Before there were any European descents in Jackson, the Native American tribe Potawatomi, called the area of present day Jackson home. Their village was just outside of Jackson in what is now Spring Arbor. One of the Potawatomi chiefs, Whap-ka-zeek, played an important role in the Battle of Tippecanoe. After being wounded, he returned back to the village and remained there for another 20 years before the first white settlers arrived. Today you can visit the village site at the Falling Waters Historic Park in Spring Arbor.
It was not until 1829, on Independence Day, that the first white men arrived in what is now the city of Jackson. Jackson’s history began on the banks of the Grand River, at present-day Trail Street. Three men — Capt. Alex Laverty, Horace Blackman and their Indian guide Pee-wy-tum (MLive, 2011).
The men celebrated the day with the Native Americans and both parties drank and were merry. This merriment did not last for long as some years later the Potawatomi struggled to keep hold over their land. They were forced and then re-located to a reservation in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Jackson has undergone many name changes. On January 16, 1830, Horace’s brother Russell Blackman and Captain Laverty established “Jacksonburgh,” which was named to honor Andrew Jackson. One year later, “Jacksonburgh” was a thriving community with several businesses and a school. Territorial Governor Lewis Cass named the new city as the county seat in 1833. The name was changed to Jacksonapolis and then shortened to Jackson in 1838 (CommunityLink).
One of the first settlers, Samuel Prescott, documented the first families to arrive in the Jackson area. Lyman Pease was his name and his family settled just north of present day Jackson, down the Grand River, in the summer of 1830. Pease was a farmer who bought the land to grow at first wheat. After this families began to enter the area which is now present day Rives Junction.
By Elaine Brewster