By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes, everything you think you know is wrong. Such is the case of the tombstone of a Civil War soldier recently discovered leaning against a brick wall in the corner of the basement of Park Haven Nursing Home.
Last week, according to the Ashtabula County Genealogy Society at the Geneva Public Library, the tombstone belonged to Thomas J. Jackson of Columbus. Upon further review, the group says it belongs to a Union soldier named Thomas Jefferson Jackson, who died Dec. 27, 1901 at his home at 12 Park St., Ashtabula, according to his obituary, recorded in the Beacon Record.
Park Street later became Park Avenue, and 12 Park St. would be 1206 Park Ave. today, according to Society members. The house is gone and would be at the northeast corner of Park Avenue and East 42nd Street.
The new information on Jackson is definitely correct,” said Dennis Osborn of the Ashtabula County Genealogy Society. “I have had a lot of help from other members of the Ashtabula County Genealogy Society with this project ... I’ve learned to always look under your nose to find something.”
Jackson’s Dec. 27, 1901, obituary reads: “A veteran of the Civil War, Jackson never recovered from a wound received in the Army and had been in delicate health for years. Last spring, he became a victim of Bright’s disease (kidney disease) and slowly succumbed to it.”
Once they were on the right track, Osborn and his fellow genealogists found quite a bit of information on the rightful owner of the gravestone, although no one is sure why it was never placed on the soldier’s grave.
Joel Dutton, the auctioneer who handled the sale of the nursing home at 4533 Park Ave., has said he wants to place the stone at its proper resting place. That place will be Chestnut Grove Cemetery, along the Ashtabula River near downtown, where Jackson is buried, according to information gathered by the Ashtabula County Genealogy Society at the Geneva Public Library.
According to the cemetery card, Jackson was born in June 1835 in Hector, Schuyler County, New York, and he enlisted in the Army, Private Co. E, 15th New York Cavalry, on Jan. 15, 1864.
Mary J. Benham, 1809-1900, was his mother and she is buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery.
He was survived by three sisters, Amanda, Elizabeth and Margaret Jackson, and three brothers, Frank of Mansfield, Ohio; John of Athens, Ohio, and George of Concord, Mich.
Thomas Jackson’s sister, Amanda, is buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery. She shares a monument with her mother.
“It looks like Amanda (Jackson) ordered the monument,” Osborn said. “His mother died in Jan. 21, 1900.”
Sister Amanda most likely commissioned Ashtabula’s William Smith and Son Monument Co. on Lake Avenue in Ashtabula. It somehow ended up in basement of James L. Smith family, who bought the house now known as Park Haven.