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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mystery Man

Brenda Starr had her mystery man. . .and now I have mine.

Who is this gentleman?

I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was Andrew Jackson, my great-great-great grandfather about whom I've written on my blog not only once but twice.

He was a Confederate officer during the Civil War, was captured in Arkansas and transported to a Union prison in Virginia, then escaped from a river boat on his way to a prisoner exchange and stealthily walked all the way back home to Arkansas where he lived out the rest of his days.

Genealogy research can be a real challenge sometimes. Family information that appears to be accurate can lead a person down the wrong path.

Such was the case of Andrew Jackson's story as passed down generation to generation, until I solved the mystery after a visit to the Prairie Grove Battlefield.

And now the same is true of the photo, which I'm calling the "first photo" for purposes of this blog post.  I found it in a little binder of photocopied family history about that particular branch of the family tree. The binder was put together years ago by a son of my maternal grandma's half-sister.

The photo was clearly marked, stating that it was taken in 1913 and that it was Andrew Jackson.


This is Andrew Jackson:

The woman sitting next to him is his daughter, my great-great grandmother Virginia Catherine Jackson. I have seen many photos of her, ranging from young adulthood to her senior years.

The new photo was provided by a cousin of mine, named Leslie, whom I met online just the other day when she contacted me via e-mail. She had discovered my blog posts about Andrew Jackson and questioned the validity of the first photo.  

She had seen that first photo before, but the date on her copy is 1914, one year after Andrew Jackson passed away.

Here's the new photo cropped:


I looked closely at this cropped version and realized that Andrew's right eye seems to be either blind or missing.

And then something rang a bell.

I went to the hand-written memoirs of my beloved maternal grandma, Charlotte Jackson Elliott Price, which I have in my possession.

Here's a photo of her reading to my mother in the early 1930s (this photo was also a wonderful gift from Leslie's family collection, one that I had never seen before):

Her memoirs tell the tale:

"Great Grandpa Jackson had his right eye shot out in the Civil War."

So for now I'm considering the case closed.

But who is this mystery man?

The answer may be lost to the ages. But hey, I'm retired and have plenty of time on my hands, so I'm not giving up!


  1. Fantastic story, Ann. I guess your cousin doesn't recognize this guy?

  2. Soldier on -- if you solve this mystery, what a story that will be. It does looked cropped from a larger photo, as though he's in the company of others.

  3. Petrea, no, she doesn't know who he is. Her copy is marked with "1914" but there's no name.

  4. Interesting that she has a copy, though. So he's not some random guy, he's probably a relation.

  5. Cousin Leslie is doing some additional digging to see if she can identify him.

  6. So your mystery man is tall dark and blind? My grandmother was a stickler for writing on the backs of photos. Unfortunately, what she didn't know for certain she kinda made up - maybe thats what happened here?