Robert S. and William J. Jackson

Robert S. Jackson was born in 1839 in New York, the son of Henry (1802-1877) and Elizabeth (1811-1896).

New Yorker Henry married New Hampshire native Elizabeth and they settled in New York. Sometime between 1843 and 1847 Henry moved his family west from New York to Michigan, and by 1850 Robert was attending school with his siblings and residing with his family in Walker, Kent County. In 1860 he was working as a surveyor and living with his family in Brownville, Caledonia Township, Kent County.

Robert enlisted at the age of 22 in Company A on May 13, 1861, along with his older brother William J. According to official records he was “never mustered into U.S. service” with the rest of the Regiment on June 10, 1861, and in any case, he was left sick at Grand Rapids when the Regiment departed for Washington, DC, on June 13, 1861.

There is no further record.

It seems, however, Robert was living in Caledonia in 1863 when he married Sarah E. Solomon (1839-1873) on June 16, 1863 in Gaines, Kent County, and they had at least three children: Ralph (b. 1864), Ida (b. 1868) and Bertha (b. 1872). And he was living with his wife and children and working as the County surveyor and owner of a substantial amount of property in Caledonia, Kent County in 1870. His father and mother were also living on a farm in Caledonia in 1870 as well (Henry owned some $4000 worth of real estate).

He was married a second time to New York native Jane (b. 1835) and they may have had one child: Sarah A. (b. 1874).

By 1880 Robert was working as a surveyor and living in Caledonia with his wife Jane and four children. (His mother was also living as a widow in Caledonia in 1880.)

Robert’s first wife Sarah is buried in Alaska cemetery, Caledonia; curiously Robert is also listed as having died in 1873 and buried in Alaska cemetery but that has yet to be confirmed.

No pension seems to be available.

William J. Jackson was born in 1836 in New York, the son of Henry (1802-1877) and Elizabeth (1811-1896).

New Yorker Henry married New Hampshire native Elizabeth and they settled in New York. Sometime between 1843 and 1847 Henry moved his family west from New York to Michigan, and by 1850 William was attending school with his siblings and residing with his family in Walker, Kent County. By 1860 his parents had settled on a farm in Caledonia, Kent County. In 1860 William may have been working as a millwright in Norton, Muskegon County and living at the Pemberton boarding house in Norton.

In any case, William was 25 years old when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother Robert. By July of 1862 was absent sick in the hospital, probably in Annapolis, Maryland.

He was employed as a nurse in the hospital in Annapolis until he was discharged as a Corporal on August 28, 1863, to accept an appointment in the Second United States Colored Troops, which was organized in Arlington, Virginia, between June 20 and November 11, 1863. William was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Second U.S.C.T., and soon afterwards promoted to First Lieutenant.

The Second U.S.C.T. was sent to the Department of the Gulf in December of 1863 and was on duty at New Orleans, Louisiana and Ship Island, Mississippi until February 13, 1864 when it was ordered to Key West, Florida (District of Key West). It participated in the “Affair at Tampa” on May 5, in operations along the west coast of Florida from July 1-31: expedition from Fort Myers to Bayport July 1-4, and from Cedar Key to St. Andrews Bay July 20-29. It was at Fort Taylor on August 21.

William was on duty with the regiment in Key West, possibly at Fort Taylor, when he died on August 13, 1864, of yellow fever and was reportedly buried in Key West. The very same day Lieutenant Colonel John Wilder, William’s superior officer at Key West, wrote to Henry Jackson, then living in Caledonia, informing him of the death of his son. The Grand Rapids Eagle reported in early October that the letter was

one of the most touching and patriotic letters that we ever read. Its length and the crowded state of our columns is a necessary reason for not giving it entire.

Young Jackson, formerly a resident of this city, enlisted originally in the grand old Third, and for meritorious conduct and soldierly ability, was subsequently commissioned a 2d Lieutenant in the above regiment, and so well had he discharged the duties of his position; that only one week before he died, (when it was supposed he was getting well) he was appointed by the President as a 1st Lieutenant in the same company. The terms of praise in which Colonel Wilder speaks of him, are a rich legacy of themselves to the parents of the patriot soldier; and while it is painful for one with the talents and ability of young Jackson to yield up his life to the disease of a southern clime, instead of dying upon the tented field, amid the clash of arms, yet, even such an offering, under such circumstances, will not have been in vain. Peace to the ashes of the brave.

No pension seems to be available.

His father and mother were still living on a farm in Caledonia in 1870 (Henry owned some $4000 worth of real estate). His widowed mother was living in Caledonia in 1880.