This week’s 52 Ancestors theme is “Good Deeds.” I decided to write about my 4th great grandfather, Jacob Weber (or Weaver) and how service to his country triggered a series of good deeds through the generations.
Jacob was born July 31, 1792 to Heinrich Weber and his wife, Magdalena Schmidt in Lynn Township in what is now Lehigh County, PA.
The United States was still a fairly young country, and tensions were still high with Great Britain. America found itself at war once again with Britain in the War of 1812. Jacob was 22 years old when he and other young men living in Lynn Township, decided to help defend their country and headed to Marcus Hook, PA to enlist. On September 17, 1814, Jacob became a private in Captain George Coldovy’s Company of Infantry, 71st Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia.
However, Jacob’s service was very short and he was discharged 3 months later on December 20, 1814. The war ended 4 days later when the Treaty of Ghent was signed.
Jacob returned home to his father’s farm in Lynn Township. Three years later, he married Susannah Weber on May 26, 1817. Together they had 9 children. My 3rd great grandfather, Solomon, was one of their children.
Jacob died on December 4, 1840. He is assumed to have been buried in the Ebenezer Church Cemetery in New Tripoli, PA. After his death, Susannah moved to Lower Towamensing Township in nearby Carbon County with her son, Jacob. Their son, Solomon, lived nearby in Franklin Township.
Fast forward to present day, when I was starting to learn more about my 3rd great grandfather, Solomon Weaver. I had posted a query on the Carbon County, PA message board. A cousin replied to my query, and exercised his good deed when he shared a wealth of information on not only Solomon, but also about his parents, Jacob and Susannah. Among the gems he shared with me was a scan of a bounty land warrant certificate of 40 acres from the Department of the Interior that was awarded to Susannah as widow to Jacob Weber, who had served in Pennsylvania Regiment during the War of 1812.
Bounty lands were often used since colonial times, to encourage enlistments and reward them for their service (or “good deed”). It appeared that Susannah had decided to file a claim under the Bounty Land Act of 1850, which extended bounty lands to men who had enlisted and served in the War of 1812 on June 12, 1852. Forty acres was the awarded to anyone who served from 1 to 3 months. The certificate that my cousin had said that Warrant number 83753, was awarded to Susannah on March 3, 1853. For whatever reason, Susannah never took advantage of the claim. According to my cousin, she gave the claim to Solomon, and it was never used.
This information prompted me to email the National Archives to find out more about Jacob’s service during the War of 1812. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email back from an archivist who said he was mailing me a packet of information. The packet included copies of Jacob’s muster roll and payroll documentation, as well as paperwork that was submitted with Susannah’s bounty land application. The archivist wrote a very informative letter about the documents he had sent (for free). He also commented that he also had an ancestor that served in the same regiment as Jacob.
I still have much to learn about Jacob and his branch of my family tree. But thanks to a couple of “good deeds” from a distant cousin and someone who works at the National Archives, I know a little bit more about him.