The History of The Elms


The Elms was built during the 1830's by Absalom & Emma Hall Jackson, aunt & uncle of Bolling Hall, Jr.  Bolling Hall, Sr. purchased this home circa 1890 from Absalom's son Walter Clark Jackson. W.C. Jackson was a Confederate doctor.

The Elms is one of the largest remaining homes of the era in Elmore County.  The home is 2-story with Egyptian and Greek architectural influences.  The Elms operated as a cotton plantation for 100 years and at its prime was the plantation home for a 16,000 acre area.

We are grateful to Maye Johnson Suddath  who provided the following information. Ms. Suddath is a great-great-great grand daughter or Absalom & Emma Jackson.

The following Jackson family information was compiled by Mary Francis Jackson Hudson (called Mamie).  She was born August 9, 1866, and married February 4, 1886, Ezekiel Augustus Hudson.  The typed record is annotated in her own handwriting.  She died in Montgomery on December 28, 1952.

Emma Bolling Hall was married to Absolom Jackson, September 28, 1826.

Their children were the following:

1. Walter Clark Jackson, born July 14, 1827.  Married to Mrs. Frances E. Saffold, December 5, 1855.

2. Jane Abercrombie Hall Jackson, born March 7, 1829.  Married to Dr. Wilson of Pickens County, Alabama, December 16, 1860.

3. Temperance Jackson, born February 7, 1831.  Married William Ivey, December 16, 1852.  Died November 12, 1853.

4. James Jackson, born September 9, 1832.  Married to Margaret Long, March 10, 1852. NOTE – Mary Francis Jackson Hudson has penciled in next to this the word “Papa.”

5. Mary Anne Jackson, born August 30, 1834.  Married to Washington T. Lary, December 16, 1852.

6. Emma Bolling Jackson, born March 9, 1837.  Died of cramp December 25, 1838.

7. Bolling Hall Jackson, born March 25, 1838.  Married Mary Ganzales, and died in Louisiana.

  1. 8.Crawford Motley Jackson  II, born July 19, 1840.  Married Lucy Young in 1862.  died August 11, 1897. NOTE – This is my great-grandfather who was born at the Elms.  He fought in the War Between the States and his son, Crawford Motley, Jr. was my mother’s father.  His uncle for whom he was named was Crawford Motley, who never married.

9. Absolom Jackson, born January 26, 1842.  Married to Leila Gilder, then to Laura Scott, both of Auburn, Alabama.

10. William Holt Jackson, born October 29, 1843.  Married Ellen Thompson.

11. Emma Jackson, born May 5, 1845.  Married John Zimmerman, then Percy Barron.

12. Amanda Jackson, born September 22, 1846.  Married to Mr. Long of Alabama.

Other Bolling Hall info gleaned from web sites...

Bolling Hall (1767 - 1836)

A Representative from Georgia; born in Dinwiddie County, Va., December 25, 1767; pursued classical studies; served in the Revolutionary War at the age of 16; moved to Hancock County, Ga., in 1792; held several local offices; member of the State house of representatives 1800-1802 and 1804-1806; elected as a Republican to the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Congresses (March 4, 1811-March 3, 1817); retired to private life; moved to Alabama in 1808 and engaged in planting near Montgomery; chairman of the reception committee to welcome General Lafayette in 1824; died on his plantation, “Ellerslie,” in Autauga (now Elmore) County, Ala., February 25, 1836; interment on his estate.


Bolling Hall, the grandfather of Col. Bolling Hall, Jr. CSA, came to Alabama from Georgia, along with his brother, Dixon Hall, about 1818. Both Bolling Hall and Dixon Hall were Revolutionary War veterans, having served in the Virginia Line. Dixon Hall established a plantation in the area that is now the Gunter Industrial Complex, where his grave can still be seen. Bolling Hall built his home "Ellerslie" in Millbrook, where it still stands toady. It is said that he brought with him glass for the windows of his new home, a first for this part of Alabama. It was in this home that Bolling Hall, Jr. was born, raised, and returned from war to die. An adjacent cemetery is the final resting place for Bolling and many of his family. 

From JJ. Smith re: the Bolling Halls

The picture of Bolling Hall, Jr., on the web site is accurate, but he is the son of Bolling Hall and Jane Abercrombie.  Mrs. Ashley’s information on your web site is correct about Bolling Hall.   He moved to Alabama in 1818.  He had several sons and daughters.  One son was another Bolling Hall.  One daughter was Emma Bolling Hall who married Absolom Jackson.  The second Bolling Hall had twelve children six of whom were sons.  Four of whom were killed in the War or died as the results of their wounds.  Colonel Bolling Hall, Jr., pictured on your web site was one that died of his wounds right after the War.  Absolom and Emma Bolling Hall were uncle and aunt of the Bolling Hall, Jr.  pictured on your web site.             go to bottom of this page.,M1

We are grateful to Mr. Joseph Judson Smith III,

the great, great grandson of James Jackson,

for providing the following photo and

historical information regarding James Jackson.

