William R. Jacobs (Part II)

I would be remiss in my research and tell-all if I did not include what little info I have on William R. Jacobs. He very well may have been the husband of Mary E. McGraw, not the previously posted subject, William H. Jacobs.

William R. Jacobs fits the family legend so much better than that of William H. Jacobs. Here’s why:

  1. William R. Jacobs enlisted in the Confederate Army (CSA) at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on 1 August 1861;
  2. Wife, Mary E. McGraw would have been approximately two months pregnant when he enlisted for a period of 3 years, therefore, William R. Jacobs would not have been around when his son John William Jacobs was born;
  3. William R. Jacobs was captured in Mercer County, WV on 9 February 1862 and imprisoned, then transferred to Camp Chase, Johnson’s Island, Ohio 6 September 1862. On 22 November 1862, he was transported to Vicksburg (Mississippi) for a prisoner exchange (attached PDF file).

However, browsing through his records, I came across this handwritten letter dated 8 May 1863 from Camp New River Bridge:

Having heard of the recent act to pay for horses lost in action and not having one that is fit for service at this time and owing to the high prices for horses am unable to mount myself, you will confer a farmer by having this bill allowed.

Yours Respectfully,
Wm. R. Jacobs, Private ___
You will please communicate with me through Col. I. M. Corns(?)
8th Regt Va Cavalry

1863? So, William R. Jacobs did return from Vickburg, MS. Did he come home to find his wife and children gone? His wife moved to Putnam County along with her mother and remarried to another man?

This William Jacobs, regardless of a middle initial, married Mary E. Adams in Kanawha County, WV in 1868. The couple are listed in his father, Floyd J. Jacob’s household, in the 1870 Census for Kanawha County. It’s important to note that Mary Jane Jacobs, William’s younger sister, married Hedgeman Slack in 1881 Kanawha County, so there’s a question in my mind about whether the Mary listed in the 1870 Census is William’s sister or his wife. *If she is his wife, why is there no infant Virginia listed in the household? 

But here is what it boils down to in theory: Both Samuel Harrison Jacobs and Floyd J. Jacobs – possibly brothers – had sons named William. Floyd Jacobs owned a slave so it is reasonable to presume his offspring would volunteer to fight for the CSA. Floyd’s son William signed up for a three-year stint in 1861, was captured in 1862, sent to Camp Chase (Johnson’s Island) Ohio, after which he was taken to Vicksburg, MS as part of a prisoner exchange. He returned home, however, as evidenced by the letter dated 1863 requesting payment for a horse. In 1868, he married Mary E. Adams, born Gallia County, Ohio, in Kanawha County. This doesn’t fit the “legend,” the family narrative that’s been handed down for generations.

The family narrative, the legend, states that William Jacobs went off to war and never returned home. But was there was no wife and children to return to?

Two William Jacobs. Both born in Kanawha County, WV. One fought for the USA the other for the CSA. Which one is my ancestor?

The search continues…