Jackson, Sheldon

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Jackson, Sheldon

Sheldon Jackson, 1834–1909, American missionary and educator, b. Montgomery co., N.Y., grad. Union College, 1855, and Princeton Theological Seminary, 1858. After a career as a Presbyterian missionary in Minnesota and Wisconsin and (after 1870) as missionary superintendent in the Rocky Mt. area, he went (1884) to Alaska as superintendent of missions, having already established missions and schools in that territory. In 1885 he became the first federal superintendent of public instruction for Alaska, with the task of organizing a free school system for Native American, Eskimo, and white children. He succeeded in the next 20 years in bringing school facilities to all corners of Alaska. He urged the introduction and raising of reindeer to supplement the dwindling food resources and in 1892, with government aid, brought the first reindeer into Alaska from Siberia. He aided in organizing the territorial government and establishing mail routes. He was active in Alaskan politics as the moving spirit in the "missionary" party. He wrote numerous governmental and religious reports and Difficulties at Sitka in 1885 (1886).

See biography by J. A. Lazell (1960).

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