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Monday, September 1, 2014

ROBERT JACKSON -- PART 2, THE ANCESTORS OF JOHN SEABORN "SEBE" JACKSON

THE JACKSON FAMILY OF NORTH CENTURAL LOUISIANA: THE ANCESTORS OF JOHN SEABORN “SEBE” JACKSON

PART 2  
ROBERT JACKSON  
 IMMIGRANT (1620-1685)


ROBERT JACKSON was born between 1615 and 1620 with most records favoring the later date.  Sometime in the next six years (2015-2020), we will observe the 400th Anniversary of his birth.  Is it possible to reach across four centuries and catch a glimpse of the man who brought our Jackson Family to the New World?  Much is unknown, and controversy clouds many of our family traditions.  However, some conclusions can be drawn:

Ø  Robert spent his earliest years as part of a persecuted minority, men and women who sacrificed security, safety, and often their lives for their faith.

Ø  As a young child, he left his home and experienced hardship and great risk, crossing an ocean to live a frontier existence in the midst of deprivation and danger.  More than half of those with him did not survive, and children were especially vulnerable.

Ø  As a young man in his twenties, he dramatically emerged as a strong, influential leader in the founding of the Township of Hempstead, Long Island. In the midst of hostile Indians and a foreign (Dutch) government he built a fortune, a family and a community.

Ø  For over 40 years, he survived, prospered, and led the English settlers on Long Island, leaving a remarkable heritage.

Ø  He established a family and left descendants who continue to exert influence in the nation he helped to found.

We will first consider what is known about Robert Jackson, and then discuss the controversies.  Robert Jackson was born into a family of Puritans (those who wished to purify or reform the established Church of England).  Puritans were less radical than contemporary religious movements, including the Pilgrim/Separatists and the Quakers/Friends, but the government did not always draw fine distinctions. Members of the Puritan movement were persecuted and oppressed for their beliefs.  From the early 1600’s through 1641, they fled persecution, relocating in Europe and the New World.  In 1641, the Puritan Oliver Cromwell led a Civil War, which deposed King Charles I.  The Protectorate lasted only 20 years, ending in 1661 with the Restoration of the monarchy.  The Puritan movement was seminal in the settlement of the New World and in the establishment of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist Churches.

Between the ages of 10 and 19 (1630-1634), Robert immigrated to New England, where he apparently lived in three newly established frontier settlements in three different Colonies: Massachusetts Bay, New Haven, and Connecticut.  About 1643-44, he migrated to the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam, where he was a founder of the township of Hempstead. The remainder of his life, and his death are well documented in the Histories of Hempstead, Wantagh, Nassau County, Queens County, Long Island, and New York State.  Historical markers identify the sites of his home and his cemetery.




Mural of the Founding of Hempstead Long Island

Founding of Hempstead [i] A narrow Sound separates the British Colony of Connecticut from Long Island. The Island was claimed by several groups of Indians, and was part of the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam.  While the Dutch established settlements on the eastern end of the Island (opposite Manhattan) other parts of the Island had few European settlers.  A group Connecticut Puritans, followers of the Rev. Richard Denton, wished to practice their religious faith more freely than was permitted in New England.  They looked across Long Island Sound at the uninhabited lands, and decided to leave New England for New Amsterdam. 


In 1643, two prominent Puritans from Connecticut, Rev. Robert Fordham and John Carman, negotiated a purchase of 64,000 unoccupied acres (100 square miles) from the Lenape Indians.  The grant was large, bounded on the East by Oyster Bay; on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the West by Jamaica.  Indeed, the town of Hempstead would become the largest in Queens County.  From the earliest settlement, Robert Jackson and his close friend, John Seaman, were the two largest landholders.  According to documents in the Plainedge Public Library, in one land deal in 1664, John Seaman and Robert Jackson purchased 6,000 acres. 

