Sheldon Jackson was born on May 18, 1834, in Minaville, New York. At the age of four, his parents dedicated him to the service of God.
He graduated from Union College in 1855.
He graduated in 1858 from Princeton Theological Seminary, and was ordained.
He was a Presbyterian missionary for 10 years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and from 1870 to 1882, became the superintendent of Presbyterian missions from New Mexico to Minnesota. Everywhere he went he sought to preach the Gospel to whatever group could be assembled. He was usually the first preacher to go to a new settlement or mining camp. Started churches everywhere as well as schools, and recruited others to join him in frontier missions. At one point, he was able to organize seven churches in 15 days!
In 1872, he established an illustrated monthly paper, entitled “The Rocky Mountain Presbyterian,” at Denver, Colorado, of which he was editor and proprietor for ten years.
The degree of D.D. was conferred on him by Hanover College in 1874.
He was quite short, being just five feet tall, but he considered this a special gift of God, enabling him to sleep anywhere. Because of his diminutive size, he was able to sleep on the floor in stage coaches, log hollows, or canoes.
When the United States purchased Alaska, he out there almost immediately, in 1884. He explored the new territory, and established churches and schools everywhere possible, being the supervisor of Alaska missions for the Presbyterians.
He is estimated to have travelled over a million miles and that he oversaw the starting of 886 churches.
He published Alaska and Missions on the North Pacific Coast in 1880; and Education in Alaska in 1886.
In 1892, he was frustrated about the over the unlimited whale and seal hunting that was going on, and he sought for a solution to problem of the famine that was sure to come upon the Eskimos. Seeking alternative forms of meat, he successively introduced reindeer from Siberia and Lapland into Alaska.
In 1897, he was elected the moderator of the Presbyterian Church.
Sheldon Jackson died on May 2, 1909, in Ashville, North Carolina.
Unfortunately there are a few that criticize his work today as they did during his lifetime because he believed strongly that to be a Christian, one must renounce the Indian culture and way of life. This, sadly, is what has become wrong with much of Christianity today, and Presbyterianism. The American Indian lifestyle is one beset with many false ideas and “traditions” and overwhelming depraved habits. In order for an Indian to get saved, he must separate from his world and come out and embrace the ways of Christ. If anything, Missionary Jackson was wrong in forcing Presbyterianism on the Indians with great vigor, instead of taking time to read the Scriptures and realize that his own religious upbringing was faulty doctrinally and in practice because it sought to reform heathen practices and remake them into “Christian” practices, which is the very thing he insisted the Indians not do!
Just as the protection of the horrible beasts that destroy human life (so called endangered wolves, mountain lions, bears, etc.) has brought back a serious danger to American well-being and to farmers, so the protection of the American Indian cultures and practices have brought back a serious danger to American wellbeing and health (including the seemingly unlimited freedom to establish “businesses” of money theft in the form of casinos, and federally sponsored instruction of the public in their dangerous heathenistic philosophies and degrading depravity).
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Corinthians 6:17-18).
Special note: The publication of the year in which certain events took place in his life vary widely! The years chosen for this article were made based on the supposed fact checking quality of each cited reference. Much more research needs to be done to establish the dates, and the ones mentioned should be considered suggestions.
J.N. Akers. Editors J. D. Douglas, Philip Wesley Comfort and Donald Mitchell, Who's Who in Christian History, (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1997, c1992), “Jackson, Sheldon.”
Paul Lagass and Columbia University, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. (New York; Detroit: Columbia University Press; Sold and distributed by Gale Group, 2000), “Jackson, Sheldon.”
Robert J. Morgan, Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook: 2003 Edition, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), p. 144
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997), May 18.
Jace Weaver, “From I—Hermeneutics to We—Hermeneutics: Native Americans and the Post-Colonial.” Editors Laura E. Donaldson, Laura E. Donaldson and Society of Biblical Literature, Semeia. "An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism" (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 1996, 1998), Vol. 75, p. 157. Article cites criticism of Sheldon Jackson’s approach to education of the Alaskan “Natives.”
"Sheldon Jackson." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 18 Jul. 2010 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/298865/Sheldon-Jackson>.