Jackson the smith was at work in his shop . . .
Minutes of the General Court, 1623
Protection was of the utmost importance in the early years of Virginia. Gunsmiths like Jamestown resident, assemblyman, and churchwarden John Jackson, were invaluable members of the community. Fine artifacts like window glass, an ivory cribbage board, and curtain rings discovered here, on the site of Jackson's house, indicate that he and his family enjoyed a high standard of living.
Jackson appears in Virginia records as early as 1623 when he patented a 3/8-acre waterfront lot in New Towne. Archaeologists believe this is where Jackson lived and plied his trade. They recovered gunsmithing artifacts - lead, gun flints, scrap metal, iron ore slag, and lead shot - from inside the two-room dwelling and from a well and refuse pits in the yard.
In 1623, Richard Frethorne, a servant from the Martins Hundred settlement, wrote in a letter home, "Goodman Jackson pityed me & made me a Cabbin to lye in always when I come up ?. " He added that Jackson and his wife were "like a father" and "a loveing mother" to him. After Mrs. Jackson and Frethorne died the following year, Jackson lived in the house with his nine-year-old son John and Gercian Buck, the ten-year-old orphan of Reverend Richard Buck.
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