Robert R. Wait and Sarah “Sally” Staats were married by a Justice of the Peace in Harrison County, Ohio on Thursday, March 21, 1822.1
There are no entries for Robert or Sarah in either the 1830 or 1840 censuses, and there is no definitive record of when their only surviving son, Jacob, was born. It is likely that in 1830, that the family was living with Sarah’s father Elijah.2 They do not appear to be in Elijah’s household in 1840, and it’s entirely possible that both Robert and Sarah had died sometime before that census.
In any case, they were both deceased before December of 1844, when Enoch Staats filed a partition for partition of the property of Elijah Staats, who had died 27 Sep 1844. The petition named eleven heirs, including Jacob, “living son os Sarah Wait, formerly Sarah Staats.”3 That Jacob had no guardian at the time of this 1844 petition indicates that he was not a minor at the time it was filed, and points to an 1822-1823 birth date– close to the time of his parents’ marriage. A male child of this age was enumerated in the 1830 Elijah Staats household, supporting that range.
Two years later, on 11 Dec 1846, Jacob enlisted for service in the US-Mexican War. Jacob served in Company I of the Mounted Riflemen Regiment. A letter from his uncle, Benoni Staats, in written in November of 1847 suggests that the family had lost contact with young Jacob prior to his enlistment. In his letter looking for more information, Benoni states that the last the family had heard, he was sick in the hospital at New Orleans on July 28, 1847 and had not been heard from since. Benoni asks when and where Jacob enlisted, for how long, what description he gave of himself, and “what age he made himself to be.”4
Jacob stayed in the hospital until discharged due to disability 27 Mar 1848. In April of 1849, Benoni wrote another letter. This letter was asking for Jacob’s discharge certificate or any other papers. Jacob died in the Jefferson Barracks Army hospital on 31 Mar 1848, just four days after being granted his discharged. How Benoni came about this information is unknown, as the replies from the Adjutant General’s Office indicate they didn’t have a record of his death.5
While much of Jacob’s story remains undiscovered, I find it important to tell those pieces that I do know. There are no descendants to tell Jacob’s tale. Laying sick in the hospital most of his enlistment and dying of disease certainly wasn’t the flag-waving, feel-good, patriotic experience that the recruitment posters offered. Is it ever? Thank you for you service, Private Jacob Wait.
- “Ohio, County Marriages 1790-1950,” digital images, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 Dec 2011), Robert R. Wait to Sally Staats (1822); citing FHL film no. 894,637; Harrison County (Ohio), “Marriage records, v. A-C 1813-1850,” A:179. [↩]
- 1830 U.S. census, Harrison, OH, Freeport Twp, p. 226, line 13, Elijah Statts; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 Jan 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M19, roll 133. [↩]
- Monroe, OH, Common Pleas Record, 8:212, Enoch Staats vs. Benoni Staats et al, April Term 1847; Monroe County Courthouse, Woodsfield. [↩]
- Inquiry of Benoni Staats, 27 Nov 1847; Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General Main Series 1822-1860; Record Group 94: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1762 – 1984; digital images, Fold3.com (http://www/fold3.com : accessed 30 May 2016). [↩]
- Inquiry of Benoni Staats, 4 Apr 1849; Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General Main Series 1822-1860; Record Group 94: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1762 – 1984; digital images, Fold3.com (http://www/fold3.com : accessed 30 May 2016). [↩]