Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Corporal Earl Emerson Jackson, 1905-1943, part 2

Yesterday I wrote about my quest to find a photograph of Corporal Earl Emerson Jackson as an adult for an archival project on all 270 Air Forces weathermen who lost their lives in service to our country.  You can read that post here.  Today I'm going to share all my research with a brief biographical sketch.

Earl Emerson Jackson, probably late 1910s, courtesy Kelly King & Craig Kirwin
Earl Emerson Jackson was born September 1, 1905, in Athens, Henderson County, Texas.  His father, Merriott Anthony Jackson (1877-1936), born in Carthage, Panola County, Texas, was age 27 at Earl's birth.  His mother, Ada Myrtle Glasco (1879-1960), born in Fairfield, Illinois, was age 25 at Earl's birth.1

Based on the 1910, 1920, and 1930 US Censuses, Earl was an only child, and was living at 707 N. Prairieville Avenue in Athens - the Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World - all of those years.  The photo at left is of Earl, probably in the late 1910s.  It, and the next photo below, were provided by Jackson family friend Kelly King via Craig Kirwin.

Earl's father Merriott was a blacksmith on the 1900 and 1910 Censuses, but by 1920, he is listed as a laborer in a cafe.  His September 12, 1918 World War I draft registration card notes that he "has withered limb," so perhaps that had something to do with the change in profession.2  On the 1930 Census, Merriott is a cafe manager, and at his death in 1936, he was a cafe owner, according to his death certificate.3

Here is a photo of Earl with his first cousin, Conan Doyle Jackson (1907-2001), the son of Earl's father's brother Estelle Dean Jackson, who was also a blacksmith, probably taken in the late 1910s or early 1920s:

Earl Emerson Jackson and his cousin Conan Doyle Jackson, late 1910s/early 1920s, courtesy Kelly King & Craig Kirwin

One of the people I contacted in the course of my research was Staci Phillips, the librarian at Athens High School, since the first article I found about Jackson indicated he was a graduate.  She responded,
The yearbooks I have from this period are the 1920 and 1922 editions.  He is listed in both, as a freshman in the former and junior in the latter.  Unfortunately, individual students were not identified in the yearbooks until their senior year....I also found him in the football section of the 1922 yearbook.  He is individually identified here, but it is difficult to see his face.

Earl Jackson in autumn 1921, from the 1922 Athenian, Athens, Texas, High School yearbook, courtesy Staci Phillips

Staci Phillips continued,
The last picture I found is out of A Pictorial History of Athens and Henderson County.  It shows the 1921 AHS [Athens High School] football team, who were East Texas champions that year.  This would also be Mr. Jackson’s junior year.  Here, he is listed by name and his face is easily seen.

Earl Jackson is seated at the far right in the photograph, published in this book by the Athens Daily Review in 1995:
from page 56 of A Pictorial History of Athens and Henderson County, courtesy Staci Phillips

Earl Jackson would have graduated from Athens High School in 1923.  As mentioned in my previous post, he attended Texas A&M University in College Station.  "The college catalogs show that he was a student here during the 1923-1924 and 1924-25 academic years and that he was studying Electrical Engineering," according to Robin Brandt Hutchison, Collection Management Lecturer for the A&M Library's archives.  He would have been a member of the Corps of Cadets, as all young men were at A&M at that time.  The A&M alumni network website indicated that he did not receive a degree, and the 1940 Census showed that Jackson had completed only two years of college at that point. 

On the 1930 Census, taken on April 8, Earl's occupation was listed as an electrician for a light company.  Four-plus months later, he married Virginia Layton (1907-2008) on August 30, 1930, at her parents' home in Dallas, according to this article on page 2 of the society section in the August 31, 1930, Dallas Morning News:

Born on December 8, 1907, in  Dallas, Texas, Virginia Layton was the daughter of Albert Thomas Layton (1877-1952) and Bessie Goode (1877-1971).  She attended Sunset High School and SMU (Southern Methodist University, in Dallas) for two years, and was a member of Phi Mu Sorority (Rotunda 1927 yearbook, page 237, and 1928 yearbook, pages 198-199).  Later Dallas newspaper articles showed she continued to be active in the sorority's alumnae group.  She was also a reporter on The Semi-Weekly Campus student newspaper (Rotunda 1928 yearbook, page 117).

