Francis Jackson (abolitionist)

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Portrait of Francis Jackson, c. 1850 (Boston Public Library)

Francis Jackson (1789-1861) was an abolitionist in Boston, Massachusetts. He was affiliated with the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, the American Anti-Slavery Society[1] and the Boston Vigilance Committee.[2] He also worked for the South Cove Corporation, filling in land in Boston's South End in the 1830s.

Biography[edit]

Jackson was born in Newton, Massachusetts to Timothy Jackson (1756-1814), who fought in the American Revolutionary War and later built the Jackson Homestead in Newton. Siblings included Edmund Jackson, George Jackson, Stephen Jackson, Lucretia Jackson, and politician William Jackson, who was also against slavery.[3]

Francis Jackson served on the Boston City Council in 1823-1824 (common council, Ward 12) and 1826 (alderman).[4][5] In 1832 he held the position of "Land Commissioner" for the city of Boston.[6] He lived on Washington Street (c. 1823), Tremont Street (c. 1832)[7] and Hollis Street (c. 1848-1861).[8][9]

He worked for the South Cove Corporation c. 1833-1840.[10][11] In Boston "by 1830 the population had increased so much that it was felt that the time had come when more room was needed, and soon afterwards the first grand real estate enterprise was inaugurated by the filling up of the South Cove. The company was chartered Jan. 31st, 1833, and $415,000 was subscribed. The work was begun May 3d, 1834, under the management of Mr. Francis Jackson, and finished in November 1837. Seventy-seven acres of good land were thus added."[12]

As an abolitionist, Jackson assisted fugitive slaves: "he sheltered many in a room of his house, at Number 31 Hollis Street."[13] He was involved with the trial of Anthony Burns in 1854.[14] In 1854 and 1856 he "was called upon to preside" over the New England Anti-Slavery Convention held at the Melodeon.[15][16]

In his will, Jackson left considerable funds to abolitionist and women's suffragist efforts, and wrote about Massachusetts:

"Disregarding the self-evident declaration of 1776, repeated in her own constitution of 1780, that 'all men are born free and equal,' Massachusetts has since, in the face of those solemn declarations, deliberately entered into a conspiracy with other states, to aid in enslaving millions of innocent persons. I have long labored to help my native state out of her deep iniquity, and her barefaced hypocrisy in the matter; I now enter my last protest against her inconsistency, her injustice, and her cruelty, toward an unoffending people. God save the fugitive slave that escapes to her borders, whatever may become of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."[17]

Jackson also left money to fellow abolitionists and activists Charles C. Burleigh, Lydia Maria Child, Stephen S. Foster, Francis Jackson Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison (whose son, Francis Jackson Garrison, was named after him[18]), Oliver Johnson, Parker Pillsbury, Charles Lennox Redmond, Lucy Stone, Robert F. Walcott and Charles K. Whipple.[19]

Slavery would be legally abolished in the US just four years after Jackson's death through the 13th Amendment. Some of his relatives, led by his brother Edmund, tried to demolish his anti-slavery trust. However, citing the cy-près doctrine, Justice Horace Gray denied the relatives' claim and converted the trust into an educational charity for former slaves and to better their living condition.[20]

He had three children.[21] His daughter Eliza F. Meriam Eddy (née Eliza Frances Jackson) had two sons and a daughter from her first marriage.[22] One of them, Francis Jackson Meriam, was also in the anti-slavery cause. He joined John Brown in his insurrection against slavers despite being already blind in one eye.[23]

Images[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annual report of the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1860.
  2. ^ Life and correspondence of Theodore Parker. 1864
  3. ^ Thelma Fleishman (1984). "The Jacksons and Their Homestead in Newton, Massachusetts". Newton, Mass: Jackson Homestead. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Boston (Mass.) (1909), A catalogue of the city councils of Boston, 1822-1908, Roxbury, 1846-1867, Charlestown, 1847-1873 and of the selectmen of Boston, 1634-1822, [Boston]: City of Boston Printing Dept. 
  5. ^ Boston Directory. 1823
  6. ^ Boston Directory. 1832
  7. ^ Boston Directory. 1823, 1832
  8. ^ Boston Directory. 1848, 1861
  9. ^ Archibald H. Grimke (1890). "Anti-Slavery in Boston". New England Magazine. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  10. ^ South Cove Corporation (Boston, Mass.) (1840), Catalogue of 556 lots of land, and 8 wharves, in the South Cove: with the numbers, dimensions, contents, and minimum price, affixed to each lot respectively : by order of the directors of the South Cove Corporation, the right of choice, among said lots, will be sold by auction ..., Boston: Printed by Crocker and Brewster 
  11. ^ Justin Winsor (1881), The memorial history of Boston, Boston: Osgood 
  12. ^ Alexander S. Porter (1886). "Changes of values in real estate in Boston: the past 100 years". Collections of the Bostonian Society 1 (3). 
  13. ^ Wilbur H. Siebert. The Underground Railroad in Massachusetts. New England Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Sep., 1936), p.455.
  14. ^ Boston slave riot, and trial of Anthony Burns: Containing the report of the Faneuil Hall meeting, the murder of Batchelder, Theodore Parker's Lesson for the day, speeches of counsel on both sides, corrected by themselves, a verbatim report of Judge Loring's decision, and detailed account of the embarkation, Boston: Fetridge and Company, 1854 
  15. ^ Daily Atlas (Boston); Date: 06-01-1854
  16. ^ Boston Daily Atlas; Date: 05-29-1856
  17. ^ Quoted in: Will of a Notable Abolitionist. Evening Bulletin (San Francisco); Date: 02-08-1862
  18. ^ 5 Nov., 1848. Letter from Francis Jackson (Boston) to William Lloyd Garrison and Helen Eliza Garrison acknowledging the naming of Francis Jackson Garrison after him.
  19. ^ Will of a Notable Abolitionist. Evening Bulletin (San Francisco); Date: 02-08-1862
  20. ^ Friedman, Lawrence M. (15 June 2010). A History of American Law, Revised Edition. Touchstone. p. 425. ISBN 978-0-671-52807-2. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  21. ^ Excerpt of his will on p. 271: "Article 8th. I now give to my three children equally the net income of the residue of my estate, during the term of their natural lives." (emphasis added) Except for Eliza, the children are not named.
  22. ^ Merriam Family Tree. Note: in most contemporary records, the family name was spelled Meriam with one r.
  23. ^ John Brown: The Conspirators Biographies

Further reading[edit]

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