From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 478-479
It is natural when age begins to dim the vision and the twilight is seen in the distance, for man to turn back to memory and find some of his dearest pleasures in contemplation of those sunshiny spots of youth, of bounding hopes and rippling laughter; when the world to him was new and life was was (sic) bright with unalloyed love and joy, This retrospective condition is inevitable to old age. We draw a fleeting picture upon memory’s canvas, ever changing in its details, but with the same result—the sweets of long ago and the dull and prosaic now being sometimes sadly intermingled. And who shall say this is not right, for during man’s strong and vigorous years his greatest enjoyments and happiness were possible. These reflections are suggested while contemplating the long life and active career of the venerable gentleman whose name, a familiar sound to every man, woman and child where he lives, forms the caption of this biographical outline.
Thomas Jackson is an eastern man, born September 18, 1811, in Queen Anne county, Maryland. His father, James Jackson, a blacksmith by occupation, was also a Marylander and served with distinction in the war of 1812. When Thomas was fourteen years of age the family moved to Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania; thence after two years’ residence to Ohio, settling in the county of Columbiana, where the subject grew to manhood. When quite young, he became familiar with blacksmithing tools in his father’s shop, and soon developed considerable skill as a worker in iron. Before engaging in any trade, however, he found employment as a farm hand, and by this means contributed to the support of the family for a number of years. At the age of eighteen, he began working at carpentering, and to this trade he devoted his time and attention in the counties of Columbiana and Stark, Ohio, until 1847, when he decided to improve his material prospects by locating in the then new and sparsely settled region of northern Indiana. On coming to Huntington county he purchased for three dollars per acre an eighty-acre tract of land belonging to a Mr. Katy, paying down the sum of two hundred dollars which he had succeeded in saving from his earnings as a carpenter and builder.
Immediately after taking possession of his land Mr. Jackson proceeded to erect thereon a two-roomed log dwelling, and then addressed himself manfully to the greater task of removing the dense forest growth and prepared a field for cultivation. To reach his place on coming to the country he was obliged to cut a way several miles through the woods, and the prospect which presented itself at the time was anything but encouraging. Animated by a determined purpose to make the most of his opportunity, and realizing that success would in the end attend continued effort, he worked through heat and cold, subjecting himself to many exposures and suffering numerous hardships. In the end, however, he was rewarded with a home comfortable in all of its appointments, besides acquiring a sufficient competency to place him in independent circumstances. Mr. Jackson’s life has been closely interwoven with the growth and development of Clear Creek township. He has seen it transformed out of a few scattering agricultural districts of Huntington county, and as an humble factor in the cause of progress, has borne well his part in bringing about the present happy condition of affairs.
Reared a Whig, he supported the party during its existence, and recalls with some degree of pride the fact of having cast his first ballot for Henry Clay when that noted statesman ran for the presidency. For some years past he has been a Democrat, earnest in the support of his political principles and ever ready to maintain them with intelligent argument.
Mr. Jackson was married in Ohio, March 14, 1834, to Miss Hannah Ebersole, who has born him the following children: Henry, Malinda, George, Sarah J., Benjamin, Johanna, Silas, Franklin, Simeon and Charles.
Mr. Jackson has lived far beyond man’s allotted period, but is still in possession of his mental and physical faculties to a degree seldom found in one of his advanced age. While an humble laborer and in a quiet and unassuming way was a forceful factor in the upward trend of his adopted county, he has always been a man of integrity, and throughout a long and useful life has discharged every duty incumbent upon him with commendable fidelity, and made for himself a name untinged by the slightest breath of anything dishonorable.
His life has been full of good deeds and kind ministrations, and his words of cheer have encouraged many young people of his neighborhood as they faced the world for the first time upon their own responsibility.
The biographer, writing for the future as well as for the present generation, would be unmindful of his duty if he failed to commend to the young the example of such a life. Commencing as a poor boy, but with a laudable determination to succeed and paving the path to prosperity only with the solid rocks of honesty, industry, goodness of character and conduct, we have seen success achieved in the face of formidable obstacles and a name to be transmitted to posterity that shall ever shine with the radiance emanating from a life of honor and nobleness of purpose.