to call out all the militia of the state. Therefore, on receipt hereof, you are ordered to bring out all the militia in your county and march them down to Elizabeth, and see that each man is furnished with a gun, all ammunition, accouterments, blanket and four days’ provisions."
It was Washington’s hope that with sufficient militia, he could make a stand, either at Elizabeth or New Brunswick. He arrived at the latter place November 29th and on December 1st, wrote from there to Governor Livingston "that unless his force was considerably augmented, he could not make a stand at that place," and continuing, said, "have not, including General Williamson’s militia, say 1000, more than four thousand men."
While here, Washington ordered Williamson to take three regiments of New Jersey militia, one being Colonel Ford’s, and file off to the left, turn the enemys right and occupy the hills. This was to keep the British from foraging, and more especially to prevent their reaching the Delaware River before Washington could get to, and across it.
Washington was at Trenton December 8th and was safe from immediate pursuit, and this probably ended the need for the two brigades to remain longer at Princeton. In fact, General Williamson was back in Morristown, from
Page 10 where, on December 8th, he wrote Washington, telling of his difficulties in getting the militia out, and that "Colonel Ford’s regiment makes up the principal part of the militia here."
December 11th General Charles Lee wrote of the situation at Morristown, saying, "at Springfield about 1000 militia are collected to watch the movements of the enemy." He adds that they were posted on the Short Hills.
Then followed a short period of inactivity with the British in control of a large part of New Jersey.
Then, Washington crossed the Delaware, captured Trenton, marched to Princeton, defeated the British detachment there and then marched to Morristown, where he arrived January 4th 1777, and went into winter camp.
Following these events General Cornwallis abandoned all of New Jersey except New Brunswick and Perth Amboy. That the Eastern Battalion saw hard and continued service during this period is shown by the fate of Jacob Ford, their first colonel.
About the first of January 1777, Colonel Ford had orders to march, and his regiment was at Morristown, paraded and ready to move, when he was taken violently ill, was lifted from his horse, taken to his home where he died January 10th of pneumonia, brought on, the chronicles say "by exposure while engaged in repelling the British in the preceding month". Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Spencer was promoted to Colonel of the Eastern Battalion.
Benjamin says that during the tour of duty to Elizabethtown in 1777, he was in two severe skirmishes. In the early part of that year the New Jersey militia were aggressively active against the two British encampments in New Jersey. Foraging parties were driven back, and at times communication between these posts was cut off. There resulted several skirmishes in which he might have participated.
Page 11 The last service he specifically mentions was in 1778 and lasting one month. That year, General Howe abandoned Philadelphia and retired across New Jersey on his way to New York.
During, and even in anticipation of this movement, the New Jersey militia were called into action and gave valuable aid to Washington and the main army. During this retreat the battle of Monmouth was fought June 28, 1778.
General Dickinson, then commander of the New Jersey militia, issued order June 25th and after specific assignments says: "This whole of the remaining militia are to be equally divided and to do duty on the lines, alternately, officers as well as privates."
So our last view of Benjamin as a soldier, discloses his guarding the lines as the enemy withdraws in defeat from New Jersey. And it adds to my interest to observe that his captain on that occasion was another ancestor, Job Allen, 2nd.
With the return of peace, Benjamin returned to iron making, farming and church work. He is listed as a member of the Presbyterian Church at Rockaway, New Jersey in 1776, and continued a member until his removal to Ohio in 1814. He seems not to have been especially active in the administrative affairs of the church. In 1785 an assessment of the membership was made to raise funds for support of the church. This was based on the lands and chattels owned, and Benjamin was assessed on 70 acres of land.
December 7, 1790, he was one of three men named at a meeting of the parish of Rockaway to carry a subscription paper among the parishioners, to raise funds for the support of the church, and again, November 14, 1792, he was named a solicitor to raise money to pay the minister’s salary. He was elected a trustee of the church in 1802 and continued as such until his removal to
Page 12 Ohio. The last reference to him, found in the minutes’ book, was April 16, 1814, when he was present at a meeting of the trustees.
