Saturday, January 30, 2016

Captain Jacobs: Part One

 Forward With Details

  I promised a post on this fascinating subject some time ago. I figured an explanation of how some of this took place would be appropriate. I wouldn't have anyone to be deceived in any way; for various key reasons this pursuit has been delayed and fraught with minor, though significant problems. One thing appears to be partly an HTML issue that still shows in the final publication with imperfections that needs more ironing out. Another situation is recovering from a rather prolonged illness. These factors were an unavoidably complicated process. Further exacerbation occurred because I had placed large chunks in one draft of all the planned material planned for Part One and part Two and naturally had to remove and add many small items as the subject matter grew proportionately even as it was slowly divided, thus creating some logistical problems in placement and spacing, while making numerous adjustments in development. In modern parlance, the thing became a bit of a monster in its own right that taxed the blogging system completely.

  Gathering much of the information began around the middle of 2014. As time rolled along, the sense of urgency eventually led me to decide to let any other issues ride for now, bumps and all. So please ignore any minor inconsistencies in parts of the text. I might attempt to combine the two posts at a later date and make one huge post that can be followed consistently without any element adjustments or internal oddities. An alternate plan would be to rewrite everything and build all the various parts from scratch, a larger task I hesitate to institute now. Thank you for your understanding and patience!


   At the outset, an acknowledgement is in order to Lannie Dietle and aspects of his research. At my behest and President Kim Brown's approval, he graciously wrote up a fair sized article for the 2015 Fall Issue of the Bullskin Township Historical Society Newsletter documenting Captain Jacobs. This was done with his usual mastery. Various factors led to his decision. In fact, he originally requested that I make the attempt. While his confidence in me was, and is, appreciated, and I had started collecting some key information for a rainy day going back to 2014, I felt a qualm or two, since the time was not propitious for the undertaking. We had broached the subject in general through private emails which led up to the impetus for his article, the consequence of which also led to this point, and I am striving to keep somewhere near to his level of expertise. My main thrust is not normally as far afield as historical places like Kittanning, and frankly there may not be as much to add here beyond the basic facts. In Part Two I would like to round out the project with further details I hope will be quite interesting.

 The Known History of Captain Jacobs

  The main theme concerns the importance of establishing evidence of the existence and whereabouts of Captain Jacobs, a Delaware Indian Chief in the early to mid-1700's. Under the broader context of the French and Indian War and specifically, the struggle for who would ultimately wrest control the Ohio Country, there is the reality of one particular Delaware Indian Chief, his travels and later rampage through parts of the state addressed through historical writings and documents generally confined to the north-central counties of Pennsylvania.
  Tewea, known by the moniker of "Captain Jacobs", was said to of been born about 1730, with his father being a French fur trapper from Canada and his mother a Delaware Indian. Tradition holds that his wife was a captured white woman. What else is known through documentation will shortly be revealed.

  Captain Jacobs and King Shingas, (or Shingask), were terrors to the Pennsylvania frontier with the taking of Fort Pitt by the French forces. At Fort Granville, (modern Lewistown, Mifflin County),  left with only a small contingent of men to defend the fort, Lieutenant Edward Armstrong attempted to withstand the French and the Indians under Jacobs command. He lost, and was scalped by Jacobs for his bravery. Intriguingly, as Paul Wallace notes in "Indians In Pennsylvania" on page 176, Jacobs was falsely reported as killed in January of 1756 in Northhampton County as well as in April in Cumberland County. He was, in fact, killed at Kittanning on September 8, 1756. He also tellingly points out, "A nephew, also called Captain Jacobs, survived this attack, (though reported killed); the Mason and Dixon surveying party met him in August, 1767".

    As stated in "The French in the Allegheny Valley",by T. J. Chapman on page 76, "Kittanning was the headquarters of Captain Jacobs a noted Delaware Chief."

       Kittanning and the traditional Captain Jacobs of the Delawares:                           

    (Note: I've decided not to recount the whole battle in detail as this can be located elsewhere and I feel it isn't necessary).

   Kittanning is a borough of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania on the east bank of the Allegheny River, 44 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. This was once the site of an Eighteenth century Native American village on the western terminus of the Kittanning Path.

   In retaliation for the burning of Fort Granville and to disrupt the raiding of British settlements in Pennsylvania after the previous year's defeat of Braddock's forces, on the early morning hours of September 8, 1756, Lieutenant-Colonel John Armstrong led his Second Battalion of over 300 in a brave attack on Kittanning in the French and Indian War. While the noted Chief, Shingas was away, Jacobs took charge to repel the invaders. Here, holed up in his log cabin, he tried to escape through an upper window after it was set fire to, but his squaw was killed first, while Jacobs was shot next trying to escape, followed in most accounts by his son.

   At the battle of Kittanning in the mid-1700's, (called by the Indians "Adena"), in Armstrong County the firm ground of Captain Jacobs, or Tewea, as his Indian name was said to be, perhaps lies most prominently the final recorded historical information for the Delaware Chief. Here after a night of heavy travel through a dangerous wilderness of 150 miles, Armstrong produced his raid with 300 men to results that were not as auspicious for success as was claimed at the time. He himself received a wound in the shoulder. While we are not immediately concerned with all the logistics involved in this famous skirmish, or the likelihood that depredations were worse for the British settlers for the next year and a half than before the battle took place, King Shingas was not there, while the implacable Captain Jacobs was eventually killed here after rallying his forces to bravely defend the Indian village. It was quite a struggle with varying reports of British wounded. Eventually, Armstrong ordered his men to set fire to Jacobs house, with the basement full of munitions. It is believed other members of Captain Jacob's family were hidden in the woods, so surviving until later years.


     An excerpt of a letter to William Buchanan refers to the Indian trader, George Croghan's account that a Delaware Indian by the name of Jo Hickman gave this description of the Indian village: "That he went to Kittanning, an Indian Delaware town on the Ohio, 40 miles above Fort Du Quesne, the residence of Shingas and Captain Jacobs, where he found 140 men, chiefly Delawares and Shawanese, who had then with them, above 100 English prisoners, big and little, taken from Virginia and Pennsylvania."

     Colonel Armstrong reported in a September 14, 1756 letter kept in The Pennsylvania Archives, "It was thought that Captain Jacobs tumbled himself out at a Garret or Cock Loft Window, at which he was shot; our Prisoners offering to be qualified to the Powder Horn and Pouch there taken off him... The same Prisoners say they were perfectly assured of his Scalp, as no other Indians there wore their hair the same manner. They also say they know his Squas' Scalp by a particular Bob, and also know the Scalp of a young Indian called the King's Son."

    Volume Nine of The Provincial Council of Pennsylvania contains further information.

   Also, as stated in "The French in the Allegheny Valley", by T. J. Chapman, page 76, "Kittanning was the headquarters of Captain Jacobs a noted Delaware Chief."

   Colonel Armstrong's brother was killed by Captain Jacobs, a prominent reason for John Armstrong seeking swift revenge.

   Evidence for Jacobs Cabin in Westmorelamd County is provided as far back as 1754 by way of Christopher Gist's Journals on Washington's trip to the French forts with this entry:

     "Tuesday, January 1st, 1754-"We set out from John Frazer's and at night encamped at Jacobs cabins". Gist's Journal appears to provide corroborative evidence that Captain Jacobs would of at least used this area for his hunting parties before the French and Indian War, therefore this will be explained in detail in the next post on the subject. Not to be missed!*

 He lived in a House - Surprise!

    In actuality, much proof exists that Indians frequently used and lived in houses and cabins. This need only be addressed briefly before moving to other matters.

     From "The Pennsylvania Archives" is listed a supposedly first-hand report "...then surrounding the houses, it was thought Captain Jacobs himself tumbled out of 'a Garret, or Cock Loft Window", as repeated above, which of course shows Jacobs lived in a cabin or house with windows, an attic and a basement. 

     In Armstrong's personal account of the Battle of Kittanning he makes specific mention to "the House of Capt Jacob." Also, of returning fire upon the house and the other houses of the village, as well.

     How many persons have not heard of "Shawnee Cabins"?! They were quite real, rest assured.

