By Brett Nolan
When John Henry Jacks had William Monson built his Mandarin home in 1887, the area was a rural farming community of about 1200 people known for its citrus industry and vegetable production.
The Jacks residence “reflects the folk or cracker building tradition,” a style popular throughout the South during the 19th century. This house is classified in the gable-front-and-wing family of folk architecture. John Henry and Ella Jacks had five children, many of whom were born in the home because it would have been very strenuous to ride a horse and buggy to Jacksonville from Mandarin. Doctors in the area would make house visits instead. The family expanded the home around 1900, creating rooms on both first and second floors. Still visible today by a mark, the house originally ended at the porch.
Ella was a teacher; John Henry farmed his land. He introduced celery to the area and grew tomatoes and strawberries for both the local and northern markets. The home has continuously been lived in since construction, with descendants of the Jacks family occupying the home throughout most of the 20th century. Bill and Anne Morrow, John Henry’s great grandchildren, fondly remember visiting the house. Stanley Webb and his wife Mary “Polly,” one of the Jackses’ five children, were living in the house at the time. The Morrows recall chickens and a large garden that included a grape arbor. When Webb would go out on the river in his rowboat, his wife would stand on the front porch and, while placing two fingers in her mouth, would make one vociferous whistle to summon his return.
Ted Hedrick bought the house in 2015 and has been renovating the home. He is preserving historical integrity, as it still features original detailing including doors, a staircase, door surrounds, baseboards, three mantles, lights, and flooring. Hedrick hopes to complete the project by this summer, when he will put the restored house back on the market.
(Note: The research collected for this article came from William and Anne Morrow (descendants of the Jacks family), Ted Hedrick (current owner) and the Designation Application Report for the John Henry Jacks Residence, City of Jacksonville Ordinance 2000-1088).
Brett Nolan is a volunteer with the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society. Visit www.mandarinmuseum.net for more information on Mandarin’s history.
Photo courtesy Bill and Anne Morrow
Unidentified ladies behind the Jacks house.