His most conspicuous service to the church was in connection with their singing. As a prelude to his part in church music, I have gathered, and here interject some notes on early church singing.
How, and what to sing, were questions that vexed the Colonial church congregations from their beginning.
When the Pilgrims arrived in New England they relied on a hymnal, published in England in 1621, which had 23 English, 6 Northern, 7 Scotch and 5 Welsh tunes, but only a few of these, perhaps less than a dozen, were in general use. These tunes were known by names, such as, Old Hundred, York, Durham, St. Davids, etc.
It was not until 1721 that a hymnal was published in America which grouped the notes in bars, and even then, its use progressed slowly.
The whole spirit of the Puritan was opposed to changes, or innovations in their religious practice, of which singing was a part. All singing among them was restricted to psalms, and these to religious service.
Besides their puritanic prejudice to the new, there were other reasons which retarded the introduction of singing by note, the chief, being lack of hymn books, opportunity to learn to sing correctly, and, illiteracy. Therefore, we find all kinds of arguments raised against the new, and excuses made for clinging to the old method of singing.
Even the introduction of a tune new to a congregation, was an event of great moment, which was frequently settled by a vote of the whole parish. So the old method of singing, of which some description follows, gave way slowly before the new and better way.
All the singing was by ear as no musical instruments were allowed in the
Page 13 churches; a deacon or chorister, or someone appointed to that duty, led the singing. This leader "pitched" the tune, at first by ear, later by the aid of a "pitch pipe" and still later, by the aid of a "tuning fork."
Their psalm singing is described as tedious and unmusical in the extreme, with hardly two persons in tune or in time, but each singing according to his own fancy.
Since books were scarce and so many persons could not read, the hymns were "lined" or "deaconed"; that is, the leader read a line which was then sung, then another line was read and sung, and so to the end.
Some psalms, when so lined and sung, occupied half an hour. It is recorded, that a minister who lived a fifteen minute walk from his church, on one occasion forgot his written sermon, so he gave out the psalm and while it was sung, went home, got his manuscript, and returned in good time to go on with the service.
This contention over singing sometimes got beyond the confines of a particular church, as was the case in the incident which follows: This is a partial copy of a memorial made to the general assembly of Connecticut in 1725 by one, Joseph Hawley of Farmington.
"That the memorialist, his father and grandfather and ye church people at Farmington, worship God by singing psalms in his praise in ye mode called ye Old way. However, t’other day Jonathan Smith and one, Stanley, got a book and pretended to sing more regularly, and so made great disturbance in ye worship of God, for ye people could not follow ye mode of singing. At length it was moved to ye church whether to admit ye new way or no, who agreed to suspend it at least a year. Yet, Deacon Hart, ye chorister, one Sabbath day, in setting ye psalm, attempted to sing Bella tune and ye memorialist, being used to ye old way aforesaid, did not know Bella tune from Pax tune,
Page 14 and supposed ye deacon aimed at Cambridge short tune and set it wrong, where upon, petitioner raised his voice in ye short tune and ye people followed him, except ye said Smith and Stanley and ye few who sang aloud in Bella tune, and so there was an unhappy discord in ye singing, and there has often been since ye new singing setup; and ye blame was imputed to your poor petitioner."
He was fined by the local authorities and for relief therefrom, he appealed as above, to the legislature. The lower house voted him relief but the upper house refused; so a conference committee was appointed, and it may still rest in their hands for all I know.
In a New England church as late as 1779 the following incident occurred: By vote of the congregation it had been decided that the singers, that is, those who had learned to sing by note, and were probably formed into a choir, were to be given the front seats in the gallery. And it was further "voted that the mode of singing in the congregation here be without reading the psalm, line by line, to be sung." Yet, after this due notice, on the following Sabbath, after the hymn had been read by the minister, the aged Deacon Chamberlain, unwilling to desert the custom of his forefathers, arose and read the first line according to the old practice, and the singers, prepared to carry the new method into effect, proceeded to read on; but the choir overpowered him, and he, deeply mortified, seized his hat, and with tears in his eyes, left he church.
