Colorado College Bulletin

The Jackson Family

By Lani Carroll Hinkle '83

A handful of families can trace their CC connections back to the beginning. But there’s only one family that can claim they were here before the beginning, and throughout the college’s history. The Jackson family was represented as CC was taking shape in 1874, and the college has benefited from the family’s attention and philanthropy for the more than 125 years since. 

William Sharpless JacksonWilliam Sharpless Jackson, a founding father of Colorado Springs, respected banker, and Denver and Rio Grande railroad executive, was a charter member of CC’s board of trustees. He served continuously on the board until 1917, with a hiatus from 1880 to 1888. In the early years, he was board treasurer. Jackson donated a large sum to establish Hagerman Hall, the first men’s dormitory on campus. CC conferred upon him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1910 in recognition of his long-standing service and support. The Jackson House at 1029 N. Nevada St. was named for him in 1938. 

Helen Hunt Jackson, first wife of William S. Jackson, is best known for her progressive writings that exposed the unfair treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government. Her romance novel, Ramona, published in 1884, was a not-so-subtle critique of the plight of the Indian. In 1885, upon realizing that her death was imminent and that her husband desired children, Helen recommended her niece as a suitable wife (she left her estate to that niece). Helen Hunt Falls in Cheyenne Canyon bears her name. She loved that place so much that she had the entrance of her downtown home re-oriented to face it,

Helen Fiske Banfield, niece of Helen Hunt Jackson and an 1879 Vassar graduate, married William Sharpless Jackson in 1888 and had seven children before her death in 1899. True to the Jackson interest in CC, all but one of those children (a daughter who died in infancy) began their educational careers at the college or attended its preparatory Cutler Academy.

Justice William S. Jackson attended elementary school on the CC campus and graduated first in his class from Cutler Academy in 1906. After graduating from Harvard in 1911 and then Denver University Law School, he practiced law in Colorado Springs until he was elected to the Colorado Supreme Court. He served the court from 1942 to 1953, the final two years as chief justice. His second wife, Margaret, was the daughter of Jackson’s CC English professor, Homer Woodbridge. Jackson served on the CC Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1975, including 11 years as chairman. In 1975, he was awarded an honorary LL.D. degree for his 50 years of service.

Helen Jackson graduated from Vassar in 1912 and earned her M.A. from CC in 1915. She taught at a private school near Boston until 1942, then returned to Colorado Springs to manage the historic Jackson family home. In 1961, half interest in the home was given to CC and the other half was sold to the city. The home was then razed to make way for a police station. Three complete rooms, though, were preserved and are reconstructed in the Pioneer’s Museum in Colorado Springs. Miss Jackson was a beloved docent and lecturer at the Pioneer’s Museum and a supporter of environmental causes in Colorado Springs, where her habit of biking around town (even into her late 80s) earned her the nickname, “The Bicycle Lady.” A large bequest from her estate in 1988 became the Helen Jackson and William S. Jackson Family Endowment, which supports the Jackson Fellows Program for the Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies, funding the research and creative work of CC faculty.

Roland Jackson and Everett Banfield Jackson both attended CC, and Everett graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1914. He spent a year at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and then served as an ambulance driver in France during World War I, an experience from which he never recovered. He died from a fall in Cheyenne Canyon in 1924. Roland Jackson, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard, was a gifted musician and the pianist for the Harvard Glee Club. He was killed in France during World War I. The Roland Jackson and Everett Jackson War Memorial Scholarships were established by the siblings of Roland and Everett, and more than 50 CC students have received these scholarships. The translucent window in the small chapel in Shove is dedicated to the brothers.

Dr. Edith B. Jackson graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar in 1915 and received her M.D. from Johns Hopkins. She spent several years in analysis with Sigmund Freud in Vienna during the 1930s, and went on to become a child psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine, where her pioneering development of the “rooming in” concept for mothers and newborn infants was recognized and awarded by national pediatric and psychiatric associations. A portion of her estate established the Edith B. Jackson Trust, of which CC is the beneficiary.

Gardner Jackson graduated from Amherst in 1916 and was a noted Washington, D.C., journalist and lobbyist for union and farming causes. He was perhaps best known for his support of Sacco and Vanzetti during their controversial trial in the 1920s. He served under Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace during the first administration of FDR, and 47 feet of files contain his correspondence and published material in the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park. One of his children graduated from CC; three grandchildren either attended or graduated; and two great-grandchildren, Katelin Jackson and Lydia Jackson, will graduate with the Class of 2003. Lydia, currently on the CC women’s soccer team, is the first daughter of a mother who played CC soccer: Nancy Nettleton was on the first women’s team, formed during the mid-1970s.

William S. Jackson, Jr., a graduate of Exeter and Harvard, has been a faithful and generous contributor to CC and acts as the family’s CC liaison and trustee for the Edith B. Jackson Trust. He served one term as a Colorado state representative in 1952, and had the happy experience of being sworn into office by his father. He was a mutual funds security analyst and investment manager before forming the Jackson Investment Counsel Firm in 1978. Now 80 years old, he remains active in intellectual, civic, and business pursuits, and plays tennis two or three times a week.

The Jackson Future: Lydia Jackson and Katelin Jackson will graduate from CC in 2003, nearly 130 years after and a few feet from where their great-great grandfather watched the construction of Cutler Hall. In between, Jacksons have been on campus almost continuously. And rumor has it that another 21st-century Jackson cousin may be joining the student body in the next few years…

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