Henry P. Jacobs (Adams County)


Henry P. Jacobs

State House: 1870-1879

Born: 1825 in St. Clair County, AL
Died: December 14, 1899 in Natchez, MS

Jacobs and his family are listed on the 1860 census in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and on the 1870 census in Natchez. On a freedman’s bank application, Jacobs stated that his mother was named Mary Dill.

“Much more able than Aaron Moore was Henry P. Jacobs, Baptist preacher and organizer from Adams County. Born in Alabama, he learned to read and write from an insane man for whom he was caretaker. Thus prepared for freedom, he wrote his own pass, and in 1856 cleverly arranged an escape to the North for himself, his wife, three children, and a brother-in-law. After spending some time in Canada, he returned to Michigan. During the war, he went to Natchez, Mississippi, and there began the remarkable work of organizing Baptist Associations throughout the western portion of the state. Although the membership of his church was generally more radical than that of the other denominations, Jacobs himself, both in the [1868 constitutional] convention and in the legislature, was inclined toward moderation and compromise.”
(Vernon Lane Wharton, The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890, 1965)

“He also helped organize the Union League and in 1868 tried to negotiate the purchase of a large plantation for a group of freedmen, using veterans’ bounties for funding. When the Freedmen’s Bureau refused his plea to assist in the project, it collapsed.”
(Eric Foner, Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders during Reconstruction, 1993)

Memorial on Find A Grave

H.P. Jacobs: Ypsilanti's Builder of African-American Worlds (includes portrait and extensive biography)