Charles Jackson (Rhode Island)

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Gov. Charles Jackson
Political cartoon attacking Charles Jackson and others for freeing those convicted in the Dorr Rebellion.

Charles Jackson (March 4, 1797 – January 21, 1876) was the 18th Governor of Rhode Island from 1845 to 1846.

Early life[edit]

Jackson was born in Providence, Rhode Island on March 4, 1797, and was the son of Richard Jackson, Jr..[1] He graduated from Brown University in 1817, and received a master's degree in 1820.[2] He also studied law with James Burrill, Jr., and was admitted to the bar in 1820.[3]

Business career[edit]

In addition to practicing law, Jackson was involved in several businesses, including a cotton manufacturing company. He also built a rubber factory after acquiring patent rights from Charles Goodyear. Jackson's ventures proved successful, and he later expanded into firearms as operator of the Burnside Rifle Works and a company that manufactured railroad equipment.

Political career[edit]

Jackson was active in politics as a Whig, served several terms in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, and was Speaker from 1841 to 1842. In 1843 he was a delegate to the state constitutional convention.[4]

Jackson served as Governor from 1845 to 1846, after defeating incumbent James Fenner. He was elected as a Whig identified with the Liberation movement, which advocated freedom for those imprisoned as a result of the Dorr Rebellion. Jackson signed a bill freeing rebellion leader Thomas Wilson Dorr and all others who had been convicted. In response, Whig opponents of freeing Door organized a "Law & Order Party." Jackson was nominated for Governor by the Democrats, and was defeated by Lieutenant Governor Byron Diman.

In 1857 Jackson was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate.[5]

Death and burial[edit]

Jackson died in Providence on January 21, 1876. He was buried at North Burial Ground in Providence.[6]


Jackson was married twice. His first wife was Catherine Dexter (1805-1832), whom he married in 1827. In 1836 he married Phebe Tisdale (died March 3, 1883) of Scituate, Rhode Island. He had seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood.


  1. ^ James T. White & Company, The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume IX, 1899, page 397
  2. ^ Brown University, Historical Catalogue of Brown University, 1764-1914, 1914, page 97
  3. ^ Daniel Webster, author, Andrew J. King, editor, The Papers of Daniel Webster, 1989, page 896
  4. ^ Rhode Island Historical Society, Annual Meeting Proceedings, President's Address, 1910, page 15
  5. ^ Rhode Island Department of State, State of Rhode Island Manual, 1914, page 155
  6. ^ Rhode Island Genealogical Society, North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island: Old Section, 1700-1848, 2000, page 275

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Fenner
Governor of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Byron Diman