JAMES JACKSON JR. was born Feb. 6,1826 in Prattsbottom, Kent, England, the first son and second child of JAMES JACKSON SR. and MARY ANDERSON . As a young man he apprenticed and trained as a roof thatcher, but this must not have proved too satisfactory, for he later followed the work of a butcher whereby he dressed out and prepared animals for the London Market. He embraced the Gospel and was baptized into the Church on Jan. 6, 1856, in his 29th year. At this time there were many Jacksons in the Bromley Branch (Chelsfield) of the British Mission who were joining the church. It is supposed that some were most likely relatives, although not immediate family. His mother MARY joined the church the following year in 1857 and his father JAMES JACKSON SR. was baptized in 1862 by a relative, J. Siney.
James Jackson Jr. became active immediately and immigrated to America on the "George Washington" that same year, 1856. One of the Pratt brothers was in the company crossing the ocean, and he prophesied that they would have a short, pleasant journey. It was a speedy voyage leaving March 28 and arriving in Boston April 20, only 23 sailing days! James crossed the plains in the Handcart Co. of Israel Evans. They left Florence, Nebraska June 13, 1857, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley September 13. The journey, thankfully, was made without the suffering and death that accompanied those traveling in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies the year before. It is believed that he was alone with his cart but could manage well, being a husky young man. On the journey he became acquainted with a Miss Stevens and they planned to be married when they arrived in the valley. When they arrived in Salt Lake they were met by a large group of people and they became separated, she being sent to one place and he to another. He was to meet her on a certain evening, and when he went to see her he found she had married a man who was a widower. .
He made himself a little dug-out on the bank of City Creek where he lived the first winter. Having become proficient as a butcher he readily found employment in the valley butchering animals about the neighborhood for which he received as his pay -- the heads of the different animals that he had killed. He also worked on various farms for which he received produce such as onions, and potatoes. .
The next year he moved to Utah Valley where he settled in Lehi and became a farmer himself. During his second year there he met at the boarding house where he worked, a young school teacher named ANNIS BEDFORD who was also from England and had been on the same boat and in the same handcart company as he had. After a brief courtship they were married in Nov. 1859 by Israel Evans. When their first child was born they were living in a dugout in Lehi. Mary Lydia was born in 1860 and they lived in Lehi until the Fall of 1861, when Pres. Brigham Young called James on a mission to help settle the Dixie Country. Between then and 1865 when our great grandmother Rose Ellen was born, they had three more children all of whom died very young. By now they were living in Toquerville where they made their permanent home. They again lost another girl before having two more children who lived, Adelaide in 1868 and George Samuel in 1875. In 1863 James and Annis went to the Endowment house to be sealed and then in 1868, when Annis was 35, he was also sealed to two other women- Martha McFate and Sarah Ann Stapley. All together these three wives bore him 25 children. (By the time of the Manifesto two of his wives had died: Annis in 1876 and Martha in 1882. At the height of the investigation in 1890 he was called to Beaver for a government investigation, but could easily prove himself free of any violation). .
In 1873 James returned to England on a mission. His appearance was rather noticeable as he wore homespun, homemade clothes. The story goes that his trousers were over-large, baggy at the seat and unpressed. When he went aboard ship and registered and paid for first class passage, there was surprise and raised eyebrows among the passengers. But he felt he was equal to anyone as he knew he had $600 in his pocket, which was quite a sum in those days. On this mission he converted several members of his immediate family, baptizing a brother William and his wife Hanna as well as others. Not long afterward many of his family emigrated to America and settled in Nephi, Cedar City, Toquerville and other places. .
James became well established in the sheep business, his main source of income. He also hauled by team and wagon fresh fruits and vegetables to neighboring towns. On one occasion he was held up by highwaymen, but had been inspired to hide his money in a safe place beforehand, fearing such circumstances. He spent considerable time traveling between Salt Lake and Dixie. On the return trip he would bring clothes, etc. for his large family. Among the things he brought was a large box of shoes, called ankle-jacks, of assorted sizes from which each boy could select his size. .
As to religious matters he was a strict tithe payer and was also generous to any worthy cause. At one time he was the leader of the Toquerville choir. He did considerable temple work considering how much time he spent traveling on business. In 1893, at 67 years of age he drove with his wife Martha by wagon all the way to Salt Lake City to attend the dedication of the temple. The next couple of years he suffered strokes which eventually left him paralyzed and unable to speak. He died in 1897 at the age of 71. His son characterized him as a man who was as good as his bond, whose nature seemed more stubborn than it really was, and possessed by a somewhat irritable or quick temper with a generosity that few equaled. .
James Jackson's parents joined the church in England not too long after their son. MARY, his mother died in England in 1877 and her husband JAMES JACKSON SR. then came to America and died in Toquerville the following year at age 83.
ANNIS BEDFORD, the first wife of James Jackson Jr., was born at Dunholme, Halifax, England 7 Oct 1833. She had two older sisters, Susan and Lydia, and an older brother named Joseph. Her mother Mary Ann had a common- law marriage to a Samuel Smith. When Annis was born she lived with her mother in her grandparents' home. Annis joined the Church in 1857 when she was 23 years old. Her uncle James (Mary Ann's brother) and his wife Hanna had already joined the Church and perhaps had some influence on her decision. At any rate, after joining the church she left home at the request of her parents (Her mother had married a George Eastwood in 1853 and by 1857 had a little boy). .
Annis wasted no time immigrating to America. According to the local branch records, there were 3 other single girls from the same branch who immigrated on the same ship. So it is conceivable that they may have come together at least part way. It is hard to imagine Annis traveling all by herself first by rail to Liverpool and then across the ocean and then across the plains in a handcart company. We know that she traveled on the same boat as James Jackson, but whether they were acquainted during the journey we don't know. .
In 1857 when the company arrived in Salt Lake, Annis was sealed to a Lorenzo Dow Rudd, but it was later cancelled before she met James Jackson and married him in 1859. She ~ never have actually lived with Lorenzo; (It was not uncommon for men to be sealed to the single girls and take care of them until they found someone to marry, at which time the first sealing would be cancelled)..
There must have been good feelings between James Jackson's wives. When Annis died in 1876, just 43 years old, Martha named her next child after Annis. She must have loved her. Annis left 4 living children - Lydia about 16; Rose Ellen - our great grandmother who was 10, Adelaide who was 6 and a baby brother, George Samuel, who was 18 mo. old. These children were well taken care of and provided for by their father and his other wives. One final note of interest is that when Rose Ellen was 19, and asked for in marriage by James Harvey Langford Jr., James Jackson gave his permission for him to marry his daughter only if he would also marry her older sister, Lydia, age 24. This he did, making the father happy but not necessarily the daughters! (according to those who remember).