      Although it is highly unlikely to have any connection to our supposition, according to the Papers of Sir William Johnson, the prominent Chief, Teedyuscung, had a son named John Jacobs, who he stated was sent off on the warpath, apparently in the year 1757.The refernce to the King's Son also could leave some room for speculation, as King Shingas' title seems more appropriate for this early mention.

    For a brief note on Jacobs and Jacobs Creek and his connection to the borders of Westmoreland and Fayette counties, according to a 1914 footnote of Paul A. Wallace, "the creek is thought to have been named for Captain Jacobs, a famed Delaware war chief who assisted in the defeat of Braddock in July, 1755, and a year later in the capture of Fort Granville on the Juniata. He was killed at Kittanning on Sept. 8, 1756, by Colonel John Armstrong's raiders."

  A reward was offered for the heads of Shingas and Jacobs "Chiefs of the Delaware Indian Nation" for the sum of 700 pieces of Eight, or 360 pieces of Eight for each, while Virginia chimed in with a ransom of 100 pistols for the heads of both.

   As stated in "The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania" by C. H. Sipe, on page 314, "Relatives of Captain Jacobs, who were also killed at the destruction of Kittanning, are mentioned in a letter written at Carlisle, on December 22, 1756, by Adam Stephen: "A son of Captain Jacobs is kill'd and a Cousin of his about seven foot high, call'd young Jacob, at the Destroying of the Kittanning." (From The Pa Archives, Vol. 3, page 83).  This may not include the mystery of the nephew, living or dead. As he sensibly goes on to state, "Probably another relative was the Delaware Chief, called Captain Jacobs, who attended the conference held at Fort Pitt, in April and May, 1768." He was also presumably known from a meeting at Fort Ligonier with Joseph Brant in 1768. These conclusions verify a probable relative of Captain Jacobs used the same name after his 1756 death..

   From the Minutes of the Provincial  Council of Pennsylvania VOl. 9 come the following  confirmations:




Jacobs Death

 From The Minutes of the Colonial Records of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, page 381 contains an extract of a letter from Colonel Adam Stephen dated the fourteenth of November, 1756, "A son of Captain Jacobs is killed, and a Cousin of his about seven Foot high, called young Jacob, at the destroying of the Kittanning, and 'tis thought a noted warrior by the Name of Sunfish, as many of them were killed which we knew nothing of". Although the first sentence is reasonable, it can be discovered that Sunfish was not actually killed there, and there is some question that this cousin or  possibly a nephew, had in fact died at the noted battle. As to Braddock's No. 15, July 2, "Camp at Jacobs Cabbins," the report centering on Halekett's orderly book of 5 to 6 miles from the crossing of Greenlich Run appears to be a sound estimation.


 In Colonel Armstrong's report,

  From the "Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania" comes the statement "Colonel Armstrong says that a son of Captain Jacobs was killed at Kittanning, and if that be so, there were two Captain Jacobs, one of them living at Jacob's Cabin near Iron Bridge at the Great Swamp on Jacobs Creek. The settlers called him Captain Jacobs as he resembled a burly Dutchman of that name in Cumberland County." First of all, there appears to be a misnomer here originating with the possible confusing of Jacobs Swamp with the Great Swamp. And while Jacobs Cabin could be said to be near Iron Bridge, it is a bit of a stretch, since the principal description would be better served using Mt. Pleasant as a reference. Another point is that Isaac Meason named his tract at Iron Bridge "Mount Pleasant",and this could help explain the mystery of the reference. Be that as it may, there might of been two Jacobs, allowing a correlation of the evidence, but whether the Indian owner of the hunting cabin was a descendant, or the first Chief Jacobs, this is not ascertained.

       Captain Jacobs Boots

  In a footnote to his "The History of the county of Westmoreland...", on page 436, Albert writes that "The body of the Indian killed there was identified by a pair of long military boots which he had on, and which had belonged to Lieut. Alexander. He could not escape with them on, and was slain in trying to get them off. At that time he was not in "good standing." He was a small man. There was, however, another Capt. Jacobs, probably his son."

      Various Quotations
   From a report from The Annals Of Southwestern Pennsylvania we read of his death and the belief there is another Indian named Captain Jacobs, likely a relative. From "Victory At Kittanning" we read of Captain Jacobs death:





      Now, according to certain sites on and Rootsweb, etc., there are some folks that studied particular genealogical research, and perhaps not without some apparent justification, attempting to prove they are descendants of Captain Jacobs, or one of his other relatives. I am only giving this information through the fair use act for research purposes. No copyright infringement is intended. One point I would like to observe, if much of this is based on one William Jacobs as it is preseted, an early settler to Redstone in Fayette County, he may be a relative of some sort, but if he was in fact born, as is claimed, in the year 1760, he could not be his son, as he himself was killed in 1756.

  Above is said to be one of Jim Jacobs cabins.

      From the "Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania" on page 381, we read at the bottom of the page of a cousin of his supposedly killed, but not of a nephew:



Not to necessarily call mostly quality research into question, but, as an added note Norman Baker also claims on the very next page that Mount's Creek was named after Abner Mounts, who was granted a tract of land "with Braddock's Road Creek". As far as I can be sure, it is claimed in other sources with good authority the creek was named after Providence Mounts Sr. and not one of his sons by that last name.  \Consequently, neither would the naming of the creek been derived from one Caleb Mounts. So, error can follow upon error, even with the best of researchers. It isn't hard to surmise this in analogy in relation to following stories as one tangled, wet knot, not always  easy to untie.

 Legends of Chief Jacob:

Excepting some curious stray, perhaps mixed up stories which should be relegated to the legends they are, these might pertain to anyone, although there is fascination in considering Captain Jacobs may of caused this kind of interest from olden times.

   An initial claim made by one Peter Tittle of Cumberland County, could be given short shrift, as this could relate to the 'burly dutchman' observation; he signed an affidavit on March 4, 1760, stating that he heard that "an Indian Doctor John spoke contemptuously concerning the soldiers, saying they were good for nothing, and that THEY HAD KILLED Captain Jacobs, but that he had known another Captain Jacobs, (again, without the 's, you will please note), a very big man, bigger and stronger than he who was killed." What is to be made of this? Well, whatever the estimation of this other Jacobs, he was hardly known as such a warrior and terror on the frontier as the original Captain, and it could be let stand at that, only as an acknowledgement of another man by the same moniker, possibly a relative. Otherwise, there is a lingering unlikelihood that this Jacobs may have been a possible descendant at Jacobs Cabin. In the long run, this is pure speculation and nothing else can come from it because the older usage of the name of Jacobs Cabin is more probably from the days of the earlier Captain Jacobs, and again, hardly a descendant.

   As a brief look forward to the examination of circumstantial evidence for the existence of Captain Jacobs in southwestern Pennsylvania, the legendary material below is included for more than purposes of completion. I feel this makes more clear the point of view that Captain Jacobs may well of once been known along the stream called Jacobs Creek dividing Westmoreland and Fayette counties. Such unusual traces of myths, distorted as this might be, through the years and in convolted condition it became through distance and fading memory from the source of the actual facts, yet it does allow for a possible explanation toward his ancient travels near the Jacobs Cabin region. Keep in mind, we know so very little of his whereabouts near the Westmoreland and Fayette border area.

 A Curious Owensdale Legend:
There is a newspaper article that claims a cannibal by the curious name of "JACOBS" would throw rocks at settlers and sometimes ate people that got too close to him. Quite a mish mash, but once again, this could be a garbled folk tale that may hold the seeds of an earlier, distorted recollection of Captain Jacobs the Delare Chief of old and his fearful mien along the banks of the creek he is named after near where he once hunted and held such sway. Until I can update this post and include this old article, please bear with me for the time being.

  A Story of Laurelville

  It should be fairly obvious, in spite of a supposed tradition of Jacobs near the headwaters of Jacobs Creek, the plank road reference would not contain any proof from the legacy of Captain Jacobs from the early to mid-1700's, while white men were few and sparsely settled in this general region.

