So what could we find out about Martha Jackson, wife of Hezekiah Erwin, and her family? Any one reading this, that hasn’t yet read part 1, I encourage you to go back to meet some of the folks I’m talking about and why they have the potential to be important in our search for Susan Jackson.
Martha Jackson, wife of Hezekiah Erwin, was the daughter of Martha Jacquelin (formerly Rootes) Jackson. I was excited to find out so much about her. I’ve even contacted the author of one of the books where she is prominently featured, and thanked her for publishing her research. She’s offered to share her notes with me, as they may pertain to my search for Susan Jackson. Let’s focus on Martha Jacquelin (Roote)s Jackson for a moment. (There will be a bit of name dropping here, but it’s important in noticing the same pattern in the trees of our DNA matches.) This quotes from an attachment I’m creating for my family tree.
The following two books provide more information on Martha Rootes Cobb Jackson:
Masterful Women: Slaveholding Widows from the American Revolution through the Civil War, Kirsten E Wood,Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004
Sold Down the River: Slavery in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley of Alabama and Georgia, Anthony Gene Carey, Historic Chattahoochee Commission,University of Alabama Press, Aug 31, 2011
Martha Rootes was the daughter of Thomas Reade Rootes and Sarah Battaile. Her first marriage was to Howell Cobb who died in 1818 and was buried at their Cherry Hill Plantation, in Jefferson County, Georgia. Those he enslaved were to pass to his wife during her widowhood, and then on to his brother if she remarried. In 1819 she remarried to Henry Jackson. They owned land in Athens County, Georgia, as well as Cookshay Plantation(purchased in 1836), located in Cussetta, Chambers County, Alabama. She was again widowed in 1840 while they were residents of Athens County, Georgia.
In the work of Kirsten E Wood, she documents the political positions held by various relatives including Martha’s husband, older brother, various Cobb relatives, and her son Henry Rootes Jackson. Among the supporters of Henry Rootes Jackson was Wilson Lumpkin (a surname important in our lines).
The subject of the political biographies of Martha’s husband Henry Jackson and various family members of this couple is elaborated on in this passage from, REMINISCENCES OF FAMOUS GEORGIANS (LUCIAN LAMAR KNIGHT, M. A., Atlanta Georgia, FRANKLIN=TURNER COMPANY 1907), beginning at the bottom of page 507. In this passage there is a transition from a discussion of Henry Jackson’s older brother who served as Govenor of Georgia:
Some time after the Revolution Governor Jackson was joined in Savannah by a brother several years younger than himself, Dr. Henry Jackson, an eminent scientific scholar, who was called to a professorship in the State University in 1811.
Two years later Dr.Jackson was given a leave of absence for the purpose of accompanying Ambassador William H. Crawford to thecourt of Napoleon; and he remained in Paris until after the famous return from Elba.
Mr. A. L. Hull, in his “Sketch of the University of Georgia,” narrates an incident which fits into this immediate connection.Says he: “While passing through Washington on his way abroad, Dr. Jackson met a lady to whom he was singularly attracted, but the fact of her husband being very much alive was an insuperable objection to his making it known to her. On his return from Europe he heard that she was a widow, and so soon as propriety permitted, he paid her his addresses and was married to her. The lady was the widow of Howell Lewis Cobb, Congressman from Georgia and uncle to Governor Howell Cobb.”
If Dr. Jackson was not twice married the lady who became his wife according to the incident above narrated, was originally Miss Rootes, daughter of Thomas Reade Rootes, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and sister of Sarah, who married Howell Lewis Cobb’s other brother, John A. Cobb. Dr. Jackson was long connected with the State University; and, after withdrawing from active service, he retired to his home place near Athens, which he called “Halscot,” probably coined from “Henry’s Cottage.” His distinguished son, General Henry Rootes Jackson, was one of Georgia’s greatest men. He was lawyer, orator, poet, diplomat and soldier. It was during his boyhood days around Athens that he caught his inspiration for “The Red Old Hills of Georgia.” He served with distinction in two wars, represented the United States government at Vienna and Mexico, declined the chancellorship of the State University, and earned one of the largest professional incomes in Georgia.
Captain Henry Jackson, one of the most prominent lawyers of this State, was the son of General Henry R. Jackson. He was rapidly advancing to still higher honors when death prematurely checked his brilliant career. Captain Jackson married Miss Cobb, of Athens, daughter of General Thomas R. R. Cobb.
It will be seen from the matrimonial data of this brief outline sketch that the Cobbs and the Jacksons, like the Cobbs and the Lamars, have frequently intermarried; and the determination of precise kinship between some of the members of the family connection resolves itself into an interesting problem of genealogical entanglement which has to be solved by higher mathematics.
(Perhaps the reference to Halscot Plantation can be a research lead to more data on the enslaved population associated with this family.)
Another source with similar information: Dr. Henry Jackson was born at Moreton, Devonshire, England in 1778, the younger brother of Governor James Jackson of Georgia. He came to Savannah at the age of 12 and graduated from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1802. He was professor of mathematics at the University of Georgia from 1811-1813 and 1818-1828. Jackson was the Secretary of the American Legation at Paris, 1813-1818, under William H. Crawford. He married Martha Jacquelin Rootes Cobb in 1818. They had one son, Henry Rootes Jackson, of Savannah and two daughters, Sarah Jackson (Prince) and Martha Jackson (Erwin). Henry Jackson died at Athens, Georgia in 1840 and is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery.
From the description of Henry Jackson papers, 1800-1840. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 462090352
(The above information on his medical college explains the reference to his as Dr Henry Jackson.)
Again referencing the work of Kirsten E Wood, in reference to the politics of various family members she makes mention of Hezekiah F Erwin coming to court her daughter. As mentioned, Martha was widowed in 1840 and was running their property in Athens, Georgia as well as Cookshay plantation in Chambers County, Alabama.
The other book mentioned, Sold Down the River: Slavery in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley of Alabama …By Anthony Gene Carey, Historic Chattahoochee also provides details, to quote from that source, ” In addition to a plantation near Athens, the Jacksons owned a plantation called Cookshay near Cusseta in Chambers County, Alabama, which Martha Jackson managed through the 1840’s, with the help of overseers, her son Henry R Jackson, and her adolescent daughters. Martha Jackson was mostly an absentee owner, staying in Athens and Savannah, her son was an attorney in the later city. She lived at the plantation for considerable periods, however, especially in the late 1840’s, and when absent received regular reports on matters at Cookshay. By the provisions of Henry Jackson’s will the plantation and slaves were held jointly and in trust among Martha and her daughters, and her son served along side her as executor of the estate.”
When reading from these two works and realizing the close association with other folks already documented in our tree I got excited. Would a closer reading of the entire book lend more information? But the leads are enormous compared to what I though i had on Susan Jackson. Could I find any estate records with names of some of the people who were enslaved by this family.
One of my first stops was at FamilySearch.org (after all my normal searches at ancestry), to look for the esate paper for Henry Jackson who died in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia. Could I find the will? Could I find a list of those who were enslaved? Though I didn’t find our Susan Jackson in the Georgia records I did find some names.
I didn’t find the will among the set of records that included the inventory in Georgia. But there was still lots more to glean from the records of Cookshay Plantation in Cusseta. I’ll write more about that in part 3. Would you like to come along?