About Patrick Tracy Jackson
Patrick Tracy Jackson (14 August 1780–12 September 1847) was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the youngest son of Jonathan Jackson and his second wife, Hannah Story Jackson. He was also the brother of Charles Jackson, grandfather of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
At the age of fifteen, P.T. Jackson was apprenticed to William Bartlett, a Newburyport merchant. After a career at sea on behalf of both Bartlett and his elder brother Henry Jackson from 1799 to 1808, P.T. Jackson established himself in Boston as a merchant specializing in the East and West Indies trade. Despite curtailed shipping interests during the War of 1812, Jackson collaborated with his brother-in-law Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) to establish a textile factory in Waltham, Massachusetts and with him founded the Boston Manufacturing Company in 1813. The Waltham factory was the first to integrate all the steps of converting raw cotton into cotton cloth into one mill building.
By 1820, the limited waterpower of the Charles River led Jackson and his colleagues to establish the Merrimack Manufacturing Company [to produce printed calico cloth] at the Pawtucket Falls on the Merrimack River. Incorporated as the town of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1826, it was named for Francis Cabot Lowell. In 1830, problems of transportation and communication by canal and turnpike convinced Jackson to oversee the construction of the Boston & Lowell Railroad, the first railroad to receive a charter from the Massachusetts General Court and established the standard American rail gauge. Despite a desire to retire after the railroad began operating in 1835, a restless nature and some poor business decisions kept Jackson active in business until his death in 1847.