Thursday, January 25, 2007

A few thoughts on Mrs. “Stonewall” Jackson

A couple of days ago, the 183rd birthday of Stonewall Jackson came and went. Some folks are aware that the General’s second wife, Mary Anna Morrison, was born in North Carolina in 1831. She met Jackson in Virginia, not long before the war began, and they were married. Once the war began, she returned to Charlotte and continued to make the Queen city her home after his death.

After the war, Mrs. Stonewall Jackson was a very prominent member of the community that sought to commemorate the war. In 1898, Mrs. Jackson organized and became the first president of Stonewall Jackson Chapter #220 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Charlotte. She was elected president for life. As her health permitted, she was always at Confederate Veteran reunions, and the old soldiers always enjoyed seeing her, the wife of their beloved commander.

Mrs. Jackson died in 1915 and is buried beside her husband in Lexington, Virginia. In 1938, the U. D. C. marked the birthplace of Mrs. Stonewall Jackson on Derita Road in Charlotte with a large memorial arch and a bronze plaque. I have an old photograph of the arch, but have been unable to find out if it still exists. I do not wander the streets of Charlotte very often.

What got me thinking on this? I’ve been reading the book Miracle In The Hills, about the Sloops and Crossnore School here in Avery County. Mrs. Sloop was Miss Mary T. Martin, daughter of Col. William J. Martin, 11th North Carolina (Bethel Regiment). He was also a college professor. His daughter, the famous Mrs. Dr. Sloop, was born in Davidson. She wrote in her autobiography: “I was born in Davidson, just across the street from the president’s house... The old house, in which the present president of Davidson College, Dr. John R. Cunningham, and his family live, is the house in which Mrs. Stonewall Jackson was born when her father, Dr. Morrison, was president of Davidson. As you go into the front door, the room in which she was born is on the left side of the hallway. Don’t forget to look.”

Maybe it’s time to head to Mecklenburg County and look for that memorial.


Brian Downey said...

Hi Michael,

It's a small world, really. Just a few days ago I posted on the Morrison family, mostly about the Rev Robert H. and son Joseph G.

A small thing: I think Mrs Dr Sloop was mistaken about the later Mrs Jackson's birthplace. Mary Anna was born in 1831, but her father wasn't President at Davidson (in fact Davidson didn't exist) until 1837. If I recall my reading, he had a church in Fayetteville in 1831 - it would seem more likely she was born there. Most sources just say Charlotte.

The Brevard Station Museum has this anecdote, also:

"Once when Anna was visiting her older sister, Isabella Hill [m. DH Hill 1848], in Lexington, Virginia, she met a military man named Thomas Jonathan Jackson [appt. VMI 1851]. Mr. Jackson was quite taken with Miss Morrison. However, Anna returned to Cottage Home and Mr. Jackson later married Miss Elinor Junkin [m. 1853]."

Mary Anna would have been about 20 then. She married Jackson at 26 in 1857.

It's great fun to see how these threads all intertangle.

Thanks for putting up more on this interesting family and neighborhood, and good hunting!

Anonymous said...

Hello Brian and Michael,

Part of my family is of the name Morrison. My family originated in Lexington, Virginia. I would like to know if the Morrison family had slaves that might have gone to Lexington with Mary Anna. My great grandfather's name was Sandy Morrison. He came to be known in Lexington after the Civil War. Can you give me any leads that might be significant?

I can be reached at and today is 4.6.08.


Valida Walker

sexy said...
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Lori Roberts said...

I have spent the last year delving into more about Anna and her sisters. FOr those who want to know more about the daughters of Dr. Robert Hall Morrison, please get a copy of Kathy Herran's book, "The Married Confederate Officers". I am a historical interpreter, and I perform as Mary Anna Jackson. Anna and her sisters were such wonderful women of faith, but also women who were all successes in their own rights!
Thanks for posting about Stonewall!

Jewelz said...

Jonathan Thomas Jackson is my Grandmother's Great Uncle. We went to VA to visit his memorial and I was just looking up information about Mary Anna. They say that my Grandmother was named after her. Her name is Anna. It is very interesting to me.

Anonymous said...

I live in Charlotte and would love to know where the arch/memorial stands. I know the area of Derita pretty well and I can easily trek out there to find it and photograph it, if it still exists.


Dianne Stallings