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Captain Jacobs

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Title: Captain Jacobs  
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Subject: Kittanning, Pennsylvania, Lenape, Kittanning Expedition
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Captain Jacobs

Captain Jacobs (died September 8, 1756) was a Delaware (Lenape) chief during the French and Indian War. His real name was Tewea. Jacobs received his English moniker from a Pennsylvania settler named Arthur Buchanan, who thought the chief resembled a "burly German in Cumberland County."[1]

English settlements

Lewistown, Pennsylvania is located where there once was a considerable Delaware settlement, at the confluence of the Kishacoquillas Creek and the Juniata River. It was in 1754 that the English, led by Buchanan, came to the area. Captain Jacobs, being the head chief, was at first reluctant to sell any of the nearby land to the English settlers. With the assistance of a keg of rum, a few trinkets, and some tobacco, Buchanan convinced Jacobs to give them the land.[1]

Captain Jacobs initially professed great friendship toward the British colonists, but was swayed by the French to think otherwise. As the number of English settlers grew, so did Jacobs' dissatisfaction with them. Without notice or incident, the Delawares destroyed their own settlement and left the area, which the English noted with caution.[1]

French and Indian War

Captain Jacobs led the Delaware warriors against the English settlements in multiple raids following Braddock's defeat throughout the valleys of central Pennsylvania. Jacobs boasted that he "could take any fort that would catch fire, and would make peace with the English when they had learned him to make gunpowder."[1] It was Jacobs who burned Fort Granville under the direction of the French commander.

Raid on Kittanning

On the morning of September 8, 1756, Colonel John Armstrong led a force of 307 Pennsylvanians to attack the village of Kittanning in hopes of disrupting the raids against the English. Chief Shingas was away during the battle, so Jacobs took command and fought Armstrong's men from his log cabin. One of Armstrong's soldiers, John Ferguson, managed to set fire to Jacobs' house. The people inside the cabin remained inside until the magazine erupted and their guns took fire. When they emerged, Jacobs' squaw was killed first, followed by Jacobs himself, and then his son.[2]


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