            Robert served for many years as Magistrate of the Town of Hempstead, and as Indian Commissioner.  His status and influence increased in 1664, when the British seized New Amsterdam from the Dutch.  Governor, Nicolls,  newly appointed by the Duke of York, called a Convention of Delegates to frame a Code of Laws for government of the Colony.  Robert Jackson and John Hicks were the deputies appointed from Hempstead.  In 1665, the Convention, meeting in Hempstead, framed and adopted a body of laws and ordinances, know as the “Duke’s Laws.[ii] In an accompanying Blog, the Laws, Robert helped create are reviewed: (http://communicatinglife2.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-dukes-laws-and-robert-jackson.html) 

            Records collected by Fernow indicate that Robert often served with John Hicks in the management of the affairs of Hempstead.  Robert Jackson had some controversial political efforts, and his relations with John Hicks were not always cordial.  On June 10, 1672, at the Council meeting for Long Island Affairs, results of the Hempstead Constable’s election were reported.  Robert had 39 votes and his opponent Simon Seryou had 34.  Objections were raised by John Hicks and James Pine, who reported that many of Jackson’s voters were from Great Neck or Madnans Neck and only held small divided parcels in Hempstead.  The Council ruled for Robert.

            Inadvertently, John Hicks provided us with additional information about Robert.  John sued and had a fellow commissioner removed from office because of illiteracy, thus providing additional evidence that Robert Jackson was an educated man.

While Robert was a staunch Presbyterian, he was more tolerant of alternative faiths than many of his contemporaries.  He intervened with the authorities (first Dutch and later English) on more than one occasion on behalf of the most prosecuted local sect – the Quakers or Friends. His tolerance may have stemmed from his close relationship with Capt. Seaman and the Seaman family, who were drawn to the teachings of the Friends.  The Jerusalem settlement (where the Seaman and Jackson homes were located) was a center of 17th century Quaker activity.

A Bit of Geography -- While Robert was a settler of Hempstead, he is associated with the founding and development of a number of other locations.  The History of Wantagh lists Robert Jackson and his close friend and associate, Capt. John Seaman, as the founders of that town. Robert and John built their homes about eight miles west of the Hempstead, in a community they called Jerusalem.  The two houses were about eight hundred feet apart.  To the east, 60 miles of almost impassable wilderness lay between the Jackson and Seaman homes and the nearest settlement.  The Seaman and Jackson families[iii] grew up side-by- side.  The Seaman home was a 300-acre estate on the corner of what is now Wantagh and Jerusalem Aves.  It bore the name of Cherrywood, which was given to a shopping center now located on the original property.

The Jackson Family burying ground was located near their homes in Jerusalem.  It is currently part of the town of Wantagh.  The close association between the Seaman and Jackson families continued for generations, and had many consequences, including intermarriages of their children.

In 1656, Robert Jackson looked eastward, and joined with others of Hempstead to petition Gov. Peter Stuyvesant for permission to begin a plantation in an area of Long Island called Canarise (Carnarresse, Canarise, Canorasset), which included Jamaica.  Peter Stuyvesant granted their petition on March 21, 1656, and gave the new settlement the same privileges granted to the neighboring Dutch villages of Middleborough, Breuklin, Midwout, and Amersfoort.

The Jackson Home

      The home built by Robert Jackson was located 8 miles from Hempstead at what is now 1542 Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh.  Although expanded, remodeled and rebuilt over the centuries, it still stands.  A slide presentation can be viewed at: http://patch.com/new-york/wantagh/the-jackson-homestead#.VASvAks0dhM.   By visiting the Google site, at https://www.google.com/maps/@40.684316,-73.510075,3a,75y,239.42h,89.58t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1shfIjsKrqiBFFFjP6Xiqm6g!2e0!6m1!1e1?hl=en it is possible to view the house from all angles. 
The description of the site states: “The Jackson house was built c. 1644. Robert Jackson, who was one of the founders of the Town of Hempstead, served as Magistrate of the Township, and later was elected a delegate to the Duke's Laws Convention in 1665. The laws formulated by this body became the basis for many legal codes later established throughout the country.
The original portion of the house was built circa 1644. The main house was added c. 1785. In 1858, an existing house in Wantagh was moved to the site and combined with the 1785 structure.


The home that Jackson built was a Federal-style building. Utilizing an L-shape, it faced south in order to catch the sun and heat. The original beehive oven used for baking is still in existence, as is the witches curve chimney, which was curved to stop downdrafts, and improve the chimney's structural support. The original pegged beams, wide pine floors with handmade nails, and carved mantles are also still in place.”

