Claiborne Fox Jackson

Claiborne Fox Jackson

Flemingsburg, Fleming County, Kentucky, USA
Death 6 Dec 1862 (aged 56)
Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Burial Arrow Rock, Saline County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 11996 · View Source
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Missouri Governor. He will be remembered as the 15th Governor of Missouri and for being in office in a border state during the early months of the stormy American Civil War. While he was governor, Missouri sent armies, generals, and supplies to both the Confederate Army and the United States Army; the state was represented on both battle flags with a star; and citizens were in bitter hot disagreements with each other. He was the son of Dempsey and Mary Jackson, a prosperous tobacco planter and slave owners. During his childhood, he received some home education but none that was formal. In 1826, before Missouri was a state, the Jackson family migrated to Franklin, a prosperous settlement at the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail. In 1832, he joined the Howard County militia to fight the Native Americans of the Fox and Sac tribes, who refused to leave their territory and go west. He became involved with manufacturing medications. He married three times with each wife being a daughter of the wealthy Dr. John H. Sappington, who had developed Quinine, the cure for malaria. He married Jane on February 17, 1831, but she died five months later; Louisa on September 23, 1833, but she died five years later shortly after giving birth to a son; and last, an older sister, Eliza, on May 1838, and she outlived him by two years. Being the son-in-law of Sappington benefited his finances and political goals as Sappington had important connections to prominent members of the Democratic Party. In 1836, he was elected to represent Saline County in the Missouri House of Representatives. After the term he relocated to Howard County as this was an important center for Democratic political power in the state. He held a position of commissioner at the state bank in Fayette. In 1842 he was re-elected to the State House of Representatives as he was a strong supporter of slavery. During the 1844 campaign, the biggest issue was to make the independent country of Texas a state; Jackson supported the annexation. That year, he was elected to be speaker of the State House of Representatives. Besides the annexation, there were other issues on the floor such as budget reform regarding elected officials salaries and redistricting for voting. After a disagreement about him appointing members of a committee, he resigned the House Speaker position until the problem could be resolved but with much respect, he was unanimously re-elected. At the end of the Mexican War in 1848, there was a debate over the future of slavery and would new states be slave or free. Jackson supported slavery, led the debate and developed a resolution, which instructed Missouri's representatives in Washington DC to support the extension of slavery into new territories. The Missouri Democratic party was split over the issue of slavery and Jackson suffered with not being re-elected in 1853 and 1855; Whig Party candidates were elected. He remained the chairman of the Democratic Party during the 1850s. In 1860, he ran for the office of governor as a Democratic supporting the union, won and was sworn in as Missouri's 15th governor on January 3, 1861. Upon United States President Abraham Lincoln's election victory, he changed his position to a secessionist. Some historians say he always wanted secession but remembering his past election losses, he ran this campaign as a Unionist to be elected. A statewide Constitutional Convention met in Jefferson City on February 28, 1861 to decide whether Missouri would secede or remain in the Union. With a 98 to 1 against secession, his legislature rejected the idea of secession, thus wanting to stay in the Union and no war. They vacated the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state and appointed Hamilton Rowan Gamble, a Republican and brother-in-law of President Lincoln's attorney general, as the provisional governor until a statewide election in November. After being in touch with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, he attempted to seize the weapons at the State Arsenal with a newly formed 5,000-men state militia under the command of Sterling Price, but Union forces, that were mainly Missouri men, halted that. On July 5, 1861, Jackson took command of 6,000 State Guardsmen at the Battle of Dry Fork, which was a Confederate victory planned to show force for troop recruitment. This was the second time in American History that a state governor had led military in battle; the first was in the War of 1812. Exercising his final power as governor, Jackson declared Missouri a free republic dissolving all ties with the Union on August 5, 1861. His legislature had disbanded, but this formal ordinance was passed without a quorum and congress members were appointed to be representatives to the Confederacy. On November 28, 1861, the Confederate States of American admitted Missouri. At this point, Jackson left Missouri with a broken spirit spending the rest of his life in exile in Arkansas. On March 8, 1862, he was present when Union forces defeated Major General Sterling Price and his Missouri Confederates at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Jackson died in a boarding house the following December of stomach cancer and pneumonia. He was interred at Little Rock but after the war his body was moved to Missouri and re-interred with the Sappington family.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 30 Aug 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11996
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Claiborne Fox Jackson (4 Apr 1806–6 Dec 1862), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11996, citing Sappington Cemetery, Arrow Rock, Saline County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .