In Through the Out Door / My Naval Heritage 2

11 Nov

from January 10, 2007

Aside from my family’s much-chronicled rich naval tradition, perhaps the part of my ancestry of which I am the most proud is the part the Jacobs family has played in the forging of our great nation.

During the early peopling of this country, groups came from all over England to colonize this land. Puritans, Quakers, Shakers, Rastafarians, Aborigines, pretty much anyone with a bone to pick with the King of England loaded themselves into creaky rafts to try to reach our shores. These people must have been pretty pissed off to make the voyage in boats half the size of a Chevy Lumina. And what happened? Most of those boat people were picked up by the Coast Guard and sent back to Cuba.

However, many of them made it, without a green card or legal documentation of any kind, to start some of the well-known colonies that grade schools make so much out of. One such colony was Roanoke, which disappeared under mysterious, unrevealed circumstances, but which likely had to do with the fact that no one had grown any food for a while, they all being shoe salesmen, and they all died of starvation, yet with fancy shoes on their feet. Another colony was forged upon the shores of West Virginia near a small protected cove where the Native Americans (Indians to you) were friendly and the natural resources were abundant. Yes, Jacobs’ Landing was an early American settlement.

Jacobs’ Landing was named after Whitford Barry Jacobs, a man who had been forcibly placed upon a boat to America rather than face the gallows for hideous crimes against the Crown of which I will not go into here. Suffice it to say that Whitford B. Jacobs was man of passion, a man of courage, a man of conviction, (the last conviction also carried a death sentence) and above all, a con man, a hustler, a buggerer, and a man who knew a good thing when he saw one. Thus, when the captain of the HMS Theramin Trio died due to his being thrown overboard during a poker dispute, Whitford B. Jacobs stood ready to take command.

And command he did. His first command was “turn this boat the Hell around!” However, cooler heads prevailed, and, at gunpoint, Whitford led the boat to America. Upon landing, while the religious people made thanks to their Lord, Whitford immediately found the nicest piece of land, with running water and large tracts of arable soil, and said “Dibs!” In this way, Whitford became an early Land Baron. He set about making treaties with the local Indians and soon had a thriving business trading with them. They sold Whitford pelts which he sent back to England at a huge markup. In exchange, Whitford sold whiskey and cigars to the native Hekawi Indians.

Jacobs’ Landing grew and prospered through the years. As it’s leading citizen, Whitford was elected Governor and eventually Dictator, though he soon relinquished that title.  Jacobs’ Landing became the center of industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Thanks to Whitford’s “African colleagues” there was an inexhaustible supply of African “buddies” to do the dirty work while Whitford watched his colony grow into a near Empire.

The years passed and so did Whitford. He is buried today in the family plot outside of Jacob’s Falls, West Virginia. However, at the outbreak of the Civil War, his great-grandson, Bradley “E.” Jacobs soon made a name for himself.

In truth, Bradley had no middle name. In his zeal to become a military commander, he took the initial “E” to make himself sound more like Robert E. Lee. Few people saw a resemblance but he stuck with it. What Bradley lacked in courage, he made up for in, well, he had friends in high places.

Upon enlistment, Bradley immediately shot himself in the foot. This was his crafty way of getting out of the army. Bradley had realized, as many do, that the army is not all it is cracked up to be. Sure, the ads said “Join the Army and See Manassas,” but all he would see was swamp after swamp as he was relegated to the Green Mountain Swamp Boys. However, cooler heads prevailed, and, after a large “donation” to a general’s favorite “charity,” Bradley found himself with the rank of Colonel, a commission, and the right to sit in a comfortable chair and boss around the enlisted men.

It was from his comfortable chair, now on display in the Smithsonian Institute, that Colonel Jacobs directed the most-discussed battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Jacobs Landing. Many books have been dedicated to his military acumen, but let it be said that, when the time came for decisive action, Bradley was the first to say to his men- “Go out and protect me!” And protect him they did. In fact, the whole Battle of Jacobs Landing was a defensive action when, in fact, the opposing Northern Army was not even attacking. A mess hall cook, two wounded sergeants, and a mule had become separated from their unit. Tired, hurt, and hungry, they had come to Jacob’s Landing to desert their posts. Bradley panicked and called out the troops, and soon the whole Southern Third Cavalry was involved, running around, peeking into haystacks, laughing behind Bradley’s  back. The Yankees were captured when they lay down to take a nap beside a mulberry bush. Bradley did, however, receive numerous medals for his “actions” that day. In truth, Jacobs’ Landing was a vital Southern center of industry . Jacobs’ Landing was then and remains now the center of the whiskey and cigar industry in America. If that had fallen into Yankee hands, the whole liquor industry today may have beeen vastly different.

While there have been many notable members of the Jacobs clan, Whitford and his great-grandson Bradley “E” are two of whom we remain most proud. Every February 5th we set aside to honor the men without whom this nation would be far, far different. Not necessarily worse, just different.

One Response to “In Through the Out Door / My Naval Heritage 2”

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  1. The Return of Physical Graffiti! August 2015 | Mr. Blog's Tepid Ride - August 21, 2015

    […] Graffiti since back then I had a strange habit of naming posts after Led Zeppelin albums. (See In Through The Out Door for another example.) And afterwards, read the major update at the end. […]

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