THE LIFE AND REVOLUTIONARY WAR EXPERIENCES OF EZEKIEL JACOBS
RESEARCHED, WRITTEN & EDITED BY T.M. JACOBS
Ezekiel Jacobs in North Haven
Ezekiel JACOBS (John3, Thomas2, Bartholomew1) was born in North Haven, Connecticut, on June 20, 1755, son of John and Mary BROCKETT. No record of his birth exists. He would later in life testify to this when applying for his pension. He was third child of four children to John and Mary, his siblings being Lydia, John and Joel. While his brother John died shortly before the outset of the American Revolution in 1773, his sister would live to the age of 94 before dying in 1844. Joel’s date of death is unknown at this writing.
Ezekiel Serves in the Revolutionary War
The Revolutionary War holds many stories of courage, bravery, and sacrifice. From notables such as George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and Paul Revere down to the common patriot and the families they left behind. As the United States currently wages war to protect our freedom, it was the original colonies that bounded together and fought for the one thing they knew was theirs’ – freedom. Ezekiel Jacobs was one of those common patriots.
While his story in not one of intense combat, high honors, or pages in the history books, his belief for what was his and his fellow man is as evident as with most all Revolutionary Veterans.
Shortly after Easter in 1775, the small village of North Haven, Connecticut held meetings to discuss and debate what action should be taken against England. The Stamp Act of 1765, and the Boston Port Bill of 1774 only added to the feelings of rebellion among the citizens. When war ensued, Ezekiel Jacobs, along with five of his cousins (Abel, Joseph, Solomon, Stephen, & Zophar Jacobs), took up arms and fought for their county’s freedom. According to Thomas I. Pearsall’s North Haven in the Revolution, “At least one hundred thirty men from this community served during the Revolution.”
While most of the people in North Haven supported the war, there were some that opposed. They did not want to cut their ties from England and felt that a democratic government might be disorderly.
Ezekiel served seven varying terms from 1776 till 1779, amounting to 48 weeks of marching and skirmishing.
- 1776 – January – Connecticut State Troops under Col. Andrew Ward
- 1776 – August – Drafted in the Connecticut Militia under Col. Thompson
- 1777 – January – Volunteer with the Connecticut Militia under Col. Cook
- 1777 – October – Drafted with the Connecticut Militia
- 1778 – Volunteer with the Connecticut Militia
- 1779 – July – Volunteer with Capt. Joshua Barnes’ Company
- 1779 – Drafted in Col. Thompson’s company
After being discharged Ezekiel continued to reside in North Haven and on March 3, 1785 he married Eleanor WALTER, daughter of Thomas and Mehitable (TUTTLE) WALTER at the North Haven Congregational Church. Eleanor’s mother, Mehitable TUTTLE is a direct descendant from William and Elizabeth TUTTLE of New Haven. In the late 1600s William and Elizabeth and their 12 children were labeled as witches. Some members of the family were killed, tried in court and hung.
On May 4, 1787, Ezekiel and Eleanor purchased their first house with Joel Barnes for the sum of “nine pounds lawful money.” They bought the property from Ebenezer Todd of Litchfield. The title stated:
For the Consideration of Nine pounds lawful Money Received to my full Satisfaction of Joel Barns & Ezekiel Jacobs of North Haven in The County of New Haven Do Give, Grant, Bargain, Sell and Confirm unto the said Barns & Jacobs and to their heirs and assigns forever, a Small House called a Sabbath day house, together with the land on which said House stands in s[ai]d North Haven, bounded East by the Market place, so called, South by the heirs of John Sanford dec[eased], West by the Heirs of Benjamin Beech dec[eased], & North by Seth Barns & others.
Ezekiel and Eleanor had six children: Amelia (1788), Zeruiah (1792), William (1795), John (1797), Frances (1802) and Ammi (1804). Their son John died on February 26, 1800 at the young age of three. He is buried in the Monotwese Cemetery in North Haven.
Ezekiel continued to purchase property and eventually sold most of his land to his two sons, William and Ammi. On October 3, 1805, he sold “two acres and three quarters” of his property to Amos Blakeslee for “twenty four pounds and fifteen shillings.”
On September 22, 1821, Eleanor (WALTER) JACOBS died at the age of 61. She is buried in the Montowese Cemetery of North Haven. The inscription reads: InMemory of Eleanor Walter wife of Ezekiel Jacobs who died Sept. 22 1821 Aged 61 years.
