West Virginia’s sixth governor, Jacob Jackson, died in Parkersburg on December 11, 1893, at age 64. The son and grandson of congressmen, Jackson came from one of the region’s most distinguished families. His father was also one of West Virginia’s founders.
Jackson first worked as a teacher and then opened a legal practice in St. Marys. He served as the Pleasants County prosecuting attorney before and during the Civil War. His work took him occasionally to Wheeling, where he was once arrested for making pro-Confederate remarks.
A staunch Democrat, Jackson served after the war as Wood County’s prosecuting attorney, as a legislator, and as Parkersburg’s mayor. In 1880, he was elected governor. He’s best remembered for his tax-reform attempts. Jackson ordered a thorough assessment of personal property. Prior to Jackson becoming governor, certain powerful businesses had not paid their fair share of taxes. His efforts, though, met with limited success due to the foot dragging of local assessors and opposition from railroads and other taxpayers. After leaving office in 1885, Jacob Jackson returned to Parkersburg, resumed his law practice, and served as a bank president.