Heritage \ Writings \

Gurdon Kimball Jackson (1840-1899)
Born in Algonac, Mich. Major dealer in lumber business at Bay City. man.

Biography, 1890. - Added July, 2011.

Cyclopedia of Michigan: Historical and Biographical. - 1890


of Bay City, was born in Algonac, St. Clair County, Michigan, December 18, 1840. His parents were Michael and Elizabeth (Kimball) Jackson. His father was a native of England, and came to this country in 1818, when he was in his thirteenth year, and settled in Penn Yan, Yates County, New York, of which state his mother, Elizabeth Kimball, was a native, where she was born in 1805. The parents eventually went West, and became residents of, and identified with, the interests of Algonac, Michigan. In may respects their married life was notable; they lived together as man and wife fifty-seven years, and the family union was never broken until the death by drowning, in 1862, of one of their sons. The wife and mother is now living in the old homestead in Algonac. Her husband died in 1883, held in high affection by friends and family.

Gurdon K. Jackson in boyhood attended the common schools near his home until thirteen years of age, wen he entered as clerk in a store doing a general merchandise business. At this early age he had a spirit of independence, and a desire to rely upon his own resources and efforts in life. But clerking was not in harmony with his tastes; he became satisfied of this after giving it a trial of two years. He then left the store and secured employment in a mill. This proved to be far more to his liking and more in line with his natural tendencies,which were those of a machinist. In three year after entering the mill, being then only eighteen years of age, he was made foreman of the mill. The fact of his promotion to such an important position at an age when most boys are experimenting in the choice of an occupation, is ample proof that he had made a wise and proper selection of employment, and also that the firm, of whose business, in this branch, he had charge, had made an equally wise and proper selection in a man to manage their mill. He continued here, useful and important to his employers, until 1863, when he went to Bay City and embarked in business for himself. This was an important step for himself, and it also proved a good one for Bay City, for he had a thorough knowledge and mastery of the business, which was practically in its infancy in the Saginaw Valley, and needed men of the ability, energy and enterprise possessed by Mr. Jackson.

Many towns and cities of quite considerable pretensions and importance owe in large degree the progress they have made and the position they occupy to such men as Mr. Jackson. In fact, it would be hardly possible to overestimate the value of their lives, services, influence, and example. The business ability, good judgment, and sound, practical ideas possessed by Mr. Jackson have had merited recognition at the hands of the public. His advice and opinions are sought because known to be good and valuable. He has attended closely to his business, and is looked upon by the community as one of the principal operators of the Valley. He has not confined his operations exclusively to lumber, but has taken front rank in various other branches. He is managing owner in four large, fine freight-boats the largest, in fact, which come to the Valley ports. He is a director in the Commercial Bank, and also a director in the Bay City National Bank, of Bay City.

He married, January 11, 1866, Cordelia Swartout, a native of Algonac, the daughter of Mr. Benjamin Swartout, of the same place. Mr. Jackson is large, over six feet high, well proportioned, and of attractive physical appearance. He is quiet, gentlemanly, and dignified in demeanor, and has that solidity and substantiality of bearing that come of knowledge of the business affairs of life and strength of character. His social position is an elevated one, and his integrity unquestioned. He has the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens, and is hope that there are yet before him many years of usefulness.

Mother, Besty Kimbal. - Added July, 2011.

The Kimball Family News, Vols. 3-4, 1900.


Mrs. Betsy (Kimball) Jackson, better know as Mrs. Michael was bon in Chenango County, N. Y., Sept. 17, 1805. In 1812 she removed with her parents to Aurora, Cayuaga County, N. Y., where she attended the Aurora Female Academy for some years.

