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Capt Jacob “Jake” Van Meter, Sr

Capt Jacob “Jake” Van Meter, Sr

Birth
Somerville, Somerset County, New Jersey, USA
Death 16 Nov 1798 (aged 75)
Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 8757511 · View Source
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Jacob was the fourth and youngest son of Jan or "John" Van Meter and his wife Margaret Miller Mulliner (or Mollenauer). When Jake was still a child, his family left New Jersey and settled for a few years in Prince George's County, Maryland. He was married in Frederick County, Virginia on August 30, 1741 at the age of 18. His bride was Letitia Strode, and over the course of the next 25 years, Letitia Van Meter gave birth to no less than 12 children:

1. Eleanor, born October 1742
2. Abraham, born June 13, 1744
3. Rebecca, born September 1746
4. Susan, born July 2, 1750
5. Elizabeth, born about 1752
6. Rachel, year of birth unknown
7. Mary, born February 11, 1757
8. Isaac, born February 2, 1759
9. Margaret, born December 27, 1759
10. Jacob Jr., born October 4, 1762
11. John, born about 1764
12. Alsey, born about 1766

It is often said that he served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War (1756-1763) but no record has yet been found.

In the spring of 1779, he applied for permission to take his family and "pass unmolested to the Falls of the Ohio [River]." It was his intent to settle in Kentucky, a virgin territory that lay just to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. The legendary pioneer Daniel Boone had settled there only four years earlier, after passing through the famed Cumberland Gap. Unlike Boone, Van Meter and his family and friends planned to enter Kentucky from the north, by traveling down the Ohio River. Permission was granted on March 23, 1779.

Unfortunately, the Van Meter party was troubled by more than Indians on their journey to Kentucky. As it turned out, they had inadvertently chosen to travel during a period time of severe wintertime weather that was ever afterward known as "the Hard Winter of 1780." In the spring of 1780 the Van Meter party reached the Severns Valley, in what was then Jefferson, later Hardin County, Kentucky. Jefferson County records reveal that Jake Van Meter, Stephen Rawlings, and Edward Rawlings all bought land from John Severns, for whom the valley was named. To protect themselves from Indians, they immediately built wooden "forts" (probably log blockhouses). Van Meter's fort was located, according to one source, "near the big spring at the power house on Leitchfield road, for a long time the source of the Elizabethtown water supply."

Jake Van Meter quickly became one of Hardin County's most prominent and enterprising citizens. Only a year after his arrival in Kentucky, he helped to organize the Severns Valley Baptist Church, reputed to be the oldest church west of the Allegheny Mountains that is still in existence. He also built a grain mill on Valley Creek and is "said to have raised the first wheat in Hardin County, having brought the seed with him from Virginia." He also had license to keep a still and a tavern license, which permitted him to allow travelers to stay in his home.

Many years later, the remains of both Jacob Van Meter and his wife Leitita were moved from the family graveyard and re-interred in the Elizabethtown City Cemetery.
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Original stone shows Jacob VanMatr
Other ways are VanMeter, VanMetre, Van Metre



  • Maintained by: Glendora
  • Originally Created by: Brad Atherton
  • Added: 15 May 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8757511
  • Joyce Fischer
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Jacob “Jake” Van Meter, Sr (17 Mar 1723–16 Nov 1798), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8757511, citing Elizabethtown City Cemetery, Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Glendora (contributor 46931045) .