The primary construction of the existing house is credited to Samuel Jackson and dated about 1785.  It features a main central hearth with a room on each side and a sleeping loft. The main entrance showcases a six-panel door with a five-light transom and three pane sidelights as well as columns framing the stairs.  About a century later (1858, pre-Civil War), Elbert Jackson built (or moved) a two story addition to the north side.  The one-story clapboard porch is supported by three, square columns and has a flat roof.  The wing extensions on the north and west sides were added later.  The Jackson homestead is one of the few historic homes of its kind still standing.

The Jackson Cemetery

Robert was buried in the Jackson Cemetery, located on Wantagh Ave. immediately north of the Catholic Church at 1309 Wantagh Ave.  The graves are mostly Jackson, Seaman, Althause and Downing family members.  By 2007, the inscriptions on the graves were mostly illegible, but an old transcription list exists.  This record includes 72 burials; 62 have been confirmed.

Wife and Children of Robert Jackson – Family tradition says that Robert Jackson married Agnes Washburn about the time of his arrival in Hempstead (1843-44).  William Washburn and his wife Jane Whitehead, also early settlers of Hempstead, were the parents of Agnes.   The couple had five children (3 girls and 2 boys) – Mary b 1643; John b. 1645; Samuel b. 1647; Martha b. 1649; and Sarah b. 1654, all born in Hempstead.  The birthdates of the children would match a marriage date about 1643; and the ages of Agnes, Robert, William, and Jane all fit well in this marriage and birth pattern.

However, the evidence that William Washburn’s daughter was the Mother of all of Robert’s children is disputed.  It is agreed that a daughter of William Washburn was the mother of at least one and possibly two of Robert’s daughters (i.e. the youngest daughters Martha and Sarah). It is also agreed that the first name of Robert’s widow at the time of his death in 1683 was “Agnes.” 

At least one Jackson Family genealogist (Harry Macy, Jr.) believes that Robert had two or possibly three wives, and that Agnes was not the name of William Washburn’s daughter.  He bases this analysis on two pieces of evidence:1). Testimony in the settlement of William Washburn’s Will in 1659; and 2). An entry made in 1661 by John Winthrop, Jr. in his medical journal.  Macy believes that the older 3 Jackson children were born to Robert’s first wife (name unknown).  The younger daughters, Macy believes, were the children of Robert’s second wife, the daughter of William Washburn, whose first name is unknown, and who died between 1654 and 1659.  William Washburn left Sarah Jackson a yearling cow in his 1959 Will.  Robert protested Washburn’s Will on behalf of his “deceased wife” and two grandchildren, Sarah and Martha.   

Finally, Macy interprets a brief entry in John Winthrop’s Medical Journal as proving that Robert’s widow Agnes was the widow of Robert Puddington.  In 1661, John Winthrop Jr. wrote regarding a Miss Puddington of Hempstead, who is identified as the 13-year-old daughter of Robert Jackson’s wife.  Macy believes Robert married Agnes Puddington (maiden name unknown) about 1660, and that she is the “Agnes” referred to in his Will of 1683.

            My Conclusions:   I believe Robert may have had two wives, but I don’t find evidence, nor  time, for three.  I believe the first wife, was the mother of all of his children and the daughter of William Washburn. She died between 1654 and 1659.  Her first name remains Unknown.  I believe his second wife, and widow at his death, was named Agnes (Last Name Unknown), and was the widow of Robert Puddington.  I believe Robert Jackson sued the estate of his father-in-law on behalf of only two of his deceased wife’s children, because these girls were minors.  The older three children were already provided for, and Robert did not press their claims in the litigation. 

How Robert Jackson Arrived in Hempstead  -- Researchers have not succeeded in finding records for Robert Jackson before the Hempstead records of 1643 -1644.  I believe Robert is not listed among immigrants or settlers because he was a minor and did not hold property or pay taxes in his own right before settling in Hempstead.  This would indicate that Robert was not an independent minor, but was a member of a household headed by an adult male.  Secondary sources, including family histories fill in the missing years, but primary evidence of his activities prior to 1643 are lacking.  Family histories (secondary sources) agree on Robert’s movements after arriving in New England, and these match the migrations of the other members of Rev. Denton’s congregation: from England to Watertown, to Wethersfield, to Stamford, to Hempstead.  These moves were accomplished between 1630 and 1644.

