Jacob Albright, Private of Marines

Jacob Albright. The Pennsylvania Archives includes General Returns of the Philadelphia Militia indicating that Jacob Albright served in Captain Eyre’s Company of the First Battalion in Northern Liberties in 1776. Also, he served as a private in Captain Jacob Sink’s Sixth Company of Colonel Sharp Delany’s Regiment of Foot beginning 25 June though 12 July 1777. Jacob Albright is noted as a joiner in the same text in Captain John Hewson’s Company. The returns for Captain John Hewson’s Fourth Company of the Second Battalion Regiment of Foot commanded by Colonel Benjamin G. Eyre dated 10 August 1780 note that Jacob Albright “Belong’t to the State Ship Confederacy”. This Jacob Albright may be the namesake of Albright College. It is reported that he served to the end of the Revolutionary War. If so, the following biography taken from www.famousamericans.net/jacobalbright applies. Christened Johannes Jacob Albrecht, Jacob Albright was one of nine children born on a farm in the “Fuchsberg” (Fox Mountain Region), three miles northwest of Pottstown, Pa., Montgomery County, on May 1, 1759. His parents, Johannes and Anna Albrecht, came to America from the Palatinate Region (Wittenburg) of Germany on the ship Johnson of the Holland-American Line, arriving in the port of Philadelphia in September 1732. He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith in 1776 and educated in German, his native language. Historians note that Albright was an intelligent, able student, although it is unknown to what extent he participated in any formal schooling. In his early 20s, during the Revolutionary War, Albright served as drummer boy  in Captain Jacob Witz’s Seventh Company of the 4th Battalion of the Philadelphia Militia, organized in 1781. His brother John was a fifer and the two participated in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. During the late winter and early spring of 1782 he served guarding Hessian prisoners in Reading, Pa. Today, this region in Reading bears the name “Hessian Camp” from the early Revolutionary encampment of German mercenaries. The Hessian Camp region is only two or three miles southeast of the current Albright campus. In 1785, at age 26, Jacob Albright married Catherine Cope. The newly married couple settled on a 63-acre, fertile farm in the northeastern part of Lancaster County, near the present town of Ephrata. Here he was not only engaged in farming, but he also became known as the “Honest Tiler,” as he manufactured tile used as roofing material. It was his home for the next 23 years of his life. Today, the house and barn still stand, although they were modified in more recent years. How many children were born to Catherine and Jacob remains debated though. Some sources say nine; others say six. It is known, however, that only three survived to maturity. Sarah, their oldest child, married Noah Ranck and settled in Tioga County. His oldest son, Jacob, died without a family. And David, the younger surviving son, married Mary Raidabaugh. They had 11 children. A German Lutheran in his heritage, he was converted in about 1790 to Methodism, when several of his children died causing him to go through a religious crisis. Lutheranism did not give him comfort. He was called to take the message of Methodism to the German-speaking people. Although he felt that he was unfit to preach, contemporary records reveal that he was a powerful and moving speaker, converting many to Methodism. Weakened and in poor health from exhaustion and tuberculosis, Jacob Albright fell ill while traveling from Linglestown, Pennsylvania, northeast of Harrisburg. When he reached Kleinfeltersville, in Lebanon County, he could go no farther and there he died, May 17, 1808, at the age of 49. He was buried there in the Becker family plot. A chapel was built near the burial site and remains as a museum and memorial to Jacob Albright. The movement did not take the name of Evangelical Association until after Jacob Albright’s death. The Evangelical Church united in 1946 with the United Brethren in Christ to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church and that body in turn united with the The Methodist Church in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church. Two institutions have been named after Jacob Albright. Albright Seminary was established by the Pittsburgh Conference in Berlin, PA in 1853 and lasted about 5 years. Albright College in Reading, PA was formed by the merger of several Evangelical institutions and is a United Methodist affiliated school. The main source for his life is a short biography written in 1811 by George Miller, an elder of the Evangelical Association.

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