Born 20th August 1839 - Died 10th December 1893



The second son of Archdeacon Philip Jacob. He was born on 20th August 1839, and died on 10th December 1893 at Pincher Creek, Alberta, California. A brief statement of his service exists, written by hand dated January 1860, part of the family archive. It reads:

He entered Her Majesty's Navy in August 1853 by the nomination of his cousin the late Mr Augustus Stafford, the secretary to the Admiralty. He was appointed to HMS Leopard (Captain Giffard), which at the commencement of the war with Russia was ordered (March 1854) to the Baltric. Under Admiral Plumridge he was engaged at the destruction of Russian property in the Gulf of Boltinia and subsequently in the attack and capture of Bomar Sound in which the Leopard took a distinguished part. Towards the close of 1854 the Leopard was ordered to the Black Sea where Augustus remained until the termination of the war in 1856. During this period he was under fire four times successively - namely
1 At the destruction of 10 Russian guns (under fire of a field battery) at Couban Lake on the way to Sebastopol.
2 At the attack on Sujak by HM Ships Viper, Leopard and Highflyer.
3 At a night attack on the forts of Sebastopol.
4 At the capture of Kimburn.
In November 1856 he again sailed with Captain Giffard (then in command of HMS Princess Royal) for the Mediterranean. Whilst in this station he passed his examination for acting mate (August 1858) and applied for leave to return home for examination at the Royal Naval College, which owing to circumstances of the times, could not be granted. He has therefore been an acting mate for one year and 4 months.Augustus and Gertrude Jacob
In November last HMS Princess Royal returned home and was paid off - Mr Augustus Jacob was transferred to HMS Excellent where (December 19) he passed his examniation for gunnery and was placed in the first class. There were on board the Excellent several Lieutenants who had passed abroad their provisional examination for mates subsequently to him, having permission to return home. In conclusion, I may be permitted to state that Augustus Jacob is one of the two remaining representatives in the Royal Navy of Lord Barham, 1st Lord of the Admiralty in 1805.

Dated: January 1860

The few letters that have survied from the time he served in the Navy make interesting reading. On 12th December 1852, for example, whilst serving on the Leopard he writes: We have just returned from Balaclava.... many ships wrecked outside of Balaclava...we went on shore to visit soldiers’ camp... the conditions were very poor... there is a talk of Lord Raglan being recalled... he is not thought very highly of out here, though the engagements we have had have been successful, but it has been more through hard fighting than good management.......

All his siblings were fond of him, his sister Isabel in particular. In a letter to an unnamed sister she writes: Augustus brought home some nice curiosities that he grappled from the fort of Bomersund... some Russian bullets and grape shot and part of a shell, and a sort of alter cloth that he took out of the chapel in the fort, and he said the chapel had a quantity of guilding about it which they took and stuck about their berth and made it look quite grand.... but the French got in first and got all the best things so that there was not much left for them......

Edith chides him in a letter written in 1857 for not writing more frequently to his father like his brothers Edgar and Eustace did. Their mother had died and Philip was feeling a little lonely and felt his eldest son was ignoring him.

He was frustrated at not receiving promotion in the Navy more rapidly and did not believe his naval career held many prospects for him. He had for some time been contemplating emigrating to America. Isabel his sister writing to her brother Edgar on 22nd January 1873: August seems to be thinking of leaving the navy and emigrating. I suppose he sees no chance of promotion and is tired of waiting and is tired of the Navy. Edda says he goes around the house singing 'Maryland, my Maryland'..... and 'Carry me back to Old Virginny'...An official document has informed him that there would be no more appointments to the Naval College and that has decided his course.

Writing on 27th March 1873 she says: I suppose you have heard about August setting sail on the 17th in the Elbe with the Charlie Sumners, his wife and children. He went off in great spirits I hear. He considers himself quite engaged to Miss Owen and I hear at the last that perhaps she would go out to him. They seem very devoted to each other. The Sumners were relatives of Bishop Sumner of Winchester, the Bishop being an old friend of Augustus's father. His engagement, if that is what it was, to Miss Owen was not to last. In a letter of 23rd July 1873 Isabel writes:.....I hear he is very sad as Mary Owen has given him up... I feel rather cross with her for I think she should have told him so that she could not marry him... there are some very nice ladies now lodging in the next house.....His relationship with Mary Owen takes up much time in the correspondence.

