I have been googling, trying to take a quick lesson about Maryland’s Governor Elihu Emory Jackson (term 1888-1892), knowing him as a prominent part of Salisbury’s history. He was born in 1836 in Delmar, Maryland, had a home in Salisbury, died in 1907 in Baltimore and buried at the Parsons Cemetery in Salisbury; and I understand Jackson was part owner of Pemberton Hall. His father was Hugh Jackson of Salisbury; a quick check of ancestry.com shows at one point Hugh had slaves. Elihu Emory Jackson and his wife Nellie had a new home built in Salisbury, called “The Oaks,” built in time to be enjoyed during his term as Governor (the structure no longer exists).
But one online article caught my eye, a January 2013 article called, “Inside the Jackson Tract: The Battle Over Peonage Labor Camps in Southern Alabama, 1906,” by Aaron Reynolds, University of Texas, Austin. Interesting article! I admit to being drawn to it because of a part-time interest in the history of peonage. The introduction of the article describes a 1904 visit of northern business, including the then former Governor Jackson, to investigate new lumbering holdings in southern Alabama. Included in the article:
Carrying out the strategy of the Jackson Lumber Company required transporting poorly provisioned European immigrant labor deep into forests to perform the brutal tasks of felling and hauling timber. Here a calculating labor manager, William S. Harlan, and sadistic foremen, Bob Gallagher and S. E. Huggins established a horrendous regime of forced labor that led to a physical and legal battle between managers, workers, and Progressive reformers.
Douglas A. Blackmon’s Slavery by Another Name was one of the sources, see an earlier blog post on this. The peonage extended to immigrant Americans as well as local African Americans. This investment occurred near the end of his life, so it’s not clear the extent of his role, but the article is interesting and gives food for thought.
— Linda Duyer