The Jackson Migration from North Carolina to Alabama

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This page was last updated on: November 10, 2008
Cornelius "Neil" Jackson
Veteran of the Indian Wars of 1817 and Alabama Pioneer

By Larry E. Jordan, Cornelius Jackson's 4th great-grandson

By all rights Cornelius Jackson was not a likely candidate to become the ancestor of many present and past residents of Covington County, AL. He left a comfortable life in North Carolina to fight for five years against people of his own race. That fight took him to Alabama where he never left.

Cornelius was born in Robeson County, NC around 1795. His father, Thomas Jackson, Jr., a wealthy land owner, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. His mother, Azenith Hammons, was the oldest of 11 children. Her father, John Hammons, also a wealthy land owner, fought with Thomas Jackson in the Revolution. John was an American Indian. His tribe is now called the Lumbee and have some claim to be descendants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, NC.

Cornelius Jackson had every reason to stay in Robeson County, NC. He inherited 50 acres of land from his grandfather John Hammons in 1811. That inheritance carried a stipulation that Cornelius must not sell the land -- a stipulation that clearly indicated his relatives cared for him and wanted to be sure he remained in the area. The love of his family and the land he inherited was not enough to overcome Cornelius' love for adventure and his loyalty to his country, however.

On November 17, 1817, 22 year old Cornelius was sworn into the United States Army in Fayetteville, NC. For the next five years, he fought in the Seminole Indian Wars, in the invasion of Spanish Florida and in the conquest of Pensacola, FL while serving in General Andrew Jackson's army. Cornelius remained in the army in support of Andrew Jackson after he became the first governor or Florida. While engaged in these battles, he passed through the land Andrew Jackson acquired from the Creek Indians in the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814 -- the area that includes Covington County, AL and an area that had many characteristics he knew well. The soil had the same sandy finish over clay and the pine forests were just as thick as they were in North Carolina.

By the time Cornelius received his discharge from the army in Pensacola, FL in 1822, he was ready to settle down. Rather than return to Robeson County, NC, however, Cornelius had reasons to settle in Alabama. Back home there was increasing hostility felt towards Indians that lead to the Trail of Tears just eight years later. Also, he could buy more land in Alabama with his war pension than he could farther north. The most compelling reason to stay, however, was the lumber business. Cornelius and his Jackson relatives knew the pine lumber business and there were great opportunities to work the forests in Alabama.

From the Federal census records and wills, you can trace the movement of Cornelius Jackson and his family from Monroe County in 1830 to Pike County in 1840 and finally to Covington County in 1850. Cornelius married Lucretia Scroggins of Monroe County sometime before 1830, and they eventually had eight children. The family moved to Coffee County by 1860, but returned to Covington County after the Civil War.

Four of Cornelius' sons followed in his footsteps and the footsteps of his father by joining the army -- but not the US Army. They fought in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Cornelius J. Jackson fought with Company F, 63rd Alabama Regiment. Duncan J. Jackson fought with Company A, 17th Alabama Regiment. William A. Jackson fought with Company B, 25th Alabama Regiment. John J. Jackson fought with Company E, 45th Alabama Regiment. John died at his home on October 31, 1863 from wounds he received in battle. His brothers survived the war to return home to their families.

Although some of Cornelius Jackson's children migrated to Monroe, Pike and Coffee Counties over the years, many remained to raise families in Covington County. By the early 1900s, there were so many Jackson families living between the Horn Hill and Onycha communities south of Opp that the area became known to local residents as Jackson Town. The "town" had a church that was on the dirt road that became County Road 47 when it was paved. This church was used as a one-room school during the summer. Many families in the Opp area can trace their ancestors to Cornelius Jackson and his children who lived in Jackson Town and attended this church and school.

The descendants of Cornelius Jackson gather every summer near Baker, FL to celebrate their heritage and visit with relatives they have not seen for a while. The reunion committee often invites members of Creek Indian tribes from Alabama and Georgia to join their festivities. These tribes usually demonstrate traditional Indian dances and musical customs. The Jackson descendants, known for their skills with the fiddle and guitar through the generations, make their own contributions to the celebration as well.

After 180 years of separation between the Indians of Robeson County, NC and the relatives in Covington County, AL, some of Cornelius Jackson's descendants are just now making their way back to their place of origin. Cornelius and his children maintained contact with their Hammond and Jackson relatives in North Carolina for a number of years, but that contact and communication apparently ended around the time of the Civil War. Extensive research conducted by Jeanette Henderson of Baker, FL and others have enabled the restart of that connection.

