Take a look at a map of the United States and you’ll find an abundance of cities and towns named for the people who helped shape the nation through its early history. One such place is Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, whose founding father built a legacy that is remembered fondly to this day.
Jacob Stroud was born in New Jersey in 1735, and his family relocated across the Delaware to Pennsylvania about 10 years later. Jacob’s father Barnard Stroud apprenticed him to Nicholas DePue, the first European settler in the area and a large landholder. DePue taught Jacob the farming trade, and he worked for DePue until he turned 21.
In 1756, the French and Indian War – fought between Britain and France over their holdings in North America – had been going on for two years. Jacob enlisted in the English Colonial Army as a private, joining his brothers James, John and Bernard, all of whom were already fighting. John Stroud was killed during the war, while Jacob took part in the Battle of Quebec in 1759 – considered the battle that turned the war in favor of the British.
Jacob was discharged from the army in 1761 and returned home to Smithfield Township. Later that year, he married Elizabeth McDowell, the granddaughter of his former mentor, Nicholas DePue. He became a prominent businessman and, in February 1769, Jacob purchased 300 acres of land west of Danbury. The purchase included a grist mill, a residence and other dwellings. Over time, as his family grew – he and Elizabeth had 12 children – he added a saw mill, a blacksmith shop, a tavern and a general store.
In 1775, the American Revolution broke out and Jacob once again served – this time as a captain (and, eventually, a colonel) in the ranks of the Continental Army, fighting against the British. After the war, he was a delegate to the first Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention (the colony achieved statehood in 1787); he later served as a representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Jacob spent his later years developing his land holdings and business. By 1788, he owned 1,400 acres – an amount he ultimately increased to 4,000 acres. As his children grew and got married, he built homes for those who remained in the area. Some of those homes still stand today – his son John’s residence is now the clubhouse of the Glenbrook Country Club, his son Daniel’s home is now the headquarters for the Monroe County Historical Association.
Finally, in 1799, Jacob laid out the plans for the town that bears his name. He died in 1806, at the age of 71. Though no paintings, drawings or sketches of Stroudsburg’s founder are known to exist, some believe that he is depicted as one of the soldiers in Benjamin West’s painting “The Death of General Wolfe” (pictured above), which illustrates a key moment from the Battle of Quebec.
To learn more about Stroudsburg, visit our website at www.takethreenights.com. For help planning a trip to discover the natural wonders that Jacob Stroud enjoyed centuries ago, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.