Thursday, July 4, 2019

Revolutionary War Soldier John Jacobs

In honor of the 4th of July this year I wanted to look at one of my Revolutionary War Veterans-John Jacobs to see what I could find out about his service.  John is my maternal 6th great-grandfather and the father of Eleanor Jacobs Coolbaugh  and the husband of Eliza Pensel Jacobs (click on links to see their stories).  John was a Pennsylvania native.

I was able to learn that John Jacobs (1748-1831) served as a private in the 1st battalion, Essex County, New Jersey militia, and was in the battle of Sullivan's Island.  I was able to find the following listing of Enlisted Men in the book History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey on page 34 which lists John as a Private in Captain Cornelius Speer’s Company; also Captain Craig’s Company, State Troops in Continental Army.

I was also able to learn that John was in the battle of Sullivan’s Island.  When researching the Sullivan Island Battle, sometimes referred to as Battle of Fort Sullivan or First Siege of Charleston, I learned that Sullivan’s Island is in Charleston County, South Carolina off the coast at the entrance to Charleston Harbor.  This battle, part of the Southern Theater 1775-1782,  took place on 28 June 1776.  This was the first attempt by the British with their superior navy to begin a military push into the rebellious southern colonies.  The British were unable to break the American defense following stiff resistance from an entire day’s bombardment and significant damage to their fleet making this an American Victory!

I also learned in my research that John’s widow Eliza received a pension starting in 1832.  After some additional research I was able to locate the following pension card for John Jacob:

Finally, I now have a Pension # so I can get a copy of John’s Pension Records to see if there is any additional information, perhaps even about his parents.  More to follow on this.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. Happy 4th. Very cool that we both wrote about ancestors with links to Pennsylvania. You should be able to find his pension at Fold3. I need to find out if my two soldiers I wrote about today also have pensions.

    1. Thanks Diane! I was not able to find anything on Fold3. Wonder if he ever got a pension?

    2. And on a secodn look in Fold 3 I was able to locate the Pension Record, all 28 pages of it YEA!!! More to follow...

  2. Debby,
    It was interesting to read the full account of the widows application made by Eliza who at the time of application had become nearly blind and very much debilitated, such that her son, John, Junior who at the time was 68 and limping with a bad leg himself, did all the presentation on her behalf and that after much back and forth due to there being no papers documenting my 4th great grandfather John Jacobs military service, and several depositions were taken, she finally was granted 6 months military service (a gross underestimate) and entitled to widow's benefit for the very few months or years she had left. The sad and sort of strange aspect of this is that John Sr's grandson, William was apparently a landowner of some stature during the mid 1800's and I don't see where he stepped in to provide any care or resources for his grandmother, leaving all the responsibility to his aging father. Perhaps those folks have what we now call the sandwich generation where, after raising children, we find ourselves providing care for elderly parents. -- John Jacobs

  3. In the deposition material in Eliza Jacobs widows benefit claim, John, Jr's testimony was that he had heard his father say "many times" that he fought in many engagements throughout the war, but specifically, he mentioned Sullivan's Islands battle. and Minisink -- JJ

  4. Thank-you Jake for the additional information! I am glad you enjoyed reading the full account. There is more to the record that I still need to sort through.