Death of Thomas Jackson,
Rope Manufacturer.

Reading Eagle newspaper - Aug 6 , 1878

Thomas Jackson, an old and well-known citizen and proprietor of “Jackson's Rope Walk died about 7 o'clock last evening at the Centre Avenue residence of his son-in-law, Henry Connard, of an infection of the brain, in his 72nd year of his age.

For several days he was unconscious, and yesterday afternoon it was known that he was dying.

Probably no businessman in Reading was better known. He was born in Birmingham, England, in 1806 and came to this country with his father's family when he was 23 years of age. His father, John Jackson, was an experienced rope maker, located here in business, and the three sons, Thomas, Edward and Henry, also engaged in the trade. Thomas Jackson was in the business of rope making nearly a half century in Reading, and no man suffered more reverses by flood and fire than he.

His first rope walk was along the Schuykill below Bingaman street. It was twice swept away by freshets, and about 1852 he removed to the northeast section of the city and established his 1600 feet long ropewalk. His manufactures soon gained a wide spread reputation and during the war he amassed a fortune. Twice his establishment was burned, the last fire entailing a loss of about $60,000, partly covered by insurance. It is believed that the fires were the work of incendiaries. Henry H. Jackson, son of the deceased has managed the business for some time.

Deceased was known as a man of strong friendships and strong convictions. He had fixed and immovable principles and traits of character, and his opinions could not easily be changed. He was a Republican and the strong sympathizer with such anti slavery men as Horace Greeley and the Thurlow Weed. He constantly sought to ameliorate the condition of labor. Deceased leaves but one son living, his daughter Mrs. Connard having died about a year ago. Edward and Henry Jackson, his brothers, live in Reading, and two sisters reside in Scranton.

Death of Thomas Jackson

Reading Times Dispatch - Aug 7 , 1878

Thomas Jackson, an aged and prominent citizen, died about 7 o'clock last evening at the residence of his son-in-law Henry Connard on Center Avenue of an affliction of the brain from which he had suffered during the past nine months. For the past three days he was unconscious and his death was momentarily expected.

The deceased was born in Birmingham England in December 1806 and was consequently in the 72nd year of his age. He came to the United States with his father's family at about the age of 23 years. His father, John Jackson, who is a ropemaker by occupation, located in Reading with his three sons, Thomas, Edward and Henry engaged in the business. During his residence of nearly half a century in Reading, Thomas Jackson conducted an extensive rope-making establishment and manufactured some of the longest rope in the market.

Although frequently unfortunate by having sustained losses by fire and water, he was successful in business and amassed a large fortune. His first establishment was located along the Schuykill below the Lancaster bridge on the spot that at present occupied by the steamboat landing. His establishment was twice washed away by freshets and after the memorable freshet of 1851 he recovered to the northeast section of the city on First Hockley Lane which was then considered out of town being composed entirely of vacant lots and farmland. Here he erected the longest ropewalk in Pennsylvania measuring 1,600 feet in length and Jackson's establishment soon became famous throughout the country for the manufacture of long ropes and cordage.

During the war when there was a great demand for long ropes and but few places in the country where they could be obtained, Jackson's establishment did an extensive business. With the growth of the city, new streets were laid out in the vicinity of the rope walk, and the establishment was gradually surrounded by buildings. Finally Olney Street was laid out through the ropewalk, the opening of which would have ruined the establishment and although the street has not been opened by the city authorities, Mr. Jackson was caused considerable uneasiness(?).
Twice the establishment was destroyed by fire, believed to have been each time the results of been incendiaries. This loss by one of these files was estimated at $60,000 a considerable portion of which was covered by insurance. For number of years past Mr. Jackson had relinquished the management of his business to his son Henry H Jackson, at 803 North 9th Street.

The deceased was of broad and liberal views and exceedingly tenacious of purpose and immovable once taking a decided stand upon any question. He was unwaveringly opposed to slavery and was an original abolitionist, was the warm friend and admirer of Horace Greeley, Thurlow Weed, and other antislavery agitators. He was a warm friend of the working man and opposed to the degradation of labor. In politics he was an unflinching Republican.

The deceased was a kindhearted man and a firm friend to all who had the pleasure of his friendship. The deceased leaves but one son living, his daughter Mrs Connard, by whose death he was greatly affected, having died about nine months ago. His two brothers Edward and Henry, both residents in the city, survive him, as also two sisters who are residents of Scranton.

Funeral of Thomas Jackson

Reading Times - Aug 12 , 1878

The funeral of the late Thomas Jackson took place on Saturday afternoon from the residence of his son­in­law, Henry Connard, Jr, No. 706 Center Avenue. The pall bears were selected from amongst his old employees, some of whom had worked for the deceased as long as thirty years, as follows: William Smith, Daniel Bechtel, Mathias Bechtel,Edgar Jeffries, Jacob Engelbach and Henry Getrost.

On the coffin rested a cross of flowers and a wreath placed there by prominent colored citizens in acknowledgment of Mr. Jackson’s devotion to the colored race and opposition to slavery.

The services were conducted by Rev. John Long, of the Episcopal church. The interment took place at the Charles Evans Cemetery. Undertaker Charles Henninger had charge of the funeral, which was largely attended.

(Emphasis added)