The Jacksons

The Jackson Family were Presbyterians who had lived in Ballybay, County Monaghan Ireland for two centuries. It was a well to do family engaged in the Irish Linen trade. One of the boys, John went to America and was followed by Washington who was born in 1785.  

Washington Jackson Senior immigrated to the USA in the early 1820s. He settled in Philadelphia and appears to have been an astute businessman. In a burgeoning new land he made a fortune. In the 1825 and 1833 Philadelphia City Directories he is listed as a merchant and an iron merchant respectively. It is also known that he was a broker and invested heavily in Railway Shares. He married Anna Maria Dawson daughter of Captain George Dawson of Colonel Tarleton’s Light Dragoons. Her family came from North Ferriby, Yorkshire but the Light Dragoons had seen service in the American War of Independence. Anna was born in the USA in 1799.

Washington and Anna had ten children. Nine survived into adulthood. There were four sons and five daughters. He returned to the British Isles, to Liverpool. He had sent one of his sons to England some years before to run an office in Liverpool. Now he set up a business as a merchant dealing in floor covering. The Liverpool Census of 1851 records the family residing at 10 Abercrombie Square. One son and two daughters are listed. The youngest Ellen was 13. Jackson was 67 years old. From 1855 the title of the firm is given as Jackson Sons and Co at 1 Exchange Buildings. The entry continues until 1859. He then retired to 41 Belgrave Square, London, a most prestigious address in the very heart of Victorian England. He died there in July 1865 aged 81. His death certificate gave his occupation as ‘Independent’. The total estate being £120,000 in terms of the C21, he would have been a multi-millionaire.

The eldest son, Washington is the founder of the Mansion, Town Thorns. He was born on 27 September 1824. Early in life he moved south from his birthplace, Philadelphia, to New Orleans, where, in conjunction with his father he became established as a cotton broker. It was a lucrative business and he appears to have acquired his father’s moneymaking acumen. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 and the blockade of the Louisiana ports, commerce in the city came to a standstill and it was then that he came to England to settle. He first lived at 41 Belgrave Square and became a member of the Carlton Club. He bought Town Thorns in 1862 and settled down as an English country squire.

This first house would have been the one built for Henry Spencer. It was a modest establishment. The 1871 Census lists two domestic servants, Elizabeth Smith a cook and a housemaid Esther Hobday. William Liggins and Thomas Coles were gardeners. The  coachman was John Hancocks and a groom William Cox. In 1867 Jackson was appointed a County JP. He was the second senior magistrate on the rota at Coventry. In addition, he was a Commissioner-of-Taxes. The new house called Easenhall Hall built by Alfred Waterhouse was ready for occupation in 1875. He engaged a number of extra staff. The 1881 Census records four entrance lodges. The one by the railway was occupied by a gatekeeper, a woman by the name of Sophia Edwards. The others by an undergardener, James Truman, a head gardener Joseph Henry Skelt together with a gardener James Roberts who boarded there and a gamekeeper Hercules Sillitoe. A shepherd, Leonard Colban, another undergardener Thomas Coles  and the coachman John Hancocks  are also listed. The occupants of the Mansion on that day were Jackson, his sisters Harriet and Ellen, the cook Elizabeth Smith, a French cook Charles le Sage, two ladies’ maids Emma Pool and Eliza Tufrell, two housemaids Emma Giddens and Jane Tridon, a footman Frederick Cummins, Emma Looms a kitchen maid and a Butler Joseph Hemmund.

Aged 50 years, Jackson had a stately home, a substantial income, but no heir to it all. It was to be a further six years before he took a wife. On 28 July 1881 he married 19-year-old Constance Helen Cooper at Kingston, Surrey. She was born in Walmer, Kent, the only daughter of Colonel J H Cooper JP and Sheriff of Dunboden, Co Westmeath, Ireland. They had two sons, Bertram Washington born in 1889 and in 1894, Raymond Roper Washington. The household in 1891 lists Washington Jackson, Magistrate, born USA British Subject; his wife Constance, a son, Bertram, a Butler Henry Rose, a footman Albert Hayes, Mary Ann Wormleighton a cook, two housemaids Ellen Roberts and Emma Giddens, a kitchen maid Emily Love and a Nurse from Cornwall, Elizabeth Emery. Also living on the premises were two coachmen William Hancocks and his son Henry, a gardener Henry Burton, an undergardener George Cook, a wagoner Samuel Kennell and a Bailiff/gardener Frederick Watson..

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The Jackson Family Tree