Bidwell Lore – Colonel Giles Jackson

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 128! This week we begin a short series about Colonel Giles Jackson and his son Nathan, both former residents of Tyringham.

Giles Jackson Authors the Articles of Capitulation at The Battle of Saratoga on October 7, 1777, or was he just an Engrosser?
Rick Wilcox 2022

This week and next we are going to begin a short, new series about Colonel Giles Jackson and his son Nathan Jackson and their connection to the early years of Township #1 (today’s Tyringham and Monterey).
Colonel Giles Jackson was born in Weston, Middlesex Co, MA, on January 27, 1733, and died on May 4, 1810. John Jackson, Giles’ father, moved with his family in 1750 from the town of Weston, Massachusetts, to Tyringham, Massachusetts, where he was one of the first settlers and a first deacon of the Congregational Church of the town. Giles was one of many children and his father’s death in 1757 left him with the responsibility of a large family.
Giles married twice. His first wife Anna, who he married on May 29, 1755, was the daughter of Ephraim Thomas of Watertown, Massachusetts, and together they had fourteen children. His second wife was Sarah Atwood Orton, widow of Thomas Orton, who brought five children by her former marriage to the Jackson household. Giles and Sarah married on May 31, 1781, and had six children of their own. The records show that there were twenty-five children in the Jackson household, from which, one winter, he sent sixteen children to the district school every morning.

The Royal Hemlock trail, a path Colonel Giles was likely familiar with during his time in Tyringham (today’s Monterey and Tyringham)

Colonel Jackson held a number of local positions in the 18th century including: Associate Justice of the County of Berkshire and representative in the Mass. General Court for 14 years; representative from the Town of Tyringham at the first Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, held on July 6, 1774; and a member of the third Provincial Congress, held May 3, 1775. [1] He served at the battles of Bunker Hill, White Plains, Monmouth, Yorktown, and Saratoga.  He was commissioned Major of the First Berkshire Regiment in August 1775, and later in the year was appointed Lieutenant Colonel.  His regiment was the first to enter Boston after the evacuation by the British on March 17, 1776.  He was there at the pivotal Battle of Saratoga, at which Gen. Burgoyne surrendered.

Col. Giles Jackson died on May 4, 1810, aged 77, and is buried in the Old Center Cemetery in Monterey, a short distance from his homestead. On his gravestone in Monterey (which you can see an image of below) is the following inscription:

In memory of Col. Giles Jackson. Chief of Staff of Gen. Horatio Gates at the battle of Saratoga, Oct. 7, 1777, and author and engrosser [2] of the Articles of Capitulation under which Gen. Burgoyne surrendered. He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill 1775, White Plains 1776, Monmouth 1778, where he received commendation for his brave stand. His regiment was the first to enter Boston after the evacuation by the British, March 17, 1776. He was a brave soldier, true patriot, wise counselor and friend in private life. A man of commanding influence in Public affairs in his day and generation. Born at Weston, Mass. 1733, died 1810. [3]

Was Colonel Jackson author of the Articles of Capitulation? A descendant spoke with the historian at Saratoga National Park in New York and shared this about Col. Jackson: “Colonel Jackson did not author the articles of capitulation. What the national park does have in their possession is the copy he made of the original document (most likely used when transporting prisoners back to the coast to ship them back to England). Many soldiers made a copy to have in hand for this purpose. He could not have been chief of staff under Gates because he was Massachusetts militia, not Continental Army.”

While he may not have been the author of the Articles, several of his descendants erected an impressive monument in the Old Center Cemetery.  At the dedication, one descendant recalled that “He was a noble old gentleman, and begat a sturdy race of descendants, and deserves to have his memory perpetuated in granite for his patriotism, and all other virtues of a good citizen and man.” 

What follows is a list of Colonel Jackson’s many children:

His first wife was Anne Thomas, born 1739/40 in Farmington, CT. They married on May 27, 1755, in Tyringham, MA, and had 14 children.
1. Giles Jackson, Dr. b: 5 AUG 1755 in Tyringham, MA
2. Mercy Jackson b: 4 MAY 1757 in Tyringham, MA
3. Beulah Jackson b: 18 MAY 1759 in Tyringham, MA
4. Anne Jackson b: 15 MAY 1761 in Tyringham, MA
5. John Jackson b: 23 FEB 1763 in Tyringham, MA
6. John Jackson, Hon. b: 31 MAR 1765 in Tyringham, MA
7. Sarah Jackson b: 2 OCT 1766 in Tyringham, MA
8. Abigail Jackson b: 16 APR 1768 in Tyringham, MA
9. Vashti Jackson b: 16 JUL 1770 in Tyringham, MA
10. Asahel Jackson b: 24 APR 1772 in Tyringham, MA
11. Artemas Jackson b: 23 MAY 1774 in Tyringham, MA
12. Caleb Jackson b: 27 JAN 1776 in Tyringham, MA
13. James Jackson b: SEP 1778 in Tyringham, MA
14. Nathan Jackson b: MAR 1780 in Tyringham, MA

His second wife, Sarah Atwood was born on April 27, 1750, in Woodbury, CT. They were married on May 31, 1781, in Tyringham. Together they had five children.
1. Charles Jackson b: 16 DEC 1782 in Tyringham, MA
2. Polly Jackson
3. Betsey Jackson
4. Giles Jackson
5. Olive Jackson

Colonel Giles Jackson headstone at the old center cemetery in Monterey
Next week we will talk about Nathan Jackson, Colonel Giles’ youngest son with his first wife.

1.  The Journal of American History, edited by Francis Trevelyan Miller, Associated Publishers of American Records, 1912
2.  Noun. engrosser (plural engrossers) One who copies a piece of writing in large, attractive characters.
3.  Old Center Cemetery from Cemetery Inscriptions in Monterey, Massachusetts, compiled by Cynthia Tryon Hoogs, 2013