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Biography of Judge John F. Jack

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Judge John F. Jack married Elizabeth, next to the youngest daughter of General William Cocke, previously mentioned, who was a Captain in the Revolutionary War, a companion of Daniel Boon from western North Carolina across the Alleghany mountains to the “wilderness of Kentucky,” a prominent actor in the establishment of the “Frankland Government,” one of the first Senators to Congress from the new State of Tennessee, and afterward, one of the Circuit Judges of that State. He served in the Legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi. At the advanced age of sixty-five years, he volunteered in the war of 1812, and distinguished himself for his personal courage. He died on the 8th of August, 1828, in the eighty-seventh year of his age, universally lamented, and is buried in Columbus, Mississippi.

It has been previously stated that Col. Patrick Jack, the father of Judge John F. Jack, led an active and adventurous life. One of these adventures will be now narrated.

In Dr. Ramsey’s “Annals of Tennessee,” page 68, we have this record:

“A grant, signed Arthur Dobbs, Governor of North Carolina; William Beamer, Sen., Superintendent and Deputy Adjutant in and for the Cherokee Nation; and William Beamer, Jun., Interpreter; and the ‘Little Carpenter,’ half king of the Cherokee Nation of the over-hill towns; and Matthew Toole, Interpreter, made to Captain Patrick Jack, of the province of Pennsylvania, is recorded in the Register’s office of Knox county, Tennessee. It purports to have been made at a council held at Tennessee River, on the 1st of March, 1757. The consideration is four hundred dollars, and conveys to Capt. Jack “fifteen miles square” south of the Tennessee river. The grant itself, confirmatory of the purchase by Jack, is dated at a general council, met at the Catawba River, on the 7th of May, 1762, and is witnessed by Nathaniel Alexander.”

Upon this speculative transaction it is proper to make a few explanatory remarks. About 1750, East Tennessee was beginning to be settled by adventurous individuals, principally from western North Carolina, south-western Virginia, and occasionally from more northern colonies. The Indians were still regarded as the rightful owners and proper “lords of the soil.” At the date of the council held at the Tennessee River in 1757, only that portion of the country north of that stream had become sparsely settled, but soon thereafter purchases of land were sometimes made directly from the Indian chiefs themselves, as in the above instance, and settlements of whites speedily followed. Matthew Toole, one of the parties named, had lived among the Cherokee Indians, and taken to “bed and board,” as a wife, one of the swarthy damsels of that tribe–hence his qualification as interpreter. He lived on the eastern bank of the Catawba river, in Mecklenburg county, giving origin to the name of the ford which still bears his name. Nathaniel Alexander, the subscribing witness, was then an acting magistrate of the county, and a man of extensive influence.

Colonel Patrick Jack, the father of Judge John F. Jack, died in Chambersburg, Pa., on the 25th of January, 1821, aged ninety-one years. His daughter, Jane Stewart, died in 1853, also aged ninety-one years. His daughter Mary (never married) died on the 29th of May, 1862, aged eighty-five years.

The family of Judge John F. Jack consisted of eight children, of whom, at the present time (1876) only four are living, viz.: Martha Mariah (Mrs. Dr. Rhoton), of Morristown, East Tennessee; William Pinkney Jack, of Russelville, Ala.; John F. Jack, of West Point Mississippi, both worthy and eminent lawyers in their respective locations; and Sarah Anne (Mrs. Dr. Carriger), of Morristown, Tenn. Few persons, in the early history of East Tennessee, were held in as great estimation, and filled with universal acceptance as many important positions of public trust as Judge John F. Jack. The county seat of justice of Campbell county, Jacksboro, was named in his honor, and his descendants should hold in cherished remembrance his purity of life and unsullied integrity of character.


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