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Early Workers
Jack Jackson
June 4, 2014

John Samuel ("Jack") Jackson

Born Oct. 20, 1880 in Edenderry, County Offaly, Ireland.

Died Nov. 30, 1966 in Argentina.
Buried in The British Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

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Transcript of Testimony of Jack Jackson

He said that in November 1898, his brother wrote to him (that’s Will Jackson, who was also in the work, in Illinois - he’s gone now) from a neighboring town and said come over and see him. So they went over, and he said “Let’s go to a meeting. *Preachers are having a meeting in the town hall.” It was the first meeting for both of the Jackson boys. Jack went back to his own town then, and didn’t see his brother until February, when he wrote to him again. That is, Will wrote to Jack, saying “Come over and get saved.” Kind of a forthright way of talking. Anyway, the gospel meetings were over, they were just having the fellowship meeting.

Jack said that that really surprised him, to receive a letter like that, because Jack was always the boy that went to church, and the good boy; and Will was a rouster, so that wasn’t coming from the right source he thought to hear something like that, he thought it was a joke of something.

Anyway that little Sunday morning meeting was the thing that spoke to him. There were only about five or six in the meeting. Young folks, no workers, and the simplicity of it... he didn’t say all that did speak to him, I suppose; perhaps the years have effaced some of the details, but he said that in that meeting, his first fellowship meeting, his second meeting of any kind, he decided in his heart that that’s what he wanted to do. Then after the meeting he was walking down the street with his brother, and Will said “What did you think of the meeting?” There was something he said that gave Will to know that he had made his decision. He didn’t say just exactly what it was or how he said it, but Will knew. He asked Will then, he said “You’ve quit smoking?” Will said “Yes.” So Jack thought to himself, if that’s what it costs, then I’m willing for that, and he never smoked another cigarette.

Then he went back to the job where he was --- he was a bookkeeper in a hardware store at that time --- and he knew that there was going to be some persecution. A couple of days passed, and one of the boys asked him for some tobacco. So he handed him the pouch, the boy filled his pipe, and handed it back, and Jack said “Oh no, you can keep it.” And the boy said “What?” He said, “I said you can keep it.” And the other boy said “Hey, look at this boys! Hey, we have a little saint here!” He said he just cringed, but he said that after that, when everyone got used to the stand that he had taken, it was better to have it out in the open, and he said it was the best thing for him too, to have the choice out in the open, and then to have a testimony to live up to.

Then he told some experiences that he had. He said that he didn’t have any workers to go to to talk about things, but certain things were laid on his heart. He said that he got so that he couldn’t pray, he would try to pray and he wasn’t able to get near to the Lord, and he’d say “Lord, teach me what to do.” and he said the Lord was answering him right back “I’ve told you what to do and you won’t do it.” So there were three things that he was mulling over in his mind, things that he felt he should set right; and one of these was selling tobacco and pipes to customers, he didn’t feel that he should be doing that.

And another one was that he was a bookkeeper, and one of his duties was to turn in a report to the police once a month, of the ammunitions and firearms that had been sold. And there were certain people that were licensed to have ammunition, only with a license the ammunition was supposed to be sold. But often customers would come in, and it would be a customer they knew and they knew this person had a license, but there were other clerks waiting on them besides Jack, and they wouldn’t bother to write the license number down, and they wouldn’t even bother to write the person’s name down, who it was that bought the ammunition. So they just knew a certain amount of ammunition had been sold. But at the end of the month they would find that they were supposed to report to the police who had bought the ammunition. And they didn’t have records of it and he was just supposed to write down names of people that they knew had licenses so that it would look alright in the books.

But he didn’t feel right about that, just jotting names down, and also another thing was selling poison (you know, for gophers and insects and so forth) without a license; the store didn’t have a license for selling this but they sold it anyway to their clients, so these things bothered him. But he said to the boss one day “Sir, there are three things I can’t do any more. One of them is to sell tobacco and pipes, and the other is I am not going to fix up the books any more about the ammunition for the police department, and I won’t sell any more poison.” And his boss said “Oh, you fool!”

So a day or two later, a customer asked Jack, when he was waiting on him, to pour some tobacco; and Jack went over to the boss, he said “This fellow over here wants some tobacco. Would you take care of it?” The boss said “Why don’t you take care of it?” Jack said “Don’t you remember what I told you the other night?” and the boss said, “Ah, you fool!” His boss went ahead then and took care of the customer and sold him the tobacco. So then a couple of days later, it was time to send in the police report, and Jack knew it hadn’t been taken care of yet, and he waited a day or two and he went to the boss and he said “You know the police report hasn’t been sent in yet.” The boss said “Why hasn’t it?” And Jack said “Because, I fear, I told you the other day, I’m not going to do that any more.” The boss said “Ah, you fool!”, and he went and did it himself, and Jack never had to worry about that any more, the boss took care of it. And in like manner about the license when it came time to sell poison to people, Jack went and told the boss for someone else to take care of it, and there was never any more problem after that. They respected him after they understood what his stand was, and he got along very well.

He started going to meetings in February 1899; in May 1900, the workers came to that town where the meetings were, which I believe was about 16 miles from where he was working. He got off work at eight o’clock at night, so he couldn’t go to the meeting. But he began to figure around some way of making an excuse of getting over there. So he told the boss he thought he ought to be able to sell a mowing machine over in that next town. So the boss said “That’ll be fine, I’ll let you off any day you want.” He said “No, I think it would be better at night.” So he went over there and before the meeting he went to see the man that he had spoken of, and sold him a mowing machine. And went to the meeting.

