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JACKSON, Noah and Alfreda Cobb Jackson

“Harriet Amelia Jackson is my name and Westmeath is my native place”.

That is how a young Harriet Jackson, second daughter of Noah Jackson (1796-1868) and Alfreda Cobb (1798-1877), described herself, as she stitched a very special embroidery piece called a “Sampler”.   This type of fabric art was very popular in the pioneer days and often used to improve a girls’ stitchery.

Harriet’s work sets out her complete family and includes the deaths of three siblings. She was well acquainted with death and includes the lines: “And hear the wind with softest sighs, Sweep o’er the grassy graves”, and she embroidered child angels and a tomb stone.  Jackson Sampler.


Harriet’s embroidered angels, 1842.

Jackson, Noah

The Jackson Family were founders of Westmeath Front, with Noah Jackson purchasing a tract of land and subdividing into smaller lots as seen in the Jackson Map from 1873, found in the Maps  section.  These lots were to the north of the Gore Line in the village.

The photograph of the sampler comes from the Westmeath W.I. Tweedsmuir Book.


Jackson Family Sampler. CLICK to enlarge.

This very special piece of embroidery and a second sampler of numbers and the alphabet have been carefully kept by Harriet’s children and grandchildren. Her great-grandson David Macdonald has generously had the two pieces photographed in colour for this entry. A selection of those photographs, with some enlarged details,  is at the bottom of this page. Although over the years the colours have faded and the cloth yellowed; these coloured photographs bring these wonderful family artifacts to life.

An excerpt on the Jackson family from Evelyn Moore Price’s 1984 Westmeath Township History reads:

“It concerns the family of Noah Jackson and his early lifestyle before he became a pioneer of Westmeath Township.

“The Jackson family was admired and travelled far too, in an unsung fashion, a contribution to the development of one of our frontiers. Noah Jackson was a native of Walpole, New Hampshire.  He came to Wright’s Town in the 1820s to participate in the lumbering trade.  He joined with Philemon Wright – (founder of Hull, Quebec, and first lumberman to send a log raft down the Ottawa River), and others in subscribing to the building of St. James Church in 1823.

Subsequently, in 1834, he moved up the Ottawa River to the Front Westmeath, joining other entrepreneurs in lumbering and like them, to remain in the area.

“The sampler was made by a daughter of Noah Jackson, born Oct. 9, 1796 and his wife Alfreda Cobb, born Sept. 18, 1899, whom he married Sept. 5, 1822.

“During the latter period he assumed many community responsibilities:   Path Master of Westmeath Township Council 1843; Town Warden in 1843, and secretary of the Westmeath Township Fair for over 10 years.  This organization operated without a President for all this time. Newspaper reports reveal he participated in the fair by showing cattle and judging farm products from ploughs to maple syrup. pioneer-fire

“Noah’s daughter Elizabeth Jackson married John O’Brien and one descendant stated that she personified the stamina and fortitude of these early settlers. Problems of obtaining an education and food and clothing were made workable through the thrift practised in these homes. The sampler was worked in cross-stitch and was found in the brick house belonging to Joseph Jackson, opposite St. Andrews United Church, Westmeath.”

“Her father and mother  Noah and Alfreda Jackson are buried in Westmeath Union Cemetery. They were devout members of the early Wesleyan Methodist Mission in Westmeath.  And Elizabeth and John O’Brien rest in Greenwood Cemetery and attended Greenwood United Church where John O’Brien led the congregational singing, striking the right pitch by means of a tuning fork.”

The pioneer women had to be tough and resilient – often left with the children while their husbands would work away for months at a time. Alfreda Jackson experienced that need for strength and stamina as she raised her children in the wilderness of Westmeath Township. In 1919, Noah & Alfreda’s daughter Elizabeth Jackson O’Brien gave this memoir  Jackson Beginnings  to the Pembroke newspaper:

“My father came to the Westmeath Front in 1834.  I was two years old, there was a family of ten children five girls and five boys, of which I was the youngest girl.  I was born in Hull which is called Aylmer nowadays.

