Born 19th November 1813 - Died 16th August 1862


Elizabeth, the wife of William Stephen Jacob
Capt. Willaim Stephen Jacob and Elizabeth his wife.


A son of Reverend Stephen Long Jacob, he was born on 19th November 1813, baptized on 26th December of that year and died on 16th August 1862. On 17th September 1844 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Mathew Coates. She was born on 31st December 1819 and died on 8th September 1898. They had children:

1 Anna, born 29th July 1847. On 3rd September 1882 she married A E Pridham, a solicitor.
2 Philip, Indian Civil Service, born 27th January 1849, dsp 1874.
3 Stephen, Indian Civil Service, born 31st October 1850, died in December 1898.
4 Francis MICE, born 26th April 1853.
5 William Henry, born 21st October 1854, dsp 13th April 1875.
6 George, Indian Civil Service, born 15th October 1857.
7 Charles, born 17th October 1859, died in 1876.
8 Mary, born 14th October 1854. In November 1889 she married the Reverend Arthur Elwin of Dover, Kent.

He was educated at Addiscombe and Chatham, and followed a carreer in the Indian Army. He was lieutenant in the Bombay Engineers 1833-1848 and established a private observatory at Poona in 1842, before becoming Director of the Madras Observatory 1848-1859. He made observations on double stars, on satellites of Saturn and on Jupiter. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1849 and died at Poonah on 16th August 1862.

Much has been written about his work in the field of astronomy, ever more turning up on the major internet search engines. Below is a paragraph kindly written for this site by the astronomer David Kipping, an expert in the field of exoplanets.

'In the field of astronomy, Captain William S. Jacob is believed to have made the first scientific claim for the detection of a planet outside of our Solar System (an "exoplanet"). This historic paper, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1855, argued that observed deviations in the motion of the binary star system 70 Ophiuchi indicated the presence of a perturbing planet. Capt. W. S. Jacob stated: "There is, then, some positive evidence in favour of the existence of a planetary body in connection with this system". It was later shown that the detection was a false positive, most likely because the deviations were caused by the Earth's atmosphere rather than a planet. However, the work is considered as a ground-breaking piece of research because it was the first known application of scientific methods to look for planets light years away. In many ways the work was decades ahead of its time and established the search for exoplanets as a scientific enterprise."

NASA have published a timeline that mentions him. Please follow this link for the year 1855:


For a moving account of the death of William Stephen Jacob, please read an extract from the diary of his daughter Mary Jacob, kindly made available to this site by Liz Bennett, click HERE.

For an account on You Tube by David Kipping the atsronomer please click HERE


William H. George, © 2001, Edward Jacob (1713-1788), A Biography, ISBN 0 9534092 3 6.
Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, 'A Selection of Arms Authorised by the Laws of Heraldry', London 1860.
MSS in the possession of Margaret Hyatt-Jacob
Pedigree of Jacob Family registered at the College of Arms
Pedigree of Jacob Family published anon in ca 1840.
Information supplied by Edward Crawford.
Boase, 1797, p 43.


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