J. F. B. Jackson

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Joseph Franklin Ballenger Jackson (born January 31, 1830 in Murray County, Georgia; died January 14, 1912 in Birmingham) was a Confederate officer, construction superintendent, real estate investor, industrialist and president of The Birmingham Age-Herald.

Jackson was one of twelve children born to William and Lucy White Morris Jackson of Georgia. During the Civil War Jackson served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 39th Georgia Infantry. He was captured at the close of the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. He was paroled four days later.

Jackson and his wife, Sallie had two children: Nannie, who died at age 3 in 1871, and Sparks, who died in 1911 in his 30s.

In 1871 Jackson was employed by Bartley & Boyles of Helena to superintend the completion of the railroad route through Shades Mountain at Brock's Gap. During his surveys he took interest in the potential of Blount Springs and, with fellow engineer G. D. Fitzhugh, purchased a large amount of land in the vicinity, where he erected the Jackson House Hotel in 1872. The attraction was rebuilt in 1878. In 1883 Jackson partnered with J. H. Bankhead to establish a lime works and lumber mill at Blount Springs. In 1886 Jackson was one of the incorporators of the Watts Coal & Iron Company which planned to open mines in Warrior. That same year he partnered with Benjamin Roden, William H. Morris, W. D. McCurdy, J. W. Moore and Bankhead in the Birmingham Real Estate and Investment Company.

In 1887 Jackson sold his 1,800 acres of Blount Springs holdings to James and Mack Sloss. That same year he contributed along with several other business leaders to try to get a tunnel built under the railroad tracks at 19th Street. In 1888 he purchased several lots in the then-unincorporated suburb of East Birmingham.

Elsewhere, in 1879 Jackson joined with Frank O'Brien and William H. Morris to found the Birmingham Gas & Electric Company.

In 1889 Jackson was named president of the reformed Birmingham Jockey Club which held races along 3rd Avenue West in connection with the Alabama State Fair Authority.

In 1892 Jackson earned $60,000 from the sale of his parcel on the southwest corner of 19th Street and 1st Avenue North to J. L. Chalifoux & Co. Jackson also owned the Enterprise Manufacturing Company, and the Florence Hotel.

Jackson died in 1912 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.


  • Sulzby, James F. Jr (April 16, 1949) "Blount Springs: Alabama's Foremost Watering Place of Yesteryear." paper read before the Alabama Historical Association, reprinted in Alabama Review (July 1949), Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 163-175

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