Ancestors

 

Joe Jackson, Michael´s father, talks:

"The name Jackson was receveid by us from my great-grandfather on the part of the father, July Gale. Nobody called him July, everybody called him just Jack. Great-grandfather Jack was born in the tribe of Choctaw in the beggining of 19th century. He was an Indian shaman. And he was very much appreciated for abillities for doctoring. Also Jack in his youth worked as a scout in the USA army. Then great-grandfather has fallen in love with the fine girl by name Gina. In 1838 they gave birth to their first son, a boy whom they named Israel. Unfortunately in past was so, that if one of the child´s parents was a slave, the child was also considered a slave. Indian Jack was "the free person" but my great-grandmother unfortunately was a slave, that´s wha Israel couldn´t hope for anything else, at least not yet.

When Israel has grown up, people have nicknamed him Nero. Nero, son of Jack, and eventually from this it has turned to Nero Jack-son. As well as my great-grandfather, Nero was tall and light-skinned, with high cheekbones and small sparkling eyes. And he was very proud of himself. Nero was still a boy when Jack started to transver him his shaman knowledge. But despite of gift of doctoring and despite of his need for the tribe, to affliction of his parents, Nero has been sold to a plantation, to Louisiana. As well as other slaves, Nero had to eat there and then when it was told by the owners - kneeling before a low trough from which he scooped with a spoon. Soon Nero had enough of it and he ran away. The owner of the plantation imediatelly has sent people which searched all night long and have caught the fluent slave on the river, many miles away from the plantation. They have beaten Nero, up so bad, that he lost litres of his blood.

When some months later Nero finally recovered, his owner wanted to sell him, but slaves who has previously escaped, were imposible to sell under the same high price, so insted of it owner of Ner has decided to force him to work as much as possible. My grandfather was tormented on crude cotton fields of the South, held down on hands and legs. Once fetters all the same have removed, and Nero has again dared to run away. This time the owner of of a plantation himself has headed search group and has appointed the award to the one who will catch Nero. He was afraid, that other slaves will follow his example if he will not catch it him. And when he has really tracked down Nero, he has taken a heated chimney nipper and squeezed his nose with them until Nero has fallen pout without feelings. He has left my grandfather to lie on the ground because thought, that Nero was dead. But he was strong, that has gone through also this awful punishment! But scars of the burn have remained with him up to the end of his days.

For the time, that Nero has live in the plantation in Louisiana, he had 6 children born from his girlfriend. Later he married an Indian Choctaw - well, she was an Indian only on 3/4 - my grandmother Emmaline. Probably. his life with my grandmothe was some kind of a refuge from awful working conditions, and those, who enthralled him, could only be jealous at harmonies of his marriage and home life. They did not need much money to be happy because they love each other. Emmaline was from Lousiana, she has gone to her mother slightly yellowish color of a skin.

When the president Lincoln released slaves on May 31, 1865, Nero´s situation got better. At least he could earn for a life adeguatedly - selling the Indian medicines. With the time he became famous because he has cured hunderds of people. His abilities of the sorcerer became wiely known, and people came from far away so he´d help them.

Grandfather Nero conducted a simple life and has saved so much money, that he and my grandmothe could get a farm in Sunnyvale in Mississippi. He has paid with cash for 120 hectares of fertile ground. There Nero and Emmalinne had 15 children (and in general Nero had 21 children). My grandfather, grandmother and all their huge clan was fed from this ground, where they planted corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables, held chicken, pigs and cows.

Nero then frequently wandered in the woods to collect grasses. From roots and other parts he made broth, spilled it in bottles and gave it to the patients to drink, he made also ointments of various wood grasses. With this things he treated Indians and former slaves, and they paid for it to him with what they could.

Nero also liked to sing and frequently executed old military dances of Chostaw. Once Saturday evening the sheriff and his people have blocked with ropes the street on which he danced, and have tried to arrest him for infringement of a public order, but Nero has felt danger. He has jumped on the horse, has elegantly jumped through an obstacle and has escaped. After that the sheriff has left him alone.
When children Nero and Emmaline have grown and have created their own families, he has invited the children of his younger brother William to his farm, among them was also my senior cousin Rufus. Rufus has somehow told to me, he should be given more attention to grasses with which the grandfather treated illnesses. But he then was still a child and as many children, did not think of as far as valuable can be knowledge of ancestors.

