Charlie Jackson, son of Charity Jackson, moved into the Indian Village area, then called Stalding, Louisiana. Charlie was born in 1857 and was the first born of Charity. Charity married Stephen Harrison and 10 additional children were born to this union.
Charlie chose his wife from the Arnold family, Rebecca Arnold. One research lists her father, Gilbert Arnold, as white, another lists him as Indian. Rebecca’s mother was Easter Arnold. Rebecca had two other sisters whose names were Maria and Eliza. After the death of Easter Arnold, Gilbert married Ella Richardson and to this union nine more children were born. These children were Hattie, Crissy, Rose, Alice, Clarice, Maggie, Isiah, Mazzie and Virginia. Records show that Gilbert Arnold was born about 1819 and died in 1924 at the age of 105.
Grandpa Charlie and Grandpa Becky had ten children. They were Anna, Wesley, Charity, Joseph, Elmo, James, Charlie Jr., William Minor, Evelena and John.
Charlie and Rebecca Jackson Family
Grandpa and Grandma lived on Dave Glover’s place on Apple Pie Ridge as caretakers. They stayed there many years until Grandma and the owner had words. Grandma Becky said “ Let’s get away from here and get our own place”. She had purchased a large acreage of land from her first cousin, Simon Avery. The location of the original home is now occupied by one of the grandchildren.
Grandpa Charlie was an honest man, a hard worker and could read and write, which was rare in those days. He was also a very quiet man and did not interact with others socially. Education was limited to a few months a year. The planting season and harvest time took priority over everything else. In his early years, he was a farmer. He and Grandma owned a tract of land used for farmland called “The Hammock”. This land was secluded away from their homes. There was a “plank walk” a small wooden bridge that gave access into the farming area. Each child chose a spot, cleaned it, and worked it up for planting. Having seven boys that knew how to cultivate the land gave Grandpa Charlie time to periodically take other jobs such as logging and millwork. As the boys grew into manhood they were taught by their father many ways of making a decent and honest living for their families and acquired many skills and a wide range of crafts. Within the family there were carpenters, bartenders, cooks, millworkers, well diggers, military service members, farmers, a syrup maker and a barber. They all knew how to grind corn.
Grandma Becky, the matriarch of the family had many roles to perform to lead her children to become strong and loving members of this circle, especially the girls. They had to learn cooking, cleaning, sewing, quilting, how to preserve fruit and vegatables, and many other household chores. The whole family had to pitch in to make mattresses and pillows for the beds. Moss was picked, cleaned and put into a large sack or cover. Once a year this had to be cleaned and fluffed again. There was plenty to do and no one was ever bored. Each home had chickens, ducks, hogs, cows for milking and also meat. All families had a small garden. Hunting for rabbits, squirrels, racoons, oppossum, wild ducks, turtles, fishing, and picking berries was needed to keep the family with a variety of foods. Each family also had fruit and pecan trees. There was a horse for plowing and riding. Wine was homemade from blackberries. Home brew beer was also made.
All of the children were raised in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The family went to church by horse and wagon. Many times, the children walked barefooted or wore shoes if they had not outgrown the last pair. To make shoes last longer; they would carry them, walk through mud puddles or little cowpaths and then washed their feet when they arrived at the church grounds.
Hartzell Methodist Church, the first church ever built in this area, was in Stalding, Louisiana, and is credited to Grandma Becky, Amy Crawford, Liza Foster and other strong and courageous Christian women that had faith that their efforts would bear much fruit. They had fish and chicken suppers to secure funds for the building. There was also a school at that location where classes were held three (3) months out of the year. God bless those pioneers! With little or no schooling, they provided a sanctuary for the word of God to be preached and was the only school for black people in the area. It was a one-room school; everyone learned together. Through the nurturing faith and deeds of the sons and daughters of Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Becky, a close family was knitted together. There was respect for the elders and for each other. The old family church still stands today on the original spot. Another denomination bought the building and it is still being used for worship today.
Many memories still remain of Third Sunday in June rallies, Sunday school, great preaching and singing the old songs of Zion. The church bell would ring every Sunday morning to remind everyone to get their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes on. Church was all day long! Children had to have a snack or small meal because Sunday school, and then church services lasted until about 2pm or later, however the spirit moved on for a rally.
