Wednesday, May 16, 2012

William Jackson - Born a Slave

The Marietta Weekly Leader, April 13, 1886

Died in Harmar, Wednesday, April 7th, of consumption, William Jackson, aged about 45 years.

William Jackson was born a slave.  At the age of about fifteen years he came into the lines of the Union army at Fredericksburg.  Through all the marches, campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac he followed his regiment as a servant.  He was under fire, and often much exposed, in the battles of Gainesville, 2nd Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.  Faithful, true and even heroically brave in the discharge of his humble duty, he was known and respected by every soldier in his regiment.

After the war he came to Marietta and quietly went to work.  His first effort was to rescue his mother.  Saving money to pay the expense, he sent his brother to the woods of Spotsylvania where, in 1866, his mother was still held as a slave.  She had been whipped until her power of speech was almost destroyed.  Her daughter, a child, had been rendered an idiot by brutal blows on the head.  William Jackson bravely assumed the support of these two, and his substantial success is well known.  What poor young man need feel dismayed when looking at the results of faithful, persistent and quiet labor and economy as wrought out by this colored man?  Shortly before his death he became addicted to drink; but charity can speak kindly of faults when so many results of faithful performance of duty are seen.  The writer knew him for a devoted friend and a brave and true man.

R. R. Dawes

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