John Jay Jackson Jr.

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John Jay Jackson Jr.
John Jay Jackson, Jr.JPG
The "Iron Judge" of West Virginia, c. 1903
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
In office
July 1, 1901 – March 15, 1905
Appointed byoperation of law
Preceded bySeat established by 31 Stat. 736
Succeeded byAlston G. Dayton
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia
In office
June 11, 1864 – July 1, 1901
Appointed byoperation of law
Preceded bySeat established by 13 Stat. 124
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
In office
August 3, 1861 – June 11, 1864
Appointed byAbraham Lincoln
Preceded byJohn White Brockenbrough
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Wood County
In office
January 1, 1852 – December 2, 1855
Preceded byWilliam L. Jackson
Succeeded byArthur I. Boreman
Personal details
Born
John Jay Jackson Jr.

(1824-08-04)August 4, 1824
Parkersburg, Virginia
(now West Virginia)
DiedSeptember 2, 1907(1907-09-02) (aged 83)
Atlantic City, New Jersey
RelativesJacob B. Jackson
James M. Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
John G. Jackson
George Jackson
EducationPrinceton University
read law

John Jay Jackson Jr. (August 4, 1824 – September 2, 1907) was an American lawyer, Whig politician, United States District Judge (initially of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia) and, later, the first judge of the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia. He ended his career as the first judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

Early life and education[edit]

Born on August 4, 1824, in Parkersburg, Virginia (now West Virginia),[1] Jackson's family included several generations of lawyers, politicians and judges. His grandfather, Judge John G. Jackson, who died shortly after young John J. Jackson Jr.'s birth, had been a U.S. Congressman as well as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia. Young John J. Jackson Jr. received a private education near home, then traveled north to attend the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), from which he graduated in 1845. He then read law and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1847.

Legal and political career[edit]

Jackson began his private legal practice in Wirt County, Virginia (now West Virginia) from 1847 to 1848. Local judges appointed Jackson as the first Wirt County commonwealth attorney (prosecutor) in 1848, the year the county was established from portions of Wood County and Jackson County. The following year his father's friend Judge David A. McComas appointed Jackson Jr. as the commonwealth attorney for more populated Ritchie County (which also became West Virginia in his lifetime and had been split from Wood County in 1843), where he served 1849 until 1850. Residents of Wood county operated considerable businesses in both counties, as well as speculated in land and other resources; the Jackson family had bought land near Harrisville (the Ritchie county seat) in connection with James B. Blair and in Wirt county near the Little Kanawha River in conjunction with William P. Rathbone and his son in law Peter G. Van Winkle. Probably Jackson continued to reside at home (Parkersburg being the Wood county seat), helped his father attend the family's considerable business interests, and only traveled to the outlying counties when court was in session.[2]

Jackson Jr. was appointed the Commonwealth attorney for Wood County and served from 1850 to 1851, when the post became elective under the new state constitution. When Jackson resumed his private legal practice, Wood County voters elected (and reelected) him as one of their delegates in the Virginia House of Delegates. Jackson served part-time from 1852 to 1855, succeeding his cousin and business associate William Lowther Jackson (a future Confederate General) and being succeeded by Arthur I. Boreman (who would become West Virginia's first Governor). After leaving the legislature as 1855 closed, Jackson Jr. concentrated on his family's real estate and other business interests (which boomed after the discovery of oil at Burning Spring in Wirt County), as well as his private legal practice in Parkersburg until 1861.[3][4]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On July 26, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Jackson to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia vacated by Judge John White Brockenbrough, who had sided with Virginia's secessionists. Jackson's father had opposed secession as well as attended the Wheeling Convention in May, 1861 (following Virginia's secession vote), which ultimately led to West Virginia's statehood in 1863. Meanwhile, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Jackson Jr's appointment on August 3, 1861, and he received his commission the same day. Following West Virginia's secession from Virginia and admission to the Union on June 20, 1863, Jackson was reassigned by operation of law to the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia on June 11, 1864, the new seat having been authorized by 13 Stat. 124. Jackson was reassigned by operation of law to the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on July 1, 1901, the new court having been authorized by 31 Stat. 736. Judge Jackson retired on March 15, 1905, ending his federal service.[3]

Notable case[edit]

Jackson ruled in 1870 that West Virginia's ex-Confederates were eligible to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment, which had profound effects on the polity in West Virginia.[citation needed]

Tenure[edit]

Because Jackson had served from before the creation of the District of West Virginia until after its subdivision, Jackson was the only Judge to ever sit on the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia.[citation needed] Having served for nearly forty-four years, including over forty years in the federal courts in West Virginia, Jackson was known as "the Iron Judge".[citation needed] Jackson became the longest-serving judge appointed by Lincoln.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Jackson died on September 2, 1907, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[3]

Family[edit]

Jackson's father, General John Jay Jackson of Wood County attended the Wheeling Convention on West Virginia statehood. Jackson's brother Jacob B. Jackson served as Governor of West Virginia and his other brother was Circuit Judge and Congressman James M. Jackson. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was a cousin. His grandfather, John G. Jackson, preceded him as Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. His great-grandfathers included George Jackson. The Jackson Memorial Fountain at Parkersburg is dedicated to the Jackson family.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parkersburg, West Virginia". City-Data.com. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "West Virginia History Volume 50".
  3. ^ a b c John Jay Jackson Jr. at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  4. ^ Cynthia Miller Leonard, Virginia's General Assembly 1619-1978 (Virginia State Library 1978) pp. 451, 457
  5. ^ Nimfa H. Simpson (January 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Jackson Memorial Fountain" (PDF). State of West Virginia, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-09-15.

Further reading[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
1861–1864
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Seat established by 13 Stat. 124
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia
1864–1901
Preceded by
Seat established by 31 Stat. 736
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
1901–1905
Succeeded by