The Hempstead Settlers’ Migrations  – Before settling in Hempstead, the members of Rev. Denton’s congregation resided in the town of Stamford in the Connecticut Colony.  Stamford was originally named Rippowam and was located in the New Haven Colony.  Rippowam became Stamford in 1642, and the area was allocated to the Connecticut Colony.   Rippowam was founded in 1641 by a group of settlers who chose to leave the town of Wethersfield, Conn.  This group formed the Rippowam Company, and requested permission to be part of the New Haven Colony. 
Sir Richard Saltonstall
Wethersfield was founded in 1634 by a group of ten Puritans from Watertown, Massachusetts, led by John Oldham and Nathaniel Foote.  Watertown was first known as the Saltonstall Plantation, having been founded by Sir Richard Saltonstall, the nephew of the Lord Mayor of London, and a partner in the Royal Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The Winthrop and Saltonstall Fleet brought 800 settlers to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. 
Gov. John Winthrop, Sr.
This was the beginning of THE GREAT MIGRATION (1629-1640) during which over 20,000 colonists came to New England.  The majority of these emigrants were fleeing religious persecution. The migration was dramatically halted in 1641 by the English Civil War, which led to a Puritan government in England.

50 Shades of Religion – To understand the early settlement of New England, and the story of Robert Jackson, it is necessary to distinguish between the religious sects that fled from Britain during this period.  The Church of England (called Anglican and later Episcopal) was the established church, supported by the government.  The Pilgrims, who founded Plymouth Colony, were Separatists, who wished to separate entirely from the Church of England.  They were persecuted in England, and sought refuge in the Netherlands before sailing to North America.  The Puritans, who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony wanted to PURIFY the Church of England, but not overturn or separate from it.  They adopted the Reform Theology of John Calvin, which is the basis of the Presbyterian Church. The Quakers or Friends believed in the “priesthood of all believers,” and were persecuted not only by the established church, but also by the Pilgrims and the Puritans. None of these groups was tolerant of other faiths, and all opposed the Catholics.  Even the Dutch, who welcomed a wide range of religious groups, including Jews, opposed the Quakers.  Small theological differences were amplified by intolerance, and led to frequent splits in congregations.  In New England such splits were frequently the basis for the founding of new settlements.

Presbyterian Church of Hempstead, Long Island
Robert Jackson arrived in America as part of the Great Migration, but his arrival date is unknown.  We believe but cannot prove that he moved with the other settlers of Hempstead from Massachusetts to Connecticut to Long Island.  Robert clearly was a Puritan, not a Pilgrim or Separatist.  Rev. Denton was educated at Cambridge, and preached the Calvinist, Presbyterian theology.  The congregation to which Robert Jackson belonged founded the first (and oldest) Presbyterian Church in America in the Village of Hempstead, L.I.  Robert is listed prominently among the founders of this Church.

The Parents and Birthplace of Robert Jackson  -- Because of his relative youth, it is presumed that Robert traveled with his parents, and only established a home of his own after moving to Hempstead.  Tradition holds that Robert is the son of Richard Jackson, and his wife Isabella Maltby.  Isabella was the daughter of John Maltby and Elizabeth Greaves.  Richard Jackson was born in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England about 1582 and died June 22, 1672 in Hempstead, Long Island.  Isabella was born in 1586 in Cambridge, England, and died on Feb. 12, 1661 in Southold, Long Island.

Richard Jackson is described as an early Separatist, but apparently did not follow the exodus from Scroosby to Leiden in 1609, nor the immigration to Plymouth in 1620.  Instead Richard and Isabella immigrated to Watertown, Mass. in the early 1630’s, and by the end of the decade, they were in New Haven and associated with the congregation of Rev. John Youngs.  By or before 1639, Richard removed to Southold on Long Island, where he applied his skills as a carpenter in building a house in Arshamomoque.  By the time Rev. Youngs and his congregation arrived in Oct. of 1640, Richard was ready to move on.   He sold, “his dwelling house and all appurtenances” to Thomas Weatherly only four days after the congregation reached Southold.  Records indicate that on Aug. 15, 1640, Richard received a deed for land in Southold from Earl Sterling’s agent.  Before the end of the year, he sold this grant to a man named Goodyear.   Southold was established and governed as a theocracy, citing the Ten Commandments as the basis of their laws.  The rule was so strict, and penalties so harsh, that many settlers choose to move on. Richard continued to leave and return to Southold periodically.  He was living in there in 1661 when his wife, Isabella died. There is no evidence that Robert ever lived in Southold.  While Richard and Isabella could be the parents of Robert, there is inconclusive evidence indicating that the couple had a son named Robert.

