Jacob Leap, Jr., September 16, 1787 – September 8, 1805

He was the son of Jacob and Ann Leap, and the brother of Ann Leap Mills who married our William Nelson Mills. He is buried in Christ Church Cemetery, Alexandria, Va alongside his brother, Thomas Leap, who died in 1794 at age 3 years. Their tombstone no longer stands in the churchyard, but the inscription showing two persons buried there was read and published in 1992. Some of the dates on the tombstone were misread due to erosion of some of the letters, and Jacob’s given name was was worn away. However, we were able to piece together his short life from his apprenticeship document recorded in Alexandria Orphans Court files and the legible information on the “Leap” tombstone in Christ Church Cemetery.

On January 2, 1802, Jacob Leap, Jr. was assigned as an apprentice to Archibald McLeish for four years to learn the trade of a cooper (one who makes barrels). His apprenticeship was to last for four years, eight months and fourteen days from January 2, 1802 — or, ending on September 16, 1806. Presuming Jacob Leap, Jr. was 14 years old (average age of boys entering trades) when his apprenticeship began, he would have been about 19 years old at the end of his training. We calculated his birth and death dates from the apprenticeship document, presuming his apprenticeship would end on his 19th birthday. His tombstone tells us he was 17 years, 11 months and 23 days old when he died — September 8, 1805 — one week short of his 18th birthday.

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