There’s a description in the 2019 Tomato Fest brochure, published by the Chamber of Commerce, which tells how our community came to be called “Jacksonville.” As we’ve written in past columns there is another version as told by Jackson Smith, the founder of our community, to John Templeton, a noted historian and past pillar of our city. There’s even a third version in the book Jacksonville Texas Centennial.
There are over 50 cities named Jacksonville in the United States. Many are named after Andrew Jackson who was President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Jackson initially ran in 1824 and won a plurality of the vote and the most votes in the Electoral College, but not the majority of either count. There was a runoff in the House of Representatives and an underhanded deal by Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams resulted in his losing the election and Adams becoming President.
An uncharted city, Jacksonville, KY, had been named after Jackson in hopes of getting a new post office. It appears that the new US Post Master, appointed by President Adams, was not granting any new locations to communities named after Andrew Jackson. A city charter was created and the name changed to Jamestown after the local land owner, James Woodbridge donated 110 acres, part of which would house a new post office, to the town.
Jacksonville, VT is the smallest town we found. Originally, it was called New Boston and later the named was changed to Martin Mills and still later the named was changed to Jacksonville, again after Andrew Jackson. Its population in 2000 was 237 people. When the town was founded in 1781 the population was already 200 citizens. There was a lot of fertile farming acreage around the community, but most of it was flooded when a reservoir was built and Lake Whitingham was formed. It’s now part of the city of Witingham and the area is called Jacksonville Village.
Jacksonville, AL was founded in 1883 on land purchased from Creek Indian Chief “Du-Hoag” Ladia. First called Drayton, the named was changed to honor the heritage of President Andrew Jackson. This Jacksonville had the largest growth rate we found, 49% since 2000. Most of this was tied to significant expansion of Jackson State University as well as a drive to attract middle income retirees.
Jacksonville, GA was the first community to be named after Jackson. On November 15, 1815 the Georgia General Assembly declared that a new county seat be named after the hero of the recent battle of New Orleans, General Andrew Jackson.
Jacksonville, FL is the largest city named after President Jackson. Originally named Crow Ford it was renamed after Jackson was appointed military governor of the territory. It has the largest municipal population in Florida and has the largest land area of any city in the contiguous US.
Jacksonville, IL is very important to the history of our community. It was established in 1835 by European Americans on a 160 acre tract of land in the middle of Morgan County. The attorney, Abraham Lincoln, occasionally had legal business in Jacksonville and referred to it often. The same goes for our founder, Jackson Smith, who apprenticed in Jacksonville, IL as a blacksmith.
Like our Jacksonville, not every city is the namesake of Andrew Jackson. Jacksonville, AR is named for Nicholas Jackson, a land owner who deeded the land for a right-away to the Cairo Fulton Railroad. Today this community is a suburb of Little Rock.
Originally, our Jacksonville was located about two miles east of the museum. When it was learned that the International Railroad was going to pass it by, the entire town was picked up and moved to its present location.
Such was the predicament for Jacksonville, OR. At one time, it was the largest town in the Oregon Territory. That is until the railroad passed it by in 1884. The city fathers chose not to move closer to the tracks. The town of Medford sprang up in its place. Originally the town was named Table Rock City because of the view of two mesas about 10 miles away. It was renamed following the discovery of gold in the area around 1851. Today it has a population of 2,900 people.
Jacksonville, NY faced a similar relocation decision. The community was originally named “Harlow’s Corners.” After the Battle of New Orleans, the citizens wanted to honor the great general and so changed its name. The Erie Railroad by passed the town’s location by about 5 miles. Due to the large number of mills and other businesses in the community, the city council chose not to move. The town of Livonia sprung up and soon Jacksonville business owners were closing their mills and shops and moving them to Livonia. It took just three years for Jacksonville, NY to become a ghost town.
Thankfully, the founding fathers of our community were willing to move from their idyllic location along Gum Creek and form up a new Jacksonville community. Now, as to which story of how our community came to be named Jacksonville is correct, well, that will for now remain a Mystery At Your Museum.
We hope you will visit your museum soon. We are open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11-4. Admission and parking at our 300 South Bolton location is free.