Most histories give Robert’s birthplace as Scroosby, Nottinghamshire, England. This location is based on the hometown of Richard Jackson, rather than on any independent evidence. Another secondary reference states that Robert came from Scotland.  TShis is apparently based on Robert’s Presbyterian faith (most people believing that Presbyterians are Scots).  There is no independent evidence for either location.  There is a baptismal record from Jan. 25, 1625, in Croydon, Surry (a suburb of London), showing the baptism of Robert Jackson, son of Richard Jackson, but a clear connection to our Robert and Richard is lacking.  Potential support for a connection between Robert and Richard can be found in Richard’s place of death.  Richard was living on his property in Southold when his wife died in 1661.  A decade later,  at age 90, the dying Richard lived in Hempstead, near Robert. 

There are alternative theories.  An old record (1887), based on the transcription of the Jackson Ledger from the HCPD Library, states that Robert Jackson’s father was John Jackson from Hertfordshire, who was a member of the expedition of 1627 for the relief of the Huguenots of La Rochelle.  A recent (2012), report from James Bishop III, claims that Robert was born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, to John Robert Jackson and his wife Sarah Hubbard.  He dates Robert’s death as Oct. 13, 1684.

My Conclusions:  There are three facts that must be taken into account when considering Robert’s parentage.  First, the boy Robert must have been in the household of an adult male during his minority.  Richard and Isabella Jackson are the most obvious and available candidates. Second, Robert’s sudden emergence (in his twenties) as a force among the settlers of Hempstead is remarkable, and suggests financial resources sufficient to launch his rise.  Third, throughout the period for which we have records of Robert's activities, his closest friend, associate, and presumed mentor was Capt. John Seaman.

Robert’s holdings in Hempstead exceeded those of Richard, and his position in the colony was more prominent than that of the older man. Robert was educated; Richard was trained as a carpenter but there is no evidence that he received a formal education.  While Robert may have lived in the household of Richard and Isabella Jackson until his majority and marriage, I am not persuaded he was their son.  Robert’s sudden rise and the size of his holdings suggest that he had money to invest.  When a young man possesses wealth just after reaching his majority, there is usually a legacy.  I think that Robert came into an inheritance and was able to make good use his financial resources.  The source of such an inheritance could be either a father or a grandfather.  Who provided Robert’s legacy?   Richard?; a grandfather?;  a deceased father?  Answers to this question might solve the mystery of Robert’s parentage.  Robert's close association with Capt. John Seaman is a primary theme in the recorded portion of his life.  Then, as now, such continued, close associations are often based in kinship.  This is an hypothesis worthy of investigation

The Death and Will of Robert Jackson -- Robert Jackson died in Hempstead on Sept. 22, 1685, (between 65 and 70 yrs. of age).  He wrote his will in 1683, and it is recorded in the first book of records of the County of Queens, which was organized that same year.  The Will reads as follows:

WILL OF ROBERT JACKSON
In the Name of God, Amen.

The twenty-fifth day of May, Anno Domini, One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Three, I Robert Jackson, of Hempstead in the North Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island in the Province of New York, in America, being in perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to Almighty God, and considering with myself the frailty and uncertainty of this mortal life, and that it becometh every man before his departure out of this life, to set in order all of his earthly things, so that after his decease no suite, trouble or controversy may ensue for the same.  Therefore being well advised that a work I now have in hand, do make and declare this to be my last will and testament, in measure and form following:

First and principally, I commend my soul into the hands of the Almighty God that gave it, and my body to the Earth whereof it was framed, to be decently buried, according to the discretion of my son and heir, John Jackson.

