Jackson Springs History
Legend has it that Jackson Springs history started when a mineral spring was
discovered by a hunter named Jackson who, while tracking a wounded deer during
extremely dry weather, discovered a very damp place where the deer had gone to
die. Kicking the leaves aside, Jackson found a huge brown rock with water
flowing from a crevice in it. The water, when tested later, proved to be mineral
water and won second place for the best medicinal water in America at the 1904
St. Louis World’s Fair.
A town grew around the spring with a hotel, a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts,
a large lake with an electric plant that lit the 100 hotel rooms as
well as the annex. As many as six trains per day backed into Jackson Springs
from West End, bringing guests for the resort and taking the jugs and carboys of
water out to other destinations. As soon as school was dismissed each year,
whole families arrived. The town soon had a drug store, a hardware store, a bowling
alley, a barbershop, a cotton gin, a post office, and an early “filling
The town was incorporated in 1921 and was laid out in a perfect square with
each side two miles long and the spring in the middle. For entertainment there
was boating, swimming at the lake, croquet, golfing, tennis, dancing in the
pavilion at the spring with a “name orchestra”, and also square dancing,
horseback riding, bridge, checkers and other games. Some of the famous guests
were John Phillip Sousa, Annie Oakley and her husband, and Charles Brantley
In 1817 the Presbyterian Church was founded but not organized with officers
until 1819. The first church building was built in 1820; the second building was
built at a cost of $575 in 1853. The present sanctuary is that 1853 building
with a wing added in the late 1940’s and another in the early 1990’s. In 1899
the name was changed from Mineral Spring church to Jackson Springs Church and it
is believed that the plurality of springs came about because of the discovery
that there are two separate springs in the big brown rock. Forty ministers have
been installed to serve the church with numerous others who served as Interim
The earliest school actually in Jackson Springs history was the Academy started in
1840 by the Rev. Hugh McLaurin, the minister of the church. In the latter half
of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century there had been
several small schools nearby that had educated the children of Jackson Springs.
After the Rev. McLaurin moved to Georgia, Professor Nevin Daniels Josephus
Clark, one of the earliest graduates of the University of North Carolina, became
the teacher and guided the school into the 20th century. It closed during the
Civil War to allow N.D.J. Clark to serve in the Confederate Army, but he
reopened it after the war and operated it until just before Jackson Springs High
School opened in 1915. His students came from miles around and boarded in the
Jackson Springs High School and Elise Academy in Robbins were at one time the
only two accredited high schools in Moore County. Each student in the county
must spend at least his or her senior year at one of these two schools in order
to be graduated from an accredited school. Students boarded in homes, lived in
the dormitory, or groups rented a house together and a teacher or the principal
stayed in the house also. The first graduating class of Jackson Springs High
School was the Class of 1919 with four female members. The last official
graduating class was the Class of 1927. The high school had been consolidated
with either West End High in Moore County or Candor High in Montgomery.
A very few determined students wanted a Jackson Springs diploma and refused
to go to either Candor or West End. The last high school principal, Thaddeus N.
Frye, agreed to stay with the seven or eight and teach their senior year. This
must have been a clandestine school. A member of that Class of 1928, now
deceased, told about it; a grade school student now living in Florida, remembers
that during his sixth grade year, “something odd” was happening in the upper
dormitory. He remembered seeing people go in and out of the building during the
day and his class and the other elementary grades were given very definite
instructions that they were NEVER TO GO NEAR THAT BUILDING when out for recess.
T.N. Frye, who later became the principal of Candor High School, has a missing
year in his educational career between his employment in Moore County at Jackson
Springs and his next employment in Montgomery County. Nelson Frye, son of T.N.
Frye, said that is exactly the sort of thing his dad would have done—help
someone who needed (or wanted) help.
The school existed as an elementary school until the spring of 1931 when the
school was completely closed and all students then went to West End School. The
central high school building was bought by the community and remodeled. It is
presently the Community Center and meeting place of the Jackson Springs
The advent of the automobile, which allowed people to go to the mountains or
the beach for vacations, and the Depression of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s
plus the 1932 fire that destroyed the hotel finished the resort of Jackson
Springs. Today, only the post office, the church and a building of the high
school remain. But the community of people who call Jackson Springs home is
alive and well in the 21st Century creating more
Does your family have ties to Jackson Springs History? Tell us about it here.
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