The mystery is being lifted little-by-little around James Jackson, whose tombstone was recently unearthed in Washington Square Park. In under a week it was theorized that Jackson resided at 19 East George Street (the former name of Market Street), and was a watchman and grocer.

Now CityRoom reports that by "using centuries-old tax records, city directories, court files and medical examiners logs, historians have begun to piece together the life of Mr. Jackson, an Irish immigrant." Joan H. Geismar, the Parks Deptment's archaeological consultant who made the discovery, said, “I find this an extraordinary story, the surprise of it and the record of it. We’ve been able to find out what was going on then.”

Jackson was a young Irish immigrant who became a citizen, started a family and contracted yellow fever, which caused his death. "A tax assessment record declares the value of Mr. Jackson’s personal estate at $262," he lost a child a year before his own death, and his widow kept living at their home after he died. While Washington Square Park was a potters field at one time, it also housed some church cemeteries. In a New York Gazette article dated August 28, 1799, it explains that "[during an outbreak of yellow fever] It is important to remark here that no persons dead of fever are admitted into any other cemetery, which was not the case heretofore.”

Government officials in Ireland are attempting to document parts of his life there, as well, and would eventually like to discover some ancestors or descendants.