1800's

Dempsey Pickett Jackson, (1796-1874) – A Natchez and Tensas Planter

The following post is not about someone with Richland Parish roots, but he did make an impact in Tensas Parish. I found his story interewsting, so decided to make a post on him – Luke


D.P. (Dempsey Pickett) Jackson (1796-1874)

OBITUARY – Natchez Democrat, Natchez, Mississippi. Sun, Sep 20, 1874·Page 3

The late DEMPSEY PICKETT JACKSON, who departed this life at his residence, “Sheriff’s Retreat’ Adams County, Miss., on September the 8th, 1874, was a native of Fleming County, KY, and was born January 16th, 1796. He was the fifth child and second son of Dempsey Carroll Jackson and Molly Pickett, who were natives of Fauquier county. Va. His father was a thrifty, well-to-do farmer, a great manager, and full of energy. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and was known as one of “Morgan’s men.” His mother’s brother, Col. John Pickett, became a distinguished soldier in the same war. The mother of the deceased was a noble Virginia matron and a noted housewife. She possessed a fine mind which she never ceased to cultivate, even after she had reached her three score years and ten. She possessed great energy and decision of character, and raised creditablv, and to fill honorably their places in life, a family of eleven children eight sons and three daughters, but one of whom now remains, Wade Mosby Jackson, of Missouri.

When Dempsey P. Jackson was a youth of fifteen, his father kept him from school and associated him with himself as manager on the farm; an act against which Dempsey rebelled; he was then the oldest son at home, the younger sons being at school, and he was determined that he should go to school too, or run away from home. He made his mother his confidant, and his intentions’ were disclosed to his lather; he was permitted to leave, but his father gave bim an outfit of clothing, a horse, saddle, bridle and money; and this brave lad, with the spirit and determination that ever after characterized him, bade adieu to home and friends, and, alone, made his way to Nashville, Teuutsee, where his brother, Craven Jackson, had located.

There he bound himself to learn the plastering trade, which he followed for a few years in Nashville. He then removed to St. Louis, when Missouri was still a Territory There he still followed bis trade, and became acquainted with the Cboteaus, Lucases, Sappingtons. Judge Ferguson and others, who after years became the wealthy and leading citizens of the place.

Here he remained a few years. but, impelled by the spirit of adventure, and resisting the advice and persuasion of friends who could foresee the future greatness of St Louis, he determined to cast his lot in what was then called the “Far Southwest.” He came down the Mississippi River in a flatboat to New Orleans, The yellow fever was prevailing at the time. Fearlessly he exposed himself to it. and was soon seized by the scourge. Scarcely recovering, he procured a horse, crossed the lakes in. a schooner, and started home. On the way he full quite sick ft.n, and was kindly nursed back to life by Pushmataha, Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

This visit home was the first trip he had made since he left it. A rustic youth in homespun he returned home as fine as an example of noble manhood as Kentucky overproduced; and, although at the time of his decease he was near eighty years of age, he was even in death beautiful to look upon.

After his visit to his old home, he returned to the Mississippi Valley and located permanently at Natchez, Miss. In January 1828. be married Maria Forsyth, eldest daughter of John Forsyth, who for many years had been Sheriff of Adams county. He resided in Natchez a few years after his marriage, but after the death of John Forsyth, in 1837, he moved to the country residence, known as “Sheriffs Retreat,” where he ensued in planting, which he followed for 42 years in this county and 30 years in Louisiana during all these years he transacted business with but one commission house, that of H. S. Buckner and Co., of New Orleans.

Between the deceased and the venerable head of that firm, there existed a warm personal friendship, and we believe he will unite with us in saying that Dempsey P. Jackson was honest and sincere in all his acts, expressions and in deeds; that he was attentive and active in the. discharge of all his business obligations, and thereby secured the respect of all with whom he was brought in contact in business relations.

At one time he was much fascinated with politics and served for a while in the legislature of Mississippi. He was a member when the bonds were repudiated, an act which he greatly condemned, and always deplored.