In 1821 she (Besy Kimball) removed with her parents to New Jerusalem, Yates County, N. Y., where she lived until her marriage to Michael Jackson in 1830. In 1831, with her husband, infant daughter, and parents, she removed to Michigan, living for two years or so at Ann Arbor, where her husband was engaged in shoemaking. They finally removed t Algonac, St. Clair Co., where her husband continued his shoemaking business until 1854, when they commenced hotel keeping and continued it until his death in September, 1883. Since that time she and her daughter Lucy lived together in Algonac, until her death on Jan. 4, of the present year. She was the mother of six children, all but Lucy born in Michigan. Lucy was born in N. Y. state. The oldest son, George C., and the second daughter, Mary C., died many years ago in Algonac. Charles K. and Henry, the youngest son, live in Agonac; Gurdon K., the third son lived in Bay City, Mich., and died on Dec. 30, last, a few days before his mother passed away. Mrs. Jackson led a very active life, was opposed to all shams and hypocrisy and generally spoke her feelings plainly. She had strong convictions, and it required evidence to change them. She was always ready to help those in sickness or distress, and it was at such times that her character was shown in its excellence. She retained her exceptionally fine mental character to the last.

She had been failing in health for the past six months, but died at a ripe old age, respected by all who knew her, and admired for her sterling qualities. When told that her illiness might prove fatal, she replied that it was all right; she had done all she was able to do for her friends, and was ready and willing to go. Of her children, Lucy, Charles and Henry are living, all in Algonac. There are twelve grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She was carried to her last resting place by her two sons, and four grandchildren as pall bearers.

Her son Gurdon Kimball Jackson, died at Bay City, Mich., on Saturday night, Dec. 30. He was born in Algonac, St. Clair County, Mich., in 1840. He went to Bay City in 1863 and engaged in the lumber business, which he conducted successfully until 1895. He was also largely interested in vessel property, and at the time of his death was a director of the First National Bank and Commercial Banks of Bay City. In business he was honorable and upright, and was widely known and highly respected, not only in Bay City, but along the great chain of lakes, especially in lumber markets. A wife and two sons are left.

Additional Notes.

    1850 Census: Clay, St. Clair, Mich.

  • Jackson, Michael b. 1806 England
  • Betsy, wife b. 1806 New York
  • Lucy, dau. - b. 1831 New York
  • George, son b. 1833 Mich.
  • Charlotte, dau. - b. 1836 Mich.
  • Charles, son b. 1838 Mich.
  • Gorden, son b. 1841 Mich.
  • Henry, son b. 1843 Mich.

    1870 Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Jackson, Gurdon b. 1841 Mich.
  • Cordelia, wife b. 1848 Mich.
  • Delos, dau. - b. 1868 Mich.
  • Harry, son b. 1870 Mich.

    1871-2 Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • Jackson, Gurdon commission lumber dealer, office Averill Block, res 1012 Fifth.

    1880 Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Jackson, Guerson, b. 1840 Mich. - lumberman
  • Cordelia W., wife b. 1848 Mich.
  • Delos G.,son b. 1868 Mich.
  • Orrin D., son b. 1874 Mich.
  • Grace A., dau. - b. 1876 Mich.
  • George, nephew b. 1863 Mich.

    1883 Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • Jackson, Gurdon K. - lumber 100 Center, res 1103 Center.

    1894 Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Jackson, Gurdon b. 1840
  • Cordelia, wife b. 1847
  • Orrin D., son b. 1874

    1910 Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Borders at homestead of Rebecca Gregory, 1st Ward:
  • Jackson, Cordelia, widow, age 62, b. Mich.
  • Jackson, Orris D., single, age 36, b. Mich.

    Link biography of Charles K. Jackson, brother

  • [Maritime History of Great Lakes]
Reference Notes & Pages

Related Pages:
Jackson, George D. nephew
People Referenced

Jackson, Charles K. (bro)
Jackson, Charlotte (sis)
Jackson, Delos (dau)
Jackson, Geo. D. (nephew)
Jackson, George (bro)
Jackson, Grace (dau)
Jackson, Gurdon K. (subject)
Jackson, Harry (son)
Jackson, Henry (bro)
Jackson, Lucy (sis)
Jackson, Michael (father)
Jackson, Orrin D. (son)
Kimball, Elizabeth (mother)
Swartout, Benjamin (f-inlaw)
Swartout, Cornelia (wife)
Subjects Referenced
Algonac, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Aurora, NY
Aurora Female Academy
Averill Block
Ann Arbor, MI
Aurora, NY
Bay City, MI
Commercial Bank
First National Bank
Cayuaga Co. NY
Chenago Co., NY
New Jerusalem, NY
Penn Yan, NY
St. Clair Co., MI
Yates Co., NY
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.