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William S. Jackson Family Collection

For over a century, the William Sharpless Jackson family played a prominent role in Colorado history. The Jacksons are renowned for their pioneering spirit and benevolent support of Colorado institutions. From William S. Jackson's enterprising involvement with the settlement of Colorado Springs, to Helen Hunt Jackson's progressive writing, to William S. Jackson's tenure on the Colorado Supreme Court, the family has established itself as a role model of the Western ideology. The Jackson's contributions to the historical, economic and progressive spirit of Colorado are documented in the family's papers preserved at the Denver Public Library, Western History/Genealogy Department.

William Sharpless Jackson [I] was born and raised in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He served as an apprentice at the machinist trade in Wilmington, Delaware. For the next six years, he engaged in the lumber trade and car industry. Afterwards William S. Jackson [I] worked for the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad Company in Duluth. This job introduced him to William Jackson Palmer, who invited him to work for the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Co. Shortly afterwards in 1871, William S. Jackson [I] moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to become secretary and treasurer of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Co.

William S. Jackson [I] took part in the founding of Colorado Springs. In 1872, he became vice-president of the railroad company. The next year he founded the El Paso Bank (later the El Paso County National Bank) and the First National Bank of Colorado Springs. In 1874, he served as Trustee for Colorado College. William S. Jackson [I] retired from his position at the Denver Rio Grande in 1876. In 1884, he took part in the founding of the Denver National Bank. During the same year, the U.S. District Court appointed him receiver of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Co. He served as receiver for two years. In 1911, he resigned from his positions at both banks. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, William S. Jackson [I] engaged in mining enterprises, business ventures and real estate. After his retirement, he continued to develop his numerous investments.

In 1875, William S. Jackson [I] married Helen Marie Fiske Hunt, a noted western author. Their marriage lasted ten years, until the death of Helen Marie Fiske Hunt Jackson in 1885. In 1888, William S. Jackson [I] married Helen Fiske Banfield (his first wife's niece). They had seven children: William S. [II], Helen, Everett, Roland, Edith, Gardner and Margaret (who died at nine months). Helen Fiske Banfield Jackson died in 1899. William S. Jackson [I] hired a nanny, Dora Jones, to assist with the children's upbringing. William S. Jackson [I] died in 1919.

William S. Jackson [II] (the first child) graduated from Harvard with a B.A. and went on to receive a law degree from the University of Denver. He briefly worked at the bank in Colorado Springs before he formed the partnership, Bierbauer and Jackson in 1916. From 1915 until 1919 he also worked as an agent for the U.S. Department of Justice, working at the same time as passport control officer in southern Colorado. From 1932-1942, he served as director of the First National Bank of Colorado Springs. In 1942, he was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court, serving as Chief Justice from 1951-1953.

William S. Jackson [II] was actively involved in numerous organizations either related to his legal profession or personal interests. He served as president for the El Paso and Colorado Bar Associations, and also served as a charter board member for the High Altitude Observatory, trustee of the Webb-Waring Lung Institute, president of the Rocky Mountain Harvard Club and chairman for the Rhodes Scholarships Election Committee of Denver.

In 1919, he married Jean Rhea O'Donnel. They had three children: William S. [III], Anne and Jean. Jean Rhea O'Donnel Jackson died in 1942. William S. [II] remarried in 1946 to Margaret Woodbridge. William S. Jackson [II] died in 1981.

Helen Jackson (the second child) graduated from Vassar and Colorado College. She taught at a private school near Boston. After retiring, Helen Jackson returned to Colorado Springs, where she became active in local organizations. Helen was a member of the Tuesday Club, El Paso Club and Friends of the Pioneer Museum. She wrote Rhymes for the Times, a short compilation of poetry and worked on a pamphlet and film on Jackson House in Colorado Springs. Helen Jackson died in 1988.

Everett Jackson (the second son) graduated from Colorado College. He studied at Oxford for a year until he joined the American Ambulance Corps in conjunction with the French Army. Afterwards he joined the U.S. Army in Fort Logan. In 1920, he graduated from Oxford. In 1921, he returned to Colorado Springs. Everett Jackson died several years later in 1924.

