Thursday, July 26, 2012

Research bits on Handsome James Jackson

This piece includes some of the research bits relating to the previous piece on my blog that described Handsome James Jackson. There is more about his ancestry – the Jacksons of Drogheda on my website. SEE: Jacksons of Drogheda.  I have recently updated this page, so I won’t repeat myself here (or at least not too much).

The earliest known ancestor of handsome James Jackson was Richard Jackson of Drogheda (carpenter, sheriff and merchant) a man who seems to have been quite successful. His son, another Richard Jackson, became an Alderman of Drogheda and was also a successful merchant, although a number of pension requests in 1713-1715 lead me to wonder how well he was doing near the end of his life.

One of these two Richard Jacksons, probably Richard sr. had coins made to use in his business which included trade in both Ireland and England. It carried the image of an angel. One of them can be seen in the British Museum, not that I have seen it yet.  One of his coins, or tokens, featured a praying angel, and was sold by Christies auctions for £345 in 2000. That is out of my price range. Too bad. I’d love to see what it looks like.

The second Richard, Alderman Richard Jackson, not only was father to the handsome James, but also had a son George Jackson who was clearly down on his luck. Dunton’s book, The Dublin Scuffle, published in 1699, does not mention that James had a brother. What we do know is that by 1727, this luckless George was frequently pleading for money in order to place his two sons as apprentices. It is possible that one of these sons could have been my ancestor, the George Jackson (1718-1782) who was punted off to be a schoolmaster in Creggan Parish.

Looking sideways for clues in a scattershot manner to track down more about this James Jackson, there isn’t much to see so far. There are some deeds to a James Jackson, Gent, of Dublin in 1710 who may or may not have been Handsome James Jackson. I suspect that he might have been the same JACKSON who leased lands in Oxmanowne in 1711 & 1722 and also land at Stephens Green in 1716. I would have to order the deeds and compare the signatures in order to find out. Curiously, in the same time frame there was also a James Jackson, Gent, of Dublin who leased some land in Londonderry in 1716 and as well there was also a James Jackson, merchant of Bandon, Co. Cork in 1720. Either there are a slew of James Jacksons in the same social class, or else there was one who really made the rounds. It may be a mix of both.

The Co. Cork connection may turn out to be significant because of another family story:

... eldest son David [of George 1718-1782], married Margaret Bradford, a violent tempered red- haired woman, who, disgusted at the money being spent to get back the Mt. Leinster property, burnt all the Title Deeds

The Leinster property was in County Carlow and had been granted to some long-dead JACKSON ancestor in Elizabethan times. A particularly galling part of this story is that apparently, the deeds that Margaret burnt turned out to be only part of the jigsaw, but a significant part. One month after Margaret fed them to the fire, a man from Cork showed up with the other half of the deeds. I haven’t a clue who he was, but the family story is that taken together, the cumulative documentation would have won the case for David.  The family would have regained the lands at Mt. Leinster.

So the next question is: Was the man from Cork related to handsome James Jackson?

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