A Guide to the James Jackson Family Papers, 1824-1895
The James Jackson family descended from Humphrey Jackson (1784-1836). Humphrey immigrated from Ireland along with two brothers and initially settled in Louisiana. There he married Sarah Merriman, his second wife. Four children: James, Hugh, John, and Letita were born to them. Joining Stephen F. Austin’s colony, Humphrey and his family became part of the “Old Three Hundred” when they moved to Texas in 1823. The next year the Jacksons were granted a homestead east of San Jacinto River (in present-day Harris County near the town of Crosby).
One of his sons, James Jackson (1822-1895) purchased over a series of years a 26,000 acre ranch in south Chambers County (Texas). James married Sarah White in 1847 and raised 11 children. During his lifetime, James served Chambers County as chief justice, county judge, sheriff, and notary public; and within his own community of Double Bayou he served as doctor, dentist, druggist, scribe, commissioner, surveyor, assessor, postmaster, private banker, and cotton ginner. In addition to these activities, James Jackson tended to both ranching and farming operations. In 1961, his grandson Ralph Semmes Jackson published Home on the Double Bayou: Memories of an East Texas Ranch (Austin, Texas: The University of Texas Press), his reminiscences about his grandparents, his family, and the ranch in Chambers County.
Arranged chronologically, the James Jackson Family Papers, 1824-1895, document the family’s history throughout the 19th century. Two copies of an Austin Colony land grant (in Spanish and in English) document Humphrey Jackson’s successful petition to Baron Bastrop and Stephen F. Austin for land in Texas and include a map delineating the land granted. Additionally, the collection contains a bill of sale for Martha, a seventeen-year-old slave girl. A family journal details daily activities of members of the James Jackson family, information concerning weather events, ranching and farming, business finances, individual family member’s expenses and the postal service for Double Bayou, Texas from 1878 through 1887.
This collection is open for research use.
James Jackson Family Papers, 1824-1895, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Julia Payne, May 1983.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers