Paper: An Introduction to the History of Joseph Jefferson Jackson

In restaurants, rather than ask someone to read the menu to him, he would wait until his teammates ordered, and then order one of the things that he heard.[4] Jackson was born in Pickens County, South Carolina, the oldest son in the family. His father George was a sharecropper. He moved the family to Pelzer, South Carolina while Jackson was still a baby.[5] A few years afterwards the family moved to a company town called Brandon Mill, on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina.[6] Starting at the age of six or seven, Jackson worked in one of the town's textile mill as a “linthead", which means dusting the floors.[6] Since Joe was doing 12 hour shifts in the mill, and since education at the time was a luxury the Jackson family couldn't afford, Jackson was uneducated.[6] His lack of education would be an issue throughout Jackson's life. It would become a factor during the Black Sox Scandal and has even affected the value of his memorabilia in the collectibles market. Because Jackson was uneducated, he often had his wife sign his signature. Consequently, anything actually autographed by Jackson himself brings a premium when sold, including one autograph which was sold for $23,500 in 1990.[7] An attack of measles almost killed him when he was ten. He was in bed for two months, paralyzed while he was nursed back to health by his mother.[8] In 1900, when he was 13 years old, his mother was approached by one of the owners of the Mill and he started to play for the Brandon Mill baseball team.[9] He was the youngest player on the team. He was paid $2.50 to play on Saturdays.[8] He was originally placed as a pitcher, but one day he accidentally broke another player's arm with a fastball. No one wanted to bat against him so the manager of the team placed him in the outfield. His hitting ability made him a celebrity around town. Around that time he was given a baseball bat which he named Black Betsy....