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Sun, 10.28.1798

Nathaniel Jackson, Abolitionist, and Rancher born

Nathaniel Jackson

*The birth of Nathaniel Jackson is celebrated on this date, c 1798.  He was a white-American rancher and abolitionist.  He was born in Georgia; his exact birth date is unknown; the date 1798 was used in two censuses, so it is the best guess based on the documentation. 

He was the son of Joseph Jackson of Alabama and Mary Burk of North Carolina.  In the 1850 Alabama Slave Schedule, his father is listed as the owner of 22 slaves: 11 Males and 11 Females. These are likely young Jackson’s mulatto wife, stepchildren, and children. Many of the ages line up exactly. It is believed he was with Matilda as early as the 1830 census, where a slave of her age is listed (and their first child was born about 1829).  Jackson sold his 720 acres in Alabama on February 13, 1857, and his inherited plantation in Georgia. He moved from Alabama with his Black wife (married in the eyes of God but not legal in the laws of the land), their grown mulatto children, and grandchildren.

Originally headed for Mexico, where slavery was banned, they met another bi-racial family, the Webbers, and decided to stay in the Rio Grande Valley. He purchased 5535 acres of Porcion 71, a Spanish land grant with a river frontage of .7 miles and which extended north 13 miles, for 36 cents an acre. He founded Jackson Ranch, raised livestock, and grew corn, sugarcane, yams, and pinto beans. 

His wife, a former slave with three daughters from a previous union, had at least seven children - Lucinda (born c 1829, married Fayette Lyon, did not move to Texas, death date and burial location unknown), Eli (believed to be buried in the Texas cemetery), Bryant (c 1834 Alabama, c 1875 Texas, burial location unknown), Columbus (c 1834 – 1896, burial location unknown), Matilda (August 14, 1834 –  November 17, 1911, burial location unknown), Martin and John (October 14, 1839 – 1900, burial location unknown). 

As the son of a Quaker, Jackson was a religious man. He founded what became the first Methodist church in the area- the Jackson Ranch Church, located just up the street to the west of the Eli Jackson Brewster Cemetery, where he is buried. It was originally an adobe structure. His oral family history says he prayed and read his Bible every morning.   The Jackson family was part of the Slave Pathways (what the Underground Railroad in Texas was called) and assisted escaping Black slaves headed to freedom in Mexico. His ranch, located on the banks of the Rio Grande, was an excellent crossing point.  Nathaniel Jackson died in 1865 in Hidalgo, Hidalgo County, Texas.  His grave is not marked or notated in the January 1980 Hidalgo County Historical Society Survey.  

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