Justice Jackson Operates a Gun Shop and a Newspaper in 1867 Union City
Several years ago, then Union City Historical Museum curator Ed Cieslak pointed out that the that Union City Justice of the peace William Corner Jackson had established a gun shop at the foot of Putnam Street and one of the guns he manufactured was a 38 caliber gun. How it left Union City, where it went and remained for over a hundred years, and how it ended up in the hands of a gun dealer from Chicago no one has figured out – at least not yet.
William C. Jackson himself had as many adventures and was as versatile as his guns. He arrived in Union Mills in 1864 and in 1865 built a building on North Main Street, opened a gun shop, and also did watch and clock repairing. Every night after a full day’s work by the light of the “tallow dip,” he studied legal works of different kinds. Eventually he became an authority on legal matters and people of the community and those for miles around would come to him for legal advice and help in writing deeds and other legal documents, Soon after he located in Union Mills, he was elected Justice of the Peace and served in that office for many years. The usual fines and costs in Justice Jackson’s court were $2.00 fines and 62 cents costs.
About the year 1867, Justice Jackson decided hat Union Mills had grown large enough for a newspaper. He erected a building where the Union City Post office now stands and started The Union Mills Bulletin. For a few years he did all of the production and editorial work except what the office boy did. Eventually he sold out to Horace Pratt who hanged the name of the paper to The Union Star.
Justice Jackson loved music of all kinds. He was a proficient violinist and a cello player and was always ready to promote music in Union City. He used part of his fortune to help others acquire a fine music education. His nephew, Roy or Ray Jackson, resided at his house and rode the first bicycle in town about 1892. It was equipped with pneumatic tires and everyone in town marveled at it. “Riding on air,’ was the general opinion of the bicycle.
Justice Jackson died at the home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Edwin Jackson, on Crooked Street – now Market Street – on December 19, 1905. Justice Jackson had been elected Secretary of the Evergreen Cemetery Association in 1864 when it had been organized and chartered. He served as Secretary until 1903, and was buried in the cemetery in 1905.
He whodunit and howdunit of Jackson’s cap and ball gun remained unsolved, but many people have viewed the rifle and its beautiful workmanship at the Union City Historical museum.