William H. Jacobs

William H. Jacobs, possibly William “R” Jacobs, married Mary E. McGraw (daughter Martin McGraw and Sarah “Sallie” Johnson) in Fayette County, West Virginia on 21 February 1859. I first ran across this in a book published by Pauline Haga who had found the microfilm reel over in Virginia before the microfilm had been released to West Virginia. Both states would tell “us” that all records pertaining to WV had been released to WV when there was no evidence of these county marriages in WV. Since Mrs. Haga’s publication was released, the microfilm pertaining to Fayette County marriages during the Civil War miraculously appeared.

Nevertheless, the subject of this post is William H. Jacobs, of whom we can find very little, “we” being family members actively engaged in genealogy. The legend is that William H. Jacobs joined the Civil War and was never seen nor heard from again. Bottom line: We don’t know the outcome of his term of service: Did he die and was buried unidentified? Did he desert? His records allude to neither but the pay that was due him was for some reason “credited to the 1st Congressional District, St. Marys, Pleasants County, West Virginia.”

As for the marriage between William H. Jacobs and Mary E. McGraw and the legend that resulted from his disappearance,  I can only address what I find in the historical records. The couple had two children:

  • Virginia E. Jacobs, born 3 May 1859 (if you do the math, you find “mom” was six months pregnant at the nuptials);
  • John William Jacobs, born 5 March 1862.

William H. Jacobs enlisted at Charleston, WV on 12 October 1864. It is interesting to note that Mary E. McGraw married William J. Duncan in Putnam County, WV on 21 November 1864, just a little over a month after Jacobs enlisted in the Army. So, my supposition is that their marriage broke down and ended in divorce long before Jacobs enlisted. *This is due to the fact that Martin McGraw had died in Fayette County in October 1858; Sarah McGraw may be living as a day laborer in the 1860 Census of Fayette County in an area that was close to the Kanawha County border before Sarah eventually returned to Putnam County where she is listed living with one of her sons in 1870.* The family “legend” may have been created to mask the fact that the marriage between William and Mary dissolved to spare our sensitivities. After all, divorce was pretty shameful and mostly unheard of in those days. Remember, this is my opinion. You’re welcome to form one of your own.

Here is what I have transcribed from William H. Jacobs’ Civil War records (fold3, search also under Jacop, William H.):

Env. 743
Jacops, William H
Co H, 4th West Virginia Inf.
Private | Private
Reference Envelope
Cards filed with: Jacops, William H.
= = =*note that there are two enlistment documents, both bearing identical information*
Env. 160
Jacops William H
Co. K, 7 West Virginia Cav
Private | Private
Reference Envelope
Cards filed with
Jacobs William H.
= = =
Mustered in the service of the United States, for one year or during the war, from date of enlistment, in Company K, Seventh Regiment of WV Cavl Volunteers, on the 12 day of October, 1864, at Charleston, WV.
James A. Smith, Capt and
Pro Mar 3 Dist WV (Provost Marshall)
Mustering Office

State of West Virginia
Town of Charleston
I, William H Jacops, born Kanawha Co. in the State of Virginia, aged twenty four years and by occupation a Farmer, do hereby acknowledge to have volunteered this Twelfth day of October, 1864, to serve as a Solider in the ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, for the period of THREE {STRICKEN OUT, wrote in} ONE YEAR, unless sooner discharged by proper authority: Do also agree to accept such bounty, pay, rations, and clothing, as are, or may be, established by law for volunteers. And I, Wm H. Jacops, do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whomsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War.

Sworn and subscribed to, at Charleston WV
this Twelfth day of October, 1864 —Wm H. Jacop (signature but not his own)
Before Wm A. Walton  14 October
(unable to discern writing)

I certify on honor, that I have carefully examined the above-named Volunteer, agreeably to the General Regulations of the Army, and that, in my opinion, he is free from all bodily defects and mental infirmity, which would in any way disqualify him from performing the duties of a soldier.

James Putney Surgeon
Board of Enrollment
3d Dist. West Va, Examining Surgeon

I certify, on honor, that I have minutely inspected the Volunteer, Wm H. Jacops previously to his enlistment, and that he was entirely sober when enlisted; that, to the best of my judgment and belief, he is of lawful age; and that, in accepting him as duly qualified to perform the duties of an able-bodied soldier, I have strictly observed the Regulations which govern the recruiting service. This soldier has black eyes, black hair, dark complexion, is Five feet Three inches high.

Wm A Walton, (1 St Lt Cav??)
Seventh Regiment of WVa Cav Volunteers,
= = = = = =*note: the other enlistment document gives his age as twenty-four years and ten months, which, if correct, places his birth around December 1839*

= = = = = =
Mustered Out Wheeling WVa, Jan 26, 1865
Remarks: Recruit not to be mustered out term of service unexpired
= = = = =
June 30 to Oct 31, 1864 Present
June 30 to Dec 31, 1864 Present
Jan & Feb 1865 Present
Dec 1864 to June 30 1865 Present
Dec 31, 1864 to Apr 30, 1865 Present
= = = = =
J. | 7 Cav | W. VA.
William H. Jacobs,
Appears with rank of private on
Muster and Descriptive Roll of a Detachment of U. S. Vols. forwarded
for the 7 Reg’t W. Va. Cav. Roll dated
Wheeling, West Va., Oct. 10, 1864
Where born Kanawha Co., West Va.
Age 24 yrs; occupation farmer
When enlisted Oct. 12, 186_
Where enlisted Charleston, W. Va.
For what period enlisted 1 yrs
Eyes black; hair black
Complexion dark; height 5 ft 3 in
When mustered in Oct 12, 186_
Where mustered in Charleston, W. Va.
Bounty paid $__; due $100
Where credited
Company to which assigned
Valuation of horse $__
Remarks: Credited to W. Va – Pleasants Co., St. Mary, 1st Cong. Dist.
=== = = = =

From these documents, I can only assume that he lived through his one year term of service. Where he went from that point is beyond me but I suspect he stayed in the vicinity and started a new family. Only DNA will prove me right or wrong.

The father of William H. Jacobs was Samuel Harrison Jacob of Kanawha County, West Virginia. I was able to ascertain his full name by (1) the 1840 Census of Kanawha County in which he is listed as Harrison Jacobs; (2) the marriage record of William and Mary in Fayette County in which the parents are listed as Harrison and Jane Jacobs | and Martin and Sallie McGraw; and finally (3) the marriage of Samuel H. Jacobs to Mary Jane Jones in Kanawha County 30 January 1843 (online at the Cultural Center using this link on 18 Feb 2020: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12567543&Type=Marriage).

Further info on Company K, 7th West Virginia Cavalry from the National Park Service and Soldier details for William H. Jacop.

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