As for my worldly estate, which God hath endowed me withal, I give, bequeath and dispose as followeth:  I do give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Agnes, six cows, two oxen, one horse, and one mare, two three year old cow kind, and four two year olds, and two yearlings.  Also I give to her all such household goods as are left in the house, which she brought with her.  Likewise I give and bequeath unto my said wife, two of my lessor sort of brass kettles to add to hers, which are left in the house, which she brought with her.  Also I give and bequeath unto her four of my pewter dishes, with four plates and four porringers and my lessor flagon, and one of my pewter tankards, to add to her pewter, that is left in the house, which she brought with her.  Also I give and bequeath unto her one of my feather beds with a bolster and pillows, together with a pair of sheets and a pair of blankets, and a rugge, and the curtains that hang around my bed to add to her bedding which is left in the house, which she brought with her.  Furthermore I give and bequeath unto my said wife five pounds in silver money, and fifty yards of linen cloth, some of one sort, and some of another, such as in the house is.  Also to add to her clothing, I give her one piece of serge.

Item.  I give unto her two swine, also ten bushels of wheat to be paid yearly for the term of five years, provided that she lives unmarried, or unburied so long, but if she be either married or buried, then the said wheat shall cease to be to her, or to any on her account.  Also I do allow her to live in my new dwelling house, so long as she lives unmarried or unburied, and that she have half the house lot next to George Hewlet, so long as she remains unmarried or unburied, but if she marry or is buried, then I will that half of the said house lot return to my son John. Also I give and bequeath unto her some wooden vessels, and so I cease giving to her.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my son Samuel Jackson, five mares and my Cloake and five pounds in silver money and to his wife a hood and scarfe, and to every one of his children a piece of eight.

Item.  I give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah, the wife of Nathaniel Moore, two cows, and every one of her children a piece of eight.

Item.  I do give and bequeath unto Nathaniel Coles, Junior, the son of my daughter Martha deceased, two cows, and if any one come to inquire for a portion for my daughter Martha deceased, I bequeath unto him five shillings.

Item.   Do make, ordain and appoint my son John Jackson, my son and heir, to be my sole Executor and Administrator, of this my last will and testament, and I do hereby give him full power to administer upon all my estate within door and without, immediately after my decease, lest it be embezzled away.  And I do bind and oblige my son John to pay all the legacies which I have herein bequeathed, and what is left after the said legacies are paid and discharged of my proper estate at my decease, I give and bequeath wholly to my son John Jackson and his children.

In Witness whereof I the said Robert Jackson have hereunto putt my hand and seale the day and year above written.

Robert Jackson (signed his own name to the Will).

Will – Signed and sealed in the presence of John Carmen, John Smith, Samuel Embree, Joseph Smith, of Queens County.  At a County Court, or Court of Sessions held for the said County, October the thirteenth, one thousand six hundred eighty and five, (1685) the Will of Robert Jackson deceased proved by the oath of Samuel Embree and Joseph Smith of Hempstead.

Prior to executing this Will, Robert made provision for his daughter Mary Jackson Ferris of Westchester County.  She is not included in the will.  It should be noted that Robert’s daughter Martha (wife of Nathaniel Coles) died in 1668, and is not included in the will. 

            Several writers have pointed to the frequent references to the belongings which his wife Agnes “brought with her” as evidence that Agnes was a widow at the time of their marriage, since widows brought with them property from their earlier marriage.  If Agnes had children by another marriage, the careful wording of Robert’s Will would have reserved his property for John after her death.  While Robert obviously intended to provide for Agnes during the remainder of her life, it seems sad beyond belief that she had no possessions of her own, but only what Robert wished to give for her use. Even the coverings of her bed were not hers.  

Knowing the Man Robert Jackson – Hearing Robert speak through the words of his Will makes him more real, than the recitation of the events of his life.  His love of his wife, children, and grandchildren is clear.  Further, his insistence that his affairs be settled “immediately” after his “decease,” “lest it be embezzled away” sounds so “Jackson,” I can hear his words spoken by familiar voices. 

A Strange Coincidence --  In 1630, about the time Robert Jackson arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a young minister, Johannes Theodore Polhemus embarked from Amsterdam for a new life in the Dutch Colony in Brazil. In 1645, Robert’s son John Jackson was born in Hempstead, and a few months later Johannes’ son Theodore Polhemus was born in Itamaraca, Brazil.

