FRED SCHUYLER JACKSON

FRED SCHUYLER JACKSON, of Topeka, prominent lawyer, former congressman, ex-attorney-general of Kansas, is one of the many able men who have made Kansas notable as a commonwealth.

His father was Martin Van Buren Jackson, who bore a conspicuous part in the border warfare of Kansas. Fred S. Jackson was born April 19, 1868, and his birth occurred in the block house at Stanton near Osawatomie. His early education came chiefly from the public schools of Miami and Greenwood counties, and of earlier experiences and service rendered should be mentioned five years spent in the schoolroom as a teacher. In the meantime he read law, and in 1891 was admitted to the bar. In order to equip himself the better for his chosen profession he then became a student in the Iaw department of the University of Kansas, where he was graduated with high credit.

In the meantime he had begun practice at Eureka, and it required only a few years for a man of his excellent ability, his knowledge of men, and his high ambition to serve, to build up a large clientage and extend his reputation as a lawyer to many remote quarters of the state.

After concluding his service in the office of county attorney, his abilities attracted the attention of C. C. Coleman, then attorney-general of Kansas, who induced Mr. Jackson to become first assistant in the attorney- general's office. He was assistant attorney-general of Kansas until January, 1907, when as a result of the election in the preceding fall he became chief in the same office. Mr. Jackson made a splendid administration during his two terms as attorney-general. At the beginning of his second term there occurred an impressive and significant demonstration during the inaugural ceremonies. Reference to this was made by the Topeka Capital in the following language: "The demonstration toward Attorney General Jackson was as spontaneous and unexpected as it was general. It was the tribute to the faithful official. That was its significance. What the big audience at the Auditorium meant was to testify their hearty approval of a man who without making much noise about it, in the regular and orderly course of his duty, had made the laws of the state respected by enforcing them. It testified to the fact that the man who is efficient and applies himself to the full performance of his duties will always reach the finest of all rewards, what Governor Hughes in his inaugural the other day called 'the appropriate tribute of a grateful people.' The 'appropriate tribute' to Attorney General Jackson yesterday was an object lesson to every public official."

An unusual amount of important litigation fell within his term of office as attorney-general. It was Fred Jackson who successfully prosecuted the brewery interests for evasion of the state laws, and in this one instance, after a bitter fight, he was able to clear the state of dramshops and illegal liquor selling. No less important were his suits to enforce anti-trust laws, and the ability with which he conducted those against the Harvester and the Standard Oil trusts. The unique forms of the suits and tactics adopted in these cases attracted favorable comments from some of the greatest lawyers of the nation.

His service as attorney-general would have been sufficient to give him a high place in Kansas history, but that was only a part of his varied activities. It is very likely that Fred S. Jackson has done more to remodel defective court procedure and has drafted and secured the enactment of more practical and essential laws than any other one man in Kansas.

In 1910, while still holding the office of attorney-general Mr. Jackson permitted the use of his name as the progressive republican candidate for Congress from the Fourth Congressional District. He was elected in the fall of that year and served a full term, expiring in March, 1913. As a progressive republican, though on the minority side of the House, Congressman Jackson again and again made his work such as to attract national attention. For one thing, he took a sturdy stand in the House in favor of complete publicity of campaign expenses. There was such a tremendous public opinion behind such a bill that neither party could well have escaped the responsibility of proposing such a measure, but Congressman Jackson exposed the meretricious quality of the support which was given the proposal when he introduced a bill providing that not only should candidates for Congress publish their regular campaign expenses, but all outlays of money made both before and subsequent to election, including primary expenses. This bill passed the House, but subsequently by parliamentary tactics a substitute measure was enacted in its stead. He was also author of an anti-trust bill which was in harmony with the more advanced thought of the time, and showed more discrimination than some similar measures that had been proposed both before and since. As a member of a committee of ten congressmen and senators selected by the Anti-Saloon League of America, he helped frame and enact the Webb-Kenyon Liquor Bill and was active in securing the first parcels post law.

On October 30, 1895, Mr. Jackson married Miss Inez Sarah Wood. Their one son, Schuyler Wood Jackson was born November 24, 1904. Mrs. Jackson was born in Pawnee County, Nebraska, April 19, 1873, but in early childhood was brought to Brown County, Kansas, by her parents. Mrs. Jackson is a graduate from the State Normal School at Emporia and was a successful teacher until her marriage with Mr. Jackson.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Teri Gaston, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September, 1997.
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