William Jacobs (Part III)

Part I: William H. Jacobs

Part II: William R. Jacobs

I posted several documents or transcriptions thereof in the past two posts about each of the above individuals. These two are not the same man and only one of them could be my ancestor. The only thing I know for sure is that my 3rd-Great Grandmother, Mary E. McGraw, married William Jacobs on 20 Feb 1859 in Fayette County, WV (still part of the Old Dominion in those days but West Virginia is where you’ll find the document).

I created a timeline from all the documents I have gathered and I’m posting it here for your edification so you can see where I’m going with the evidence. My apologies for repeating info from the last two blog posts. The first two bullets are to provide some background of what was going on in the family, i.e. the death of Martin McGraw (Mary’s father) and the probability that she was pregnant at that time.

  • 1850 CENSUS Putnam Co., WV Martin McGRAW & family, incl. Mary, age not provided in the original census;
  • Death of Martin McGraw (Jr) 25 OCT 1858 Fayette Co., WV
  • Marriage: 1859 Feb 20, Fayette County, WV. Minister: Martin Bibb
    • Son of Harrison & Jane JACOBS (this is listed on the marriage record)
      • Harrison is listed in the 1840 Kanawha Census & in his marriage record to Mary (Jane) Jones as Samuel H. Jacobs
    • Daughter of Martin & Sallie (Sarah) McGRAW (also listed on the marriage record)
  • Birth of daughter: Virginia E. Jacobs 3 May 1859 (presumed Kanawha Co).
  • Birth of son: John William Jacobs 5 Mar 1862 (presumed Kanawha Co).
  • Enlistment: 1864 Oct. 12, Charleston, Kanawha Co. WV; Co. H, 4th WV Infantry (as William H. Jacops) and Co. K 7th WV Cavalry as William H. Jacobs; Service: 1 year U.S. Army (Union).
  • Marriage: 1864 Nov 25 Putnam Co., WV Mary E. McGRAW to Wm. J. D. DUNCAN
  • Mustered Out: (Discharged) 1865 Aug 1, Charleston, WV.

Note the following:

  1. The marriage record in Fayette County provides the names of the parents of both parties. For William, his parents are listed as Harrison and Jane Jacobs. There was indeed a Harrison Jacobs in Kanawha County in 1840. He was the only individual in the household. There is one other record for him that I was able to find, a marriage record. Except his name is Samuel H. Jacobs. He married Mary Jones, possibly Mary “Jane” Jones, in Kanawha County on 20 Jan 1843 since William refers to his mother as “Jane” in the marriage records. Further, William H. Jacobs’ birthplace is Kanawha County. Therefore, William R. Jacobs, son of Floyd and Drucilla Jacobs of Malden, Kanawha County, is NOT my ancestor.
  2. William’s enlistment date on 12 October 1864 and the MARRIAGE date of Mary McGraw to Wm. Duncan on 25 November 1864, a mere SIX WEEKS LATER. But that’s not the clincher. William H. Jacobs did not disappear nor die during his Civil War service. Note the next date…
  3. William H. Jacobs was Mustered Out a.k.a Discharged from his service on 1 Aug 1865 at Charleston, WV. Let’s face it, the War officially ended in April 1865, seven months into William’s one-year service. THEN he disappeared, dropped off the radar, falls out of the records, etc, etc. Both he and his father: Vanished.

So, I want to clear the air or put the legend to bed about William H. Jacobs. It’s possible that he abandoned Mary McGraw after getting her pregnant with the second child (John William Jacobs, my 2nd-Great-Grandfather). But the fact remains that he did not “enlist in the Civil War, died, or disappeared” leaving Mary with two young children to raise on her own: The split most likely occurred in the years or months before he enlisted in the Army. Whenever it happened, we next find her back in Putnam County in 1864 marrying Wm. J. D. Duncan. She’d most likely come to the area because her mother, several siblings, and cousins were living there.

Whatever you’ve been told or have come to believe about William Jacobs, it just isn’t so. For one, his middle initial isn’t R. nor is his middle name Richard: The name on all of the service records is William H. Jacobs. Maybe the H stands for Harrison, like his dad. Who knows. Certainly, the middle initial looks like an R in the marriage record but that wouldn’t be the first marriage record on which a clerk’s writing wasn’t succinct.

For another, he wasn’t captured during the Civil War, wasn’t sent to Johnson’s Island in Ohio as a POW: That was William R. Jacobs, son of Floyd and Drucilla Jacobs, also of Kanawha County, who didn’t die or disappear and is buried in some remote, unknown location, but returned to Kanawha County and got himself married and is living in the home of his mother and father in 1870.

Although we know his name now and we know his father’s name, the mystery of William H. Jacobs remains just that. The research continues…

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