Born on February 28, 1839, it was a cold start for Jacob, the second son of Charles and Diana Ripley, but the first son to be born in Michigan, probably in Grass Lake Township of Jackson County.
In November of 1840, Jacob's father, Charles, bought 40 acres of Patent Land from the General Land Office in Detroit. That 40 acres of land in Grass Lake Township was to be Jacob's home for his first 13 years.
In 1850 as a lad of 12 years, Jacob was living with his parents in Grass Lake as shown on the US Census of that year. His older brother Asa was 14 years old, younger brother Austin was 10, Mary was 6, Alfred was 4 and Betsey was only 1 year old. What a life that must have been for the youngsters in the sparsely populated wilderness.
In 1840 all of the people in the township could be listed on only 7 census pages but by 1850 the population was exploding and required 31 sheets to record.
About the year 1852, according to Austin Ripley in a story he related years later, Charles took his growing family and moved to a new 40 acre farm, about 14 miles northwest of the old farm to Henrietta Township, near Pleasant Lake and close to the Jackson County/ Ingham County line. I can imagine the kids enjoying a walk to Pleasant Lake on a hot summer day, swiming and picnicing with the family and friends. It was probably a welcome relief from the chores of the farm.
The next record we find of Jacob was as a young single man of 21 years. Jacob was working as a farm laborer in June of 1860, on the farm of Job Archer and his wife Phebe, in Henrietta Township. Job Archer was a 63 year old farmer and his wife Phebe was 57. There was a girl Neelles, 21 years old, a boy Job, age 17, a girl Phebe, age 15, a girl Nancy, age 12, and a boy Francis, age 5. Jacob was living with the Archers family while working on the farm and had attended school sometime in the previous year.
Jacob W. Ripley