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09/18/2021 11:12 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Jacob Cassat


Session Position District Party
1837-1838 14 Whig
 Counties   Adams, Cumberland, Franklin


1778 - 1838

One of the calming legislative voices during the Buckshot War, the HON. JACOB CASSAT (deceased) was born in Straban Township, Adams Co., Penn., February 7, 1778.  His grandfather, Francis Cassat, was a French Huguenot, who married in Holland and came to this country in 1764, with his wife and children, of whom David, the father of the subject of this sketch, was one.  The family became extensive farmers and influential citizens, and took an active part in the war of the Revolution.  David Cassat reared a family of eight children : five sons and three daughters - the sons all becoming distinguished members of society.  Jacob remained at home on the farm and prepared himself by diligent study for the useful life he afterward led.  He was entirely self-taught, having attended school only three months.  He was married in 1806 to Mary McConaughy.  When still a young man he was chosen as an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and about the same time he started and organized, so far as is known, the first Sunday-school in Adams County outside of Gettysburg, and became its superintendent.  He was an active church member and retained his position as elder and superintendent of the Sunday-school without interruption till his death.  When quite a young man he served as county commissioner, and afterward assisted in the defense of Baltimore in 1814.  In 1819 he was elected to the State Legislature and served four sessions, and afterward to the State Senate, where he died on Christmas night, 1838, in the sixty-first year of his age.  In politics he was a Whig, a man of great learning, ability and dignity, an eloquent debater, and while in the House and Senate a recognized leader of his party.  On the night of December 23, 1838, on the occasion of what is known in the history of Pennsylvania as the “buckshot war,” he made an impassioned appeal against mob rule, and with others was driven from the Senate chamber at the risk of his life.  The next morning (Dec. 24, 1838) he was found dead in his bed.  It is no exaggeration to say that at the time of his death he was the most prominent and honored man of his county.  He was six feet in height, weighed about 170 pounds, was of dark complexion, amiable in disposition and dignified in deportment.  He is interred in Hunterstown Presbyterian Church Graveyard, Adams County.