Oscar Lawrence Jackson was born on September 2, 1840, in what later became Shenango Township, Lawrence County. He was the son of Samuel and Nancy (Mitchell) Jackson. His ancestors were of Scots-Irish descent and had settled in the area as early as 1797. His great-grandmother Janet (Stewart) Jackson was the sister of John Carlyle Stewart – the founder of New Castle. Jackson, who grew up on his family’s farm, took an acute interest in education and later attended the Darlington Academy. In 1860 he found work as a school teacher in Hocking County, Ohio.
At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the Union Army and was commissioned as a captain. Jackson served with the 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry throughout most of the war. He saw action in numerous major battles and was lucky to survive after being shot in the eye at Corinth, Mississippi, in October 1862. He was wounded several additional times but always returned to active service. Jackson was promoted for his bravery and eventually ascended to the rank of colonel. He was discharged from service at the conclusion of the conflict in the summer of 1865.
After the war he began studying law with attorney Samuel W. Dana in New Castle and was admitted to the bar in 1868. Jackson, a Republican, soon opened his own law practice in New Castle and became involved in politics. He served as the Lawrence County District Attorney from 1868-1871, subsequently assisted on a state commission for laws from 1877-1878, and served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1885-1889. He then returned to his law practice in New Castle and became heavily involved in the community affairs.
He passed away at his home on Tuesday, February 16, 1920, at the age of seventy-nine and was buried with honors in Greenwood Cemetery. The New Castle News of February 17, 1920, reported, “Colonel Oscar L. Jackson, one of Lawrence County’s most prominent attorney’s and citizens and its most widely known veteran of the Civil War, died late last evening at his home, 232 North Mercer Street. He had been in failing health for a time but this death came as a shock to the entire Community, being largely unexpected.”
Oscar Jackson, who achieved the rank of Colonel, served heroically during the Civil War and was wounded on several occasions. (c1895)
Jackson subsequently returned to New Castle and became a well-known attorney and politician. (c1870)
Oscar Jackson is remembered as one of most outstanding citizens in the history of New Castle. (c1875)