Rare historical treasure returns to Norwich

Jackson family Bible discovered at rummage sale

Discovered in a box of discarded books being sold at a church rummage sale in Montpelier, a Bible belonging to Brigadier General Alonzo Jackman has made its way back to Norwich. The University's first graduate and later a member of the faculty, Jackman is an indelible part of Norwich history.

Jackman Family Bible
Pictured (L-R): Norwich museum curator Marielle Fortier, President Richard Schneider, CFO Rick Rebmann, Erika Mitchell, and Seth Frisbe

Last summer, book dealers Erika Mitchell and Seth Frisbe purchased ten boxes of religious books at a local rummage sale. In going through the boxes, they discovered the 167-year-old tome.

"As soon as I opened it, I realized it was a family Bible," Mitchell said. Published in 1839 and presented at Jackman’s marriage in 1856, the Bible contains the birth, marriage and death records of the Jackman family.

In perusing the Bible, Mitchell learned that Jackman had produced two children, a son and a daughter, both of whom died before producing heirs. It was at that point that the book collectors decided to donate the Bible to Norwich.

"We felt that this was the proper place for it," Mitchell said.

On December 21, Mitchell and Frisbie presented the Bible to Norwich President Richard Schneider at his office in Jackman Hall, named for the famous general.

A prominent nineteenth-century Vermont visionary, Jackman was the first person to put forth the radical idea of "instant communication", drawing up detailed plans for the construction and method of laying a telegraph cable across the Atlantic.

President Schneider expressed his utmost gratitude to Mitchell and Frisbe for donating their find to the University. "We are absolutely thrilled to have this," Schneider said. "General Jackman certainly was an incredible figure in the history of our University and of the nation. This Bible will make a great addition to our collection."

Family Record in the Jackman Bible

Alonzo Jackman 1809-1879

Son of a farmer, BG Alonzo Jackman was born in Thetford, Vermont. Rendered fatherless at age three, he left home at the tender age of eleven, and spent the next ten years as a laborer. He graduated from Norwich University in 1836, and, a short time later, accepted an appointment on the faculty.

An excellent tactician and drill-master, Professor Jackman was appointed Brigade drill-master with the rank of major by the Governor of New Hampshire, drilling the officers of the militia of that state in 1847 and 1848. In 1857, the cadets of Norwich University were organized as an infantry company under militia law, and Professor Jackman was commissioned a captain. In 1859, he was commissioned colonel of the Second Regiment, and the next year when the Vermont militia were consolidated into one brigade, he became its brigadier-general.

Offered the command of the first regiment of Vermont volunteers after the outbreak of the Civil War, Jackman set aside personal ambition to remain at his post, qualifying young men for duty as officers, as requested by Governor Fairbanks. Experts credit the famous repulse of Pickett's charge during the pivotal battle of Gettysburg in part due to the training of soldiers by the cadets under Jackman's direction.