Jacob Cloward was born May 17, 1790, at North Milford, Cecil County, Maryland. His father's name was William, but the name of his mother is unknown. Jacob had at least two brothers, William and Thomas.
Jacob served in the War of 1812 as a private in Captain William Steele's infantry company in the 3rd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia. He mustered in on September 5, 1814 at the age of 23. The British appeared near victory in the late summer of 1814 and on August 24th they marched into Washington, D.C. and burned most of the public buildings. President James Madison had to flee into the countryside. The British then went on to attack Baltimore on September 14th but met stiff resistance and were forced to retire after failing to neutralize Fort McHenry, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
The British had withdrawn before the Pennsylvania Militia arrived in Baltimore. With the war at a stalemate, negotiations began in early August and a final agreement was signed on December 24, 1814. With the end of the war near, Jacob's three month enlistment expired and he was discharged at Baltimore on December 5th. He was paid twenty four dollars for his service and returned home.
When Jacob was 24 years of age, he married Catherine Ann Pluck, the daughter of Adam and Melane Pluck, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on February 17, 1815. His bride, who went by Ann, was 19 years of age. The Pluck family of Pennsylvania were Quaker emigrants who came from Germany.
After their marriage, Jacob and Ann moved a number of times. Their first two children were born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Catherine Ann on May 19, 1816 and Charlotte on October 6, 1818. There next two children were born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Daniel Henry on August 30, 1820 and William on March 4, 1822. Jacob and Ann then moved back to Bucks County for a short time to be near her parents, who were living there at the time. Then they went back to Chester County, where their next three children were born. They were Thomas Poulson on December 10, 1823, James Mason on October 17, 1826, and Jacob Jr. on July 19, 1828. In 1829 the family moved to Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware where their last three children were born, Albert Wilson (9 Jun 1830 – 9 Feb 1831), Hannah Jane (12 Oct 1833), and Elizabeth Ann (11 Oct 1836).
While living in Wilmington, their oldest daughter, Catherine Ann, died at the age of 19 in February 1835. During that time, the first of their children were married. Daniel Henry married Ruth Bailey Logan on October 15, 1840 at Unionville, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
It was in Wilmington that the Clowards were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1841. The first to join the church were Daniel and and his wife. Over the next two years, Jacob and Ann and all their children who were of age were also baptized. By the fall of 1843 the entire family moved to Nauvoo, Illinois to join with the Saints.
A blacksmith by trade, Jacob was a good financier and a well-to-do farmer, and owned several farms and other property. When they moved to Nauvoo, he had to dispose of his property at a sacrifice. At one time, he supported his family by working in a hemp factory, making rope.
In Nauvoo, Jacob was well acquainted with Joseph Smith, the Prophet. One morning while the family was having breakfast, the Prophet came to their home. After exchanging greetings and visiting with the family, he called Jacob aside to talk to him. A few moments later Jacob returned and told Ann that the Prophet had told him that he needed money – right away. "We must help him," Ann said. The Prophet placed the money in a basket, left with the understanding that if he was able to pay it back, he would do so – if not, he was welcome to it. In time, the money was repaid.
Nauvoo, which grew from a hamlet to a city of 15,000 people in the years from 1841 to 1846, was the largest city in Illinois; larger than the capital city of Springfield. The Mormons were feared because they could sway the vote for or against slavery. They were hated because of their statements about their "inheritance" and for the rumors that they were practicing plural marriage. The persecution of the Mormons in Ohio and Missouri eventually followed them to Nauvoo.
Finally, the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum Smith, agreed to go to Carthage and surrender themselves to the authorities. It was then that Joseph said, "I go as a lamb to the slaughter." The Cloward family watched with others as the Smiths left Nauvoo. On June 27, 1844 the news of their deaths reached Nauvoo.
Jacob went to meet the company that was bringing their bodies back to Nauvoo. Their sorrow was as great as if Joseph and Hyrum had been their own family. They joined the crowd at the Mansion House, which was Joseph Smith's home, and there viewed the bodies lying side by side in their caskets. The long line of mourners took a last look at their beloved Prophet. Many were heard to say that now they were as sheep without a shepherd.
Later, the family was in the congregation that saw the transfiguration when the mantle of Joseph fell upon Brigham Young and some of the people wondered if the Prophet had risen from the dead.
After the martyrdom, there was a short period of peace for the saints in Navuoo before mob violense broke out again. In early September of 1845 a mob of three hundred men raided and burned outlying homes and farms. On that dark night, the mob came to Jacob's comfortable home and demanded that he make his choice – denounce Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet, or have his house burned. Jacob said he could not deny his testimony and that he would have to take his medicine. They were told to get out of the house or be burned. The family came outside, hoping the mob would have a little mercy on them. But no, this was not to be. They loaded what they could onto a wagon and then stood by as their home and all of their other belongings went up in flames. The family watched it burn, shivering and weeping.
