This research guide provides information on the descendants of Nathaniel Jackson in the Rio Grande Valley. The purpose of this research guide is to introduce researchers and students to Jackson family primary and secondary sources within UTRGV Special Collections and Archives.
The Jackson family established their roots in the Rio Grande in the 1850s when Nathaniel Jackson along with his African-American wife, Matilda Hicks, son Eli, and other adult children left Alabama. The family was also accompanied by 11 African-American freedmen.
The Jackson Ranch (est. 1857) and Eli Jackson Cemetery (est. 1865) are located along the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo County, Texas. The Jackson Ranch is located near the Military Highway in an area between Fort Ringgold and Fort Brown. The ranch not only represents one of Hidalgo County's earliest agricultural communities, but also one of the earliest African-American and mix race communities in the region. Its historical significance predates the U.S. Civil War and remains relevant today.
Jackson Ranch, undated
From Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, Series I, Historical Markers I, 1964-2013, consists of applications and research pertaining to historical markers and historical cemeteries.
Eli Jackson Cemetery Pharr, Texas 108, 2004-2006
Diana Cardenas. From Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, Series II, Historical Markers II, 1964-2016, consists of applications and research pertaining to historical markers and historical cemeteries.
Jackson Ranch Church, 1982-1986
David Mycue. From Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, Series II, Historical Markers II, 1964-2016, consists of applications and research pertaining to historical markers and historical cemeteries.
Eli Jackson Cemetery Pharr, Texas, 1973-2009
Frances W. Isbell. From Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, Series IV, Historical Research, 1969-2013, consists of research for historical marker applications.
Jackson Ranch Church 35, 1982
Frances W. Isbell. From the Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, Series I, Historical Markers I, 1964-2013, consists of applications and research pertaining to historical markers and historical cemeteries.
Jackson Ranch Church, 1982-2008 (Folder 1.2)
Anne L. Magee and Hidalgo County Historical Museum. From Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, Series IV, Historical Research, 1969-2013, consists of research for historical marker applications.
Manny Rodriguez is a Library Associate with UTRGV Special Collections & Archives. He joined the University Library in 2015 as a student worker and later as a full-time member of the team. Manny earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology & History from UTRGV in 2016. He is currently pursuing his Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University.
The research guides compiled by UTRGV staff and students are intended to assist patrons who are embarking upon new research endeavors. Our goal is to expand their knowledge of the types of resources available on a given topic, including books, archival materials, and websites. In so doing, our compilers have taken care to include collections, digital items, and resources that may be accessed not only through UTRGV but also via other institutions, repositories, and websites.
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Nathaniel Jackson (1800-1865): Patriarch of the Jackson family, made his way to the Rio Grande Valley with his wife Matilda, and their children Lucinda, Columbus, Eli, Matilda, Bryant, Martin, and John. Nathaniel purchased Porcion 71 from E.D. Smith, which consisted of 5,535 acres located between Pharr and San Juan. He constructed his ranch home and a chapel (Methodist minister). His ranch was a haven for people in need, and as a result he was liked by all.
Matilda Hicks Jackson (c. 1801 ~1870): As an African-American born into slavery, Matilda, was not legally married to Nathaniel despite living in the same household and bearing his children.
Martin Jackson: Son of Nathaniel Jackson who is known for giving a portion of land to build the first Methodist Episcopal Church. He died in 1913.
Columbus Jackson: Son of Nathaniel Jackson, is recorded as being the first to be buried in Jackson Methodist Church Yard in 1896.
Matilda Jackson Clark: Daughter of Nathaniel Jackson, is recorded for being the second to be buried in Jackson Methodist Church Yard. She also had a daughter named Frances.
Eli Jackson (1832-1911): Son of Nathaniel Jackson, he built his home near the church. Eli was appointed Hidalgo County Commissioner in 1869 and was later elected in 1890-1893. When Nathaniel Jackson passed away, he inherited the land and kept it as a haven for people in need. He married Elizabeth Kerr in 1877 and had nine children. Their names were Alice Jackson, Robert Jackson, Angeline Jackson, Nathaniel "Polo" Jackson, Matilda Jackson, Elmira Jackson, Amanda Jackson, and Amelia Jackson.
Nathaniel "Polo" Jackson (1875-1929): Son of Eli Jackson and Elizabeth Kerr, was a Hidalgo County Jailer approximately 1900-1929. He inherited Eli's Ranch when he passed, and continued to farm the land. He married Eugenia Villanueva in 1907 and had five children one of which was adopted. Their names were Adela Jackson, Angelita Jackson, Federico Jackson, Herlinda Jackson, and Audelia Jackson (adopted in 1925). In 1929 Nathaniel "Polo" Jackson was buried in Eli Jackson Cemetery where his son Federico had been previously buried. Eugenia joined him in 1948.
Federico Jackson (1893-1920): Son of Nathaniel "Polo" Jackson, was buried in Eli Jackson Cemetery when he was killed for refusing to sell his land.
Adela Jackson (1899-1992): Eldest daughter of Nathaniel "Polo" Jackson, worked on her father's ranch. She married Wuenceslao Reyna in 1927 and had three children.
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