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  • Writer's picturePIO Brian Jones

Remembering Samuel "Sonny Boy" Jacob

On the afternoon of June 29, 1952, the Rock Hall Fire Department was called to assist with a barn fire near Locust Grove. One of the men who responded that day was Samuel "Sonny Boy" Jacob. Despite the rain, Sonny Boy, along with 3 other volunteer firemen, was riding atop the hose bed of one of the responding engines. Rt 20 was freshly blacktopped and slick with rain. As their truck crossed the railroad tracks by Brooks Mill, it skidded into a ditch, throwing the firefighters from the back. Several hours later, Samuel "Sonny Boy" Jacob died from the injuries he sustained in that accident. He was just 24 years old.

A Kent News column by Gene Sullivan in the weeks following the accident offered this assessment: "We are particularly vulnerable to fire. We have little water on hand, and yet we are spread out so widely that we can not hear alarms or gather quickly enough to fight our own fires. The strenuous and often dangerous work is done - and done without pay - by a group of community minded men too often taken for granted, the volunteer firemen. A week ago Sunday, one of these men, Samuel Jacob, gave his life in this cause. On a Sunday afternoon he willingly answered an alarm to help not a neighbor in the usual sense of the word, but a farmer who lived at least 25 miles from the engine house. Halfway through this long trip (in the back of an open truck in a driving rain) a tragic accident took his life."

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