Winters were very cold and icesicles would hang from the roofs. There was no electricity or fans during the hot summers. Mosquitoes would come in swarms and nets had to be draped over the beds to keep them away so that a person could enjoy a stirring breeze. Home remedies were used regularly for all kinds of sicknesses with only serious cases treated by a doctor. Midwives were called on to deliver babies. There were two midwives in the family; Grandma Charity and Grandma Becky’s sister Liza.
Many family members lost a loved one in their childhood that since about 1950, could have been saved by drugs. God made a way over the years!
Here is a list of Grandma’s home remedies she used with much prayer:
· Soda water for stomach ache
· Flaxseed put in eye when trash was in it
· Turpentine and sugar for upset stomach
· Baking soda for deodorant
· Spider webs to stop bleeding
· Fat salt meat on feet to draw out splinters
· Dog saliva to heal woulds on legs, such as mosquito bites or other infections or rashes
· Sulfur and Molasses paste for Indian fire
· Flannel cloth with Vick Salve and Mullen Tea for colds
· Sassafras Tea to purify blood
· Octagon Soap for bathing, washing hair, soaking feet, mosquito bites and rashes
· Octagon Soap and sugar for painful boils
· Inside skin of fresh eggshell applied to a boil brought the infection to the surface of the skin, then drained getting the core out
· Vinegar and warm salt water for sore throat
· Vinegar compact for headaches
· Cole Oil (Kerosene) used to stop bleeding
· Wood from Gum-tree was used to make a toothbrush
· Tobacco juice on bee and wasp stings
· Tobacco juice and Octagon Soap was used for a big toe that was cut by a glass bottle and wrapped with a bandage; bleeding stopped and healing began
Everybody took a bath once a week in a large wash tub. The expression “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” came from the fact that often times the youngest child was the last one to take a bath. Everyone drank from the same dipper and used the same towel to wipe hands. One family member cut his toe and it was hanging on by the skin. His father gave him a shot of whiskey and had the other boys hold him while he took a needle and thread and sewed it back on. It healed beautifully without an infection.
Grandpa and Grandma had the insight to take a legal step, which afforded each of their children a measure of pride by giving them deeds to their portion of the land. Many families during those days only had the oral satisfaction and a handshake to close the deal and as the years progressed had nothing legal to show ownership.
Another interesting fact was that all births and deaths were entered into the family bible, year and month only. Years later when birth certificates were needed, each person would select a date within that month when they were born. It was used as an official and legal document. Some eyewitnesses within the family said that there was a plaque that Grandma Becky had made with all of the family names, birth date and year. It was also used as a legal document until birth certificates were needed. We have a copy of the census that helped us verify the dates.
Slidell was incorporated, November 13, 1888. Before that, it was referred to as “Slidell Station” because of the railway being built through the wetlands (marshes, swamps, and forests). This area was selected because of higher ground and rich resources such as creosote, logging, shipbuilding, sawmills, and brickwork. Easy access to New Orleans added to the rapid growth. Settlers came into Indian Village seeking work, which was plentiful. Surrounding communities along the bayous also had French and Spanish settlers. The Indian Village area and 4.5 miles of Highway 190 East or Old Shortcut Road is still not within city limits. Each home had to supply their own water by having wells dug. Additionally “outhouses” were still used at that time where the tissue was the crumpled page of the Sears catalog. By the 1940’s, septic tanks were utilized and the addition of inside plumbing ushered in the era of the toilet.
The family would have periodic outings which included going fishing. Grandma Becky would bring potato salad and beverages. Fish was caught, cleaned and cooked over an open fire right close to the riverbank. The family would keep entertained by playing ring games such as “Little Liza Jane,” hopscotch, hide and seek, and hand clapping songs such as “O Mary Mack.” Boys would play marbles, tree climbing, find swimming holes, racing and wrestling.
Charlie Jackson Sr. and Rebecca Arnold Jackson lived full beautiful lives. Charlie lived to be 80 years old and died in 1937. Rebecca lived to be 86 and died in 1951. Today, after many years the family has survived because of its strong and deep roots. “We look to the hills from which comes our help; all our help comes from the Lord.”