Several replies to Martha Turner's question about the naming of Jackson
Ward in Richmond:

From Margaret Peters, [log in to unmask]

There are several different sources for the name Jackson Ward. In the
1830s the area around the 100 block west of Leigh Street was known as
"Jacksons Garden," presumably a gathering place for the neighborhood. It
is mentioned in Samuel Mordecai's "Richmond in Bygone Days" published I
think in the 1850s. When Richmond was divided into wards after 1870, the
wards were named for presidents such as Jefferson, Washington, Madison
and Monroe, and presumably Jackson. A Black lawyer who lived and
practiced in Jackson Ward and was the first African-American admitted to
law practice in Virginia was named Giles B. Jackson, but his active
political career would have been post 1870 when Jackson Ward first is
listed as a political sub-division in the City. So you can take your
pick or refer to all three. See the National Register nomination for
Jackson Ward submitted in the 1970s.

From Ed Ragan, [log in to unmask]

Here's what little I know.

Richmond typically named its wards after important Virginians who were
national figures: Madison Ward, Marshall Ward, Jefferson Ward, Monroe
Ward, Clay Ward (he was born in VA, so he gets claimed). The city
created Jackson Ward around 1870. Initially, it had been home to German,
Irish, and Italian immigrants as well as working-class whites and many
of Richmond's blacks.

The creation of the ward was a Reconstruction-era, gerrymandered effort
to contain blacks and the black vote in one neighborhood. However, the
concentration of black residents ensured that blacks would be
represented on the City Council--at least for the time being.

As for its naming, one of the streets in Jackson Ward, Jackson St., was
named after Joseph Jackson, who was well known for his garden. In 1851,
the city tried to purchase Jackson's garden so they could create a park
in this neighborhood (this was the same year when the city purchased
private land and created Monroe Park in Monroe Ward). Apparently,
Jackson wanted too much money for his land, and the plan for a park went
nowhere. Disclaimer: I have not looked at the primary documents here,
though my assumption has been that Jackson Ward was named after Joseph

After the 1902 Virginia Constitution eliminated most blacks from the
voter roles, and there was no significant black vote to contain,
Richmond reapportioned its wards to Jefferson, Madison, Clay, and Lee.

In effect, the Madison and Clay wards took over the southern sections of
the old Jackson Ward, while the newly created Lee Ward encompassed the
northern section of the old Jackson Ward along with the new white
suburbs around Lakeside and Ginter Park (and I can only imagine that
renaming the area Lee Ward was intended to evoke the memory of the Old
South and the romance of the Lost Cause, which was big in Richmond
then--and to also serve as a not so subtle reminder to Richmond's black
community of their place in the grand scheme of things). The
reconfiguration of these wards eliminated black representation on the
City Council until Oliver Hill's election in 1948.

Hope this helps or at least focuses your research. I'd be glad to know
what else you discover.


Edward DuBois Ragan

Staff Historian

Valentine Richmond History Center

1015 East Clay Street

Richmond, Virginia 23219-1527

804.649.0711 ext. 344

804.643.3510 fax

804.787.0144 cell

[log in to unmask]



From Maruice Duke, [log in to unmask]

Email Selden Richardson at <[log in to unmask]> and ask him. He
wrote BUILT BY BLACKS, which I edited. He ought to know. If not, I might
be able to give you another lead.


From Michael B. Chesson, [log in to unmask]

Aha, an old can of worms is reopened. When working on my history of
Richmond, published by the Virginia State Library in 1981, I found no
contemporary, primary source evidence, that the ward was named for Giles
B. Jackson, a prominent African-American businessman, entrepreneur, and
all around civic booster, not to mention on speaking terms with one or
more presidents. I'm blocking on them, but perhaps Teddy Roosevelt.

Given that the gerrymandered ward was created shortly after Virginia's
readmission to the Union in 1870, and the subsequent Municipal War, I
thought, and still think, that it was highly unlikely that this new
majority black district was named for a young man who was not then

Contrary to the Lost Cause folks, I also found no evidence that it was
named for Stonewall Jackson. After all, the late unpleasantness had not
been over that long, and who knows what trouble might have been stirred
up. I think it far more likely that it was named for Andrew Jackson,
given the other wards being named for Jefferson, Madison, Monroe.

Marshall, and Clay. 

but I never answered the question to my satisfaction, either in the
minutes of the city council, or in the pages of the local press.

Most of Giles B. Jackson's descendants accept the idea that the ward was
not named for their ancestor; but at least one granddaughter or great
granddaughter was strong for the contrary view.

Hope the above helps.

Michael Chesson, U/Mass-Boston


From Ray Bonis, [log in to unmask]

Jackson Ward is named for President Andrew Jackson - that occurred in
1871- at least three other wards (or political sub-divisions) were named
after presidents in Richmond: Jefferson Ward, Monroe Ward, and Madison
Ward. There was also a Clay Ward and a Marshall Ward.

If you go to this site:

you'll see discussion about other "Jacksons" that this area of the city
was associated with. Another good site on its history and architecture

- Ray


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