Richard Taylor Jacob
(March 13, 1825 - September 13, 1903) was Lieutenant Governor
Background and Early Life
Richard Taylor Jacob was born in Oldham County, Kentucky
into a locally influential family. His father, John Jeremiah Jacob, was a well-known businessman and real estate speculator; his brother, Charles Donald Jacob
, eventually served three terms as mayor of Louisville
; and his sister, Susan, married James Brown Clay
, son of Henry Clay
the American statesman and orator, who later was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky
Jacob studied law in 1825 and visited South America. He happened to be in California when the Bear Flag Revolt broke out. He joined the cavalry forces of General John C. Fremont and served as a captain. When Fremont was on trial in Washington, DC for his actions in California, Jacob appeared as a witness on the general's behalf. At that time, Jacob met Fremont's sister-in-law, Sarah Benton, a daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton; the couple married in January, 1848. For a few years Jacob farmed in Missouri, his wife's home state. In 1855 Jacob bought a farm called "Woodland" on the Ohio River in Oldham County, Kentucky, and moved there with his family.
The Civil War
In 1859 Jacob was elected as a Democrat
to Kentucky's state legislature. In 1860, Jacob supported John C. Breckinridge
for president. But when the American Civil War
broke out, he remained loyal to the Union and worked to prevent Kentucky
from joining the Confederacy. In 1862, he raised a cavalry regiment of 1,244 men and over the next year took part in several skirmishes and battles, including resisting Morgan's Raid
in 1863. That year, Jacob was elected Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, as the running mate of Thomas E. Bramlette
. The partnership between the two men did not last long. Jacob attacked the Emancipation Proclamation
, issued in 1863, considering it unfair to those Kentucky slave-holders who remained loyal to the Union. Adding to Jacob's troubles that year, his wife Sarah died. In 1864 Jacob supported General George B. McClellan
's candidacy for the presidency. He was accused of attacking the Abraham Lincoln
administration — and the Union — so fiercely that Governor Bramlette ordered his arrest and expulsion. General Stephen G. Burbridge
carried out the order. Jacob was sent over the Confederate lines to Richmond Virginia
Jacob denied that he ever spoke against the Union and appealed to President Lincoln. Apparently, Lincoln believed Jacob, or at least sought to placate Jacob's supporters back in Kentucky. The president allowed Jacob to visit Washington and gave him a letter securing his release. Jacob returned to his home state. In 1865 he married again; to Laura Wilson.
Later, Jacob ran for Congress (1867) and for an appellate clerkship, but he lost both elections. In 1876 he was elected judge of the Oldham County court, but declined to run for a second term. At about this time, Jacob joined the Republican Party
. From 1895 to 1899 he served as park commissioner of Louisville.
- Richard Taylor Jacob's father, John Jeremiah Jacob (1778-1852), should not be confused with his distant cousin, also named John J. Jacob (1829-1893), who served as Governor of West Virginia.
- In 1996 Jacob's old farm, "Woodland" became the site of a commercial bison farm.