Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Allen line: Alexis Jackson 1762-1826

This post is a little about the "dash" in Alexis Jackson's life.  Before our recent trip to Ohio, I knew the names of his parents, that he had married Catherine Moore in Greene County, Pennsylvania, about 1784 and that he had died in Pike Township, Marion County, Indiana.  I also had names for some of his children.  That is all that I knew about this man. 

One of the first books I looked at in the Ohio Genealogy Society library was one called "Index to Servicemen of War of 1812, State of Ohio" published in 1988 and edited by Phyllis Brown Miller.  Here's what it said:  "Jackson, Alexis; vol patriot in Seth Harrington's Company, Erie Co., Ohio, b 1768 (nt=y records say 1762) d. 1826; bur. Marion Co., In., m. Catherine Moore; Erie Co. Rcds Vol 1 p. 105, vol. 11 p. 913, Williams Hist Huron & Erie Co.s Oh. p 454 (1954, 1967)". 

Wow!  Our ancestor was in the War of 1812 in one way or another.  Ordinarily a "patriot" is one who donates supplies, livestock, or money to the war effort but this specifically says he was with "Seth Harrington's Company".  I wonder if he was somehow more directly involved in the effort.  Did he perhaps serve as a cook or a guide or in some other function, not directly in battle?  I am still working on that.  However, he was somewhere around 45-50 years old at the start of the War, so he may well have not been up to military service.  Still, he served, somehow and someway.  I can't wait to find out more about what he did, but he belongs in the company of those who served their country, in my estimation. 

So now that I knew where to start looking, I found quite a bit of information about Alexis.  He was in what became Huron County by 1811, before the War broke out.  If the 1784 marriage date is correct he have been married more than 25 years, and had several children.  I still don't know what prompted him to go there, to what was basically a pioneer wilderness, nor whether he had spent the first 25 years of his marriage in Greene County.  But what I did find is just, to my mind, extraordinary. 

It's a letter published in the Firelands Pioneer, Volume XXIII, pages 346-348, from a great grand daughter of Alexis Jackson, Mrs. M.C. Frederick.  This was published in 1925 but the letter itself may have been written as much as a year earlier, for it's not dated.  Here are some excerpts from the letter:

"My grandmother, Catherine Jackson Carter, was born in Pennsylvania in 1809 and when she was very young her family drove to Sandusky, Ohio. They took their cows with them, the milk was strained into the churn, and traveling churned the butter.  I was told that a recent history of Erie County mentioned Alexus Jackson (my great grandfather) as having settled in Groton Township, the exact date not given.  A letter to the County recorder of Huron county bought the information that Alexus Jackson sold (or bought?)land in 1811 (Vol. 1 page 305 of Erie, Town of Perkins) and again in 1819 he sold 40 acres, his wife Catharine being mentioned in this deed (Vol. 2 p. 913 Erie., also that a tract containing 116 acres in Huron county, (Erie not yet formed) the property of Alexus Jackson, deceased, was sold in 1830 by Alexus, executor, late of Marion County, Indiana by his last will and testament made Feb. 2, 1826 (vol6, p. 440, Erie).  This would indicate that the family went to Ohio some time between June 1, 1809, the date of my grandmother's birth, and 1811; that the father died, probably in 1826, and that the widow and family-there were six girls and five or six boys-went to Marion County (Indianapolis) between 1826 and 1829, when my grandmother was married at Indianapolis.

"As I remember the story she told me when I was a child, they with other settlers were in the fort at Sandusky for protection from the Indians in the War of 1812, and nearly perished for lack of food.  At intervals men would steal out at night and endeavor to procure provisions, but they never returned, undoubtedly discovered and killed by the Indians.  What food they did have was not suitable for small children, and a number of them died, including, I think, my grandmother's baby sister.  Grandmother remembered seeing the smoke and hearing the firing of "Perry's Victory," which ended the trouble and permitted them to return to their homes.  She was then four years and three months old."

There is other interesting material in the letter, not directly applicable to Alexis Jackson and family, but I find this fascinating.  The author does mention several of the children, including Eleanor, who married Vincent McCoy, so we know this is our Alexis.  Eleanor would have been about two years younger than the Catherine who was mentioned above, so she surely was with her mother and siblings in the Fort, too, although she may not have had any memory of it. 

These were exciting finds for me.  Now I have more questions, such as why Alexis and Catherine decided to leave Pennsylvania for Ohio, and why they later (date undetermined) decided to move on to Marion County, Indiana.  I believe the writer made an error when she said that the widow and children went to Marion County.  Alexis's will was written there and I believe he died there, although I don't know how long he'd been there.  I still don't know if Alexis had an occupation besides farming.  But what I do know is this glimpse into one segment of his and his family's life, and it's so much more than I knew before. 

It's another happy genealogy dance day!

The line of descent is:

Alexis Jackson-Catherine Moore
Eleanor Jackson-Vincent McCoy
Nancy McCoy-George R. Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants