“THAT JAKE”

JACOB BOSTIC JR.

Jake Bostic Jr
Jake Bostic Jr

January 9, 1895 – October 22, 1963

When I hear the name Jacob Bostic or Uncle Jake, I immediately envision a man with star like qualities.

I see uncle Jake as a mixture of Carey Grant, Billy Dee Williams, Denzel Washington, all the cowboy/gunslinger characters that Clint Eastwood played and last but not least, my all-time favorite, Doc Holliday when he get’s ready to shoot Johnny Ringo, and he says, “I’m your Huckleberry”.

Yes, to me uncle Jake was made for the “Big Screen”.

There is a quote of Clint Eastwood’s that comes to mind when thinking of uncle Jake.

“There’s a rebel lying deep in my soul.”

My imagination might be running wild when I think of him but I’m sure only slightly. The one thing that I have noticed about the people that remember uncle Jake is that they all get this glazed look in their eyes and they ALL say, “That Jake”.

It would take Johnny James Bethea to give the facial expression and the words, “That Jake” in order for you to get my meaning of what I’m trying to describe.

So, who was Jacob Bostic Jr?

Uncle Jake was the last child of Jacob Bostic Sr and Sophia McCullough-Bostic. He was the adored baby brother of all his siblings.

He was a HELLION!!!!

He was born in Marlboro County, SC on January 9, 1895 on the Appin Plantation that was owned by Col. C.S McCall. His father, Jacob Bostic Sr., died in 1895 the year that uncle Jake was born; Sophia, uncle Jake’s mom, died in 1901.

Jacob Bostic Jr - delayed birth record
Jacob Bostic Jr – delayed birth record

Uncle Jake was raised by his father’s sister, Fanny Bostic-Wilson and her husband Cornelius Wilson. They raised and loved him as if he were their own. Jake was everyone’s baby and in fact he was referred to as “baby Jake” for years.

EVERYONE!! And I do mean EVERYONE in town knew Jake Bostic. They knew his family adored him and that he could do no wrong. Nothing was to ever happen to Baby Jake “Bostic”.

BUGGY WHIPPED!!!

There is a story that has been passed down through our family for years. I assure you that it is true.

One day uncle Jake was coming back from town and he passed two white women who were walking along the road. What on earth would possess them to speak disrespectfully to Jake Bostic? He was a man before his time; no one was going to call him out of his name.

Uncle Jake hopped down off the buggy!!!!! Didn’t even bother to reign in the horse!!! He proceeded to give those women the weapon he felt they deserved. The whip was used on more than his horse that day.

Naturally the women reported him to the law!!! Something along the lines of, “That Jake” Bostic attacked us!!! He buggy whipped us!!!

When the sheriff came out to the house to ask uncle Jake and the family about it, uncle Jake told him that he didn’t do any such thing and that he could go and ask Mr. So and So if his buggy had ever stopped along the road.

The sheriff investigated, speaking to people black and white alike, all of whom said they had seen Jake on his buggy and that it had never stopped. ONLY “Baby Jake”, could get away with that, especially back then.

They say that all good things come to an end and even for “Baby Jake” that was the case.

I guess uncle Jake had a few too many incidents throughout the town, he was finally given an option by the “law”.

Jake Bostic!!! Go to the army or go to jail!!!!!

Parlez-vous français?

301st Stevedore regiment #43
The Stevedores
We are the Army Stevedores, lusty and Virile and strong;
We, are given the hardest work of the war, and the hours are long;
We handle the heavy boxes and shovel the dirty coal;
While the soldiers and sailors work in the light,
We burrow below like a mole.
But somebody has to do this work, or the soldiers could not fight;
And whatever work is given a man, is good if he does it right.
We are the Army Stevedores and we are volunteers;
We did not wait for the draft to come, and put aside our fears.
We flung them away to the winds of Fate, at the very first call of our land,
And each of us offered a willing heart, and the strength of a brawny hand.
We are the Army Stevedores, and work as we must and may,
The Cross of Honor will never be ours to proudly wear away.
But the men at the front could not be there
And the battles could not be won,
If the Stevedores stopped in their dull routine,
And left their work undone.
Somebody has to do this work;
Be glad that it isn’t you!
We are the Army Stevedores; give us our due!
—ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.

Uncle Jake found himself on a ship headed for France. What would become of “Baby Jake”?

Uncle Jake left the south the beloved baby brother, unable to read or write. I always laugh at the thought that his older siblings could read and write but not “Baby Jake”. He wasn’t required to know these things. He had the power of the Bostic’s to handle that stuff for him.

ooh la la, what a French woman can do.

Uncle Jake had a true French Connection!!!

il a trouvé sa femme amoureuse. il a appris l’art du baiser français ; He did more than that!!! He also learned to speak French and write French.

During his time in France his Dame amour would write letters for him. The day my great-grandmother received a letter from uncle Jake that was written in his own hand, albeit in French, was total excitement. He had written his letter and then his girlfriend had written below his writing the words in English.

One of uncle Jake’s requests to my great-grandmother, who was expecting a child at the time, was to name the baby. If the child was a girl he wanted her to be named Jemusseller or Brigidetta. There is a part of me that wants to leave it at that, but if you are anything like me, you won’t be able to concentrate on any other part of this blog because you will be wondering what she named the baby. DRUM ROLL PLEASE…………Jemusseller!!! Or as we lovingly referred to her, “Aunt Jem”. Aunt Jem always said, “why could she not have been named Brigidetta”.

Aunt Jem and Uncle Art
Aunt Jem and Uncle Art

 

Bostic’s Always Get Their Man!!!

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on a Bostic, and even then it might not be early enough.

Uncle Jake managed to make great use of his time in France. Have you ever met that person that is always in the right place at the right time? That would be Uncle Jake.

It was the wee hours of the morning and he had gotten up to start his daily tasks. I am sure that somewhere along the line I have mentioned that my great-grandmother and her siblings where sharpshooters. Bostic’s never missed their target.

In a Clint Eastwood movie, Harry Callahan says, “nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot”!

Well on this specific morning, Uncle Jake got two birds with one stone or should a say, two of the enemy with one bullet.

Truly he did!!!!

He looked up as he was performing his early morning tasks and he saw something though the morning fog, as it got closer he realized what was happening. Yes, the enemy was coming!! He was in the middle of doing the tasks for the men that were the actual fighters and here it was, he was the one that saved his regiment that morning.

Uncle Jake initially thought that there was only one man sneaking up on them, a man who he ended up shooting through the heart. When the man fell dead another man who had been behind him also fell. The bullet passed through the first man and into the second man, killing them both.

In a time when black men very rarely received a medal, uncle Jake received one. I think they say that more black U.S. soldiers received medals from the French during WWI than from the U.S. military. It was virtually impossible to be awarded a medal during WWI as a black man, sad but true.

As time went on another incident presented itself to uncle Jake. During times of war even fast friends can be killed. Uncle Jake’s friend was killed in front of him as they were on the march, he wanted to stop and grab his friend but he was required to keep moving. As he stepped over his friend the shock of seeing him laying there and having to step over him almost made his heart give out.

Uncle Jake was eventually given a medical discharge for his heart.

Uncle Jake's Transport Papers
Uncle Jake’s Transport Papers

They say that once he got home he recovered in no time at all and was back to being the HELLION that was loved by all.

He was no longer “Baby Jake” he was now called “Mr. Hard Time” because he sure knew how to give a person a hard time. THAT JAKE!!!