On August 6, 1832 Ezekiel, at the age of 77 appeared at the Court of Probate for the District of New Haven and gave a declaration about his duties and tours during the war. Town Clerk Anthony Branford wrote down Ezekiel’s oral testimony.
The following is Ezekiel Jacobs recollection of the war as told by him to the Court of Probate for the District of New Haven. The transcription of the document done by T.M. Jacobs, Fred L. Jacobs, Jr. and Fred L. Jacobs, Sr:
On the sixth day of August, 1832 personally appeared in open court before the Court of Probate for the District of New Haven, State of Connecticut, being a court of record now sitting Ezekiel Jacobs, a resident of North Haven, in the County of New Haven and the State of Connecticut, aged 77 years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated – That he enlisted in the Connecticut State Troops in the earlier part of January 1776, the precise day not recollected for 3 months to the best of my recollection under Colonel [Andrew] Ward1 of Guilford in Connecticut – that the Captain of the company to which he belonged was Reuben Rose – that Jared Robinson2 was first Lieutenant, Stephen Potter3 2nd Lieutenant & one [Ebenezer] Truesdale4, Ensign of the same company – that he served in this company until the 1st of April 1776, a period of three months and about ten days – that he first marched to New York & then crossed over to Long Island where he with the other soldiers of that regiment was employed in throwing up breastworks and building forts in Brooklyn – that after his term of service expired General Thompson requested him & the other soldiers to remain until the troops came and that accordingly they and he remained a few days. That about the middle of August 1776 he was drafted in the Connecticut Militia under Colonel Thompson of Milford – that Jared Hill5 was Captain of the company to which he belonged – that he was marched first to New York – that he with his regiment went over to Long Island to reinforce the troops on the day of the battle in Long Island – that they did not reach Long Island until the battle was over – that his regiment stayed some time in Fort Green, as he thinks it was called, in Long Island – that he was in the retreat of the Americans from Long Island to New York – that he remained with his regiment in New York until the 15th of September, 1776 when the American army retreated from New York Island – that a few days after this he was taken sick and returned home before his term of service expired – that he was with the army at this time five weeks – he remembers Generals [George] Washington6 and [John] Sullivan7 and [William Alexander] Lord Stirling8 having been on Long Island at the time – that Colonel [John] Douglas'[21st] regiment of State Troops was also there – that he remembers at the time of retreat from Long Island that his company was called out after 12 o’clock at night and ordered to march as still as possible down to the boats – that after we landed we were ordered to get a little sleep & to be at the alarum pole early in the morning – that we came over in a sloop which had no sails & was crowded full of men – that in the latter part of January, 1777, the exact day not recollected, he entered the service a third time in the Connecticut Militia as a volunteer in the regiment of Colonel Cook – that Benjamin Trumbull9 formerly a chaplain in the army and afterwards the author of a history of Connecticut and a clergyman of North Haven was his Captain & John Gilbert10 his Lieutenant – that he was marched to Fort Independence of which the British had at that time possession, that their ostensible object was to take this fort – that they remained there until the middle of March of the same year, when he was dismissed and returned, having been in the service at this time six weeks – that he thinks General [William] Heath had the command of the troops around Fort Independence – that he remembers that General [David] Wooster11 and [Samuel] Parsons12 were there and one Major [Popkin] – that he remembers at one time that one Rogers, a British officer, sallied out of the fort and drove off the guard stationed at Ballantynes stone house – that the guard retreated to a redoubt commanded by Colonel Cook of Wallingford – that the enemy remained in sight – that Colonel Cook sent repeatedly for reinforcements but none were sent until General Wooster led Colonel Cook’s regiment to their relief – that then the enemy retreated after having killed 2 men – that he was drafted again in the Connecticut Militia about the 1st of October 1777 – that Joshua Barnes13 of North Haven was his Captain and John Gilbert his Lieutenant and that he was marched to Fishkill on the Hudson River and thence up the river through Poughkeesie and Rhinebeck – that their object was to watch the enemy under General [Sir John] Vaughan14 who were sailing up the river to meet [Gen. John] Burgoyne15 – that he thinks General [Israel] Putnam16 was with the American troops – that he saw the burning of Eropus from a distance – that after the British returned down the river the militia were dismissed and he returned home – that he served at this time at least six weeks – that he remembers after lying at Fishkill a week or ten days that the enemy moved up the river with a head wind a few miles – that the Americans followed them and then returned to Fishkill for fear that the enemy should take advantage of the wind and return and burn the stores and provisions at Fishkill – that the Americans reached Fishkill about 12 o’clock at night – that the next day the light horse who were left to watch the munitions sent word that the enemy continued up the river – that the American army marched up the river until they had gone two miles above Fishkill Mills when intelligence was received by a letter read along the ranks that Burgoyne was taken – that the troops halted for a day and then marched up to Red Hook.