Roland Jackson (the third son) graduated from Harvard in 1915. He joined the U.S. Army in 1917. In 1918, Roland Jackson died during the Chateau Thierry Battle in France.

Edith Jackson (the second daughter) graduated from Vassar in 1916. In 1921, she graduated from John Hopkins University with an M.D. From 1923-1926, Edith Jackson developed the New Haven Rickets study for the U.S. Children's Bureau while she taught at the Yale University of Medicine. Edith Jackson traveled to the Graduate Student Institute of Psychoanalysis in Vienna. At the institute, she received training from Sigmund Freud. Edith studied at the institute from 1930-1936. In 1936, Edith Jackson returned to Yale, where she taught pediatrics and psychiatrics at the School of Medicine. While she taught, Edith Jackson worked on projects at Yale. She retired in 1959 and relocated to Colorado. She taught as a visiting professor at the University of Colorado. Based on her studies, Edith also designed a rooming unit for the new Colorado General Hospital. Edith Jackson died in 1977.

Gardner Jackson (the fourth son) graduated from Amherst College and attended Columbia University. From 1919-1920, he worked for Boettcher, Porter and Company. During 1920, Gardner Jackson also reported for the Denver Times. Later in 1920, he moved to Boston, to work as a reporter for the Boston Globe, writing articles in support of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti during the famous 1921 trial.

From 1931-1933, Gardner Jackson reported for several Canadian papers: Montreal Star, Toronto Star and the Toronto Telegram. In 1933, he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he began to work for agricultural organizations and committees. Gardner Jackson worked for numerous organizations in Washington, D.C. from 1933 until 1962. Gardner Jackson died in 1965.

William S. Jackson [III] graduated from Harvard in 1942. He worked for the Cudahy Packing Company from 1946-1953. In 1953, he became a security analyst for Hamilton Management. From 1953-1955, William S. Jackson [III] served in the Colorado State Legislature as a member of the House of Representatives.

William S. Jackson [III] graduated from Exeter in 1938 and from Harvard in 1942. Drafted into the army at Fort Logan in August 1942, William (III) took his basic training at Camp Roberts in California. He shipped to Oahu, Hawaii. In January 1943, he joined the Military Intelligence-Counter Intelligence Corp as an investigator in the Honolulu office. In August 1944, William (III) volunteered for duty in the far Pacific. Two months later, he participated in the Leyte Philippines Invasion on MacArthur's Return. The Okinawa Invasion followed this in April 1945. His unit was part of the 84th Corp Army of Liberation of Korea with the landing at Jinsen in Sept. 1945. With almost three years overseas and two battle stars, William (III) returned to the U.S. on the Navy cruiser U.S.S. Guam. Discharge was at Fort Logan in December 1945.

He assisted in managing the Denver office of the Cudahy Packing Company from 1946-1953. In 1953, he became a security analyst for Hamilton Management Corp., sponsor of the Hamilton Funds based in Denver. From 1953-1955, William S. Jackson [III] served in the Colorado State Legislature as a member of the House of Representatives. He was elected as one of the 17 representing Denver at large. In 1978, he formed his company, Jackson Investment Council. William S. Jackson [III] joined the Denver Society of Security Analysts and held a term as president in 1958. He served on the board of directors for the Denver Association for Mental Health, Colorado Association for Mental Health and the Denver Mental Health Clinic. He served as president of the board for the Colorado Epilepsy Association, Rocky Mountain Harvard Club and the Colorado Exeter Alumni Association. He also served on the boards for Planned Parenthood and the Denver Public Library.

Throughout his career, William S. Jackson [III], like his father, served as financial advisor for the family. In 1946, he married Patricia M. McLaughlin. Her family owned and operated the McLaughlin Coffee Company. They had four children: Stephen, Matthew, William S. [IV] and Thomas. Because of his role as probate representative for many family members, William S. Jackson [III] continues to keep in frequent contact with numerous family members living throughout the U.S. Individuals within the family continue to investigate their genealogy and keep everyone apprised of their discoveries and recent additions to the Jackson clan.

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Updated: August 23, 2013