The Inspiring Case Of Nimrod Jackson

Did you know?

In 1910, a tragic event happened between Byron and Fort Valley.  Today, in the middle of an open field stands a lone tombstone of a man who is buried 65 feet beneath it.  This is the incredible “saga” of Nimrod Jackson.  Before we get into what happened, we must first share his history.

Sometime in 1845, Jackson was actually born into slavery.  After the emancipation, it’s said he moved to Houston County and began working on the railroad.  What is known as fact is that he worked in Byron at the railroad “flag stop” for the Southwestern Railroad, known as “Stop One and One Half.” His job was to supply trains with wood as they stopped at his station.

Another fact is that he was exceptionally well loved and highly regarded in his community. It appears that he was a very outgoing, loving man.  All walks of life thought well of him.  Some even called him a leader of “his people.”

It’s also important to note that he was an exceedingly hard worker.  In fact, the officials from the railroad would sing his praises, according to Echoes From the Valley” by Billy Powell, because he “thoroughly and cheerfully” did his job so well, any man would have been happy to have him around.

For many, during that time, hard work on one job wasn’t financially efficient enough.  Because of that, Nimrod would begin digging and repairing wells to supplement his income.  Digging wells during that period was one of the hardest jobs you could do.  Armed with a shovel, bucket, and an A-frame crane to tie a rope around it and to himself to help himself to get out, he would work tirelessly for days to get the job done.

Unfortunately,  in the summer of 1910, he found himself inside of a well when it partially collapsed and trapped his legs 65 feet below the Earth.  The following six day rescue effort is a testament to how beloved he was to all.

It’s said that dozens of men showed up immediately.  To paint the picture, we were told today by the current property owner that “almost the whole county stopped what they were doing to come to his aid.”  The owner’s aunt was a first-hand witness to what happened that fateful week.  (We thank him for sharing this with us.)

Dozens of men jumped into action to try and dig around the trapped Jackson, but he was “too stuck.”  They began to dig a well next to his well to try and get him out.  They worked non-stop, around the clock for six days to reach him.

During that time, thousands of people gathered to help and witness the rescue.  They brought him food, coats, and even whiskey, to which he refused because he “felt too close to meeting his maker.”  He actually remained in good spirits.  According to Powell, when asked if he was okay, he’d half jokingly respond with, “sure would like to get out.”

Sadly, all of the efforts to rescue him would fall short.  Every time some progress was gained, more dirt would fall in the hole.  By the end of the sixth day, the second well reached Nimrod Jackson’s depth, but the earth began to collapse in his hole rapidly.  He only had enough time to utter either “farewell, ole world farewell,” or “oh, Lordy, I’s done” before he was completely covered.  The force of the dirt and sand would have been enough to end his life instantly.

A local judge deemed any effort to retrieve his body too dangerous. Nimrod’s final resting place is exactly where he passed away on April 11th, 1910.  The whole area mourned the loss of the man they had come to know and love.

Unfortunately, his grave remained unmarked, and he didn’t have an official “funeral service” (that is recorded) until 2005.  That happened because of a campaign that was started by locals and his descendants.  Today, there is one tombstone surrounded by a metal fence in an open field, marking his final resting place.

There have been stories of Nimrod “getting lonely” at night and making noise.  This was mostly because there used to be an old house next to his grave, and it would creak and moan because of its age.  Any “haunting” associated with his site has been just hearsay or superstition.    Nonetheless, we couldn’t pass this unbelievable story up about an incredible man who survived the Civil War as a slave and became a legend.  May he truly rest in peace.

Important Notes

Hey!  We hope you enjoyed this amazing tale about Nimrod Jackson.  There’s a few things we wanted to share.  The first is that there was actually another man named Nimrod Jackson who worked at the same railroad stop at the same time.  We were careful not to mix their stories up. Also, to finish that note, the other Jackson was a white man.  What are the odds? 

Also, Middle Georgia Haunted History met with the owner of the land that his grave sits on.  We came to an agreement that we will be up keeping his grave and area around it from now on.  We deeply encourage you to do this same thing with graves that need help or even have been neglected.  It’s up to all of us to play a role in our community!  We thank him very much for allowing us to speak with him and allowing us on his property.  It is trespassing to visit his grave at any time.  To be frank, do not go there.

Lastly, to learn more about Nimrod Jackson, his legacy, and the people who launched a campaign for him, read “Echoes From the Valley” by Billy Powell.  Special thank you to Mr. Powell as well for graciously speaking with us about this subject.


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