ANDREW JACKSON. Along the valleys of Denton creek, before the Civil War, a few hardy settlers ventured and thrust themselves almost into the doorways, as it were, of the tepees of the hostile Indian with their implements of civilization. Land was anywhere to be had for the taking and but for the occasional forays of bands of red men, bent on murder and rapine, there was no one to dispute their possession. They were home seekers and prospective home-builders and they willed to stay on Denton creek and, notwithstanding the innumerable attempts to prevent by hostile hordes, they did stay and the children of that day are all the representative men and women of the valley today.
Among the last of the ante-bellum settlers of that locality, whose posterity have added wealth and the renown of honest citizenship to their county, was James Jackson, father of the subject of this review. He added his family to the sparse settlement in the fall of 1860 and located them on the right bluff of the stream some three miles below where the hamlet of Denver was afterward laid out. While he was classed as a farmer and had farming carried on, he was actively a trader and this vocation probably yielded him more revenue in this new country than did his farm. He was born in north Georgia, in the region tributary to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and grew up there, but went to Arkansas about 1842 and was married in Montgomery county, where he first settled. He afterward lived in Pike county and came to Texas from there. Caroline Brock was his first wife and she died in Montgomery county, Arkansas, in 1846, and for his second wife he married Elizabeth Carpenter, who died in Montague county, Texas.
James Jackson was a man of no education, but nevertheless possessed good business judgment and made a financial success of life. By his first wife his only child was Andrew, our subject. By his second wife were: Elizabeth J., married Riley Willingham, now deceased, and resides in Denver, Texas; Charles Ralph; Sarah D., wife of Samuel McDonald, of Denver; and Mahala married D. C. McDonald, another leading farmer and pioneer of Denton creek valley; Millie M., widow of Joseph McDonald and wife of Early Nixon, of Haskell county, Texas; Sena I., deceased wife of Frank Willingham; Eliza E., wife of Houston Wainscott, of Denver, Texas; Drusie, deceased, married John W. Williams, left no issue, and Frank, who died single.
Andrew Jackson was born in Montgomery county, Arkansas, October 24, 1846, and came to the country of the red man at about fourteen years of age. After his father’s death, in 1869, at fifty-five years of age, he became the active head of the family and he began life more on the education of actual experience than from any knowledge gained from books. During the war he belonged to Captain John Willingham‘s company of Home Guards which simply kept a watchful eye upon the Indians prowling up and down the creek. He and the captain encountered a small squad of warriors on Brushy creek, had an engagement at close range with them for some minutes, but each side found an opportunity to escape and without casualties so far as known.
In the early time Mr. Jackson was in the saddle, on the cow trail, a great deal. His father was in the stock business and the open range made large pastures and enabled stock to wander off. This necessitated an occasional rounding-up and bunching-up and the job fell to the lot of Andrew. When he was ready to settle down, Mr. Jackson took possession of one-half of the old homestead which his father left to him, and he began his career as a householder in the early seventies, having no thought of any vocation but that offered by the farm. In the matter of grain-raising he became an expert and if there was any corn raised at all on Denton creek it could be found in his crib; others might totally fail, but he never did. The best evidence of an intelligent and successful farmer is found in his corn crib. If is is never empty we can count him a money maker, otherwise he is probably but an apology for a farmer. Mr. Jackson is decidedly a leader in his vocation. His seven hundred and forty-two acres constitute one of the fine farms of the valley and its acquirement represents the success his and his sons’ efforts at farming and have met.
Mr. Jackson was married in 1872 to Miss Mary Ellen McDonald, a daughter of Cash McDonald, who came into Denton creek valley in 1857 from Lawrence county, Missouri, where Mrs. Jackson was born in 1856. Three sons have been the result of this marriage, viz: Samuel, a leading young farmer and ginner on Denton creek, who married Minnie Holbrook; James, who is still connected with the family homestead and is married to Maggie Richardson; and Isham, deceased, June 28, 1905, whose wife was Lee McDaniel, was associated with the farm and was interested with his brother in the gin. Mazie, a daughter, must be included in the list. She is the wife of J. R. Holbrook, of Sunset, and Miss Florence, the youngest child, is yet with the family circle.
Andrew Jackson’s reputation as a citizen meets universal approval. He has found comfort and satisfaction always in doing right and his circle of friends is limited only by the extent of his acquaintance. Like his father, he believes in the efficacy of the Christian religion, but while the father was a Methodist he himself is a Baptist of the Missionary school. What more need be added when it is said that he was among the first here; that he helped conquer the country; that his life has been a success; that he and his wife have reared an honored family and that in the approaching evening of life he maintains the good will and confidence of his fellow men?
B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 115-116.