Now, what was true of the singing in New England was also true of that in New Jersey, and at Rockaway there was another deacon, firm in his adherence to the ancient customs.
Deacon David Beaman was a man prominent in local and church affairs who had for years led the singing in the Rockaway church. While he is described as lively in other matters, yet, one who knew him, said he stuttered
Page 15 and sputtered, and his singing "dragged its slow length along" it is recorded, much to the disgust of the more progressive part of the congregation.
So under the leadership of Benjamin Jackson the new method was introduced, when in April 1786, it was voted to appoint four choristers to set the tunes, and, "that Benjamin Jackson, Frances McCarty and Jacob Lyon be appointed choristers; that they sing in the afternoons without reading the psalm line by line, and David Beaman to sing the fore part of the day, unless otherwise agreed on by Mr. Beaman and the other choristers; and that they sing any tunes that are being sung in the neighboring churches as they shall judge proper."
Three years later, 1789, the question of singing was again agitating the church, and it was "voted at a parish meeting to have the psalms read line by line, or by two lines, in singing in the future, except on particular occasion."
Here we see the reactionary forces again in control. As a result, evidently Benjamin decided to let the church get its fill of "lined" singing, for July 14, 1789 the records show that "Mr. Benjamin Jackson, having served this parish as a chorister to set the psalms for some time past, desires to resign his office as chorister. The parish accepts his resignation and thanks him for his services as chorister."
His resignation apparently left the congregation becalmed musically, for at that same meeting a committee was named "to confer together to consider temporary measures."
What measures were taken does not appear in the records, unless the action three years later in 1792 was the result of their deliberations, when "Benjamin Jackson, Russell Davis and Daniel Hurd were appointed choristers, and that they act discretionary when to sing without reading the lines."
Page 16 But harmony remained aloof, for, July 25, 1797, "Benjamin Jackson and John Bigelow were requested to continue as choristers, or setters of the psalms during divine service in the parish, and these choristers be left at their discretion in what way to set the psalms."
This arrangement did not bring peace for in two months, another arrangement was voted on September 22, 1797, when "a standing committee of seven was to regulate the singing in public worship. This committee to include all choristers. Committee to have full power to exclude from public worship all such tunes as to them may appear improper and to introduce such as they think proper. Whenever they are about to introduce any tune which has not before been in practice in this church, they shall cause it to be publicly mentioned and named on the Sabbath at least one month before it is sung in public worship, in order that the congregation may have time to learn it before it in introduced." At this meeting three men are named as choristers, one being our subject. As to further changes in their singing, if any, the records are silent.
Two of his grandsons have left statements regarding his love of vocal music, and thus form a fitting end to this chapter of our ancestor’s activity.
Isaac J. Allen wrote of him; "My Grandfather Jackson was a notable singer of sacred music only. He led the choirs in the Presbyterian church for 60 years, and when over 90 years old he would sing to my flute in perfect accord. My mother inherited this gift and had the finest contralto voice I ever heard."
And James M. Allen wrote; "The love of sacred music in my grandfather, and the power to exercise it, was inherited in a wonderful degree. When his descendants numbered over one hundred, a count was made by two who knew them all, and but one could be named who could not sing. Yet Grandma Abigail could not sing so the gift came from one side only. He was noted for amiability,
Page 17 plodding industry and musical attainments; simple, sacred vocal music was all he had."
When Benjamin’s family were growing up there were no free public schools and if children got an education it had to be through a pay or private school arrangement. Local history records that he was one of the proprietors of the first school established at Rockaway.
A report on the state of the school which has been taught by George Harris, at Rockaway, and ended on the 26th day April, 1784 carries the names of the scholars, and among them we find Ziba and Isaac Jackson, his two oldest children.
Twenty years later, an agreement between William Harris, Stephen Jackson and James Mitchell, dated June 4, 1804, provides that Harris agrees to instruct any number of scholars, not exceeding 40, in "reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and English grammar, according as the may be capable of learning during the next 6 months."