Then a few days later he had to deliver the mowing machine. He got another meeting. Then a few days later he spoke to the boss and thought he ought to be able to sell a bicycle to a man over there. And he went and sold a bicycle and went to another meeting. A few days later he had to deliver the bicycle, because he had just taken the order for it, you see. And when he went over there to deliver it, he told the man it was supposed to be a trade in for an old bicycle and he said “Listen,” he said, “you know, you shouldn’t get this new bicycle all dirty. You ought to keep both of them --- keep the old one for knocking about, and the new one for Sundays.” The man said “Yes, I believe you’re right.”, but Jack said “You’ll have to let me borrow the old one to get back home again, and then I’ll bring it back again some other time.” So he took the bicycle home with him and had another excuse for getting back again. Jack said “You know, it’s funny. Nowadays people will invent ways to get out of going to meeting, we tried to invent ways of going to meeting.”

Then the place they had the meetings. There was no open home, they were all young people, unmarried, so they rented a little room that was in a thick wall, as I understand it, just a little tiny cubby-hole, and they called it the hole in the wall. Every Sunday a half dozen young folks met together there; some of them don’t go on today, but two of them at least became workers.

Then Jack went out into the work in 1900, and at the end of 1904 he was in England. He got a telegram one day, on Saturday, saying “Arrive Liverpool Tuesday, sail New York Wednesday.” He had from Saturday to Tuesday to get to Liverpool. No visiting his folks or anything like that.

When he got to New York (there were 5 workers on the boat) they had learned on the passage over that they were supposed to have thirty dollars apiece, to get into the US. But the richest man among them only had seventeen dollars. The poorest had two. So they lined them up in order, from the richest to the poorest. The first one came to the immigration officer, and he said “How much money do you have?” He told him. He wrote on a card “Pass one.” So he went on outside to wait for the others. The second man, he was the fourteen dollar man, and he came up and the man said “How much money do you have?” “14.” “Why man, that won’t keep you two weeks in New York.” And he held his hands out, the worker did, and said “How long will these keep me in New York, sir?” And he wrote on another card, “Pass one.” The next man stepped up, he was the twelve dollar man. He looked at him and saw the similarity and said “Listen, are you fellows all the same back to there?” and he pointed back to the last of the workers. He said “Yes, sir, we are.” He turned around and called the other one that was just disappearing in the distance, “Come back here” he said. Jack thought “Oh oh, the jig’s up now, we’re all going back to Ireland.” But no, he took his card, changed the ‘one’ to ‘four’: “Pass four”. And he said “God be with you.” And they all went through. (end of testimony)


*Wm Irvine was having meetings in Parsontown, Ireland from Nov 5 thru 26, 1898, which is 6.75 miles from Edenderry (Jack's home), according to faith Mission records printed in Bright Words -Location of Workers, January 1899, p. 11.  

According to the Ellis Island records, departing from Liverpool, England on November, 1904, on the Ship S. S. Oceanic, and arriving in New York on December 8, 1904:   John (Jack) Jackson, age 24 yrs, Single, Irish; Residence: Waltham.  Jack was in the third group of (8) workers from Ireland and Great Britain to sail to America. (Waltham is a village and civil parish in North East Lincolnshire, England – near Grimbsy.)  Jack was preaching in England when he received the telegram to go to Liverpool to sail for America.  He was from Edenderry, Co. Offaly, Ireland.

According to the Ellis Island records, departing from Liverpool, England on November, 1904, on the Ship S. S. Oceanic, and arriving in New York on December 8, 1904 were:

John Jackson, age 24 yrs, Single, Irish; Residence: Waltham (Jack)
James Jardine, age 20 yrs, Single, Scotch, Residence: Waltham
Francis Scott, age 20 yrs, Single, Irish, Residence: Waltham (Frank)
William Weir, age 22 yrs, Single, Scotch; Residence: Chippenham
David Lynes, age 26 yrs, Single, Irish, Residence: Chippenham (Dave Lyness)
Bella Cooke, age 23 yrs, Single, Irish, Residence: Norfolk
Lizzie M. Coles, age 26 yrs, Single, Irish; Residence: Norfolk (aka Lily, Elizabeth and Mary)
Emma Gill, age 33 yrs, Single, Irish, Residence: Meath 
(Source: Ellis Island Ship Oceanic Manifest)

"Again in December, 1904, a group including Jack Jackson, Willie Weir, Dave Linus (sic) and others came." (From Miltown Convention Story)

"It is a good while ago now that one morning towards the end of November, 1904, my companion and I were in the east of England and were preaching there...and a knock came on the door and a telegram came for me, "Be in Liverpool Tuesday and sail for New York Saturday. That was short notice....well we landed in New York on the 9th of December." (Jack Jackson at Freedom, NY Convention Notes November (or August?) 14, 1960)

"I crossed in the autumn of 1904 with J. Jackson, Wm. Weir, Dave Lyness, Frank Scott and Emma Gill, Lizzie Coles and another sister whose name doesn't come to me just now." (February 16, 1966 Letter by James Jardine to Dear Sister Mollie)

Jack Jackson remained in South America as Overseer until his death in Argentina in 1966. 

BRAZIL:  In 1923 Jack Jackson pioneered Brazil with John Robert “Bob” Smith: "Then on Mar, 16, 1923, Jack and I arrived in Santiago, Chile...In Aug. 1923... and in a few weeks he [Jack] and B. Smith [John Robert “Bob” Smith from Virginia, who later married Martha Hogg from Ireland]  Bob and Martha worked in many remote areas of Brazil for many years and were definitely the most successful evangelists among the workers in Brazil during those years.] went to Brazil." (Maurice Hawkins Account)

WILL JACKSON:   Jack Jackson's brother Will spent his life in the work, mostly in Illinois, where he was the Overseer for many years.  

For additional Information about Jack Jackson, go to:

First Missions in South America

First Missions in Argentina


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