Jacob Sommer

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Jacob Sommer[1] (14 February 1758 – February 1827) was an officer in the American Revolution, a Pennsylvania State Senator, and an Associate Judge who lived in Moreland Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. The neighborhood of Somerton in northeast Philadelphia was named for him.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, Jacob Sommer was the son of Johannes (John) and Anna Eva Sommer.[3] The Sommer family emigrated from Freistett, Baden, Germany,[4] arriving in Philadelphia in 1752.[5] John Sommer, Jacob's father, purchased property in the Manor of Moreland in 1761[6] where he was later recorded as a town supervisor in 1773[7] and a tax collector in 1775.[8]

Prisoner of war[edit]

During the American Revolution, toward the end of the Philadelphia campaign, the Battle of Crooked Billet occurred in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, about six miles distant from a village in Moreland called Smithfield. The battle occurred on May 1, 1778, the same date that Ensign Jacob Sommers of the Pennsylvania militia was taken prisoner at his home.[9][10] Ensign Jacob Sommer was held prisoner on Long Island for four years until his release in 1782.[9]

Political career[edit]

The political career of Jacob Sommer of Moreland included running for the following elected offices, all for representation in Philadelphia County:[11]

Year Office Affiliation Result
1802 PA House of Representatives Republican Lost
1803 PA House of Representatives No party Lost
1804 PA House of Representatives Federalist Quid Lost
1805–1809 PA State Senate Federalist

Constitutional Republican[12]

Won, 4-year term
1809 PA State Senate Federalist Lost
1816 US House of Representatives New School Republican Lost
1818 US House of Representatives Republican Lost

Jacob Sommer was commissioned as an associate judge for the District Court of Philadelphia from 1811-1821.[14] He continued to be known as a judge in subsequent years because in 1824, Judge Jacob Sommer was a member of the correspondence committee to elect Andrew Jackson for U.S. President.[15]

Personal life[edit]

The marital life of Jacob Sommer is unknown. He died in February, 1827 at the age of 69, and was buried at the cemetery of St. Michael's and Zion German Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.[16] His will mentioned only one child, Dr. John Sommer of Philadelphia.[17] He Married Anna Mary Dauber from Germantown Pa.she died november 15th 1827 they had child Anna marie sommers dec 1772 to 1821


  1. ^ SOMMER is the original German spelling, and the spelling seen in his signature. Other spellings found in early colonial records include SUMMER, SUMMERS, SOMMERS, AND SOMERS.
  2. ^ Martindale, Joseph C., A History of the Townships of Byberry and Moreland in Philadelphia, PA, published 1867, p. 140.
  3. ^ Hess, Robert L.; Wright, F. Edward (Frederick Edward); 18th Century Church Records Records of the German Lutheran Church of Philadelphia (St. Michaels and Zion), Volumes 1-5 (1745-1800), vol. 1, p. 91.
  4. ^ Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, accessed 5 September 2015.
  5. ^ Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, originally published as Pennsylvania Archives, Volume XVII, Second Series, Harrisburg, PA, 1890; p. 353. The ship Brothers out of Rotterdam, William Muir captain, arrived Philadelphia on 22 Sep. 1752; also included Hans Georg Sommer and Hans Martin Sommer, brothers of Johannes Sommer of Freistett.
  6. ^ Philadelphia County (Pennsylvania), Recorder of Deeds, Deed Records, accessed 18 August 2015; volume H14, folio 370.
  7. ^ Buck, William J., Bean, Theodore Weber, ed; “Moreland Township”, History of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1884, p. 976.
  8. ^ "A Tax of One Shilling", 1775. Longwood Manuscripts, 1438-1954, Series A (59), Henry Newcomb Potts (1819-1906), scrapbook of miscellaneous papers, 1749-1906 (Group 8, Box 11), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.
  9. ^ a b Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, accessed 5 September 2015; citing NARA microfilm publication M881, roll 0840.
  10. ^ Egle, William Henry, ed., "State of the Accounts of the County Lieutenants during the War of the Revolution 1777-1789,” Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, 1896, vol. v, pgs 647, 669. Establishes Jacob Sommer of Germantown, a Captain in the Philadelphia County Militia, 2nd Battalion, 6th Company, was present in 1778 & 1779, and could not have been the same Jacob Sommer captured in 1778 and held prisoner by the British until 1782.
  11. ^ Lampi, Philip, A New Nation Votes, American Election Returns 1787-1825, accessed 4 September 2015. Search criteria for surname including spelling variations: SOMERS, SOMMER, SOMMERS, SUMMER, SUMMERS.
  12. ^ “Constitutional Republican Ticket, Philadelphia City,” Spirit of the Press, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 5, 1805, issue 4, p. 4. This advertisement identifies Jacob Sommer as being of Moreland.
  13. ^ Cox, Harold, E., The Wilkes University Election Statistics Project, "Pennsylvania Senate 1805-1806", "Pennsylvania Senate 1806-1807", "Pennsylvania Senate 1807-1808", "Pennsylvania Senate 1808-1809"
  14. ^ Mitchell, James T., “The District Court of the City and County of Philadelphia, An Address Delivered at the Final Adjournment of the Court, Jan. 4, 1875”, Report of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Association held at Wilkes-Barre, PA, July 6 and 7, 1899; pp. 273-284. Mitchell was one of the judges of the Philadelphia district court, and the address was reprinted with his permission and with some additional notes by him.
  15. ^ Scharf, John Thomas & Westcott, Thompson, History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume I; 1884; p. 607.
  16. ^ Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, accessed 9 September 2015), Burials, St. Michael's and Zion Lutheran Church; citing Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records.
  17. ^ Philadelphia County (Pennsylvania), Register of Wills, Wills, 1682-1916, vol 9, will 22; citing FHL microfilm 21,735.