Sources of information:
1. Larry Earl Jordan's birth certificate that shows he is the son of Alene (Simmons) Jordan and her husband Astor Clinton Jordan.
2. Alene Simmons' birth certificate that shows she is the daughter of Luevennia (Carroll) Simmons and her husband Ellis Simmons.
3. The death certificate for Luevennia Simmons that shows Luevennia (Carroll) Simmons is the daughter of  Ida (Jackson) Carroll and her husband George W. Carroll.
4. The 1900 Covington County census that shows Ida Jackson as the daughter of Dunkin  "Dee" Daniel Jackson and his wife Mary Louise (Jackson) Jackson. 
5. The E. M. Locklin Justice of the Peace record that shows the marriage between Dunkin "Dee" Daniel Jackson and his wife Mary Louise (Jackson) Jackson on February 14, 1881.
6. The 1880 Covington County census that shows Polly Jackson with her son "Dee" (Duncan "Dee" Daniel Jackson) who is 21 years old. Duncan Jackson is not shown in the household. He died in September 1877.
7. The 1860 Coffee County census records that show Dee D. Jackson (Duncan "Dee" Daniel Jackson) as the son of  Duncan Jackson and his wife Mary (her maiden name is Mary "Polly" Scroggins).
8. The 1850 Covington County census that shows Daniel Jackson (Duncan "Dee" Daniel Jackson) as the son of  Duncan Jackson and his wife Mary (her maiden name is Mary "Polly" Scroggins).
9. The 1850 Covington County census that shows Duncan Jackson as the son of Cornelius Jackson and his wife Lucrecia.
10. The will of John Hammons recorded in Robeson County, NC on March 1, 1811 that shows Cornelius Jackson as the son of Azenith (Hammons) Jackson and her husband Thomas Jackson. This will is referenced on page 4, Household #94 in the study conducted by Wesley D. White titled "A House-by-house Description of the Indian Community in Robeson County, North Carolina in 1850."
11. Four census documents support John Hammons as a Lumbee Indian. First, the study of census records conducted by Wesley D. White indicates that John Hammons was an Indian of Robeson County. Second, the Bladen County Tax Lists of 1770 shows him as Mulatto. Third, the Bladen County Tax Lists of 1772 shows him and his wife as Mulattos. Finally, the Abstracts of the 1790 Census shows John Hammons under the category All Other Free Persons.
12. John Hammons' revolutionary war record as a Lumbee Indian is mentioned in a footnote on page 34 of the book The Only Land I know, A History of the Lumbee Indians written by Adolph L. Dial and David K. Eliades and published by Syracuse University Press in 1996.
13. Thomas Jackson's revolutionary war record is shown on Revolutionary War Service Payroll Treasurer & Comptroller's Records: Vol. A, Page 19; Vol. B, Page 174; Vol. J, Page 209; Vol. W, No 2, Page 35; Vol. W, No 1, Page 44; Vol. 1-6, Page 341.
14. The book titled The Trek of the Jackson's written by Jeanette Courtney Henderson, June 24, 1998 provides copies of additional records to confirm the above lineage. This book traces the Jackson family from Robeson County, NC in the 1700s to Covington County, AL in the 1800s and 1900s, including the relationship with John Hammons. The book contains many records discovered by Sam West of Robeson County during his research to support the writing of this book. The book is in the genealogy section of the Andalusia Public Library, Andalusia, AL. The portions of the book that support this article include the following four items:
15. Service Record Land Grant Application: Cornelius Jackson's  Army service record for a period of five years starting November 14, 1817. This service resulted in his land grant in Covington County, AL in 1852.
16. Deed: Cornelius Jackson's sold 50 acres of land to Spencer Caldwell in Robeson County in 1817 before he enlisted in the Army to fight in the Indian War of 1817. This was the 50 acres given to him by John Hammons in the will listed under in item 10.  His father Thomas Jackson and mother Azenith (Hammons) Jackson participated in the sale.
17. Land Bounty Application: Cornelius Jackson's application for a land bounty in based on his five years of service in the Army made September 28, 1850.
17. Land Grant: Cornelius Jackson's grant of 160 acres of land in Covington County, AL was made October 1, 1852. Cornelius and his descendants lived in the same area of Covington County for many generations after Cornelius received the grant. The area was called Blue Springs, but was also called Jackson Town by many people because of the number of Cornelius' descendants living in the area.
18. The link between the Lumbee Indians and the Lost Colony of Roanoke is documented on pages 8-13 of the book The Only Land I know, A History of the Lumbee Indians written by Adolph L. Dial and David K. Eliades and published by Syracuse University Press in 1996.
19. Jeanette Henderson of Baker, FL has documentation of the Civil War service of Cornelius Jackson's sons.
20. The battles Cornelius Jackson participated in while serving in General Andrew Jackson's army are documented in the book Andrew Jackson, Volume One, The Course of American Empire, 1767-1821 written by Robert V. Remini and published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 1977 and 1998