For this, he was to receive $100.00 and be provided with suitable board and lodging; that meant that families who sent scholars would each take a turn at lodging the teacher. This was called "Boarding around." A subscription paper of the same date as the agreement and referring to it, whereby the signers agree to pay Jackson and Mitchell "two dollars per quarter for each child we subscribe." Benjamin subscribed for one child, probably his youngest, Benjamin, Jr., who was then about 11 ½ years old.
The year of the migration, 1814, Benjamin was 63 and Abigail 59 years old. They had land a home, besides church and social ties of long standing. Why they leave all these and choose the hardships of pioneering? It must have been choice. It could not have been compulsion. Were they caught in the westward tide of migrations that began with the close of the Revolution,
Page 18 of which, the dominant purposes were gain and adventure? I believe they came west to be with or near, their children and close kindred, for regarding these we find that:
Benjamin’s oldest brother William, had, it is claimed, gone to Tennessee before the Revolution, where, with the aid of two wives, had sired 25 children. His brother Daniel had gone to Pennsylvania in 1786 and moved on to Knox county in 1801. Edward, another brother, went early to Redstone, Virginia; now Brownsville, Pennsylvania. His sister Elizabeth had married and gone to "Virginia" which surely meant the "west."
Abigail’s mother, and her brothers and sisters, had gone to Washington, Pennsylvania; and her oldest sister, Hannah, and her husband, were among the very earliest settlers in Knox county.
Their sons, Ziba and Isaac had left as early as 1805 and were in Knox county by 1807. Benjamin Jr. and his family preceded them a few months, and Betsey and Job Allen, had, I am sure, decided to go west, and were member of the party when they came, as was their other daughter Phoebe, and their remaining sons, David and Daniel.
The removal to Ohio was not entered upon hastily. They had located the land well in advance of their starting date. Benjamin and his son David joined in the purchase of 250 acres of land from a New Jersey speculator for $1000.00, the deed for which was signed March 20, 1811.
The date of their departure is not known, but from all the known facts, we can fix on the middle of September as being very close to the day. Besides Benjamin and his immediate family, there were other families of neighbors and relatives joined with them, so that it made quite a sizable caravan. James M. Allen, then aged four, remembered the start and wrote: "Yes, I remember we were moving; there were horses and wagons, and oxen
Page 19 and wagons. Oh! What a long row of them. The wagons all covered. Mama and baby Izak were in one wagon; Aunt Phoebe and I walked."
Isaac J. Allen said; "When migration was entered upon they embarked with their families in their well covered "Jersey wagons" that were to serve as house and home during all the long, toilsome journey. They were over six weeks, 45 days making the transit."
The route they followed has been a problem which was interested me greatly, and one on which such statements concerning the family, as are preserved, throw no light. I will briefly describe this route, and for the major part of the way there can be little reason to doubt its correctness.
Starting at Rockaway they passed through Dover and Hacketstown to Phillipsburgh, where they ferried across the Delaware river to Easton, Pa. Thence, to Bethlehem, Lebanon, and Harrisburg, where they ferried the Susquehanna river. After this one Carlisle and Shippensburgh. Thus far, they traveled roads long established, through a pleasant, rolling country, fairly well populated. But soon after leaving Shippensburgh, the mountains lay across their path, and their trip to Bedford must have been slow and difficult.
Perhaps it was this mountain climbing that made our great uncle Daniel Jackson mad and caused the incident which J. M. Allen thus records. "It is said that on many occasions on that journey, Grandfather Jackson would have the whole company get together and sing a hymn or psalm. On one occasion Uncle Daniel was mad and wouldn’t sing."
"On the next occasion Grandfather gave out the tune named ‘Concord’ and read the lines: "Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; But favorites of the Heavenly King may speak their joys abroad." This was plain preaching to Uncle Daniel, and he caved in."
