JACKSON, JAMES (1822–1895). James Jackson, pioneer cattleman and founder of the JHK Ranch in Chambers County, the son of Sarah (Merriman) and Humphrey Jackson, was born on Vermillion Bayou in Vermillion Parish, Louisiana, on February 15, 1822. In September 1823 the family moved to an area east of the San Jacinto River in what would later be Harris County. The Jacksons appear on the 1826 census of the Atascosito District. James was orphaned by the deaths of his parents; his mother died in 1824 and his father in 1836. He was married on December 23, 1847, to Sarah White, daughter of pioneer Chambers County cattleman James Taylor White. They settled first in a crude log cabin on the banks of Double Bayou. Jackson built a second cabin a mile from the first and replaced it over the years by two other much larger structures. His final home, a spacious two-story structure, burned in 1917. The couple had eleven children.
Jackson held a number of county offices after the organization of Chambers County in 1858: chief justice, 1862–65; county judge, 1876; sheriff, 1868; county commissioner, 1858–62 and 1880–82; and justice of the peace, 1871–76. Like most Texans of his day, he was devoted to the Democratic party. His principal avocation was cattle ranching, which he began as early as 1842 with a herd of 175 cattle. He appears on the tax rolls of Chambers County as one of its wealthiest citizens, both before and after the Civil War. The JHK Ranch had grown to 26,000 acres by the time of Jackson's death. About 1877 Jackson became the first cattleman in Chambers County to fence any appreciable amount of pastureland. His first fence was constructed of planks nailed to cypress posts, but by 1882 he had switched to wire fencing, which he was also the first in the county to use; he enclosed most of his ranch with the new material. Jackson died on June 5, 1895, and is buried in Jackson Cemetery at Double Bayou, Chambers County.
Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981). Ralph Semmes Jackson, Home on the Double Bayou: Memories of an East Texas Ranch (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Kevin Ladd, "JACKSON, JAMES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fja30), accessed May 20, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.