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WILLIAM JACKSON


Just as the great Civil War was breaking in all its fury on the country, Rev. William Jackson, who was later to take his place as a religious leader among his people, was born. The place of his birth was Hale's Ford, Franklin County, Va., and the date was April 4, 1861. His father, Jack Jackson, was a farm hand, and died soon after the close of the war, so William was not only deprived of a father's care and attention, but had, with a brother, to work from childhood to help support their mother and the younger children. William's mother, before her marriage, was Mary Powell, daughter of Isam Powell. His great grandmother, on the mother's side was named for her master and was Patience Sutherland. In this day of high wages, rapid travel and splendid educational opportunities, it is not easy to realize the difficulties which confronted the ambitious Negro boy just after the war, when wages were low, transportation slow and opportunities meager. The first consideration was food and clothing, and it frequently happened by the time these were secured there was neither time nor money for schooling. And yet many of them like the subject of this biography, managed to equip themselves for the work of life, because they were prompted by a spirit of service to the race to make the necessary sacrifices.

Mr. Jackson laid the foundation of his education in the public schools of Virginia, including Roanoke, Botetourt County, Greenridge and Cloverdale schools. When he was able to secure teacher's license he began teaching, and enjoyed the distinction of opening up the first school for colored children in Craig County, Va. For twenty-five years he taught in the same schoolhouse. He has lived to see many of his early pupils grow to manhood and womanhood and, in fact, had the pleasure of teaching their children.

It is as a preacher of the Gospel that he is best and most widely known, however. His religious experience began when he was converted at the age of 22. He joined the High Mount Baptist church and was licensed to preach in 1887. In 1889 he was ordained to the full work of the ministry and has had a number of important pastorates. He has been going in and out before the people for thirty-five years and has had a fruitful ministry. He organized and built the Fairfield Baptist Church at Newcastle, Va., which he served for eight years. He preached at First Baptist Church of Union, W. Va., for ten years and at Mt. Tabor, Lewisburg, W. Va., for twelve years, where he built a fine parsonage. He has served the First Baptist Church of White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., twice. His first pastorate lasted eight years, the second, six years. During the second pastorate, a modern new brick house of worship was erected. He also served the First Baptist Church of Eagle Rock, Va., five years; Oak Grove, Waynesboro, Va., two years; First Baptist, McDonald, W. Va., seven years; St. John, Raleigh, W. Va., his present pastorate, four years; and the High Street Baptist Church of Martinsville, Va., six months, was called to a larger field. For seven years he has been the popular and efficient moderator of the New River Baptist Association. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the West Virginia Baptist State Convention, and a member of the Promotion Board. On September 10, 1886, Dr. Jackson married Miss Julia J. Crump, daughter of Jordan and Louisa Crump. They have six children, whose names are: Lucy L. B., Samuel W., Bessie (Mrs. Harris), Martha J. (Mrs. Woodson), Joseph S. and Eva. S. (Mrs. Brooks). In politics he is a Republican and has been more or less active in his own precinct.

He is a Mason of high rank and is State Grand Chaplain and District Deputy of York Rite Masons of Virginia. He also belongs to the I. C. U. and the St. Lukes. He is the President and was the founder of the Ministerial Relief Association of Virginia. He has the D.D. degree from the Correspondence School of Washington, D. C.

He knows of no short cuts to progress. He believes it is to be attained by racial unity and confidence, higher financial and commercial ratings, higher religious and moral standing, intellectual advancement and social betterment. He is now in his 61st year, owns a splendid home in Craig County, Va., a farm consisting of 100 acres of fertile mountain land, under cultivation, well stocked and yet pastoring two good churches. He is never idle any Sunday during the year, but his service is much in demand and he enjoys the distinction of being a front line preacher of the gospel in both Virginia and West Virginia, and wherever he goes.


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