A "Cobb-Sasser Family Lineage Website" Page.
Descendants of

Jacob Sprinkle

Polly (Sheltman) Sprinkle


Jacob Sprinkle
son of
Henry &Catharina(LNU) Sprenckle
b: 1784 York, York Co, PA
d: 1830 Wythe Co, VA
Polly Sheltman
m: on 25 Jan 1804, in Rockingham Co, VA
daughter of
John &Nancy(LNU) Sheltman
b: 1780

The Silver Dollar Man
~by Margaret (Sprinkle) Sopp
(Illustrations created by Bobbie Sue Grant from a coin photo found on the net.)

Just like the majority of American families, most members of the
Sprinkle family have been good, solid, every-day people. Some
Sprinkles were doctors, lawyers, educators, merchants or large
landowners, but most were farmers and laborers or perhaps
blacksmiths, millers or shopkeepers. Some were pioneers and the
first to settle in a new territory, and we even know of others who
were captured or killed by Indians. Many bravely served in the
military, and Sprinkles fought for both sides during the Civil War.

But we also have some Sprinkles who were not exactly law-abiding
citizens, and some have even spent time in prison. One of the more
interesting of the these somewhat shady characters is the infamous
counterfeiter, Jacob Sprinkle, whom we on the Sprinkle List have
affectionately nicknamed The Silver Dollar Man ("SDM").

Articles have been published over the years about Jacob and his
counterfeit coins, including an 1895 article in the "New York Times"
. More recently, Dr. William Talley has found Jacob an interesting
subject and has written several informative and well-researched
pieces. Although some articles erroneously refer to the SDM as
Josiah rather than Jacob, Dr. Talley assures us that the court records
he examined show that the SDM's name was indeed Jacob Sprinkle.

What did Jacob do?
Jacob supposedly discovered a silver mine in a remote area in or near
Lewis Co., KY. He used the silver to make his own coins, which were
accepted as currency throughout the community. The coins themselves are
said to have been slightly larger than a silver dollar and had
an owl on one side and a six-pointed star on the other side.
Photos of a Year 1839 Silver Dollar
Like Jacob's?
Naturally, the authorities weren't too pleased with Jacob's use of
his homemade coins, and in June 1841, he was charged with "knowingly"
and "willfully" counterfeiting silver coin. A trial took place in Clarksville,
Lewis Co., KY; but in the end, Jacob was found not guilty. What did
the SDM do when the verdict was read? It's said that he turned to
his attorney and paid him with fifty of those silver coins.

If you would like to read details about the trial, excerpts from
Dr. Talley's articles can be found in the
Sprinkle List Archives.

We don't know what happened to Jacob after the trial. Some
accounts indicate he continued to use his dollars until his death.
No one knows exactly when he died, but presumably it was between
1841 and 1850. And although unlikely to be true, there has even
been speculation that he moved on to California. However, we do
know one thing: he died without disclosing his secret source of silver.

How does the SDM connect to our Sprinkle family? That's an
interesting question. Dr. Talley speculated in several of his
articles but today he is uncertain. We on the Sprinkle List have
discussed Jacob's heritage many times. Several of us have come up
with a theory that he is the same Jacob Sprinkle who married Polly
Sheltman in Rockingham Co., VA in 1804, moved to Wythe Co. and
eventually on to Tazewell Co. Jacob was born about 1784, the
grandson of the immigrant William, by William's son Henry and Henry's
first wife, Catharine. Some researchers suggest that Jacob died
sometime after he was enumerated on the 1820 census and before 1830,
because Polly appears as head of household in Lee Co. on the 1830
census. However, we now know he wasn't dead before 1830 because he
was involved in a land transaction in Tazewell Co. in 1839.
Unfortunately for us, the Tazewell land documents do not show his
residence. Our proposal that Polly Sheltman's husband and the SDM
are the same man would be neatly proved (or disproved) if only the
land transaction showed Jacob's then-current location.

However, on the 1830 Morgan Co., KY census, there is a man named
Jacob Sprinkle, age 40-50, who is married to a younger woman and has
two small children in his household born between 1825-1830. In
1840, J. Sprinkles, age 50-60, appears on the census in Lewis Co.,
KY, with his wife and a house full of children. Surely this man is
the SDM. . . and probably Polly Sheltman Sprinkle's missing husband Jacob.

We believe Jacob and Polly separated, Jacob moved west to Kentucky
for fun and adventure, married a much-younger woman (Susan Mullins),
fathered a second family of children, and possibly returned briefly
to Virginia in 1839 to clear up the land transaction discrepancy.
And it must have been around that time
that he began to manufacture the silver coins.

We will never know the complete story, but it's surely fun to
speculate about Jacob, the Silver Dollar Man.

~per Margaret (Sprinkle) Sopp~

Hezekiah Sprinkle
b: 1808 Wythe Co, VA
d: 03 Nov 1878 Washington Co, VA
m: POLLY DRAKE, on 10 Jun 1828, in Wythe Co, VA

Hezekiah Sprinkle had previously been listed as a son of
Jacob &Polly (Sheltman) Sprinkle.
For many years, that was a "given." However, in the past year,
we have learned that Hezekiah was not a son of Jacob.
Apparently Hezekiah was an illegitimate son of Jacob's brother, Henry.
For details, see:
"The Lost Children of Wythe County, Virginia 1790-1878
- Poor School Children, Orphans and Apprentices from County Records,"
by Mary Kegley.

