Thursday, August 2, 2012

Granville Roy Jackson, 1882-1939

G.R. about 1905
Sadly, he lived just long enough to only meet his first grandchild. My grandfather would sit and rock the bassinette by the hour but never touch baby Pete because he thought the cancer that was killing him could infect the baby.
 Most of what I know about my grandfather came from stories and photographs shared by my grandmother, Iva, when I was a child and spent the night with her. Census data, letters, vital records, and newspaper articles I collected as an adult added details.
 Granville Roy Jackson (or, G. R. as he was always called) was born  in Calhoun County, West Virginia. My grandmother grew up in neighboring Ritchie County. Both families were farmers with deep roots in western Virginia. There were differences, however. G.R.'s father served in the 19th Virginia Cavalry during the War Between the States, while my grandmother's family was staunchly anti-slavery and pro-Union during the Civil War.  As a boy, my dad witnessed more than one spirited debate about the War at reunions.

Whatever their differences, the families came together and celebrated the young couple's marriage on Oct. 22, 1905. G. R. and Iva lived with his parents in Big Springs, Calhoun County for a short time. The next year, they struck out on their own and settled in the boom town of Bigheart, Osage County, Oklahoma. They opened and ran a general store until at least 1910. A tornado in 1911 and a fire in 1913 devastated downtown Bigheart and may have forced them to close the store. By 1918, G. R.'s occupation was listed as tool dresser for a drilling company when he registered for the WWI draft. In the 1920s, he opened a store in Montana where the family spent a short time. By 1930, they were back in Oklahoma, and he was working as a pumper in the Garber-Covington oil field.
Jackson Store in Bigheart, Oklahoma, 1908. G. R. in front.
He enjoyed hunting and fishing, once catching a 57-pound catfish. His obituaries describe him as a Methodist, 32nd degree Mason, employee of Sinclair Oil, and officer of the Oil Worker's Union 364.
His last few months were difficult ones as his health deteriorated and he struggled to clear his sinuses and throat. He died of metastatic brain cancer on Dec. 9, 1939 and was buried in the plot he and Iva purchased at Memorial Park in Enid, Oklahoma.
 Grandpa G. R.'s Timeline
  • Born July 30, 1882 in Big Springs, Calhoun County, WV to Edward and Susannah (Johnson) Jackson. Visit Janie Kimball Jackson's website for more family history.
  • 1900 Census. G. R. is a 17-year-old student living with his parents in Calhoun County. The census taker is Iva's father.
  • 1905. Marriage to Iva Nina Haddox, daughter of John Wesley and Amanda Caroline (Hayden) Haddox.
  • 1906. Move to Bigheart, OK.
  • March 6, 1907. Shirley Lynn Jackson, their first son, is born.
  • 1910 Census. G. R., wife Iva, and son, Shirley L. living in Bigheart.
  • April 12, 1911. Tornado levels Bigheart. Impact on G. R. Jackson family, home and store unknown as town rebuilds.
  • May 23, 1919. Donivan Elmo Jackson, their second son, is born. Grandma Iva said Uncle Lynn selected the middle name to honor the original Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln.
  • 1920 Census. Family living in Bigheart and G.R. working as driller in oil field.
  • 1930 Census. Family living in Olive township, Garber Co., OK.
  • July 20, 1939. First of eight grandchildren born.
  • Dec. 9, 1939. G. R. died in Garber, Garfield County, OK.
Selected Sources

  • "G. R. Jackson, 57, Dies Saturday in Home. Ill for Several Months." Undated Clipping, c. 1939, from unidentified newspaper. Photocopy owned 2012 by Andrea Dietze.
  • Jackson, Ruth (Hartman). Letter. 3 March 1992, from Portland, Oregon, to Andrea Dietze. Held in 2012 by Dietze. 
  • Knotts, Robert, Jr. and Robert E. Stevens, comps. Calhoun County in the Civil War. Parsons, West Virginia:  McClain Printing Company, 1982. 
  • Oklahoma. Garfield County. 1930 U. S. Census, population schedule. Online Images. ( : accessed 30 May 2011). 
  • Oklahoma State Board of Health. Death Certificate 24-19192 (1939), Granville Roy Jackson, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Oklahoma City. 
  • Tatum, T. Max, Grand Secretary, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Letter. [February] 1995, from Guthrie, Oklahoma, to Andrea Dietze. Held in 2012 by Dietze.
  • "Three Deaths in Bigheart Storm:  [All] Injured Doing Nicely in Tulsa Hospitals." Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 14 April 1911, p. 1. Online Images, ( : accessed 20 July 2012), Newspaper Archives 1690–2007. 
  • West Virginia. Calhoun County. 1900 U. S. Census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication, T624, roll 1677. ED 21, Sht. 3.


  1. Andrea,as always I love to read your writting!I really don't remember Grandma Jackson speaking about him at all...all I remember is how proud she was of Dad (her baby boy)Can't wait to see who you do next!

  2. Thanks, Linda. Let me know any suggestions you have for another profile. I'm up for anyone!

  3. What wonderful details you are uncovering to bring to life again the essence of these ancestors. It's been a pleasure to wander around this blog and get to meet them.

    Welcome to GeneaBloggers!

  4. Great story and well told. Good luck with your blog!

  5. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  6. Nice pictures. I especially love the old store picture!
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)