Monday, November 25, 2013

Military Monday: Corporal Earl Emerson Jackson, 1905-1943, part 1

I was inspired to do this post by one on Jim Craig's blog, Under Every Stone.  He was writing about Sherman Levine, a weatherman for the US Army Air Force who was was killed on Pearl Harbor Day.

At the end of the post, Jim provided a list from Chief Master Sargeant Craig M. Kirwin, the manager of the Weather Operations Division of the Directorate of Operations of the U.S. Air Force, who is pulling together material on all 270 Air Forces weathermen who lost their lives in service to our country for the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) archives at Offutt Air Force Base in the Nebraska.  The list included 79 men for whom he needed a photograph (as an adult) and other information.

Given that my father served in the Air Force in Korea as a navigator/bombardier, accurate weather information was important, so I was interested in working on this project.  I scanned through the list and did some initial searches on a number of weathermen with ties to Texas.  I had quite a bit of luck with the one who is the subject of this blog post, Cpl. Earl E. Jackson.  This blog post will take you through my process of finding an adult photograph and other information about him.  Tomorrow's post will give you a brief biographical sketch.

Here is the information provided by CMSgt. Kirwin for Jim Craig's post:
JACKSON - Cpl Earl E. Jackson
Home of record  -  Dallas, Texas
Born – 1 Sep 1905 in Athens, Texas
Died – 19 Dec 1943 in England
Parents, Merriott Jackson and Ada M. (Glasco) Jackson
Wife, Virginia L. Jackson
I have a couple photographs as a young boy but nothing as an adult. 

First I searched just the Dallas Morning News in a database called American Historical Newspapers from Readex, a  Newsbank company (Newsbank also powers the Genealogy Bank subscription database).   

According to an article on page 4, section I of the January 23, 1949, Dallas Morning News (pictured at right), Jackson attended Athens High School and Texas A&M College (now University).  He received a law degree from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas.

As you can see from the article, there is a photo of Corporal Jackson, but it's not very good.  I decided first to see if he might be in a Texas A&M yearbook.  Since I am also a graduate of that fine university, I first checked the Aggie Network website for alumni, and determined that he was a member of the class of 1927, had studied electrical engineering, but did not obtain a degree.

Next, I contacted the archives at the library at Texas A&M.  I received a prompt reply from Robin Brandt Hutchison, Collection Management Lecturer.  She wrote:

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. 

Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a photograph of him in our yearbooks or in any of our other photograph collections.  Underclassmen during these two years did not have individual photographs in the yearbooks, but rather a large panoramic photograph that was spliced into three different images to fit on the pages of the yearbook, so the students are unidentified and their faces nearly impossible to see.  He does not appear in any of the club photographs either.  Henderson County and Electrical Engineering did not have clubs at this time. 

I searched an online collection of SMU yearbooks  (from 1928, when the law school began, through 1942, when Jackson entered the Army), but did not have any luck finding Jackson. I also e-mailed the SMU Dedman School of Law. Stephanie Duvall with Alumni Relations replied that she too, had checked yearbooks from those years with no success.  She added that ,"We have him marked as graduated in 1941."  I think because he was an older student (he would have been 35-36 in 1941), he did not get his photograph taken for the yearbook.

I found another article about Jackson in the Dallas Morning News of May 26, 1946, section I, page 7:

The article indicated that Jackson was a member of the Dallas Bar Association, which was going to honor those who died in World War II.  It also said, "portraits of the attorneys wlll be presented."

Based on this information, I contacted Mary Ellen Johnson, Executive Assistant to the Director of the Dallas Bar Association and Staff Liaison to the Memorial & History Committee (among others).  Bingo!  I heard back promptly from her:
"I was able to find photo of Earl E. Jackson that I found in our 1944-1946 edition of The Dallas Bar Speaks, which featured a memoriam of members who died in WWII. I have attached a cropped photo of him as well as the entire memoriam."
photo courtesy Mary Ellen Johnson, Dallas Bar Association

photo courtesy Mary Ellen Johnson, Dallas Bar Association

Now that I had the adult photo of Jackson to send to CMSgt. Kirwin, I continued my research to try to create a biographical sketch of Jackson.  I was able to find a lot of information, thanks to people like Staci Phillips, the librarian at Athens High School; Chad Wilson, editor of the Athens Daily Review; and James A Gamblin, a volunteer with  SO much information that it would make this post twice as long as it already is.  Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story!

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

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