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Honoré Jackson

honoré jackson
William Henry Jackson May 3, 1861 – January 10, 1952, also known as Honoré Jackson or Jaxon, was secretary to Louis Riel during the North-West Rebellion in Canada in 1885 He was married to Aimée, a former teacher in Chicago

He was born in Toronto, Canada West to a Methodist family but several years later his family moved to Wingham, Ontario Jackson later attended the University of Toronto for 3 years; however, due to his fathers bankruptcy, he was unable to complete his last year In 1881 he moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan then part of the Northwest Territories, where he soon began to sympathize with the Métis and their struggle against the Canadian government, though he was not a Métis himself Jackson became personal secretary to Louis Riel when Riel returned to Canada in 1884, and the two organized a Métis militia and made plans for a provisional government Open fighting broke out between the disgruntled Metis and police forces/armed civilian volunteers on March 18 at Duck Lake

That same day 18 March 1885, Jackson was baptised Catholic by Father Fourmond Riel stood as godfather for the ceremony and gave him the name "Honoré Joseph Jaxon" The next day Riel declared the establishment of a provisional government see Exovedate

However, Jackson's mental health was affected by the religious event, and by the turmoil and excitement of open rebellion, and within days, Riel imprisoned Jackson, perhaps thinking he had gone insane but also fearing that his eccentric religious ideas and his support for Henry George's radical philosophical ideas against private ownership of land may cause discord within his Riel's followers Later during the rebellion, Riel released Jackson

He was captured when Canadian government troops overcame the last Metis resistance in the Battle of Batoche ending on May 12, 1885 He was tried for treason, but found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to an insane asylum in Lower Fort Garry, near Winnipeg, Manitoba He escaped the asylum on November 2 and fled to the United States

Once there, he changed his name to Honoré Jaxon and joined the labour union movement in Chicago, Illinois and was active in socialist circles as well He also decided to lie about his identity and told others he was a Métis In 1894 he was part of Coxey's Army, which marched to Washington, DC to demand an eight-hour workday In 1897 he converted to the Bahá'í Faith and oriented his concerns to Canada

He returned to Canada briefly between 1907-1909, spending some of the time interviewing former participants of the Rebellion and addressing labour/socialist meetings He returned to the United States, eventually moving to New York City He collected books, newspapers, and pamphlets relating to the Métis people in an attempt to establish in their honour a museum in New York However, years went by and he slipped into poverty and extreme old age He was evicted from his apartment on December 12, 1951, and his collection considered unimportant by the city was sent to the garbage dump He died a month later


  1. ^ Messamore, Barbara J Autumn 2011 "Review of Honoré Jaxon: Prairie Visionary, by Donald B Smith" PDF Journal of Historical Biography 10: 134–137 Retrieved 16 February 2013 
  2. ^ Francis, Douglas; Jones, Richard; Smith, Donald; Wardhaugh, Robert 2012 Destinies Canadian History since Confederation United States of America: Nelson pp 106–107 ISBN 978-0-17-650251-5 
  3. ^ Beal and Macleod, Prairie Fire, p 132-33; Donatien Fremont, The Secretaries of Riel 1985, p 103-106
  4. ^ Smith, Donald B 2007 Honore Jaxon: Prairie Visionary Coteau Books pp 102–103 ISBN 978-1-55050-367-8 
  5. ^ Will C van den Hoonaard 30 October 2010 The Origins of the Bahá’í Community of Canada, 1898-1948 Wilfrid Laurier Univ Press pp 18–35 ISBN 978-1-55458-706-3 
  6. ^ Stockman, Robert 1985 The Baha'i Faith in America 1, Origins 1892-1900 Wilmette, Il: Baha'i Publishing Trust pp 90–93 ISBN 0-87743-199-X 
  • Smith, Donald B 1981 Honoré Joseph Jaxon A Man Who Lived for Others Saskatchewan History 34:3 81–
  • Donald B Smith Honore Jaxon: Prairie Visionary, Regina, Coteau Books, 2007
  • Bob Beal and Rod Macleod, Prairie Fire: the 1885 North-West Rebellion, second edition, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1994

External links

  • Biography portal
  • William Henry Jackson in the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
  • William Henry Jackson in Radio-Canada's "De remarquables oubliés"

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