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GENEALOGICAL TIPS                       Vol. XXIV, No. 3                       September, 1986

TERRELL JETHRO AND JULIA COLEMAN JACKSON COME TO THE
LAND OF PROMISE
(by Carolyn Wallace)

The following account was among the papers inherited by Carolyn Wallace, great, great, great granddaughter of Terrell Jethro and Julia Coleman Jackson.

Back in the winter of 1840, Terrell Jethro Jackson and wife, Julia Coleman Jackson, and their children, Hester Ann, Celeste Eugenia, Joseph Peter, decided to leave their home in Pickensville, Al, to seek new territory.  They had heard of the Land of Promise (Texas) from a traveling salesman, Edward Small, the gentleman who made “Dukes Mixture” famous and started the sale of cigarettes.

They traveled overland from Pickensville to Birmingham and then Mobile, where they boarded a ship, the “Showboat”, for New Orleans, landing in New Orleans the middle of May, 1841.  There they collected barrels of sugar, salt, flour, vinegar, and other supplies galore.  They bought three wagons with solid wooden wheels, ox teams, and added three families of Negroes to their group.

After months of travel through Louisiana, they hit the Texas border, went down through Houston until they crossed the Brazos River to Washington County, Texas, where they founded a settlement known as Jacksonville.  (This is not the present day Jacksonville in Cherokee County.)  En route they counted the days by picking up a small rock, and when a month came up they picked up a large rock.

Grandfather Terrell and his three brothers, William, Harris, and Joseph, Jr., brought a saw mill with them.  They sought a place where there was ample water to operate the mill, and they found their place at the junction of New Year’s Creek and Cedar Creek.  They bought land around their newly founded town of Jacksonville and later built a Baptist Church and a post office.

Evangeline Small Williams, granddaughter of Terrell Jethro Jackson, wrote that her Grandmother, Julia Coleman Jackson, would tell the grandchildren about the Indians met en route.  She said that Grandfather Terrell was a friendly man and met the Indians with gifts, making friends with them.  There was always the fear, though, that the next group of onrushing warriors would not be as friendly as ones met earlier.  They stayed with one group of Indians for two weeks, and Grandmother Julia helped the Indians make clothes of bolt cloth the Jacksons had bought in New Orleans.

With the aid of slaves, they tilled the soil and built shelters for all the families after titles to the land were cleared.  Later Grandfather Terrell started on the big house; a lovely two-story colonial home with huge columns and a small balcony overhanging the front door.  The lovely home was solid cedar lumbar cut at their saw mill.  There were two parlors with huge fireplaces that burned four foot logs.  The guest parlor had beautiful stained glass encircling the window panes.  The home became the center for social gatherings.  In the area, many homes, stores, and the Stagecoach Inn were built of this cedar cut at the mill.  (Now in 1986, the Stagecoach Inn in Chappell Hill, Texas, has cedar floors in the front part of the building and most of the walls are cedar, all cut at Grandfather’s mill.)

There were yearly trips to New Orleans where additional help was obtained and a year’s supply of staples and clothing were bought.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, my Grandfather had more than 300 slaves.  All stayed with “Massa Terrell” as he was affectionately known.  Later he gave each family acreage and equipment to farm and the relationship was changed to a sharecropper’s agreement.  Grandfather contributed food to the Southern Army, each week giving five pigs and one calf.  His boys were wounded during the War, and Grandfather had to go to Getysburg to get them.

Grandfather’s family had grown into a family of six daughters and two sons; in addition to the three little Alabamians were little Texans John Andrew, Mary Elizabeth, Nannie, Fannie Harris, and Julia Terrell.

Grandfather Terrell had been involved in building a railroad track from Hempstead to Brenham, and his two sons helped to run the railroad train, powered by a wood-burning engine.  By this time, Jacksonville settlement had been destroyed by a terrible windstorm and the town of Chappell Hill two or three miles away had been organized.  The family moved.  Later the Southern Pacific bought the right-of-way and the train from Grandfather.  Involved was cash and many sections of land in Jack County.  (In fact we still own the land in Jack County, and there is an oil derrick just one and a half mile away.)

Terrell Jethro Jackson died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1867 and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Chappell Hill.  He lived a colorful life, was deeply religious, community-minded, and shared his good fortune with his fellow man.  He was one of the founders of Baylor University and was a trustee until his death.

He was the son of Joseph Jackson who came from Belfast, Ireland, ca 1771 (undocumented) and went to Columbia, TN.  He was supposed to have been with his two brothers, one who went to Virginia and the other to Illinois.  If Joseph Jackson ever had any contact with them, none of the family ever knew about it.  He is supposedly buried in Columbia.  His wife was Easter (Hettie, Heddy) Bird Jackson, and she may have been the daughter of John Bird and Mary.  John Bird was the son of Jessie and Neadam Sims who were in Bute County, NC, in 1770.

The search continues to locate Joseph Jackson data and learn more about Easter Bird Jackson by their great great great, great granddaughter.

       Carolyn Wallace


(Document by Carolyn Wallace September, 1986.  This transcription was done from a .jpeg image of the document provided to me (DLC) by Mr. Bill Morris).

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