HUMPHREY, Jacob, born in 1751, was a native, it is believed, of Bucks Co., Pa., but after the establishment of our national independence resided in the township of West Fallowfield, Chester, Co. When the Revolutionary contest began, he entered the service of his country as a captain, and throughout the struggle endured the hardships, suffered the privations, and encountered the dangers incident to the soldier's life in those "times which tried men's souls." He was none of those who drew back in those trying times, but remained firm and steadfast in the cause until he found, to adopt the language of Scotia's favorite bard,-"Wild War's deadly blast was blawn, And gentle Peace returning."
He was present and fought in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, of Brandywine and Germantown, of Monmouth and Yorktown, besides several skirmishes or engagements of smaller note. In the battle of Trenton a musket-ball passed across his forehead, directly over his eyes, leaving an indelible scar. At Monmouth a musket-ball entered the side of his right leg, making a wound about three inches in length. The ball was soon after extracted, and no serious inconvenience ensured. In another engagement a musket-ball struck the buckle of his left knee, and carried it away, producing a tumor on the knee, and causing a slight halt in his walk ever after. An incident is related illustrative of Capt. Humphrey's presence of mind at a moment of imminent danger. On a particular occasion he was detached, at the head of forty chosen men, on a scouting party. Having reached the house of Col. S., an intimate friend of his, about the dusk of evening, he halted his men in a lot adjoining the lane leading to Col. S.'s house, and placed his own faithful servant as a sentinel to give the alarm in case any of the enemy should approach. Capt. Humphrey then went into the house, and while engaged in friendly chat with the family his servant came running to the back window, and gave the alarm that a troop of horse was rapidly advancing. What could now be done? The bold and vigorous mind of Humphrey was formed alike for invention and enterprise. Instantly he girded on his armor, sprang through a back door or window, ran to the fence, and with the voice of a Caesar gave the word of command:"Attention! Battalion, to arms! Captain Smith! Captain Finney! Captain Ferguson! Captain Marshall! To your posts! Caption Humphrey's company! Advance! Fire!" Instantly a volley from about forty muskets was discharged at the troop, which was now in the lane. The British, upon hearing the names of these intrepid commanders called, with the discharge of the muskets, were panic-stricken; and believing themselves surrounded by a whole battalion, instead of only forty men, fled with the utmost precipitation; not, however, until they had discharged a few pistol-balls at the place whence the voice of Capt. Humphrey proceeded. But an overruling Providence preserved him for future usefulness, and to die at home, in the bosom of his family, at a good old age.
Capt. Humphrey was elected to the State Legislature in the years 1814 and 1815.
In July, 1825, he was one of the county committee appointed to receive Gen.
Lafayette, on his visit to the battle-ground of the Brandywine; and on the next
morning accompanied his old friend and commander, then on his way to Lancaster,
as far as Filson's Inn, in Fallowfield. Here the old military comrades
parted for the last time. Capt. Humphrey died at his residence, Jan. 21, 1826,
in the seventh-fifth year of his age.