McFarland Family History
William Jackson McFarland (1855-1926)
Joe McFarland's grandfather was a sheriff of Jasper County, Mississippi.
His election at age 32 was in 1887.
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William Jackson McFarland This chapter is about Joe McFarland's grandfather, whom Joe knew during his younger years in Bay Springs. William Jackson McFarland was born in Heidelberg, Mississippi on July 31, 1855. William Jackson was seven years old when his father went off to war. The book develops the theory that this war had a very lasting effect on the young William Jackson and was the reason that he hardly used a firearm during all his years in law enforcement.

William Jackson was educated in Jasper County at the public school which was probably built by his father and Uncle George. Life was not too good for William Jackson and his family in the era of Reconstruction in Jasper County. In addition to other problems on the farm, Uncle George moved his large family back to the farm in Jasper County with J.B. McFarland's family. No doubt, young William Jackson learned to defend himself with his hands against these boys. This training would be useful later in life as William Jackson followed his Uncle George into law enforcement.

William Jackson married J. Adeline Campbell sometime prior to 1880. The young couple had two wonderful children: Mattie McFarland and my grandfather, John Alexander McFarland (Chapter Seven). Like many other McFarland women, Adeline Campbell suffered an early death. She died on August 22, 1881, when her baby (John Alexander McFarland) was only four months old. Like his grandfather, J.B. McFarland, John Alexander McFarland would be raised by a stepmother.

By all accounts, William Jackson McFarland was a bulwark of a man. He stood more than six feet tall, a very large man for his day. He was the sheriff of Jasper County, Mississippi, on and off for 26 years. During his terms as sheriff, he was known for his large white hat that he always wore as he rode his horse through Bay Springs and other parts of the county.

We know that he was a very large man, and he must have depended on his physical strength rather than a gun. However, his main strength came from his immovable faith in God. His reputation as a man of the law was second to his reputation as a man of the Word.

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Without a single doubt, the most famous story of William Jackson McFarland is the way the Lord used him to rebuild the church after a disastrous fire. Can you imagine the shock of the members when William Jackson announced that he had personally maintained a fire policy without the knowledge of the other church members?

With the proceeds from the insurance policy, Bay Springs Presbyterian Church then constructed the "block building" that was on the corner of Highway 18 and Highway 15. This church building (where I grew up) did not have a stick of wood in it. William Jackson would only attend church in this building for just a little more than two years. This faithful servant of the Lord was called home to his Master on January 5, 1926.

There is no doubt that the reason for the great confidence of the public in William Jackson was his well-deserved reputation for integrity and honesty. Looking back to his forefathers, one can see how Joe McFarland's grandfather inherited these virtues.