James Caleb Jackson

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James Caleb Jackson
James Caleb Jackson1.jpg
Born(1811-03-28)March 28, 1811
DiedJuly 11, 1895(1895-07-11) (aged 84)
Known forGranula
Spouse(s)Lucretia Edgerton Brewster
ChildrenJames Hathaway Jackson
RelativesKatharine Johnson Jackson (daughter-in-law)

James Caleb Jackson (March 28, 1811 – July 11, 1895) was the inventor of the first dry, whole grain breakfast cereal which he called granula.[1] His views influenced the health reforms of Ellen G. White, a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[2]


Jackson was born in Manlius, Onondaga County, New York,[1] to James and Mary Ann Elderkin Jackson.[3] After completing his education at Chittenango Polytechnic Institute, he worked as a farmer until 1838. He married Lucretia Edgerton Brewster when he was 19 years old.[3] In his early life, Jackson was active as an abolitionist. He lectured for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, becoming the society's secretary in 1840. From 1844, he moved into journalism, buying the abolitionist newspaper the Albany Patriot with Abel Brown. Jackson managed and wrote for the paper until 1847, when his failing health forced him to retire.

Jackson had been troubled with poor health throughout his life, but he experienced a remarkable recovery after taking a 'water cure' at a spa operated by Silas O. Gleason, the Greenwood Spring Water Cure in Cuba, New York, in 1846–1847.[3][4] As a result, he spent the second half of his life as an advocate for hydropathy, training to become a physician and opening a hydropathic institute at Glen Haven on Skaneateles Lake in Cortland County, New York, in 1847.

In 1858, he took over the 'Our Home Hygienic Institute' at Dansville, Livingston County, New York. The spa had been founded by Nathaniel Bingham on the site of a mineral water spring some four years earlier. Under Jackson's management, the spa grew to become one of the largest in the world, catering to around 20,000 patients, and was renamed 'Our Home on the Hillside'.[1][4] Jackson was assisted by his wife, known as "Mother Jackson", and their adopted daughter, Dr. Harriet Newell Austin.[5] The health resort was a Jackson family operation for many years; James Hathaway Jackson (son of James Caleb Jackson) and James Arthur Jackson (son of James Hathaway Jackson and grandson of James Caleb Jackson) were both leaders of the facility.[6] The family referred to it as the Jackson Sanatorium by 1890;[6][4] the establishment was also known as the Jackson Health Resort.[5]

Along with water cures, Jackson believed that diet was fundamental in improving health. Over time, he removed red meat from the menu at the spa and ruled out tea, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco. Jackson was a vegetarian[7] and promoted a vegetarian diet with emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed grains. Jackson believed his diet could cure intemperance and masturbation.[7][8] Although accepting the use of surgery, he opposed drugs.[8] Jackson was opposed to abortion in any circumstance, describing it as "among the greatest crimes".[9]

In 1863, he developed the first breakfast cereal and named it Granula.[10]

Jackson died on July 11, 1895 in Dansville, Livingston County, New York.


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  1. ^ a b c William Lloyd Garrison (June 1, 1971). A House Dividing Against Itself 1836–1840. Harvard University Press. pp. 577–. ISBN 978-0-674-52661-7. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Ronald Numbers (1992). Prophetess of Health: Ellen G. White and the Origins of Seventh-Day Adventist Health Reform. University of Tennessee Press.
  3. ^ a b c Quick, F.I. (1902). Dansville: Historical, Biographical, Descriptive. Dansville, N.Y.: Instructor Publishing Co. pp. 176–180. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Cayleff, Susan (2010). Wash and Be Healed: The Water-Cure Movement and Women's Health. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 114–115. ISBN 9781439904275. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Cayleff, Susan E. (1991). Wash and Be Healed: The Water-Cure Movement and Women's Health. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 9781439904275. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  6. ^ a b The Jackson Sanatorium. Dansville, NY. 1890. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Forward, Charles W. (1898). Fifty Years of Food Reform: A History of the Vegetarian Movement in England. London: The Ideal Publishing Union. p. 66
  8. ^ a b Mrozek, Donald J. (1987). The Scientific Quest for Physical Culture and the Persistent Appeal of Quackery. Journal of Sport History 14 (1): 76-86.
  9. ^ Mohr, James C. (1978). Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy. Oxford University Press. p. 172. ISBN 0-19-502249-1
  10. ^ "Who Made That Granola?". New York Times. March 23, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2013. In 1863, Dr. James Caleb Jackson, a health reformer who believed illness was rooted in the stomach, began experimenting with cold cereal to augment the mineral-spring treatments at his sanitarium in upstate New York. ...

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