He would appear to be enjoying his time in California however. A number of letters from there have survived. Isabel states: August has sent home a capital plan of the Laguna ranch and an account of it. There are two houses. The Summers live in one and August has the other (the adobe) to himself going to the Summers for meals, a capital arrangement. The nearest town Temecula is 20 miles off, San Bernadino 40 miles, Los Angeles 70 miles and San Diego 100 miles. A neighbouring ranch is for sale...Santa Rosa, and some nice Americans had been to see it staying the night at the Summers and they hoped would buy it..... if so they will have some nice neighbours 13 miles off. Two other ranches on either side of them are owned by men of Spanish origin, Juan Machado and messrs Gonzales and Murietta.....

The ranch were he was working, apart from farming sheep, delivered stores to gold miners working in the camps in the vicinity. Writing to his sister Edith on 26th May 1874 from Laguna he states: We have heard that the desperado Vasquez has been taken at last, he was getting rather too near our quarters to be pleasant to some. Mrs P was beginning to get into a state of mind, though there was no fear of him paying our little settlement a visit as we are too many and on a high road with mostly travellers camping all around us ... next week or shortly I shall have to go to Los Angeles for a number of stores, one being a big boiler for our sheep, not to boil them down, but only par-boil them in tobacco, since its the best cure for scab, which is rather bad among the sheep just now. The Indians we employ here are such capital hands at work but its hard to keep them away long from home without their squaw. I must tell you a yarn about one on the next ranch. When asked by Mr Gonzalez why he did not sleep near his work but went home every night, he replied that if he did not go home his wife and family (of eleven) would have no blanket to sleep under, the said blanket being worn by himself.... the best of the joke being that the blanket was very old and holy and one would fancy being hardly enough to cover one. The wages out here for labour are very high. Cutting hay or corn one dollar a day, with food, sheep herding 25 and food. I wonder more white men don’t come down here.

But things were not going too well in California. Before he had left for America, it transpired he had taken to drinking overly, and would appear to have continued doing so. Perhaps this had something to do with his failed relationship with Mary Owen, we shall never know. He was drinking spirits, something that did not go down well with the Sumners, who were ultimately his employers. He gave his account of matters in a letter written to his sister Gertrude on 12th November 1875, which she in turn copied out for her sister Edith. She had already had a letter from Georgie Sumner, Charlie Sumner's wife. He was unconscious due to drink but defends himself in three particulars. "1. On board Mrs Sumner knows as well as I do that the spirits were drugged or purpose to make me drunk. 2. I was never intoxicated at San Francisco. 3 I never gave a solemn oath I would not drink if she promised to write home. I said I would not touch spirits for 6 months if she would say no more about it and she kept her promise by telling a new herder within 3 days that I was in the habit of getting tipsy." This might easily be a misunderstanding on both sides and Mrs Sumner is a pretty excitable young lady quite likely to exagerate. But I was glad August ended "The facts are bad enough without trying to make them worse. However, I have told her I was sorry and she said she forgave me so I hope this black page in my history is over and with God's help it shall be." There is something grand in the simplicity of that boy's few words when he is deeply moved. The trial will be when his six month pledge is over.

We learn from a letter dated 21st November 1873 that he was back in Crawley. Edith his sister writes to their brother Edgar: Poor Aug is waiting day by day with nothing to do while the Admiralty, or rather communication office, take their time. He is learning Spanish with a Prof Keane at Southampton, but he has left his gun in California - where he has just heard it has been stolen and his riding gear is there too, so that there seems really nothing to do. He sometimes meets MO but it is all a chance and no letters go on. The time is therefore very trying as his almost daily companion Jack Utterton is too much in the region of spirits to be at all good for him. I want you to remember him very especially in your prayers. He has been in a very anxious way for months taking large quantities of spirits & wine I hear - and now I think he is trying to give up and the depression and misery is great. My one terror is that father should have any idea about it, for I fear he is talked of in the town very much. If Pater were not as blind as 1000 batts he must have seen it. There has been great excuse in all the wrong he has had poor lad and from my heart I pity him and honour his struggles which I hope may be succesful in the end.

He returned to California and in 1884 we find him working at the Tejon Ranch, in Bakersfield, California. This was founded in the 1840s and is one of the oldest working ranches in the state, and has become somewhat of a Californian institution.

He wrote a charming little book which was privately published titled 'California'. Many of his comments were very much ahead of their time. To read this, please click on the book icon below.


Jacob MSS (Correspondence, Pedigrees)
TC & EC Jack, The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal, The Anne of Exeter Volume, London 1907.

Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, 'A Selection of Arms Authorised by the Laws of Heraldry', London 1860.


Home Book written by Augustis Sample of handwriting