George and John Jacobs

(Camden County)

Featured Character – The Home Front

John Jacobs
John Jacobs

Courtesy of Alex Leary

George Jacobs’ father, John Jacobs arrived in America in 1847 from Saxony, Germany, in order to escape compulsory military duty. Unable to speak English, he unwittingly enlisted in the Mexican War while searching for employment. Upon his return, he was naturalized in 1854 and operated the Nags Head Hotel and ran bakeries in Edenton and Plymouth. He finally settled in Camden where he is listed in the 1860 census as a hotel keeper. When war broke out, John Jacobs volunteered as a Confederate soldier and reasoned that, as his wife had died, his nine-year-old son, George, would have no one to care for him when he left for war. Therefore, father and son enlisted on May 30, 1861. George Jacobs enrolled as a musician, age recorded as twelve years old, and on one occasion, when Robert. E. Lee was reviewing his troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; he doffed his hat to Jacobs, for both his “tender youth and excellence of the music.” John Jacobs went on to run a successful general store in South Mills and established the only instrumental organization in the county. After his death, George, his brothers from John’s second marriage, and their own sons revived John’s band and performed at public gatherings for many years.