That he entered the service a fifth time as a volunteer in the Connecticut Militia in 1778 at the time when Danbury in Connecticut was burnt by the enemy – that he cannot now recollect the month or the day – that he thinks one [Lawrence] Clinton was his Captain – that he was marched through New Haven to Fairfield and Greens Farms – that when he arrived there with his company the enemy, having returned from Danbury, were embarking on board their vessels – that he reached the shore about half an hour after the action was over – that he remembers that General Wooster was wounded at that time, and died of his wounds in a short time – that he was in the service at this time a week.
That on the 6th of July 1779 when the enemy landed at New Haven he again volunteered in the Militia in the company of Captain Joshua Barnes of North Haven to repel the attack upon New Haven – that he was engaged in a skirmish with the enemy at a place called Thompson’s Bridge, about two miles west of New Haven – that he was also engaged in several skirmishes in East Haven on the other side of New Haven – that he was in the service at this time more than a week.
That he was sent down at several times to keep guard at East Haven on the shore of Long Island Sound for a day at a time to watch the boats of the enemy retreat – that he served in this way in the Militia more than six days in all.
That afterwards, the time not recollected, he was drafted again into the regiment of Colonel Thompson of New Haven – that they were ordered to the north river and marched through New Haven and Derby to Danbury where they received counter orders and returned – that they were 3 days going out, remained at Danbury 3 days and were two days returning – that he served at this time eight or nine days in the Connecticut Militia.
That he was born in North Haven in the County of New Haven and State of Connecticut on the 20th day of June 1755 – that he has no record of his age and knows of none existing – that he has always lived in North Haven – that the Reverend Matthew Noyes of North Branford is the nearest clergyman to whom he is known and that the said Mr. Noyes and Mr. Joshua Barnes of North Haven can testify as to his character for veracity and as to their belief of his services as a soldier of the revolution – that he has no documentary evidence of any kind – that he never received any written discharge from the service that he knows of[,] no others except those whose depositions are hereto annexed who can testify to the part of his service as above mentioned.
He hereby relinquishes his every claim relating to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not entered up the pensioned roll of any State Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid in open court before the Court of Probate for New Haven Connecticut.
(signed) Ezekiel Jacobs.
Attest: (Anthony Branford) Clerk
Attesting to his declaration were Ezekiel’s neighbors and fellow comrades: Matthew Noyes, Joshua Barnes, Joel Brockett, John Smith, Jared Barnes, and Johnathon Munger. It is likely that Ezekiel in turn attested for them.
According to Pearsall, Ezekiel did serve at the encampment in Harlem, NY in July 1775 with the 1st Connecticut Regiment, Johnson’s Company. It is quite feasible that Ezekiel’s memory was a bit hazy seeing the war was almost 60 years past.
The following account of North Haven’s involvement in the war is from Amidst Cultivated and Pleasant Fields: A Bicentennial History of North Haven, Connecticut by Lucy McTeer Brusic, the battles and skirmishes mentioned below are ones Ezekiel participated in:
North Haven’s military participation in the Revolution included the New York alarm of 1777. Militiamen were called for to dislodge British troops from Westchester County, New York. On January 13, 1777, Benjamin Trumbull enlisted a company of sixty men from North Haven and Hamden. . . . Trumbull was appointed the captain of this command, which spent the next three weeks unsuccessfully trying to drive the British from Fort Independence in Westchester County.
After this skirmish, the fighting in New England was effectively over, and the action moved into the southern colonies. A few North Haven men continued to serve in one of the eight regiments that Connecticut provided for the duration of the war, but most soldiers, like Trumbull, came home and went on about their lives.
There was a little local excitement in July 1779 when the British invaded New Haven Harbor. A call was issued for local militia, and Trumbull and Eliada Sanford went to the defense of East Haven. Tradition has recorded that they were among the men responsible for tearing up the Neck Bridge in order to stop the British advance. Sergeant Jacob Thorpe, the only Revolutionary War fatality buried in North Haven, lost his life in this battle when he would not retreat before the British troops.