Nine years later, in 1654, the Rev. Polhemus arrived in New Amsterdam and was appointed the first minister of the Dutch Reformed Church to serve the Dutch towns on Long Island -- Midwout (Flatbush), Breuckelen (Brooklyn), Bushwick, Amersfoot (Flatland), and Gravesend.  Rev. Polhemus’s parish was located at the western end of Long Island.  Robert Jackson’s land holdings near Jamaica, and in Hempstead were located further west.

Rev. Polhemus spoke English (as well as Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, and at least one native language of Brazil).  He read Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.  The two pastors, Polhemus (who was educated at Heidelberg University) and Denton (who was educated at Cambridge University) were almost certainly the most educated men on Long Island.  Surely they became acquainted.  It is less certain whether Johannes Theodore Polhemus ever met Robert Jackson.  Surely their sons John and Theodore, who were close in age and both entrepreneurs with multiple businesses on Long Island, met and interacted.

I would love to know if these men knew one another, because two centuries after they shared the wilderness of Long Island, two of their direct descendants, Ida Belle Adams and John Seaborn “Sebe” Jackson, would meet, thousands of miles away in Louisiana; marry in 1906; and name their first child (Robert Jackson’s 7th great grandson and J. T. Polhemus’s 6th great grandson) for Ida’s grandfather, Theodore Polhemus.

The Dukes’ Laws –

I read the Duke’s Laws (available at the web site: http://www.nycourts.gov/history/legal-history-new-york/documents/charters-duke-transcript.pdf) in hopes of gaining insight into the mind of Robert Jackson who was one of its creators.  I am not sure I gained a better understanding of my ancestor, but I gained amazing insight into his daily life.  I am not including a review of the Code herein, but have created a separate report on the Duke’s Laws, for those who want to know more, visit: http://communicatinglife2.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-dukes-laws-and-robert-jackson.html) 

African American Jacksons:
            The large number of African Americans who bear the surname Jackson has been frequently noted, and the assumption is that this reflects a Jackson slave-holding past.  However, for the descendants of Robert Jackson, an alternative explanation exists.  In his book African American Freedom Journey in New York and Related Sites  (pg. 128) Harry Bradshaw Matthews quotes the writings of William Bryan Forbus in the publication Wantagh, Jerusalem and Ridgewood, 1644-1892. Forbus reports that an African Methodist Episcopal Church was situated on Cross St., near Front St.  The church was organized in 1848, and a building was moved to the property.  Next to the church, a Negro burial ground was established.  The story behind the church and graveyard is stated as follows:  “In addition to the fledging village at Hempstead on Long Island, other residential opportunities were made possible by Captain John Seaman and Robert Jackson.  Together, they secured a sizable tract of land not far from the village of Hempstead, which was called Jerusalem, and which later had a post office station called Ridgewood.  Emerging from the Jacksons was a descendant named Thomas who became a well-known abolitionist, remembered for freeing his slaves, and even providing them with land in Jerusalem.  The former slaves eventually received the land on which they built a church. . . . . . In 1959, six tombstones remained (in the Negro burying ground beside the church).  Five were associated with the Jackson Family (had the Jackson surname) and were former U.S. Colored Troops . . ..  Thus, the historiographical genealogy for African Americans in the Town of Hempstead had a beginning in the villages of Hempstead and Jerusalem.  Further, two prominent surnames, Jackson and Seaman, were assumed by numerous Black people in the locale because of historical association with the extended families of Robert Jackson and Captain John Seaman.”



LINKS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Jackson Family Histories:

Histories of Hempstead and other Long Island locals with special Reference to the Jackson Family:

Southold History

History of Scroosby, Nottinghamshire, England:

The Duke’s Laws

Organizations:

Related Families:
  






[i] Lists of the early settlers from a range of sources have been compiled by Frederic Gregory Mather in, The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut, pgs. 157- 159.
[iii] B. Fernow, Documents relating to the History of the Early Colonial Settlements principally on Long Island (Albany, 1883), 509, [Google Book]

2 comments:

  1. I am tracing my Revolutionary War Ancestor Edward Jackson and arrived here at this blog. Please email me at paul@kotouc.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am tracing my Revolutionary War Ancestor Edward Jackson and arrived here at this blog. Please email me at paul@kotouc.com

    ReplyDelete