“Timbering business brought my father up to Westmeath; then it was all bush, no road, no conveyance except canoes.  In the summer my father used to go down to Ottawa, which was called Bytown then, and bring up all the provisions by canoes.  He would carry the stuff across the portages; in the summer he went right through the bush with the trees blazed on both sides.  Then in the spring he would raft his timbers and take it to Quebec, which would take about four months.

“We had no school then.  My father would bring up a young woman from Hull and would keep her a year to teach us in our own homes.  I remember the first school house and the first teacher.  We had no holidays.

“Mr. Bellows was the man that kept our post office at that time.  We had no stores, could not get anything only in the winter – if you were able to lay in your supply for the summer, if not, we had to do without.  We would use herbs for tea and peas for coffee.  We would brown the peas, could not get anything else.

“We never thought of shoes in summer, ran barefoot.  One thing we had was maple sugar and molasses.  My father would tap three or four trees, maybe more, and would make a trough out of pine and scoop it out with an adze and boil the sap in big coolers.  It was great fun for us.  In time of a big run we would have to boil the sap all night.

“Then we began to have school and would have to go right through the woods.  In the summer my brothers and sisters and I would be jumping from side to side of the road to keep out of the water and mud in our bare feet, and when we could not get logs to go on we would go right through mud and water.

“After awhile settlers came in and we began to have something better.”

Noah Jackson was the son of Joseph Jackson and Betsy Adams of Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA. Alfreda Cobb was born in Vermont State, USA. The children of Noah and Alfreda Jackson were:

1.  Joseph Cobb Jackson (1833-1923) m. Mary O’Brien (1841-1923). See O’BRIEN entry.

Mary O'Brien (1841-1923) & Joseph Cobb Jackson (1833-1923)
Mary O’Brien (1841-1923) & Joseph Cobb Jackson (1833-1923)
Jackson Friends & Family: Standing, from left: Charlie Jackson, Harry Jackson, Emerson McBride, Margret Anderson. Seated, from left: Thora Anderson, Eddie Jackson, Jessie Jackson (seated at Eddie's knee), Mary (O'Brien) Jackson, and Annie (Smith) Jackson. Portrait in background is of Edwin's brother Noah Jackson.

Jackson Friends & Family: Standing, from left: Charlie Jackson, Harry Jackson, Emerson McBride, Margaret Anderson. Seated, from left: Thora Anderson, Eddie Jackson, Jessie Jackson (seated at Eddie’s knee), Mary (O’Brien) Jackson, and Annie (Smith) Jackson. Portrait in background is of Edwin’s brother Noah Jackson.

Joseph C. Jackson  and Mary O’Brien’s children were far-flung settlers into the Canadian and American West as it was opened up to settlement. Branches of this family settled in Washington State and Saskatchewan. Photos from

i. Noah Richard Jackson (1859-  ) m. Sarah McQuitty (1850-  ) and they raised their family in Qu’Appelle, Sask.

ii. Eliza Jeanette “Nettie”Jackson (1861-1935)  m. Robert Ross (1855-1944) from Beachburg and they raised 13 children and settled in Regina, Sask.  For more on Nettie and Robert’s  family see ROSS entry.

iii. Edwin Jackson (1864-1949) m. Annie Marie Smith (1874-1950) from Westmeath Township. Jackson, ANNIE MARIE SMITHJackson,Edwin& Annie Story

Delmar, Edwin, Annie, Jessie, Harrison, and Charles Jackson

Delmar, Edwin, Annie, Jessie, Harrison, and Charles Jackson

The Jackson Boys: Charlie, Del, and Harry Jackson.

The Jackson Boys: Charlie, Del, and Harry Jackson.

iv. Charles Willard Jackson (1866-1901) m. Elizabeth Thompson in Westmeath in 1895.

v.  Joseph Wyman Jackson (1868-1956) m. Mary Alice Clemence (1873-1963) Jackson, Mary Alice Clemence.

Joseph Wyman Jackson.

Joseph Wyman Jackson.

vi. Mary Elizabeth Jackson (1874-1955) m. William Alfred McMullin (1874-1962) also of Westmeath Township. See MCMULLEN entry.