Page 20 When they made camp for the night, they drew their wagons into a circle, the better to protect their live stock and other property. They also set guards as a protection against marauders and the possibility of wolves and bears raiding their camp. We can easily imagine these people gathered about their camp fire, preparing their food, and later, led in song by Benjamin.
At Bedford, they had their choice of keeping on towards Pittsburgh, or of turning nearly south on an old used road which skirted the east side of Will’s mountain, a distance of 50 miles to Cumberland, Maryland. This, I believe, was their choice.
Cumberland was the starting point of the National Road. This road was authorized by Congress in 1806, and construction began at Cumberland in 1811, and by 1814 it had been cleared four rods wide, all the way to the Ohio river, and was finished for a considerable distance. I like to think of them as early users of this famous road.
When they arrived at the crossing of the Youghiogheny river which they crossed by ferry, one of Job Allen’s horse called 'Old Yorker' got frightened and tumble himself over the side of the flat boat and was drowned.
At Brownsville they crossed the Monongahala river by ferry and continued on to Washington, PA. In this part of their trip they again saw kinsmen and old friends who had been some years, residents in those parts. From Washington they next went to Wheeling, West Virginia, and here the hills of Ohio, the promised land, resplendent in autumn coloring, stood before them.
Ferrying the Ohio, they followed Zanes trace to Zanesville, crossed the Licking river, and then to Newark, Ohio. Here they turned north over a track through the forest to Mt. Vernon, and three miles to the new home.
Page 21 They had crossed six or seven large rivers and many small streams, all unbridged, several mountains, and covered a distance of fully 560 miles in 45 days. When they arrived in Knox county it must have been near the first of November, and no doubt there was work to do to get settled before winter set in. Their land is described
as part of 3rd section, 7th township, 12th range of Military lands. It was north half of lot No. 4 thereof, and was 4000 rods long east and west, and 100 rods wide north and south, and contained 250 acres, for which they paid $1000.00.
When Benjamin arrived on his Ohio land he was a pioneer in fact. They were less than ten miles from the Greenville Treaty Line. This had been for nearly thirty years, and still legally was, the boundary line between the United States and the Indians. I believe I am correct in stating that no land beyond that line had yet been opened for settlement. Yet, while they settled on the edge of the white man’s territory, they had much to remind them from New Jersey, many from their own country, whom they had known before migration. So many of the settlers of this section had come from New Jersey that, for some years, it was locally known as the "Jersey settlement." When the township was organized as a political unit in 1812, the transplanted Jerseymen named the township "Morris" in honor of their old home county.
Two letters have been preserved which shed light on the conditions in Knox county at the time Benjamin arrived there. Both are from Benjamin, Jr. to his father-in-law, then a resident of Dutchess county, New York. The first is dated August 10, 1814 at Clinton. He says in part:
"I thought best not to write until this: my brothers being going to Jersey to assist father in moving to this country this fall.
Page 22 We started from Jersey the 19th of May with two other one horse wagons. We arrived here the 16th of June. We had very bad traveling, it being so muddy; rained 21 days while we on the road.
Sir, I think this will be the garden of the world, and that soon, there can be no better land in any country. Our land is termed first, second bottom and ridge. There is no mountains. The bottom timber is black walnut, sugar trees, red and white elm, and a great proportion of cherry. The ridges are white oak, hickory and some beach, though here on my ridge I have only 62 ½ acres which is allowed to be the most valuable piece of land in the township, with many advantages. I bound the road from Pittsburgh by Zanesville, by Newark, by Vernon, by Clinton and so on to Sandusky and lake Erie.
I have an excellent spring and a run of good water through my land. Have four neighbors within half mile. My father and two brothers will settle within half mile of us. We are within three miles of Vernon, a handsomely situated town of about 50 or 60 dwelling houses, a large brick court house, 6 stores and 2 taverns, which, 8 years ago, was but 2 log huts. Within 1 ½ miles, Clinton, a village with a large Presbyterian church not finished, 2 stores, 2 taverns, and a grist mill, saw mill, hulling mill, carding machine, and a distillery on the other side of Fredericktown about 3 miles. The people are very friendly and more strict on the Sabbath than any place I was ever in.
