CHARLES A. JACKSON. The business men of the city of Benton, Illinois, are an up-to-date, progressive class of people, and one of the most influential and best known of them is Mr. Charles A. Jackson, harness manufacturer. The extensive saddlery factory, known as the A. D. Jackson Saddlery Company, and now conducted by Mr. Jackson, was established many years ago in a small way by his father and has grown to its present important proportions through the exercise of energetic modern methods and the sagacious management of the Jackson's father and son.
Charles A. Jackson is of English-Irish descent and was born in Benton, Illinois, June 12, 1866. His mother was before her marriage Jennie R. Dudley, a daughter of Charles Dudley, a native of Virginia, whose parents were in turn of English birth. She was born in Kentucky, on July 20, in the year 1834, and, died in Benton, Illinois, February 5, 1904. His father was A. D. Jackson, who was born in Chester, county, Pennsylvania, on February 9, 1829, to which state his grandfather, David Jackson, migrated from Ireland in 1828, becoming a farmer and living in that locality until his death, in 1880, at the advanced age of eightyfour years.
A. D. Jackson first became a resident of Illinois in 1855, when he settled at Shawneetown and occupied his time in a commercial way as a traveling harness journeyman, working by the day. He was careful of his earnings and worked industriously and, being of an ambitious temperament, soon managed to establish a small shop in Shawneetown, which he conducted for six months. Benton was then a small town just starting to grow, and Mr. Jackson, encouraged to establish his business there by his friend, Sam K. Casey, opened up a small harness store in August, 1855. This was the beginning of the present Jackson harness and saddlery manufactory. The trade at the little shop grew gradually but steadily and the capacity of the store and factory was increased year by year. His death occurred on May 11, 1906. He was throughout his lifetime president and treasurer of the business, was known as a man upon whose word complete reliance could always be placed and his integrity in every particular was of the most unquestionable character. He was one of the few men of his time in this section that voted for Lincoln for president in 1860 and 1864, as Franklin county was inclined strongly toward Democracy.
The firm conducting the harness business was incorporated in 1897, in which year a bad fire destroyed the store, entailing a loss of forty thousand dollars, as no insurance was carried on the building and stock. The place was rebuilt, however, and is now of sufficient size and capacity, covering practically a city block, to adequately handle the large business transacted not only with customers in Illinois but many clients in the surrounding states of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. Three traveling representatives are employed to visit the trade and take orders in these states.
Charles A. Jackson, upon whose able shoulders has devolved the management of this business since the death of his father, was educated with the idea in view of his assuming these responsibilities in time. He was sent to the high school of Benton and later, in 1884, went to Bryant & Stratton's Business College in St. Louis, Missouri. After completing his studies at these schools he went into the store and learned the business thoroughly by practical training in every department, and is complete master of every phase of harness and saddlery manufacturing. He represented the company on the road for fifteen years and has accordingly a personal acquaintance with a large number of his customers. After the death of his father he was elected president and treasurer of the corporation and also general manager of the business, which is capitalized at forty thousand dollars.
Mr. Jackson was first married in 1893, to Miss Daisy Webster, a daughter of Byron Webster, a leading druggist of Benton and a veteran of the Civil war. She died in 1894, and in 1901 Mr. Jackson again entered the bonds of matrimony, this time espousing Miss Carrie Layman, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Lemen) Layman, natives respectively of Franklin and Monroe counties, this state. Mr. Layman was a lawyer of distinction, and after a long and honorable career died in 1892, leaving behind him an enviable reputation and a considerable fortune. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson are the parents of two children, Elizabeth and Charles A. Jr., both of whom are attending school. Mrs. Jackson is an active member of the church of the Baptist denomination. Mr. Jackson belongs to the Masonic fraternal order and is also a Chapter Mason. While he is interested in all matters touching public weal, he has never engaged actively in political affairs. His private business interests occupy his time fully, as in addition to his manufacturing and merchandising of harness he has extensive real estate holdings to look
after. He is a man of unimpeachable character and is highly esteemed throughout the community for his many admirable qualities.