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County seat of Amador County, Jackson has a population of 3,877 (please see extensive census data at the bottom of this page). It was founded a as a Gold Rush camp in 1848 and named for Colonel A. M. Jackson, who came to the area from Jacksonville on the Tuolumne River. Jackson had been a leader in the Mexican War.

By 1850 Jackson had grown to a community of 100 homes and vied with Mokelumne Hill to be the county seat. In an election, Mokelumne Hill won, but William Smith, first judge in the county, declared Jackson the winner anyway. A couple of men convinced the county clerk, Colonel Collyer, that he should hand over the records so they could be taken to Jackson. Later Collyer said he had been tricked, but Judge Smith felt insulted enough to shoot and kill Collyer on the street in Jackson. Even in the rip-roaring lawlessness of the times, this was a bit much, and Smith was forced from office.

The worst mine disaster in the Southern Mines occurred at the Argonaut in 1922 when fire broke out. The mine shaft was sealed off to smother the flames and 47 men were trapped. A rescue effort took too long, and all the men died. By the time the mine closed in 1942 it had reached a depth of 6,152 feet and the neighboring Kennedy mine was 5,912 feet The mines were the deepest in the world at the time. The huge 58-foot-high tailing wheels from the Kennedy Mine still stand a little ways north of Jackson.

No visit to Jackson is complete without a stroll through its crowded downtown, pictured below. Here visitors will find antique shops and much more.

Jackson's lively history is well illustrated in the book, Images of America: Jackson, by Deborah Coleen Cook. To order the 128-page book, which was published in 2007, contact Arcadia Publishing.

If you'd like an autographed copy, you can contact the author, Deborah Coleen Cook, directly.

In this aerial view looking north, the buildings of oldtown Jackson crowd together while Highway 49 curves to the left.
At the entrance to the National Hotel, a sign shows off the variety of rooms available.
(above) The huge 58-foot-high tailing wheels from the Kennedy Mine still stand a little ways north of Jackson.
North of Jackson, these huge tailing wheels mark the site of old gold mining operations. They're falling into disrepair, as shown below.
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