A number of large tracts yet, of the best land that may be bought for about 2, 3, 4, and 5 dollars per acre. Wheat $1.00, rye 50 cents, corn 37 ½ cents, oats 50 cents, buckwheat 50 cents.”
Observe that the writer of the foregoing was married February 14th, and as he tells us, started west on May 19th. What a honeymoon trip that was!
Three years later, in another letter dated from Clinton, November 20, 1827, he calls Mt. Vernon "a flourishing town, contain about 100 dwelling
Page 23 houses, 7 stores, 3 taverns and 3 mills. Good land in our county hard to get and dear, from 2 to 25 dollar per acre. Mechanics of every kind are scarce and good workmen can get almost any price from $1.50 to $2.00 per day. Wheat $1.00, corn 50 cent, oats 37 ½ cents, rye 62 ½ cent and whiskey $1.25. Beef is from 4 to 6 dollars, pork 6 to 7 dollars.”
While this letter is dated at Clinton he makes no reference to it, the reason being that it was its way to oblivion, and disappeared legally in the following year.
Norton, in his history of Knox County, records the great 4th of July celebration held at the home of Captain Job Allen in 1816. A meeting of citizens was held June 12th, to name committee and make plans for the event. Resolutions were passed, and the 4th in part was: "The following named gentlemen be a committee to superintend the singing, which is to be a part of the performance of the day." Benjamin Jackson, Sr., Benjamin, Jr., and two others were appointed and provided further; "All those who are completely acquainted with all, or either, of the parts of vocal music, are requested to make it known sometime previous to forming for the march as it is intended to practice certain tunes."
A newspaper of July 10th carried an account which reads in part: "A respectable company of between three and four hundred persones met at the home of Captain Job Allen and, having formed a procession, they marched in regular order to the place appointed for public worship. The singers took their seats by themselves, and the greatest decorum was observed throughout the day."
The Fourth was celebrated the following year at Anson Brown’s in Frederictown, and again, Benjamin heads those in charge of singing.
Benjamin lived on the road as it then ran between Mt. Vernon and Fredericktown, about 2 1/2 miles from either place. I think he continued there
Page 24 until very near the close of his life, when he and Abigail went to live with Benjamin, Jr., then a prospered resident of Bellville, Richland county, Ohio.
Evidently his death was sudden, as we walked two mile the day of his death to get some butter. This was June 6, 1842. Abigail continued at Bellville and died November 1, 1843. In the cemetery north of that town, back from the road on the high ground is a lot with a stone curbing around it, and a birch tree grown on it. Here is a good monument on which appears:
"Benjamin Jackson died June 6, 1842, aged 91 years, 3 months."
"Abigail, wife of Benjamin Jackson, died November 1, 1843, aged 88 years, 10 months, 25 days."
His age as given, is in error. He was 90 years, 3 months, if we accept his own sworn statement as to the date of his birth. There is a discrepancy of one year in her age also, if her date of birth in correct.
Besides possessing and transmitting to his offspring, ability to sing, he possessed and transmitted tenacity of life. The combined ages of parents and their children is a little more than 708 years, and the average age is slightly more that 78 years and 8 months. Their children gave Benjamin and Abigail 59, possibly 60, grandchildren, and this, in turn, gave them a few more than 300 great grandchildren.
The following is a full copy of his will:
"In the Name of God Amen I Benjamin Jackson of the county of Knox and State of Ohio being infirm of body but sound in mind and memory, do make and ordain this my last will and testament as follows to-wit: I ordain and order all my just debts and funeral expenses and those attending the settlement of my estate and all legacies herein after bequeathed to be paid out of my personal estate by my executors.