He was a man of splendid intellect, which be had greatly improved by an extensive course of reading. He was a kind neighbor and a charitable man; the widows and orphans never appealed to him in vain. He was thoroughly conversed with the Bible, having devoted much time to its study, and though familiar with many creeds, processed none but a grand and beautiful faith in the mercy, justice, and goodness of God. He believed in the grand plan of salvation, and that all who truly repented would be saved. In his last illness, he expressed no fears of death and was more than anxious to die.

He was raised a Baptist, his mother for many years being a member of that church, and we are informed that one of his ancestors, Reuben Pickett, was the founder of the Baptist Church in Virginia. He leaves a wife, three children, and two grandchildren to mourn his loss.

He was connected with the old Virginia families of Metcalfe, Shacklefords, Picketts, Carroll’s, Unices, many of whom are scattered throughout Kentucky and Missouri.

But where are the friends of his youth, those with whom he delighted to gather in the old Kentucky homes so long ago? We suspect that but few if any are left to bear of the death of Dempsey P Jackson. If so, we trust a Heavenly Father has gathered him with them all to a home above, to part no more forever.

Natchez Democrat, Natchez, Mississippi. Sun, Sep 20, 1874 · Page 3

Map of Tensas Parish, ca., 1870’s
Jackson’s Plantation can be located just below the “i” in the words “Third Ward”
(For High-Resolution zooming, click the map)

“Aubrey Plantation” in Tensas Parish saved by wife, Maria Forsyth Jackson, following Dempsey’s death.”

A History of the Forsyth Family compiled by JENNIE FORSYTH JEFFRIE

Dempsey Jackson was born in Kentucky in 1796 and was related to the Pickett, Metcalf and Shackleford families of Virginia. His brother, Claiborne Jackson, was the war governor of Missouri. His character is portrayed in a sketch written at the time of his death in 1874 by Colonel J. T. H. Claiborne of Mississippi. The following is an extract:

Dempsey Jackson was a man of strong points of character.

One of those men who made warm friends and bitter enemies; stern and inflexible as a covenanter in the earnestness of his convictions,
but capable of strong reactions and of generous and magnanimous acknowledgment. He was a most extreme Whig, but he became in after times, quite as strong a Democrat. Rather than surrender or even compromise what he believed to be right, I think he would have died at the stake.”

The enormous losses of some of the southern planters during the war are shown in an inventory made by Jackson sometime after its close. In the beginning, he and his wife held property worth more than five hundred thousand dollars. At its close, its estimated value was about eighty-three thousand. He had partly recovered his loss when he died ten years later,
but there was a debt of twenty thousand dollars on his Aubrey
Place (Tensas Parish).

The strong character of Maria Forsyth, her energy, her courage, served her well in the years that followed, and before her death, she and her daughter, Kate Aubrey, had paid it all, and without the sale of an acre of the land.

A History of the Forsyth Family compiled by JENNIE FORSYTH JEFFRIE
Maria Jane Forsyth Jackson was the granddaughter of David Forsyth and the daughter of John Forsyth. She was born in 1812 in Washington, Mississippi, a short distance from Natchez.

Additional notes:

D. P. Jackson (1796-1874) was a Whig, and bitterly opposed secession. He was a member of the State Legislature, 1842, and strongly opposed repudiation. His daughter, Mrs. Kate A.Baily, Washington, Miss., has three of his letters bearing these dates: Jackson, Miss., Jan. 27, 1842; Jackson, Miss., Feb’y 3, 1842; Jackson, Miss., Feb’y 20, 1842. These letters are of a private nature, but they are interesting and show quite conclusively what Mr. Jackson thought of the majority and of their measures in the Legislature of that year. Mrs. Baily also has a statement regarding her father and his contemporaries and ancestors by J. F. H. Claiborne. Mr. Jackson’s home and papers were destroyed by fire in 1879.


FindaGrave – Dempsey Pickett Jackson

Leave a Reply