Ezekiel received his pension, an annual allowance of $25. Total sum was listed at $75.
On March 6, 1834 Ezekiel JACOBS died in North Haven. He is buried in the Monotwese Cemetery beside his wife and infant son, John. His gravestone is also marked with a Veteran’s star.
Revolutionary War- Ezekiel Jacobs- Col. Ward’s Regt.- Died Mar. 6, 1834- Age 79
1Col. Andrew Ward – Served as Lieutenant Colonel 1st Connecticut May 1 – December 20, 1775; Colonel Connecticut State Regiment May 14, 1776 to May 1777; Brigadier-General Connecticut Militia June 1777 to close of war. Died 1799.
2Jared Robinson – Served as 2nd Lieutenant 1st Connecticut May 1 to December 1, 1775; 1st Lieutenant 6th Connecticut April 1, 1777. Retired November 1778.
3Stephen Potter – Served as 1st Lieutenant 7th Connecticut July 6 to December 20, 1775; 1st Lieutenant of Douglas’ Connecticut State Regiment June 20 to December 25, 1776; 1st Lieutenant 6th Connecticut January 1, 1781 – transferred to 2nd Connecticut January 1, 1783 where he served until June 3.
4Ebenezer Truesdale – Served as Ensign with 1st Connecticut from May 1 – 28, 1775.
5Jared Hill – Sergeant 1st Connecticut Regiment 1775; Ensign-Trumbull’s Company 1777.
6General George Washington – Served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army; resigned in 1783; served two terms as President of the United States.
7John Sullivan – Served as Brigadier General of the Continental Army June 22, 1775; promoted to Major General August 9, 1776; taken prisoner at Long Island August 27, 1776 – exchanged December 1776.
8Sir William Alexander Stirling – Appointed in November 1775 Colonel of the 1st Regiment of the Continental Troops New Jersey; March 1775, Brigadier-General in command at New York; Battle of Long Island taken prisoner – exchanged a short time later; February 1777 Major-General in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth; October 1781 in command of the Northern Department at Albany New York. Died January 1, 1783.
9Benjamin Trumbull – Served as Chaplain of 1st Connecticut from May to December 1775; Chaplain of Col. John Douglas’ Connecticut State Regiment June 7 to December 29, 1776. Died February 2, 1820.
10John Gilbert – Served as 2nd Lieutenant of Col. John Douglas’ Connecticut State Regiment June 7 to December 29, 1776; promoted to Captain of the Connecticut Militia; killed at the Battle of New Haven July 5, 1779.
11David Wooster – Served as Major General of the Connecticut Troops April 1775; Colonel 1st Connecticut May 1, 1775; Brigadier General of the Continental Army June 22, 1775; died May 2, 1777 from wounds received at Ridgefield on April 27, 1777.
12Samuel Holden Parsons – Served in the Lexington Alarm April 1775; Colonel of the 6th Connecticut May 1 – 10, 1775; promoted to Major General October 1780; drowned November 17, 1789.
13Joshua Barnes – Served as a Private in 1776; Captain of North Haven Militia in 1787.
14Sir John Vaughan – Promoted to Major General in America on January 1, 1776; Charleston Expedition June 1776; Commanded the grenadiers at the Battle of Long Island; wounded at White Plains, NY October 1776; Returned to England winter 1776-77; Promoted to Major General on August 29, 1777; Led assault on Fort Montgomery on October 6, 1777; Commanded troops on raid up the Hudson, burning Kingston October 12-24, 1777; Captured Verplanck’s Point on June 1, 1779; Returned to England winter of 1779; Named Commander of the Leeward Islands December 1779; Led unsuccessful attack on St. Vincent 1781; Captured St. Eustatius on February 3, 1782.
15Sir John Burgoyne – British General and Politician; Returned to America in 1776 with reinforcements for Sir Guy Carleton in Quebec; went back to England then returned to America in 1777 and commanded an army into New York; taken prisoner by Horatio Gates at Saratoga; released in 1778, sailed back to Britain and took a seat in Parliament.
16General Israel Putnam – Commissioned by Congress in 1775 as a Major General in the Continental Army; Commanded the center of American Line during the siege of Boston; Served at the Battle of Long Island; General George Washington placed Putnam in charge of the Hudson Highlands in 1777 after Putnam lost Forts Clinton and Montgomery to the British; suffered a stroke in 1779, military career ended.