I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Abigail all my estate real and
Page 25 Personal not hereafter otherwise bequeathed after the payment above mentioned so long as she remains my widow during her natural life but in case of her marriage I give her after that the one third part of my estate real and personal during her natural life without impeachment for waist or damage and after my said wife's decease I give and bequeath all of my estate real and personal unto my children and heirs as follows to wit unto my sons Ziba Jackson, David Jackson, Daniel Jackson and Benjamin Jackson I give and bequeath two hundred dollars each which I allow them to receive during my life or within one year after my decease and whereas it is my desire to make up to them their legacies proper vouchers or receipts procured by me or authenticated book accounts shall be had for settlement with these heirs and my executors also I allow and bequeath to the heirs and children of my son Isaac Jackson deceased One Hundred and ten dollars between the said heirs and children to be equally divided among the three surviving heirs except one fourth part which to be equally divided among the heirs of Abigail Hardenbrook deceast daughter of Isaac Jackson deceast. I also give and bequeath to my daughters Betsy and Phebe one hundred dollars each which last legacies to be paid at the same time and manner of the above legacies.
All the above legacies is but special and shall not be considered as the general (?) common disposition of my whole estate real or personal. I further desire and demise that after the death of my wife that out of all the balance of my estate real and personal and my sons Ziba, David, Benjamin and the children of Daniel Jackson is the room of Daniel Jackson also the children of Isaac Jackson deceast in the room of Isaac Jackson a legatee I allow and give two shears except one fourth of the two shears I give and bequeath to the heirs of Abigail Hardenbrook Deceast. The children of Daniel Jackson in the room of their father two shairs and to my daughter Betsey Allen one equal share of all aforesaid. I also give and bequeath to the
Page 26 five children of my daughter Pebe Lennum (Vennum) towit James Lewis, Benjamin Lewis, Edward Lennum, Collumbus Lennum, John Newton Lennum one equal shear of all the aforesaid estate to be paid to them by my executors when they arrive at the age of twenty one years of age. I do hereby appoint and ordain that my beloved wife Abigail and my three sons, Ziba, David and Benjamin and my trusty friend William Mitchell be my executors and executrix to this my last will and testament in testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of July in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred forty
Benjamin Jackson (seal)
November 22, 1937
By (signed) V. D. Allen
Page 27 Benjamin and Abigail had seven children, all born in Morris County, New Jersey. They were:
I. Ziba-----b. Feb. 2, 177; mad. Oct. 25, 1798 – Phoebe Lyon. Migrated to Knox Co., Ohio in 1807. She died July 11, 1836 and he Sept. 27, 1848. They had 7 children.
II. Isaac-----b. Jan. 15, 1779; md. Aug. 12, 1801 – Jane (Minten)? Migrated to Knox Co., Ohio, probably in 1807. He died Dec. 27, 1813. She married 2nd, Thomas Axtel and died June 19, 1850. Isaac and Jane and 6 children.
III. Elizabeth-----b. Feb. 14, 1782; md. Dec. 31, 1800 – Job Allen, 3rd. They migrated to Knox Co. in 1814. She died March 31, 1852. They had 9 children.
IV. Phoebe-----b. June 23, 1784; md. 1st, Feb. 25, 1802 – Isaac Lewis. She came to Ohio in 1814 and Sept. 29, 1816 md. 2nd, John Vennum. They removed to Ohio Union Grove, Ill. where she died June 10, 1889 aged 105 years lacking 4 days. Was buried on her 105th birthday. She had 6 children.
V. David-----b. Sept. 30, 1786; md. July 30, 1808 – Prudence Hathaway. Migrated to Knox Co. in 1814. In 1852 removed to Allen Co., Ind. He died Aug. 13-14, 1868. They had 15 children.
VI. Daniel-----b. July 16, 1788; md.--------Lydia (Imley?). Came to Knox Co. in 1814. Removed to Indiana, where he died late 1854. They had 6 children.
VII. Benjamin, Jr.-----b. Nov. 8, 1792; md. Feb. 14, 1814 – Nancy Halsey Robinson. They came to Knox Co., in 1814. In 1825 he removed to Bellville, Richland Co., Ohio. He died April 3, 1868 and she Sept. 27, 1859. They had 10 children.
Transcribed from Virgil Allen's original 1937 papers and contributed by Jerry Gross.
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