Everson Tales
A description of a supposed legend concerning Chief Jacobs comes from LaVonne Hanlon's book on Everson. She told me through an email she believes the "bottoms' at Everson is the region of Captain, or Chief Jacob's village. She is a knowledgeable woman and a helpful one also. I have not seen a newspaper article or historian that refers to such a theory. Whether there is any source for the belief is unknown to me and although it appears to be speculative, she herself is convinced enough to state a genealogical research book she authored, (which I haven't managed to search out), gives some evidence toward this theory. I know her ancestors found geniune Indian artifacts nearby, on the other hand, I am not aware if there is a definitive basis in genuine tradition. I haven't located the quote where from this is derived.

A portion of the above material comes from George D.Albert,  Report of the Commission to Locate the Site of the Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania. Vol. 2. 1896. and, Col. Armstrong’s Defeat of the Indians, at Kittanning.” The Register of Pennsylvania of 1828

    For the Next Captain Jacobs Post, Part Two:

  * The Forbes Survey of 1769 showing Jacobs Cabin and Jacobs Swamp. A fallacy? Mistaken identity? Such is hardly the case. While other areas have been occasionally suggested that may have some basis in reality, yet the key evidence for a Captain Jacobs and his hunting cabin(s) must be deduced as accurately described from this main source alone.

  * Coordinates from old surveys confirm his cabin at West Tech Industrial Park.This will be expounded upon. Some of the evidence was further researched by Lannie Dietle, author of "In Search of the Turkey Foot Road", and he graciously provided key surveys of Westmoreland County.

  * The inclusion of old maps which clearly shows the differences between the Great Swamp region and Jacobs Swamp where the cabin was located will be addressed.

   *  An early Presbyterian church was near Mount Pleasant and originating at Jacobs Swamp. This church received a visitation from a prominent minister, David McClure in 1772. Two years later they were visited by the famous Reverend James Powers who by 1776 became their main pastor and was himself buried in the churchyard, reinforcing the venerable age of the Jacobs Cabin/Swamp/Fort area. I originally found out about this while doing research on the Walnut Hill church.

   * Gist's reckoning of Camp No. 16 which would be the "Goudy's fording" of Sewickley Creek at Hunkers. This is accurately stated to be four miles from Jacobs Cabin, and so refutes any suggestion that this cabin was at Greenlick in Bullskin Township.

   * The Barr survey where intriguingly, the cabin placement is called 'Jacobs Fort'. This factual aspect of Jacobs cabin(s) referred to as a fort, also relates well with the Kittanning documents and also in the study of Westmoreland County. I will investigate this connection more deeply in Part Two.

   * Ruffsdale, Owensdale, Everson and Woodale- all these hamlets or boroughs have in common stray traditions of Captain Jacob's which actually helps bolster the reality of his existence. The Captain Jacobs encountered in these places, particularly between Ruffsdale and Mount Pleasant, may well of been more than a burley Dutchman he was said to of patterned his appearance after. Our man was surely a Delaware Indian.

   The next Episode will deal with this information thoroughly and exclusively.

   The Jacobs Cabin location in Westmoreland County will be closely examined as the major piece of evidence for his visits and experiences in southwestern Pa. Is this a probable place for the Delaware Indian Chief, Captain Jacobs, to of had a hunting ground, you may rightfully ask? Well, for now I will only pass on what is certainly known of Logan the famed Mingo chief. As told by Franklin B. Sawvel on page 15 of his knowledgeable book on this man who had such a tragic and undeserved end, "He often went on hunting trips to the mountainous regions of western Pennsylvania and to Virginia and learned the lay of the country so well that he became a trusted guide and messenger." It is also known that when Washington visited Tanacharison, the Half King of the Mingos at Logstown, he was delayed from this meeting because he was then at his hunting cabin. SO, the answer to this question is clearly in the affirmative. Yes! Jacobs could easily have taken some time to have a hunting cabin, perhaps at a small village on the southern border of what became Westmoreland County in southwestern Pa, particularly when we consider the unique quality of archaeological discoveries uncovered at this spot. It isn't as if there were no depredations or Indian attacks in Westmoreland county during various decades of the eighteenth century. Soon circumstantial, yet fairly firm evidence toward a conclusion with extraneous reasons for an Indian of repute living for some time at the Sony Site outside of Mt. Pleasant, will be presented in detail. More to come!

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