Monday, March 10, 2014

52 Ancestors #10: James Nelson Hackett

We are ten weeks into the challenge from Amy Johnson Crow to blog about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  This is make and break for me - it's starting to seem tiring but I learn something every week so I plan to press on.  I usually try to post on Sunday night but it was busy with a run to the airport yesterday so I'm taking this gorgeous Monday morning to write about my husband's great-grandfather:

James Nelson Hackett

Known as Jamie to family and Jim to friends, he was born on 1 March 1878 in Smethport, McKean, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest of four children born to George Hackett and Ormanda Burt.  Jamie spent his entire life in McKean county and made his living as a farmer with a fertilizer sales business on the side. He was not a big man.  His World War I draft registration card describes Jamie as being 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall and of medium build.with black hair and brown eyes.

It is fun to read various reports of James Hackett in the McKean County Miner, the local paper.  Here is the notice of his wedding to Doris Laura Drake.

This wedding date continued for the next two generations as their daughter Gladys married Nelson Palmer on the same date in 1928 and her daughter, Dianne married Alan Wetjen on this day in 1960.  It was warm weather for all of them!

James and Doris had two surviving children, Leo and Gladys.  Gladys is my husband's grandmother. Two daughters, Opal and Pearl, died as infants.  Jamie was a life long Methodist and involved in the community as a charter member of the Grange. He was physically active, even climbing a tree at age 75 to shake the hickory nuts. (His son-in-law, Nelson, was too nervous to do it himself!)

 After Doris died in 1958, James lived another 11 years on his own.  Eventually he would spend the winters in Butler PA with his daughter Gladys because she worried that he would live on oatmeal (which he loved but he would never wash the dish afterwards!).  His last days were spent in a "rest home" in Smethport where he died on 8 April 1969.  Both James and Doris are buried in Smethport's Rose Hill Cemetery.

Even though James stayed in the same area his entire life, his posterity has traveled far and wide, from Africa to Tahiti, and points between.  I wonder if he would have liked to travel too.


  1. I think James Nelson Hackett was my Great Great Uncle!

    1. So happy to hear from you! And excited that we might be related. My tree shows that James had 1 brother, Leon, and 2 sisters, Edith and Effie. I only have information on the children of Effie. Are you descended from any of these siblings?