From the Montgomery, Alabama, Advertiser of November 18, 1902:

Capt. James Jackson was born on the 4th day of September 1832 and joined the Confederate Army on the 1st day of March 1862 as Capt. of Company E, 45th Alabama, went first to Mississippi, was there at the battle of Shiloh; then to Kentucky and was in all the battles in Tennessee and Georgia; was wounded at Mufreesboro and Atlanta.; wounded again at Franklin Tennessee, the day General Cleburne was, killed in which Division he was.  At that time he was acting Major of the Regiment.  He had his sword hilt shot off and the ball went through the fleshy part of his thumb and shot out some of the bones in his wrist.  He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel before the war closed.  He died in Montgomery, Alabama, April 5th, 1895

James Jackson’s obituary (in the Historic Photos section) records his father as Absolom and cites his living brothers: Crawford, William, and Absolom, all also cited on your web site.  Mrs. A.S. Cowan, cited in the obituary, was my great grandmother.  She was born Emma Bolling Jackson and married Algernon Sydney Cowan.  One of their daughters was Emma Bolling Cowan who married Joseph Judson Smith.  They are my grandparents.

The 1850 Census has the following listing :

House number 370

Absolom Jackson age 45

Emma B. Jackson age 40

Walter C.age 22

Jane S. H.age 21

Tempeage 19

Jamesage 17

Mary A.age 15

Boling (sic) H.age 12

Crawford H.age 14

William H.age 6

Emma B.age 5

Amanda age 4

Martha J.age 2

Absolomage 8


Clockwise above, left to right: The Elms,  Temperance Motley, Absolam’s mother;   James Jackson, Absolam’s Father; Bolling Hall, Jr. , nephew of Absolam & Emma Jackson

The History of The Elms

The Elms In The News

COPYRIGHT 2006  Montgomery Advertiser

Byline: Crystal Bonvillian

Dec. 27--COOSADA -- Peter Waldo never expected to move back to his native Alabama, much less as the owner of a historic -- and some say haunted -- plantation home.

Waldo and his wife, Janet, this month bought The Elms, a historic 1836 home along Lindsey Road in Coosada. They purchased the house from Jeanne Hall Ashley, a descendant of the family who created the plantation in the former Indian territory, Absalom and Emma Bolling Hall Jackson.

The home has a long and illustrious history. Absalom Jackson was the son of James Jackson, one of the signers of the Alabama Constitution, Ashley said. Emma Jackson's father was Bolling Hall, a Revolutionary War soldier and three-term U.S. congressman.

Ashley, who also owns Ellerslie, a circa-1818 home in nearby Millbrook, said she is disappointed to lose The Elms.

"It turned into an enormous financial and emotional drain," Ashley said. "It was too much for even a whole family to take care of without help. I finally saw the handwriting on the wall."

Ashley decided to keep Ellerslie and sell The Elms and another property. When it came to The Elms, she wanted to find a buyer who would cherish the home as though they were part of the original family.

That's where the Waldos of San Diego came in.

The couple and their two children, Graham, 7, and 5-year-old Elizabeth, came to the area in August to visit Peter Waldo's brother, the Rev. Mark Waldo Jr., pastor of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Millbrook. The minister lives across the street from The Elms.

"When we came here at the end of August, Janet said, 'You know we're not moving to Alabama, right?' " Peter Waldo said. "I said, 'Yeah, I know.' I thought I was a lifer in California after 25 years."

The couple began to warm toward the idea of Alabama life after just a few hours on Lindsey Road.

"We were just laying there, floating in the pool and listening to the cicadas," Janet Waldo said. "I said, 'You know, we could sell our house in San Diego.' " Mark Waldo, who knew Ashley was interested in selling The Elms, jumped out of the pool and set up a walk-through for that afternoon.

"We made an offer on the spot," Janet Waldo said. "We just knew it was the right decision."

The Waldos said they are looking forward to doing the renovations Ashley was unable to complete.

"This house belongs to the community," Janet Waldo said. "We feel an obligation."

The Waldos hope to open The Elms for tours, weddings and other events once the renovations are finished.  "It would be cool to have some sort of carnival here at Halloween," Janet said. "I would love to do something like that."

Ashley said several families who have rented rooms in the house over the years have reported seeing ghosts. The Waldos said they will not be deterred. "If it's haunted, though, it's haunted with good ghosts. There is such a good feeling in that house," Janet Waldo said. Her husband agreed. "It just feels like it has good bones," he said.

Ashley said the Waldos are the perfect people to take over The Elms. The Waldos feel the same way. "Peter's family is descended from Pocahontas and John Smith," Janet Waldo said. "When we were talking to Jeanne, we found out that she is, too. In some twisted way, The Elms is still in the family. It's a distant, distant connection, but it's there."

Copyright (c) 2006, Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

James Jackson, his wife Margaret Aisley Long Jackson, and their only daughter, at the time, Emma Bolling Jackson (Cowan).  The picture was taken just before James entered the Confederate Army.  

Additional Jackson family history has been provided by the Eley Family.

You may click on the links below to see scanned historical documents

which were graciously brought to The Elms and shared.

Eley-Jackson Family History - printed history of various family members

Jackson Family History - printed history of various family members

Ivey Family Record - Scanned copies from the family bible

To Tempe From Absalom - A letter

From JJ. Smith re: Crawford Motley

There were two Crawford Motley Jacksons.  The first was Absolom Jackson’s brother who died unmarried.  The Absolom refered to in the prior sentence is the Absolom Jackson that built The Elms. 

The first Crawford Motley Jackson (photo to the right) was born between 1817 and 1820, Auburn Hill, AL, and died February 26, 1860.  This Crawford had quite a distinguished career in Alabama history. See History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, page 888 -891. 

Crawford M. Jackson

Lived 1820 - 1860

Read more about him here.