Mary Elizabeth Jackson McMullin

vii. Jessie Fraser Jackson (1880-  ) m. Arthur Winters Hennessy (1881-1944). He was a lumberman and had a sawmill. They raised five children and lived in Westmeath Township throughout their lives. See HENNESSY entry.

Jessie Fraser Jackson Hennessy.

Jessie Fraser Jackson Hennessy.

2. Elizabeth Mary Reed Jackson (1823-1832) – died at 9 yrs.

3.  Alfreda Nancy Jackson (1826- )

4.  Sophia Willard Jackson (1828-1890) m. Wyman Augustus Chamberlain in 1846.  They raised 10 children in Westmeath Township. See CHAMBERLAIN entry.

5.  Harriet Amelia Jackson (1830-1894)  married Archibald MacDonald, a Scottish blacksmith. Harriett’s Sampler  is seen above. See MACDONALD entry. After their bankruptcy they moved to the American frontier states of Michigan and Indiana.

6.  Elizabeth Jackson (1832-1929) m. John O’Brien (1829-1904) and settled in the Greenwood community of Westmeath Township. See O’BRIEN entry. Their daughters would marry into local families. Their children are:

 i. Joseph William O’Brien (1854-1902) m. Mary Esther Curry (1854- ). See CURRY entry.

 ii. Thomas Alfred O’Brien m. (1857-1914) m. Harriett Whitmore (1862- ). See WHITMORE entry.

iii. Harriet Alfreda O’Brien  (1858-1930) m. Philemon Thrasher (1858- ). See THRASHER entry.

iv. Emma Jane O’Brien (1861-1953)  m. Charles Whitmore (1855- ).

v. Noah Jackson O’Brien (1864-1924) m. Hattie V. O’Brien (1875-  ). They moved to upper New York State but after her death  he later returned to Westmeath.

vi.  John Patrick O’Brien (1867-1949) m. Sarah Florence Andrews (1877-1947)

vii.  Charles Edgar O’Brien (1870-1924) m. (1) Bertha May Anderson (1889- ) from Beachburg and upon her death married  (2) Jennie M. O’Brien (1871- ).

viii. Alexander Henry O’Brien (1871-

ix. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sophia O’Brien (1873-1929) m. David Ross McDonald (1877-1936). They raised their family in Admaston Township.

7.  Charles Adams Jackson (1836-1840)

8.  Noah Willard Jackson (1838- 1919) m. (1) Pauline Adams ( – 1876), daughter of the Adams of Westmeath Village and they had 8 children. See  ADAMS entry.

After Pauline’s death in 1876 he remarried (2)  Alice Edna Worrill ( 1857-1912) and they lived in Whiteriver Township, Muskegon, Michigan, USA and raised 13 children. In total he fathered 21 Jacksons on both sides of the border.

Alice Worrill was the daughter of Essex Worrill and Harriett Emeline McConnell and  had lived in Pontiac County, Quebec, across the Ottawa River from  Westmeath Township. In October of 1877 Alice became the second wife of Noah Jackson and the couple moved the family to Muskegon County, Michigan, joining Noah’s brother Charles Harrison Jackson. The Worrill family history and the Michigan branch of the Jackson’s have been documented and submitted by David Macdonald:  Worrill-Jackson Family History.

9.  Charles Harrison Jackson (1841-  ) m. Elizabeth “Lizzie” McPherson Quigley (1844- ) in Pakenham, Lanark County, Ont.

Elizabeth "Bess" Brace, Kate Quigley Brace, C. Harrison Jackson, Lizzie Jackson and Paul Hisey. - from

Elizabeth “Bess” Brace, Kate Quigley Brace, C. Harrison Jackson, Lizzie Jackson and Paul Hisey. – from

Harriet Jackson’s samplers, 1842. Note that on the second sampler of alphabet and numbers, Harriet spells West Meath as two words.






Detail of "Family Register" taken from an embroidery sampler made by Harriet Jackson, age 12, in 1842.

Detail of “Family Register” taken from an embroidery sampler made by Harriet Jackson, age 12, in 1842.