The University of Iowa LibrariesThe Biographical Dictionary of Iowa: Jacket Art - Agriculture - Cresco, Iowa by Richard Haines ca 1934 -  Photo by Scott Christopher courtesy of Gregg Narber


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Jackson, Frank Darr
(January 26, 1854–November 16, 1938)

–lawyer, businessman, and governor of Iowa—was born in Arcade, New York. When he was 13, his family moved to Iowa and settled in Jessup. Jackson attended public schools and was the first Iowa governor to be educated in higher institutions of learning in Iowa. He attended Iowa Agricultural College and the State University of Iowa, graduating from the latter's law school in 1874. He was admitted to the bar on his 21st birthday and opened a law practice in Independence, Iowa.

    Jackson married Anna Brock on November 16, 1877. She was born in Canada in 1856, and died on October 16, 1940, in California. They had four sons: Graydon, Ernest, Frank, and Leslie.

    Jackson was elected secretary of the Iowa Senate in 1882. In 1884 he became Secretary of State, a position he held for three two-year terms. In the 1893 gubernatorial election he defeated incumbent Horace Boies, who was running for a third term.

    Jackson believed in tariff protection. In his inaugural address to the General Assembly, he stated, "To maintain the American schedule of wages in the future requires that the American people buy and use the products of the brain and muscle of the American laborer and producer rather than those of other lands, even though they may cost a little more.... Those manufactured products of foreign countries, which can be produced in our own country, must be kept out of competition with American labor. This country can consume the products of the American laborer, but it cannot consume the products of both American and foreign labor."

    Governor Jackson was the only governor to fight an army on Iowa soil. Kelly's Industrial Army, part of Coxey's Army, crossed the state in 1894 on its way to Washington, D.C., to protest a lack of jobs. Governor Jackson called out the militia to maintain order while Kelly's army was in Iowa. The protestors had taken over trains in the western states, and the railroad companies asked Governor Jackson for protection. Proclaiming that his duty was to "prevent landing of the pilgrims on Iowa soil" and that troops would be used to preserve order, Jackson went on a special train to Council Bluffs to confront the issue. His action was controversial, because many Iowans sympathized with the protestors. Eventually, Kelly's Army passed through the state without any incidents of violence.

    Wanting to return to business interests, Jackson declined to seek a second term as governor. He later helped organize the Royal Union Mutual Life Insurance Company of Des Moines, and served as its president.

    The Jacksons moved to California in 1924. He died in Redlands, California, 14 years later and was buried in Hillside Cemetery there.
Sources An obituary appeared in the Des Moines Register, 9/16/1945. See also Jacob A. Swisher, The Governors of Iowa (1946).
Contributor: Michael Kramme