Maria Jackson was born Maria Clopton in Richmond, Virginia, on September 20, 1862. Her father was killed in the Civil War. Her mother, Mary Boyd Clopton, came to Portland in 1871 with Maria and her brother, Frank, to teach at St. Helen's Hall (the predecessor of the Oregon Episcopal School). The family later moved to eastern Oregon, where Maria met Sam Jackson. Maria was described as "...a small person, so slender and lithesome...with a peppery vigor and decisiveness...". Sam was said to resemble President Abraham Lincoln. Sam and Maria were married in Pendleton, Oregon in 1886. Their two sons, Francis and Philip, were born while they lived in that city.
Sam Jackson and the Oregon Daily Journal
Charles Samuel ("Sam") Jackson had come to Pendleton from Virginia in 1880 and had purchased the East Oregonian newspaper in 1881. He published the newspaper and engaged in several other business ventures in eastern Oregon. In 1902 he moved to Portland to assume control of the faltering Portland Evening Journal. He promptly changed the name to the Oregon Daily Journal and issued a ringing challenge to Portland's reigning newspaper, The Oregonian.
"The Journal in head and heart will stand for the people, be truly Democratic and free from political entanglements and machinations, believing in the principles that promise the greatest good to the greatest number—to ALL MEN, regardless of race, creed or previous condition of servitude......It shall be a FAIR newspaper and not a dull and selfish sheet......(and) a credit to 'Where rolls the Oregon' country..."
-C.S. Jackson editorial,
Oregon Daily Journal,
July 23, 1902.
A Civil Servant
Maria Jackson "...became a formative influence in many civic affairs" in her own right. She took an active interest in the Journal, especially in its employees; supported many charities; promoted Oregon's dairy industry; urged the use of the Spanish-American war Battleship Oregon as a marine museum in the Portland harbor; and in 1942 was the major force in organizing and maintaining the George White Service Center as a downtown recreation and service club for World War II service men and women stationed in or passing through Portland. In 1944, she was honored as Portland's First Citizen by the Portland Realty Board.
The Jackson Foundation is Created
The Jackson Foundation was created in October 1960 pursuant to the last will of Maria C. Jackson. Mrs. Jackson died February 3, 1956. Her husband, Charles Samuel ("Sam") Jackson, had died December 27, 1924.
The Oregon Journal Continues Until 1982
The Oregon Journal continued as an independent newspaper following the deaths of Philip Jackson in 1953 and Maria Jackson in 1956. In 1959, the Journal pressmen began a labor strike that would continue for more than five years. Fearing that the mounting losses would bankrupt the newspaper and thereby deprive The Jackson Foundation of much of its principal, the Foundation trustees sold the Journal in 1961 to the owner of The Oregonian. The sale agreement required the new owner to continue the Journal under its independent editors until 1981. The separate publication of the Oregon Journal was finally ended on September 4, 1982.
The Jackson Foundation Today
Maria C. Jackson survived her husband, both of her sons and her grandson. She lived an active life in Portland until her death at age 93. She bequeathed relatively small amounts to her great grandson and her chauffeur and left the bulk of her estate to three trustees to establish The Jackson Foundation. The Foundation continues today as a permanent fund governed by the following language in her will:
The Jackson Foundation is currently administered by the U.S. Bank Charitable Services Group and individual trustees, Emily Karr and Julie Vigeland.