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Wm. H. Jack
Greenville Dist., S. C.
Nov. 22, 1812
Died in Galveston
Feb. 25, 1877
||Laura Harrison Jack
||Section:Republic Hill, Section 1 (C1)
|Reason for Eligibility:
||Wife of William Houston Jack
||November 22, 1812
||February 25, 1877
||Reinterred February 10, 1942
|JACK, LAURA HARRISON (1812~18 ) Laura Harrison Jack, wife of William Houston “Bill” Jack, was born on November 22, 1812, in Pendleton District, South Carolina to Isham and Harriet (Kelly) Harrison. At the age of four, Laura’s father, who served in the War of 1812, moved his family to Alabama and eventually settled in Jefferson County, where he served one term in the Alabama Legislature.
Together, Isham and Harriet had seven sons and six daughters, all of whom lived to adulthood and received college educations. When Laura came of age, she was sent to Shelbyville, Kentucky to attend Science Hill Academy. Upon her return, she married the 23-year-old Jack, an attorney from Georgia, in 1828.
1829 proved to be very eventful year for the Jack family. They welcomed their first child, a daughter, Harriet Patrick “Hallie” Jack, into the world on June 18, 1829, while Bill was serving in the state legislature. After finishing his one term in office, Laura, Bill, their daughter, Hallie, and Bill’s brothers, Patrick and Spencer, moved to Texas, which, at that time, was still a part of Mexico.
Laura and Bill first settled in San Felipe de Austin, a part of Stephen F. Austin’s Colony, where their second child, Thomas McKinney, was born on December 31, 1831. The next year, Bill purchased land for a plantation on the Brazos River and set up his legal practice in near-by Brazoria. Presumably, Laura was setting up her home and caring for the children, of whom they had three more: Isham Harrison and Patrick Crawford, who both died in infancy; and Laura Harrison, who was born on January 13, 1839.
As Bill became more prominent throughout Brazoria and Texas, Laura did not see as much of him as she would have liked. In 1835, he was elected to serve on Brazoria County’s Committee of Safety and Correspondence and then took a major role in Texas’ fight for independence. Once the actual fighting began, Bill took the time to send Laura and the children south to the Neches River, as the Mexican Army encroached upon the settlements of East Texas.
Once the War was over, Laura, once again, sacrificed her husband to the Texas cause. He was appointed Secretary of State by David G. Burnet. After disagreeing with the President, he resigned his office and was later appointed Judge of the Brazoria District Court. Under Mirabeau B. Lamar’s administration, he served in the House of Representatives and then moved to the Senate, where he was serving when he died on August 20, 1844, during the yellow fever epidemic.
During their time in Texas, Bill and Laura had amassed a large fortune. They owned nearly 3,000 acres of land in Brazoria County, numerous lots in the City of Velasco, slaves, and livestock. Now widowed, Laura continued to raise her children and run the plantation. She took advantage of the Brazos River and the steamboat traffic to take her cotton and pecans, her main crops, to the area markets. She also saw to it that all of her children were educated.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Laura saw her son, Thomas McKinney, and two of her brothers, James and Thomas, serve for the Confederacy. Thomas served as a colonel with the 8th Texas Cavalry, which was also known as Terry’s Texas Rangers, and later became Adjutant General of Texas. For a while, his commanding officer was his uncle, Thomas.
During the War, Laura left their Brazoria County plantation and moved to Waco to stay with her sister, Ann Eliza Harrison Earle. Once the war was over, she returned home. Fortunately, Thomas and her brothers all survived the war.
After the War’s end, Laura moved to Galveston to live with her daughter, Laura, and son-in-law, Guy Morrison Bryan, who was Stephen F. Austin’s nephew. She died there on February 25, 1877, and was buried in Lakeview Cemetery. Her husband’s remains were later moved there as well.
In 1936, as a part of Texas’ Centennial Celebration, William, Laura, Patrick, Spencer and Isham Jack were moved to the Texas State Cemetery.
Information taken from: Virginia G. Meynard, The Venturers: The Hampton, Harrison, and Earl Families of Virginia, South Carolina, and Texas, (1981).