Hon. Howell Edmunds Jackson

This gentleman, now United States senator from Tennessee, & noted as one of the most profound & erudite lawyers in the State, was born at Paris, Tennessee, April 8, 1832.  Just now in the prime of life, with his great intellectual abilities & capacities daily unfolding, he is destined, without doubt, to retain distinction & to have his name enrolled among the nomina clara of the nation.  He is the son of the late Dr. A. Jackson & wife, nee Miss Mary Hurt, of Jackson, Tennessee.  A full account of his ancestry will be found in the sketch of his brother, Gen. William H. Jackson, published in another part of this volume.

Howell E. Jackson obtained his academic education in the “old field schools,” in the vicinage of Jackson, & his first diploma from the West Tennessee College at Jackson, from which latter institution he graduated, in 1849 with the highest honors of his class.  In 1850, he entered the University of Virginia, & completing the customary course there, again graduated with distinguished honors.  Returning home he read law for one year under his distinguished kinsman, Judge A. W. O. Totten, then a member of the Supreme court of Tennessee, & Judge Milton Brown.  Next he attended the law school at Lebanon, Tennessee, in the fall of 1855, & graduated thence in the summer of 1856.

While en route home from the law school, he & his brother, Gen. William H. Jackson, who had just graduated from the West Point Military Academy, met in Nashville, spent a day or two in visiting points of interest about the city, & for the first time visited, together, the friend of their father, Gen. William G. Harding – quite a coincidence when it is stated that the two brothers, years later, married the only two daughters of Gen. Harding.  From Nashville, the brothers repaired in a stage coach to their home in Jackson, Tennessee, where their fond father met them at day-light, as the coach stopped at his front gate, filled with joy that his two only sons should have filled the full measure of his hope by graduating at the institutions of his choice – a proud reflection for any young man to have.

Beginning the practice of the law at Jackson, our subject met with fine success.  Subsequently, in 1858, he removed to Memphis, where he formed a most desirable law-partnership with Hon. David M. Currin, ex-member of Congress.

At the beginning of hostilities, he was appointed receiver under the Confederate sequestration act for West Tennessee.  He shifted about at different points in the South, his duty being to take care of sequestered effects during the war.

After the war, he returned to Memphis, resumed the practice of law, having associated with him B. M. Estes, under the firm name of Estes & Jackson, one of the leading law firms of Memphis; subsequently associating with them Judge Ellet, ex-member of the Supreme bench of Mississippi, under the firm name of Estes, Ellet & Jackson.

Judge Jackson has been twice married; first, in 1859, to Miss Sophia Malloy, daughter of David B. Malloy, a banker of Memphis.  Her mother was a Miss Shepard.  To this marriage were born four children, Henry, Mary, William H. & Howell.  The first Mrs. Jackson died in April, 1873.

In April, 1874, Judge Jackson married Miss Mary E Harding, daughter of Gen. W. G. Harding, of Nashville, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.  Like many other men in public life who have been extraordinarily successful, he has had the assistance of a faithful & sympathetic wife.  Mrs. Jackson possesses, as her more prominent characteristics, energy & industry.  She is domestic in her tastes, loving home & home life better than society, fashion & gayety.  She is economical in general matters, but very liberal in her gifts to the church & all religious objects.  She is cheerful & even-tempered, not subject to extreme fluctuations of spirits, is cordial & pleasant in manner; is a devoted mother, a genuine help-meet to her husband, & in short, is all that the mistress of a Christian household should be.  By this marriage Judge Jackson has three children, Bessie, Louise & Harding Alexander.

Shortly after his second marriage, Judge Jackson removed to his old home at Jackson, Tennessee, & there formed a partnership in law with Gen. Alexander W. Campbell, under the firm name of Campbell & Jackson.  He continued the practice of law there successfully until the fall of 1880, when he was elected to the Tennessee Legislature, upon what is known as the State credit platform, this being his first experience in politics, never having been a member of any political convention.  However, he at once became the leading member of that Legislature, & was elected to the United States senate by that body in 1881, his term expiring in 1887.

Upon his entrance to the United States senate, Judge Jackson began at once making his mark in committee work – especially as a member of the committees on claims, pensions & agriculture.  In the second session the senate & the country discovered that they had in the quiet & modest senator from Tennessee, one of the profoundest legal minds in the Union.  His opinions on constitutional law are regarded as ex cathedra.

There is more to this but it’s not posted online. 😦

Bio courtesy the book ” Sketches of Prominent Tennesseans by William S. Spear”.


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