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Sarah Ann Jackson (Taksus)

Updated Dec-2010

Background

book cover

Sarah Ann was born into the family of Peter Taksus, an Abenaki man from Odanak. At an early age the family name was Anglicized to Jackson. Sarah and her siblings spent most of their lives in the New England states, but several also traveled with the circus for a period of time.

Trudy Ann Parker, a Taksus descendant, has spent a great deal of time and energy researching Sarah and wrote a most wonderful book titled Aunt Sarah; the 101 winters of an Abenaki Healing Woman. We encourage all our visitors to read the book and gain valuable incite into the lives of 19th Century Abenaki People.





Double Curve Design by Hannah Susep

News Clipping c1930


Mrs Sarah Jackson Somers, Over 100 Years Old, Lives Alone Near Connecticut River at Lunenburg, VT

"Old Sarah," Survivor Of St Francis Indians

LUNENBURG, Vt., Oct. 25 -- Living alone today near the Connecticut river, many years ago the route of the St Francis Indians in their too frequent raids from Canada to the frontier settlements of New England, is Mrs Sarah Jackson Somers, one of the last survivors of the warlike tribe. "Old Sarah," as she is known by her friends, is over 100 years old, but just how many years beyond the century mark no one knows. Her picture, taken in the days of her feminine beauty, indicates that she was then just what she is now, a woman of peaceful disposition and contented with her lot. So it is hard to believe that her forbears terrorized the north country two centuries ago, even extending their raids as far south as Deerfield, Mass., where the awful massacre of the sleeping inhabitants occurred in the winter of 1703.

In some of these warlike excursions the St Francis Indians must have passed by the site of her present home, bringing captives - men, women and children - to their settlements on the St Francis river that now meanders through peaceful valleys and fertile farms in that part of Canada north of Vermont known as the Eastern provinces. And what tales she could tell if those ancestors of hers had told their children and they their children, the actual occurrences of those fearsome days. Her parents Mr and Mrs Peter Jackson were born on the St Francis river, though "Old Sarah" claims New Jersey as her native state. She is not only among the last of her tribe in Vermont, but the last of a family of eight children. One of her brothers, Dennis Jackson, was a Civil War veteran and died February 18, 1901, ages 59 years.

Sarah Jackson came to Lunenburg when only 18 years old about 1860 she married John C. Somers of Dalton, N.H. The Ceremony was performed by Rev William Sewell, pastor of the Lunenburg Congregational church from 1855 to 1865. Since the death of her husband she has lived for many years in a dilapidated shack on the main road from the village of South Lunenburg to the village of Gilman where is now located the largest paper mill in Vermont.

She has eked out an existence by cultivating a small garden and weaving pretty and useful baskets, an art in which all Indian women excel. She has been thrifty in her handiwork and recently when a local physician was summoned to her home, upon hearing that she had suffered a partial shock, he found $200 concealed under her bed. Now she has been moved by the town authorities to a more comfortable home and is calmly and rather stoically facing the future - perhaps with musings of those earlier days in her tribe's existence when the redskins possessed the land now occupied by the descendants of the hardy, palefaced pioneers.

Source: uncertain, perhaps The Caledonian
Contributed by: Linus Leavens - Nov 2010

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Filled with historical error, bigotry, and stereotyped imagery, this piece demonstrates the public's' attitude towards Native People in this time period.

Double Curve Design by Hannah Susep

Obituary

OVER A CENTURY
LAST OF THE ST. FRANCIS TRIBE DEAD IN LUNDENBURG HOME
Mrs. Somers Joins Her Own

Last Wednesday [Feb-1931] one of Ludenburg's oldest and, in a sense most interesting resident passed quietly away while sitting in her chair to which she has been confined for several months. Mrs. Sarah Somers was born in Pennsylvania in a wigwam, a pure blooded Indian of a tribe nearly extinct. With the few remaining members of the St. Francis division she migrated to Maine and from there to Ludenburg.

Some of the older residents can still recall the Jackson family in their wigwams on what in now known as the Maillet farm. "Sarah" is remembered as a young woman of unusual grace and beauty. She married John Somers and to them three children, John, Carrie (Mrs. Leighton) and Harvey, were born. Harvey is the only survivor. He and a niece from Guildhall were the only relatives present at the funeral.

In the death of Mrs. Somers the tribe of St. Francis is gone. We are glad to remember her as one who lived approximately 100 years without being untrue to the traditions of her fathers. Her kindness to friends, her thrift, her honestly, both of word and deed, are well known to all her neighbors. She was deeply and intensely religious with simple yet unswerving faith in her people.

Up to a few months ago Mrs. Somers lived in a little house on the Gilman road with her son Harvey. On account of a serious illness she was then taken to the home of Adelord Forest where she has been cared for ever since. Her funeral was held from the Forest home, Rev. R.H. Mercer officiating. Tributes of flowers were sent in by friends and neighbors. Her body was placed in the tomb awaiting burial beside her husband in the spring.

Source: newspaper not stated
Contributed by: Trudy Ann Parker - Nov 2009

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - despite repeated claims by various writers, the Abenaki People are not extinct!