Friday, August 3, 2018

Otto Virgil Jackson, the oldest child

Virgil with his aunt Dessie Church Murphy
The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “oldest.”

Otto Virgil Jackson, son of Enos “Perry” Jackson and Anna B. Church, was born on June 26, 1906 in Smithfield, Wetzel County, West Virginia. He was the oldest child of two—Otto Virgil Jackson and Carl Edwin Jackson. There was an 11-year age difference between his parents—his mother was 19-years-old and his father 30. He went by Virgil and was my husband’s 1st cousin 1x removed.

On April 25, 1910, Virgil lived with his parents on Hayes Avenue in the Grant District of Wetzel County, West Virginia. His father was a salesman in a general store. David Ringer, a widower, lived in the home as a boarder. Virgil’s parents had been married for seven years; he was their only child at the time. They divorced sometime between 1918 and 1919. Both boys stayed with their father Perry after the divorce. “The Jackson family: a history of Ephraim Jackson, first ancestor to come to America and his descendants, 1684–1960” by Jesse Calvin Cross wrote that Perry was a school teacher. Cross further wrote that Perry “… was a gentleman by instinct, a fine person of fascinating manners, a large heart, and a true and genial nature. He was a consistent and devoted Christian. He early identified himself with the St. James Methodist Church at Smithfield and was a faithful worker and able leader in the affairs of the church.” It sounds like he was a good role model for his two sons.

Virgil's mother, Anna Church Evans
On January 15, 1920, Virgil, his father, and brother Carl lived in Smithfield, Wetzel County, West Virginia. He was enumerated as Otto V. Jackson. At age 13, he was in school and able to read and write. The census enumerator recorded his father as “widowed” versus divorced. Virgil’s father had given up teaching by now and was a salesman in a general store. Virgil’s mother remarried by January 19, 1920. She and her new husband, Everett (Shortie) Franklin Evans, were enumerated in Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia. The family suffered a loss in 1924 when Virgil’s mother gave birth to a premature baby boy in Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia on June 22. The baby was named after Virgil’s step-father. Everett Jr. died on June 30 and was buried at the Masonic Cemetery on July 1. I was unaware of this baby. No one in the family had ever mentioned that Anna had lost a baby. I only found him while researching Virgil on

On April 3, 1930, Virgil, his father, and brother Carl still lived in Smithfield. His father was enumerated as divorced in this census record. Virgil (enumerated as Virgil O), was 23 and single. He worked as a laborer for an oil company. His 19-year-old brother Carl was not working. His father Perry was still a salesman for a general store. On October 11, 1935, Virgil and Evelyn Wynona Powell, daughter of Martin Maurice Powell and Mary Orela, obtained a marriage license in Marion County, West Virginia. They were married in Durbin, Pocahontas County, West Virginia on October 13, 1935. The 1940 census record showed they lived in Shinnston, West Virginia in 1935. Virgil and Evelyn two children together—David Lee Jackson, born in Wyatt, Harrison County, West Virginia on May 25, 1935 (I double checked the records and the baby came before the marriage) and a daughter Marlene Louise Jackson, born on August 3, 1936.

Pocahontas County, West Virginia marriage license

On April 11, 1940, Virgil, his wife Evelyn, and children lived in Lumberport, Harrison County, West Virginia. He was enumerated as O. V. Jackson and worked 46 hours a week as a tool dresser for South Penn Oil Company. His income was $1750. At the age of 34, Virgil registered for the World War II draft on October 16, 1940. He lived in Lumberport at the time and still worked for the South Penn Natural Gas Company in Wolf Summit, Harrison County, West Virginia. Virgil weighed 170 pounds, had a ruddy completion, blue eyes, blonde hair, and was 5’8” tall. He listed his next of kin as his wife Evelyn. Virgil’s father Perry died on September 19, 1948 of a coronary thrombosis. He was buried on September 22 at Barker Cemetery in Smithfield.

Virgil’s daughter Marlene married Roscoe Blaine Gunn, son of H. D. Gunn and Daisy Jones, in Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia on August 16, 1956. Three years later, Virgil’s mother Anna died on March 29, 1959 at the Weston State Hospital in Weston, Lewis County, West Virginia of coronary occlusion due to arteriosclerosis. She was buried on March 31 at Greenlawn Cemetery in Clarksburg.

Virgil’s son David married Marjorie Ellen Newbrough, daughter of Ray Harlen Newbrough and Ollie Mae Jett, on July 16, 1960 at Peora, Harrison County, West Virginia.

On September 29, 1972, Virgil, who suffered from pulmonary emphysema, died of pneumonia at the United Hospital Center in Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia after his right lung collapsed. He was 66 years old. Virgil was buried on October 3 at Shinnston Memorial Cemetery in Shinnston. Virgil and Evelyn lived at 51 Main Street in Shinnston at the time of his death.

Shinnston Masonic Cemetery, Shinnston, West Virginia

Virgil is a descendant of Henry “Old Hundred” Church for whom the town of Hundred, Wetzel County, West Virginia was named.

  • 1910 census, Grant, Wetzel, West Virginia.
  • 1920 census, Grant, Wetzel, West Virginia.
  • 1930 census, Smithfield, Wetzel, West Virginia.
  • 1940 census, Lumberport, Harrison, West Virginia.
  • Cross, Jesse Calvin, “The Jackson Family: A History of Ephraim Jackson, First Ancestor to Come to America and His Descendants, 1684–1960,” October 8, 1988;
  • Marriage License Application, Harrison County, West Virginia, David Lee Jackson and Marjorie Ellen Newbrough.
  • Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Multiple Registrations 26 Jun 1906.
  • U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947.
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s–Current.
  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.
  • Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936–2014.
  • West Virginia State Department of Health, Certificate of Birth, Otto Virgil Jackson.
  • West Virginia State Department of Health, Certificate of Death, Anna Evans, no. 59004951.
  • West Virginia State Department of Health, Certificate of Death, Virgil Jackson, no. 72015421.
  • West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853–1973.
  • West Virginia, Marriages Index, 1785–1971.


  1. Great pics! So sad about Virgil's little brother...thanks for sharing his story...