Eliza Jackson Eddy's $50,000 bequest


Eliza Jackson Eddy's $50,000 bequest


Daily Suffragist doesn’t usually go down a genealogy rabbit hole, but a good trusts & estates case is a dangerous trigger. Long thread...

Francis Jackson embraced women’s rights after his daughter was stripped of her children.

Who was Eliza Jackson’s ex-husband? Did she ever see her children again? I haven’t yet found anything directly on point - nothing about the divorce or his abduction of the children. But I did find all of her children, and both of her husbands.

Eliza gave birth to 7 children in 17 years. Two died in infancy. One died a few months after his fourth birthday. I used to wonder if losing a child hurt as badly for the millennia that infant mortality was higher. Then I had children.

Eliza married Charles Meriam when she was 20, he was 22. They had 3 children: Francis Jackson, named for his grandfather; Eliza Frances & Charles Levi, who died at 3 months. I haven’t yet found her divorce records, but less than 5 years later Eliza married James Eddy in Boston.

Assuming Eliza lost custody of her children before her remarriage, her son would have been no older than 10 and her daughter no more than 7. Eliza and James Eddy moved to Rhode Island and she had 4 more children.

Their daughters Amy and Sarah survived to adulthood. Sarah Eddy carried on her family’s suffrage commitment, along w/other causes. She was also an artist who painted Susan B Anthony in 1901.

Read more in Gloria Schmidt’s blog about Portsmouth, RI.

When and to what extent Eliza reunited with her 2 oldest children is unknown. Her daughter Eliza “Lizzie” Meriam lived in Boston by 1865. She died at 40, one week after her mother. (Her widower, Mr. Bacon, is the one who contested Mrs. Eddy’s will.)

Eliza’s oldest child, Francis Jackson Meriam, was in Virginia in October of 1859. How do I know? He joined John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

Francis survived the raid and escaped to Canada. During the Civil War he was a captain in the 3d South Carolina Colored Infantry. Alas, he was “erratic and unbalanced,” of “little judgment and in feeble health,” but “generous, brave, and devoted.”

Eliza Jackson Eddy left $50,000 to the suffrage movement, and her younger daughters Amy & Sarah supported the bequest. The money enabled the publication of the final volume of the History of Woman Suffrage. Its editors noted their gratitude: We deeply regret that we have been unable to procure a good photograph of our generous benefactor, as it was our intention to make her engraving the frontispiece of this volume…”

Here is her photograph. 


Daily Suffragist






Daily Suffragist, “Eliza Jackson Eddy's $50,000 bequest,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 3, 2022, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/327.

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