The majority of lineage info for this page
was generously contributed to us by

Ray Howell
son of B.R. &Helen(Asher)Howell
grandson of
Levi &Alzy(Bundy) Howell

Jacob's & Polly's
List of Descendants
  • (1) Lucinda Sprinkle
    m: JAMES GREEN, on 15 Jul 1827, in Tazewell Co, VA

  • (2) Elijah Sprinkle
    b: 1809 Wythe Co, VA
    d: 17 Jun 1868 Marcelline, Adams Co, IL
    buried: Keath Cemetery, Marcelline, Adams Co, IL
    m: #1=MARTHA "PATSY" STABOUGH, on 01 Apr 1829, in Tazewell Co, VA
    b: 1807 VA
    d: 21 Jul 1851 Marcelline, Adams Co, IL
    buried: Keath Cemetery, Marcelline, Adams Co, IL
    m: #2=LOUISA ANN (STUMP) HUTCHINS, on 18 Jul 1852, in Adams Co, IL
    b: 1825 IL

  • (3) Napoleon Bonaparte Sprinkle
    b: 1810 Wythe Co, VA
    d: Bet 1875-1879 Lincoln Co, KY
    m: #1=CYNTHIA FRY-SURAT, on 09 Sep 1830, in Wythe Co, VA
    b: 1807 VA
    d: 15 Dec 1873 Rose Hill Township, Lee Co, VA
    b: Bet 1831-1840 TN
    Per researcher Margaret L. Sopp:
    Daniel's (Napoleon's & Cynthia's son's) death certificate indicates that
    Daniel's mother was Cynthia Fry rather than Cynthia Surat;
    daughter Julia's death certificate also has Cynthia as Cynthia Fry.
    The informants were different people.
    The surname Surat comes from Napoleon's & Cynthia's marriage record.
    Perhaps Cynthia was born a Fry and then married to a Surat
    or maybe the other way around. Several possible scenarios.

    Notes of Interest
    Sylvia Kubicek
    ~from an entry in the Rootsweb.com Sprinkle Mailing List~

    . . . I looked for Napoleon in the Lincoln Co., KY tax records and
    found him in the following years, 1867,1869, 1870, 1872, 1873 and 1875.
    The next year that they had on film was 1879, but he wasn't on that film.
    I have been trying to pinpoint a death date for Napoleon
    and it seems reasonable to say he died between 1875 and 1879.
    His wife Dollie Jane Greenlee Sprinkle was a widow in 1880.
    The KY tax records are very interesting. They show how much land that
    a person farmed, it's value, what crops they raised, how much livestock
    they owned, how many males over 21, how many children between 6-20 years
    old, how many legal voters, and how many were enrolled in the militia.
    From the 1875 tax records I learned that Napoleon lived in Crab Orchard,
    Lincoln Co., KY. He had 100 acres of land on which he grew corn. The land
    was valued at fifty dollars. He had one male over 21, one legal voter,
    and 5 children between the ages of 6-20 years.
    In 1867 he had 12 acres of land and he added more as the years went by.
    The only crop he grew was corn, but he didn't have any livestock in any
    of the tax years. Maybe he had another use for his corn :-) .
    An interesting tidbit-
    in 1867 he was called N. Boney Sprinkles
    on the tax records. I thought that was hilarious :-)
    A nickname for Bonaparte or maybe he was skinny?

    .......... Sylvia


  • (4) Malinda Sprinkle (presumed to be Jacob's & Polly's daughter)
    aka Belinda, Berlinda or "Maddy" Sprinkle
    b: 1816 VA
    met: #1=Spouse(s) Unknown
    met: #2=ELIAS FUGATE
    son of George &Elizabeth(LNU) Fugate
    grandson of Francis &Agnes "Nancy"(LNU) Fugate
    g-grandson of Martin &Sarah(LNU) Fugate
    gg-grandson of Josias &Mary(Martin) Fugate
    (Josias's ancestry is yet unproven as of April 2005)
    b: 1812 Claiborne Co, TN

  • (5) Ira Goff Sprinkle
    b: 01 Mar 1818
    d: 28 Apr 1902
    m: #1=MATILDA FLANARY, in 1846
    daughter of Thomas &Elizabeth(Parsons)Flanary
    b: 1824
    m: #2=JULIA ANN OLINGER, in 1847, in Lee Co, VA
    daughter of John Lydia(Shaggs)Olinger
    b: 1822 Turkey Cove, Lee Co, VA
    d: 12 Apr 1885

  • (6) Franklin A. Sprinkle
    b: 1819 Wythe Co, VA
    daughter of John &Alice(Friend)Crabtree
    b: 19 Mar 1820 Lee Co, VA
    d: 30 Jul 1857
    m: #2=JULIA ANN BURGIN, on 22 1859, in Lee Co, VA
    b: 1834 Jonesville, VA
    d: 24 Feb 1924

  • (7) Augustus Sprinkle
    b: 1820
    d: 1850
    m: ELIZABETH LAMBERT, on 01 Dec 1841, in Wythe Co, VA
    b: 1816 VA

  • (8) John M. Sprinkle
    b: 03 May 1823 Tazewell Co, VA
    d: 22 Jan 1896 Lee Co, VA
    m: SARAH ELIZABETH "SALLY" COX, on 08 May 1845, in Lee Co, VA
    b: 16 Jan 1825 Jonesville, Lee Co, VA
    d: 15 Aug 1898

  • (9) Hurley Smith Sprinkle
    b: 04 Mar 1825 Tazewell Co, VA
    d: 12 Jul 1916 Mt. Olivet, Knox Co, KY
    b: 30 Jul 1825
    d: 05 Sep 1864 Corbin, Whitley Co, KY
    buried: Campground Cemetery, Laurel Co, KY
    m: #2=ELIZABETH "LIZ" JONES-HUMFLEET, on 02 Dec 1874, in Knox Co, KY
    b: 1847 Knox Co, KY

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