So many houses were burning that night that it was light enough to read from a printed page on many streets in the city of Nauvoo. Jacob was heartbroken and he walked away from the scene. His family did not know where he had gone. They sought him everywhere and finally began to think that he had been killed. Then, after all was in ashes, Jacob returned. He said he could not bear to see his family humiliated in such a way. It was more than he could hold up under and he consequently suffered a nervous breakdown which finally took his life. He was ill from that time on and never regained his health.
It was under these circumstances that fall, that there was another wedding in the family as Charlotte married Elias Harmer on November 16, 1845 in Nauvoo.
It became obvious that the Saints could no longer remain in Nauvoo and the evacuation of the city was planned for the following spring. In February Brigham Young determined that the exodus should begin immediately.
With others, the Clowards, including their married children and their families, crossed the Mississippi River and traveled some 200 miles across the state of Iowa, then crossed the Missouri River and camped on the opposite side of the river. They spent the winter in what was known as Winter Quarters. The saints received a small land grant and built a community of temporary homes.
It was in Winter Quarters that Thomas Poulson married Mary Page on March 25, 1847. In his early twenties and newly married, Thomas was called by Brigham Young to go west to the Rocky Mountains with the advance company.
The pioneer company departed from Winter Quarters early in the spring of 1847 and reached the Valley of the Great Salt Lake on July 24th of that year. Thomas made the first pair of shoes that were made in the valley. In September of 1847, Thomas returned to Winter Quarters with plans to assist his father's family in immigrating to Utah. However, they did not leave immediately and months extended into years before the family was ready to make their way to Zion. During this time, William married Rebecca Ann Searle on March 4, 1848 at Winter Quarters.
By 1851 Jacob was 61 years of age, a father and grandfather. His health had failed since the night the mob burned his home in Nauvoo. Once the rock of the family, this great patriarch did not seem to have the faith he once had and his testimony seemed to have wavered and was not as strong as Ann's. All of this was an apparent result of his nervous breakdown and not of his choosing. The family talked considerably about leaving and making a living in the west. The grown sons and daughters were somewhat apprehensive of the effect the move might have on Jacob. They finally spoke to their mother. "Aren't you afraid,' they asked, "that Father might die before we get there?" Her answer was, "If he does die, he will have his face pointed toward Zion!"
In the summer of 1851, Jacob, Ann, and Hannah Jane, along with Charlotte and Eilias and their two children started west in a company of 72 wagons. The name of the company with which they traveled is not known, nor is the date they began the journey. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the fall of 1851 and settled in Provo. They set about establishing a home and preparing a place for the rest of the family when they arrived the following year. By being extremely careful, they had enough provisions to keep them until spring. They ate what meat they could get and sometimes used potato tops for greens.
By the time the Clowards arrived in 1851, the fort at Provo had been moved from the original site established in 1849 because its location near the Provo River was too damp. The Cloward's first home in the Utah Territory was located at the present site of North Park or Sowiette Park on Fifth West Street, in Provo. Soon after they arrived in Provo, Hannah Jane married George Baum on October 20, 1851 in Provo
Jacob Cloward was one of the pioneers who sacrificed his property and his health to join the Mormons in their trek to Utah. However, he did not live to realize the joys of Zion, for he died shortly after arriving. He died December 29, 1851 in Provo, Utah age 61 of tuberculosis or consumption as it was called then. Jacob was the second person buried on Temple Hill where Brigham Young University was later built. However, this was not to be the final resting place for Jacob Cloward, for his body was moved twice after that.
The rest of the family arrived in the Utah Territory the next year as planned, saddened that their father and grandfather was not their to greet them. They established there homes in Utah Valley. The younger children, James Mason, Jacob, Jr., and Eliza Ann also married and raised families of their own.
Only two years after his death, the Provo City Cemetery was established in 1853 and the bodies from the two other burial grounds were moved there. Jacob's name is to be found on a bronze plaque erected alongside the main road in the cemetery by Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1964. The plaque lists twenty pioneers whose bodies were moved to this cemetery.
Ann died on May 2, 1878, at the age of 81 and was buried in the Provo Cemetery beside her husband. Several years later the family was notified that their graves were lying in water-logged ground and they had to moved to a higher and drier location in the cemetery.
* * * * * * * * *
The main source of this story is from a life story of Jacob Cloward by Madoline Cloward Dixon, dated Apr 14, 1980, and submitted to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
References to the events of War of 1812 and the specifics of the burning of homes in Nauvoo are from historical sources.