Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Madness: T'is Mine, Elsewise Why Would I Feel Sad When William. Jackman Left For The West; I Dinna Even Know Him

I dinna know of Willliam Jackman before I read my great-great grandfather James P. McPherson's diary.  However, shortly after J.P. (my short cut name for 2x gggrandpa) moved into their log cabin in December, 1850, Jackman (as he was usually called) showed up regularly in the diary pages.  J.P. visited Jackman; Jackman visited J.P.; and the families visited one another on a Sunday or so.  The men helped one another with hauling stone, wood, and straw;  Jackman let J.P. use his team of exen when needed.  Jaackman and J.P. often went to Madison (some 20 miles or so)  to do men's kind of business. 

The Englishman Jackman and his Scots wife, Jessie,  seemed to be friends as well as neighbors to J.P. and his wife Mary. 
This relationship continued right up until May, 1854, when J.P. notes in his diary:

" May 15th  Went to Madison.  rode with S. Wheeler from his house.  Meridith sued out writ of Habeas Corpus before W. N. Seymour.  Admitted to bail.  Jackman sold place for $560. Mary planted beets."  

"May 16th  Returned home in company of Jackman & Lamont..."

Then on May 20, 1854, J.P. leaves this cryptic note: "Jackman left for the west. Sowed carrots and beets.  Finished draging my corn ground."  Before they left for the west, J.P. was "at Jackmans" on Thurs., May 18th, most likely to help pack for the move.

A sadness swept over me, like I had lost a friend.  I wondered if  J.P. too felt this sadness, hidden behind "sowed carrots and beets." -- but I will never know.  About a month later, on June 28th, 1854, a  letter came from Jackman,  but there was no indication that J.P. ever responded, which was quite surprising as he always noted receipt and posts of letters  --- and was very quick to respond to letters received.

And so, I spent a few days mulling over the loss of my friends the Jackmans;  Did they find that "west" that drew them from Springdale?  "Where was the "west?"   

Then as any researcher worth their salt, I hit the internet and found that William and Jeanette Jessie Jackman were rather well documented -- well, sometimes better than others.   I found that  J.P.'s friends (and mine)  settled in St. Crois County, Wisconsin, and spent most of the next thirty-some years there  -- right up until their deaths, he in 1889, and she  in 1896.

But now, I will wait patiently, page by diary page, day by day, to see if  J.P. and the Jackman  are ever again in contact.  T'is madness of a sort, doncha think?


  1. Fascinating where our research and curiosity will take us.

  2. walking here with a smile.. have a nice day ~ =D

    http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

  3. It's a sadness for ourselves but a displaced sadness on behalf of family who must have sorely missed their friends. I love your "dinna" knows ..echoes of my Grandmother's Scottish voice

  4. I've also felt a similar sadness when reading some entries in a diary that my grandmother kept when she was a teen. I think that it's because the diary enables me to develop an empathy for her as an individual (even though the events occurred many years ago). ---If we could only get in a time machine and tell our ancestors what we know in hindsight.

  5. What a great post! I really enjoy your writing style. :)

  6. I know just how you feel. I spent so much time with the letters written by my great-grandmother's friend that she became family and has her spot in my tree. I hope JP reconnected with his friend.