When Rufus was 4, Nero's wife has died. In the meantime Nero too became old and weak, and since he could not look after the farm as earlier, he had to buy some things from one white man by the name Eroy. He spent the small amounts of money, but the Eroy very carefully conducted the accounts. Rufus was then still a child; the only thing, that he has noticed is that Nero becomes weaker. And it caused Nero to hand over to Eroy, for on storage some important papers so he could keep them for him. In the end eroy managed - the way Rufus and I have guessed later - to appropriate documents on owning of the farm, ostensibly as debt payments which Nero owned him.

That's how our family has lost all rights on this fertile ground where hundreds peach and pear trees which my relatives carefully looked after, grew. When later Rufus and I have have found out, that there, under the ground were huge oil fields, we have simply lost gift of speech since the rent for the right of drilling already then made to 1,2 million dollars. Meanwhile the deposit should cost at least good 100 million.

The last years of his life Nero lived on the farm alone, because William and Rufus have again left home. He has died in 1924, long before my birth. My father Samuel, lived back than in Arkansas where he has found work, he has found out about death of the father too late and couldn't come to funeral. My uncle Sam has arrived from Oklahoma to participate in it, and other son of the grandfather, my uncle Esco too had come there. My father was Nero's younger son. He had a twin sister Janey D. Hall.

My great-grandmother on the part of mother - Mattie Daniel. Mattie was born in 1864. Her mother, handicaped, was the daughter of the planter, father - the slave on a plantation of her father. Despite of protests of mother, Mattie has been sold to other family because the planter did not like that her father was black. When I was young, Mattie's history set me thinking. If I had children, I thought, I would not lower eyes from them and wouldn't allow anybody to take them away from me.

Anyway, Mattie never could enjoy a life of society, as her mother. As well as Nero, my great-grandfather on the part of mother was the slave collecting a cotton. Mattie was married 2 times and had 17 children. One of her daughters was my grandmother, another - my cousin grandmother Verna.

Nero was a respectable person due to doctoring abilities and also because at he owned a ground, that during this time was unusual to the former slave. As to business qualities, my father has gone to him, he too was respected, mainly for good education. Samuel studied 9 years in Alcorn College in Mississipi and when he was 24, he already were Bachelor and Master Degree, that on a boundary of centuries was a rarity for the young man from minority.

After final examinations he has found out, that in Ashley Country, Arkansas, there's an empty palce of a teacher. He walked there 200 km from Mississipi to participate in competition on this place, and has received it.

Earlier in a province, in initial and the higher school only one teacher taught. Professor Jackson as he was named, had 2 especially clever schoolgirls to whom he from the very beginning has paid attention - sisters King. One them them, Chrystal - bright individuality, with a dazzling smile and loud laughter. When she was 16 years, he married her. It was my mother."

Joseph Jackson in the book The Jacksons

 

 

Katherine Jackson, Michael´s mother, talks:

"My grandparents and great-grandparents were cotton farmers. Their ancestors were slaves. One of them, great-great-grandfather Kendall Brown, was renowned for his singing voice. His voice would ring from about all the others during Sunday services in the little wooden church he attended nearby Russell county. His voice was so strong that, in the summer, when they threw open the wooden windows, it rang throughout the little valley in which the church was nestled. Well, maybe singing talent is in our blood. I thought when my mother related this story to me.

Taking into account my family´s distant pass, it seems only fitting that my parents, Prince Scruse and Marta Upshaw, tied the knot on the Alabama holiday known as Emancipation day - May 28, 1929. They were attending one of the celebrations in the park when they decided to slip away and get married.

I was the first child, born May 4, 1930, in the little house where they were living in at the time in Barbour Country, about ten miles from Rutherford."

Katherine Jackson in the book My Family, The Jacksons