Earl's address and occupation changed a number of times over the next few years, according to the Dallas city directory.  In 1930, he's listed (on page 1166) as a draftsman with Texas Power & Light Company and residing at 335 S. Windemere.  In 1931 (page 1280), he is still in the same job, but Virginia is listed with him, and they live at 1404 W. Jefferson Avenue, apartment 8.  The following year (page 918), they are living at 1107 Kings Highway Avenue.

In the 1933 directory (page 825), Earl and Virginia are living at 318 S Mont Clair Avenue (the home of Virginia's parents).  No job is listed for Earl.  By 1934 (page 844), Earl is a tax supervisor with the Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts, and by 1937 (p. 675), he is listed as an auditor with them.  In both years, they are still living with Virginia's parents, perhaps because of the Depression.  According to the 1938 Dallas city directory (page 725), he and Virginia were living at at 4224 Prescott Avenue.

In 1940, Earl and Virginia were lodgers in the home of widower Clifford Hogg at 4007 Gilbert Street in Dallas. They had no children.  Earl was still an auditor with the State Comptroller's office and earned $2400 in 1939.  Virginia worked as a stenographer for a life insurance company and earned $480 that same year.  The 1940 Census shows that Earl had only completed two years of college at that point.  This corresponds to the two yearbooks at A&M in which he was listed and the fact that the alumni network indicates he did not complete a degree.

Earl was not in college between March 1, 1940, and the census date of April 5-6, 1940, indicating he must have started law school at SMU sometime after that.  According to Stephanie Duvall with Alumni Relations of the SMU Dedman School of Law, "We have him marked as graduated in 1941." 

from the front page of the January 24, 1949, Athens Daily Review,
used with permission from the editor Chad Wilson
Chad Wilson, the editor of the Athens Daily Review newspaper in Athens, Texas, sent me the article to the right from the front page of the January 24, 1949 issue.  It verifies most of the facts I've already presented, and provides a few more:
He was connected with the State Comptroller's department for 12 years, and was field analyst for the War Production Board when he was inducted into the armed services on December 29, 1942.

After training as a meteorologist at Camp Wolters and at Seymour Johnson Air Base, N. C., he was sent to England on Nov. 30, 1943.

Corp. Jackson died in an English hospital on Dec. 19, 1943, following a heart attack.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge; of the Dallas Downtown Rotary Club, and a member of the Athens Christian Church since he was 16 years of age.

Here is Earl Jackson's death certificate from the State of Texas4 :

And here is his military veteran headstone application, courtesy of Craig Kirwin:

Jackson's body was returned from England for reburial in the Athens Cemetery on S. Prairieville Rd.  After a service at First Christian Church of Athens on January 24, 1949, he was buried in section P, plot 667, near his parents, who are in plots 639 and 640.  These tombstone photos were provided by James A Gamblin via FindAGrave.com

Based on entries in the Dallas city directory, Jackson's wife Virginia remained single and living in the Dallas area, working as a clerk with the Veterans Administration (1947, 1952, 1853) and with Consolidated Lloyds (1955), and then as a secretary with Consolidated General Life Insurance Company (1958).  I could not find her in the online 1959 or 1960 directories.  When her mother died in May 1971, she was listed as Virginia Bryant of Athens, Ohio, so she apparently remarried between 1958 and 1971.  She was back in Dallas by 1990 and passed away there at the age of 100, on  February 5, 2008.

Thanks once again to Jim Craig for his blog post that inspired my research, and to  Mary Ellen Johnson of the Dallas Bar Association for providing the clear photograph (the same one as in the Athens Daily Review article above) that CMSgt. Kirwin needed for his project.  I hope to research someone else on his list - but it will have to wait until after the holidays!

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

1 "Texas, Births and Christenings, 1840-1981," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F6GN-PG4 and https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F6GN-H5R : accessed 13 Nov 2013), Earl Emerson Jackson, 01 Sep 1905.

2 "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-25105-810-73?cc=1968530&wc=M9W1-HLT:n856472979 : accessed 25 Nov 2013), Texas > Henderson County; A-J; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d).

3 "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-25239-101941-7?cc=1983324&wc=MMTK-9Y1:166632092 : accessed 25 Nov 2013), Death certificates > 1936 > Vol 111, certificates 055001-055500, Nov, Harris-Jefferson counties; citing State Registrar Office, Austin.

4 "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-25172-48327-74?cc=1983324&wc=MMTK-M87:n246700744 : accessed 26 Nov 2013), Foreign deaths > 1944-1945 > Vol 006-011, certificates 002801-005400, all counties; citing State Registrar Office, Austin.

Other sources included Ancestry.com and the Dallas Morning News via the Newsbank database.

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