Term: Jackson, Mortimer Melville 1809 - 1889
lawyer, politician, judge, diplomat, b. Rensselaerville, N.Y. He attended private schools, moved to New York where he worked in a mercantile firm, studied law, and was admitted to the New York bar in 1838. An anti-slavery Whig, he worked with William H. Seward and Horace Greeley in New York politics. In 1838 he moved to Wisconsin, living briefly in Milwaukee, and in 1839 settling in Mineral Point where he practiced law until 1841. A supporter of James Duane Doty (q.v.) in the factional territorial era of Wisconsin politics, Jackson attended the first Wisconsin Whig convention in 1841, and in 1842 was appointed territorial attorney general by Governor Doty, serving in this capacity until 1845. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Jackson was elected circuit judge of the 5th judicial circuit, and in this position also served as ex officio associate justice of the state supreme court until its separate organization in 1853. One of the organizers of the Republican party (1854), Jackson was president of the state convention of 1856, was an unsuccessful candidate for state attorney general in 1857, and also failed in his bid for the U.S. Senate in 1858. In 1858 he moved to Madison where he conducted a private law practice until 1861, and in 1861 was appointed U.S. consul to Halifax, Nova Scotia. As consul to Halifax (1861-1880), Jackson performed important work in the recovery of Confederate contraband during the Civil War, and in 1870 prepared an important document on Canadian fisheries and fishery laws at the request of U.S. Secretary of State J. C. B. Davis. He served as consul-general at Halifax (1880-1882), and in 1882 returned to Madison where he lived in retirement until his death. Dict. Amer. Biog.; Proc. State Hist. Soc. Wis., 1890 (1891); Mag. West. Hist., 5 (1886) : pp. 421-428; Madison Wis. State Journal, Oct. 14, 1889; WPA MS.
View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]