Jackson family settles area named Jackson Town

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

Covington County has a community about four miles southwest of Opp that has been known locally as Jackson Town. It is also known as Blue Springs, but so many Jackson families resided there that it received the Jackson labels. A sizable section of timberland extending from Gridertown or Horn Hill to Green Bay and Onycha has been known as Jackson's Entry. The "town" had a church building located on the dirt road before it was paved and became County Road 47. In addition to church services, the building was used for a one-room school during the summers. Many families can trace their lineage to the early Jackson ancestors who lived in the community and attended the church and school.

Cornelius Jackson, a true pioneer in spirit, is the patriarch who brought this Jackson family to Covington County. He was born in 1795 in Robeson County, North Carolina, as the son of Thomas Jackson, Jr. and Azenith (Hammons). He had Indian heritage as his mother's father, John Hammons, was a descendant of the tribe now known as the Lumbee Indians. Both of his grandfathers were wealthy landowners, and both served in the American Revolutionary War.

Following the pattern of his grandfathers' military service, Cornelius enlisted in the United States Army on November 17, 1817, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was assigned to Company A of the 4th Regiment. His description was being six feet and one inch tall, and having dark eyes, hair and complexion, and he was listed as a farmer. At the time he was 22 years of age and would spend the next five years of his life fighting in the Seminole Indian Wars. He was engaged in the invasion of Spanish Florida and in the conquest of Pensacola while serving in Andrew Jackson's Army.

During this time, Cornelius passed through the area that would become Covington County in 1821. He discovered the soil was sandy over clay just as he knew in North Carolina. Also, the virgin pine forests appeared familiar to him. It is no surprise that he chose to settle in this area after he was discharged from the army in 1822 at Pensacola.

Cornelius could purchase more land with his war pension in this unsettled area than in his homeland of North Carolina. Also, in that area there were increasing hostilities toward the local Indians. (This was only some eight years before the Trail of Tears.) However, the primary reason for remaining here seems to be the timber industry. He and his relatives knew well how to harvest it and develop lumber. He could easily see the vast opportunities for such in South Alabama.

In Wyley Ward's history of the county, there is an identification of a J. Jackson who represented the Union Primitive Baptist Church at the Conecuh River Association meetings. Any relationship to the family of this writing is unknown.

Before 1830, Cornelius had made his way to Monroe County where he resided for several years. He had married Lucendia or (Lucretia) Scroggins of that county circa 1824. Their first child was born there in 1825. The family would remain here for only a few years before moving east to Pike County where they were enumerated in the 1840 federal census. He was most likely following the availability of pine timber.

By the time of the taking of the 1850 census, Cornelius had moved his family to Covington County where he acquired 160 acres of land from his military grant on May 25, 1852. This property was listed in the Patsaliga Township. In addition to Cornelius's household, those of several of his children were enumerated in this census: John J. and Mary, Duncan and Mary, and Andrew and Mary. Although unrelated seemingly, there was a William and Eliza Jackson with Jane Jackson, age 68 and a native of North Carolina, in their household. This William and his family are identified as mulatto, but Jane is not.

Cornelius and Lucendia (or Lucretia), who was born in 1800 in South Carolina, reared the following children: John J., b. 1825, d. 1863, m. 1850 Mary Stricklin; Duncan J. "Dunkin," b. 1827, d. 1877, m. 1846 Mary "Polly" Scroggins; Andrew, b. 1831, m. 1868, Melissa E. Odom; Mary J., b. 1832, d. 1915, single; Martha A. "Mattie," b. 1837, m. Rob Morgan; William A., b. 1839, d. 1901, m. 1861 Martha Ann Gibbons; Susan, b. 1841, m. 1861 Isaac Allen Cantaline; and Cornelius "C.J.," b. 1845, d. 1925, m. (1) Georgian Anne Cantaline (2) Sedalia Jones. Records show another daughter, Martha L., being born circa 1859, but that would mean her mother was 59 years of age at her birth. I

At least four of Cornelius's sons served in the Confederate Army: John J. was a private in Company E, 45th Alabama Infantry Regiment; Duncan was a private in Company A, 17th Alabama Infantry Regiment; William was a private in Company B, 25th Alabama Infantry Regiment; and Cornelius "C.J." was a private in Company F, 63th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Three of these sons survived the war, but John J. died at home in Butler County in 1863 from wounds received during battle. His widow, Mary, claimed his personal effects in Greenville. When John J. enlisted in the service he was described as standing six feet and six inches tall, having black hair and eyes, and a fair complexion.

The patriarch, Cornelius, died in 1875 and was buried in Covington County, but the site of his grave has not been located. His descendants had migrated throughout Monroe, Pike, and Coffee Counties, but many lived and remained in Covington County. In next week's column, another generation of this family will be featured.

Sources for today's column include the genealogical records of two direct descendants, Taylor Whizonant and Larry Jordan. Also, some data was gleaned from Wyley Ward's Early History of Covington County, 1821-1871.

Anyone who might have additional information on this family or corrections to any of the above is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.com.


The Covington Historical Society will meet on Thursday, September 25, at 7 p.m. in the Dixon Conference Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are invited.