Gaspee Raider who attacked the English Navy ship in 1772.">


This "raiders" division of the Gaspee. Info website is devoted to information about the Raiders as individuals.

In this section of
Gaspee Raiders
Paul Allen
Ephraim Bowen
Aaron Briggs
Abial Brown
John Brown
Joseph Brown
Joseph Bucklin
Abel Easterbrooks
Nath. Easterbrooks
Capt. Samuel Dunn
Capt. Rufus Greene
Capt. Greenwood
Benjamin Hammond
Joseph Harris
Capt. John Hopkins
Justin Jacobs
Joseph Jencks
Hezekiah Kinnicut
John Kilton
Abner Luther
John Mawney
Simeon Olney
Ezra Ormsbee
Benjamin Page
Capt. S. Potter
Barzilla Richmond
Nath. Salisbury
Capt. Chris. Sheldon
Capt. Shepard
James Smith
Turpin Smith
Capt Swan
Robert Sutton
Capt. Jos.Tillinghast
Capt. Abr.Whipple
Qualification for List
Boat Captains
Raider Connections

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Gaspee History
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Justin Jacobs
Justin Jacobs did not show good judgment the day after the attack on the Gaspee.

The morning after the burning of the Gaspee, Justin Jacobs appeared on a main bridge in Providence wearing the beaver hat of Lt. Dudingston, and describing how he took it from the cabin of the Gaspee.  Justin was young, and apparently wanted attention for his part in the attack.  [Staples 1990, p. 108.] Logically, he probably was in the attacking party. Older persons quickly pointed out to him that publicity was not good for him or his fellow Providence residents, and he was dispatched homeward.

The hat is the evidence for his having been in the raiding party.

The 1770 List of Providence Taxpayers shows only of three properties held by a "Jacobs", all across the Great Bridge on the West Side of Providence. Two are listed for Nathaniel Jacobs, one being a Still House, and one for the Widow of Nathaniel Jacobs.  The person listed for the payment of tax depended on ownership, so we might assume that Nathaniel and died after deeding some property to his wife, and that other heirs were still in the process of assuming ownership of the other property, including the still house.  Further, given the practice of the time of apprenticing young men to learn a trade or occupation, Justin Jacobs may not have been in the family of any "Jacobs" family of Providence, but simply living there with someone, while being an apprentice.

The best information on who this young man "Justin Jacobs" was is the information furnished by an e-mail from Rich Houghton of Washington, DC, a descendant of the Jacobs family.  He says in part:

  • Mary "Polly" Bradford was born in October, 1755, probably in Attleborough, Bristol County, Massachusetts (became Cumberland, Providence County, Rhode Island in 1746). She was the daughter of Perez-5 Bradford (1728/9 -- 1763) and Mary-4 Jackson (1732--?) of Cumberland, Providence County, Rhode Island.
  • [Mary's first marriage was to a]. . .  man named Justin or Justis (depending on which of the very few sources you consult) JACOBS. Polly and Justis/n had one child, Justis/Justin Jr.; it is unknown what became of the boy. Justis/Justis Sr. died "at sea" sometime before 1791 . Mary's granddaughter Carrie Houghton said in an 1885 letter: "We have no record of Uncle Justin Jacobs' [Jr.] marriage or death, nor of his father [Sr.]. His father was lost at sea, it was supposed, as the vessel [he was sailing on] was lost & he never returned. Grandma waited seven years before she married Granpa."
  • . . . . The coincidences are striking.
  • 1) The first and surname combination itself seems sufficiently rare to warrant by itself the conclusion that Justin Jacobs of the Gaspee Raiders is the Justin Jacobs, son of Justin Jacobs and Mary Bradford]. . . .
  • 2) Working backwards, Mary married [her second husband ]Asa in 1791. If we take her granddaughter at her word in 1885 that Mary had waited seven years since the disappearance of Jacobs to marry, that would mean he disappeared somewhere around 1784. Subtract a year for having their son, and a year of marriage before that, and we have 1782. Throw in another year or two to be safe, and we're at 1780. If we assume the norm for a male to marry at this time as between 22-25, we have an approximate date of birth for Mary's first husband between 1753 and 1755. You estimate your Jacobs' year of birth as around 1755.
  • 3) Mary's family was from the Cumberland/Attleborough area of Bristol/Providence County; so, I assume during this period, was her J. Jacobs' family. This seems to be the same area you were searching for Jacobs' family.
  • 4) Mary's husband was "lost at sea;" while it is unclear whether he was at sea in a civilian or military capacity, I was struck my the naval connection in both their lives.". . .