The Journal of J.B. Lightcap

End paper of the journal of J. B. Lightcap

End paper of the journal of J. B. Lightcap

Vintage journals can range from the fascinating to the utilitarian. Finding a pre-Civil War journal written by a young man who had a heart for words is a treasure, indeed. The Holmes County District Public Library has such a journal, and, over the next several weeks, we’ll be looking at it in-depth, with photos and annotations wherever possible.

The memorandum of J.B. Lightcap, a Civil War soldier and one-time resident of Holmes County, Ohio, begins with these endpapers, christened with Lightcap’s sweeping script noting the following:

“Book bought in Wooster
Wayne Co Ohio
Price 50
July 25, 1851”

"JB Lightcap, Mansfield, Jan. 20th 1865"

“JB Lightcap, Mansfield, Jan. 20th 1865”

It seems that, at first, Lightcap intended only to record births, deaths and marriages in the book, which looks as if it were designed to be an address book of sorts, with alphabetized tabs running along the right side of the lined journal. But there are very few of any of these events simply recorded in the opening pages (we’ll get to those that are listed in a future entry). Instead, beginning on September 7, 1854, Lightcap begins his memorandum with these words:

“Left home and went to Williams County with A&J Oberlins. Age 19 years 7 months and 26 days. It took us 7 days to move there a distance of 180 miles.”

Showing Jacob B. and Martha Lightcap and their three daughters, Addie M., age 17, Lilly S, age 13 and Rosa S, age 13.

1800 Richland County, Ohio (Mansfield) Census Showing Jacob B. and Martha Lightcap and their three daughters, Addie M., age 17, Lillian S, age 13 and Rosa S, age 13. Jacob is listed as a draysman.

Based on the 1880 and 1890 census records, the dates Mr. Lightcap gives and the information here,  this J.B. Lightcap is Jacob B,  son of Jacob and Elizabeth Lightcap, born in Pennsylvania in December, 1835, raised in Holmes County, Ohio, married to Martha  and settled in Richland County, Ohio where they had three children, Addie, Lillian and Rosa and an adopted daughter, Helen A. Maser.

1900 Richland County, Ohio (Mansfield) census showing  Lillian, born June 1867 and Rosa, born June 1869. Jacob's listed occupation here is "carpenter."

1900 Richland County, Ohio (Mansfield) census showing Lillian, born June 1867 and Rosa, born June 1869. Jacob’s listed occupation here is “carpenter.”

According to this research, Jacob B was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Gilbert) Lightcap, who moved to Holmes County, Ohio and owned and livd on a farm near Bigelow Church in Ripley Township and had 12 children, three of whom, Martin, Jacob and Saul Lightcap were in the Civil War. The information says Saul died serving aboard the S.S. Sultana. The Sultana exploded just after midnight on April 27, 1865 and is known as ” the greatest maritime disaster in United States history.” But if Saul’s birthday was 1854, as it says in the research, he would only have been 11 years old.

Announcement in the Holmes County Republican, November 29, 1860, of Jacob Lightcap Sr.'s estate.

Announcement in the Holmes County Republican, November 29, 1860, of Jacob Lightcap Sr.’s estate.

For the upcoming posts, we’ll look at Lightcap’s journal entries and follow some of the rabbit trails and places his writings points to throughout Holmes County and some of the surrounding areas. We’ll also look a little more closely at his travels, activities, family and companions.

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Categories: Local History Journal | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Journal of J.B. Lightcap

  1. What does the note say about Solomon Lightcap? Written next to “buried in Mansfield Ohio cemetery”.

  2. hcowrites

    Kathryn,it’s in reference to JB Lightcap and it says, “Civil War Soldier, buried in Mansfield, Ohio cemetery. Bro. of Solomon Lightcap.” I don’t know if these notes are accurate, as they were added by the relative who had the journal before donating it to us. The notes by this person on the opposite page say the following:

    In pencil: “Jacob B Lightcap, son of James Jacob Lightcap who married Elizabeth Gilbert. James J was son of Solomon Lightcap of Buck Co., Pa. Solomon Jr. Son of Solomon Sr. of Cumberland Co., PA.

    “Jacob B. Lightcap ,brotherof Susan Lightcap who married Jonah Shreve.”

    In pen (not sure if it’s the same person who added the other notes: “My grand parents were Susan Light and Jonah Shreve, Ripley Twp Holmes Co. Ohio. Their daughter, Eliz. Shreve married John Chas. Wachtel of Wash Twp. Holmes Co., Ohio. My parents Marian Wachtel Kimber Mrs. Ryall Kimber. Will send to Holmes Co. Archives Wachtel history from 1795-1966. Lightcap hist from bef rev. war 1776. Gilbert Oberlin from Bef. Rev War to 1966. Part of those histories in genealogy division of state library in Columbus.”

  3. hcowrites

    Kathryn, do you have any photos of any of these folks that you could share? I’d love scans of them. The journal has a space where there must have once been a photo, but now it’s gone.

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