Remembering Rev. Jacob

Rev. William E. Jacob established St. Michael’s in 1894. He was born in Belfast, Ireland and came to San Diego County in 1888. During the years that he was in the area, he founded and served as the vicar of eight missions. In addition to the churches in Oceanside and Carlsbad, his work extended to Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, San Luis Rey, and Murietta. During this time, he was never called “Father Jacob.” St. Michael’s was definitely “low church” in those days.

Parishioner Gertrude Hammond has written that he was well-known and clearly loved: “a giant of a man, physically and spiritually, with a voice to match his size. A pioneer resident remembered that on an otherwise quiet morning, Rev. Jacob could be heard trotting along the road from the south on his way home from some distant parish duty, and, over the clatter of the horse’s hoofs, his voice loudly and continuously proclaimed his faith in stirring, militant hymns. This probably awakened residents for miles around, she said, especially when he crossed the wooden trestle bridge over Buena Vista Lagoon. His voice rose in volume to accommodate the clatter of accompaniment.”

Rev. Jacob loved animals, and his stables on Cassidy St. in Oceanside housed a number of thoroughbreds. Later, the horses gave way to a two-cylinder motor car.

Early Carlsbad

Some of the buildings from the turn of the century can still be seen today. Gerhard Schutte, whose role in developing the town led to his being called the “Father of Carlsbad,” lived in a Victorian style home on the corner of what is now Carlsbad Village Drive and Carlsbad Blvd. He lived there until he moved to National City in 1906.

The home was eventually purchased by Eddie Kentner and his wife, Neva, and became the popular Twin Inns.


Carl or Carlsbad?

The Victorian railroad depot was built in 1887 and is one of the few pre-1890 stations left in the country. In 1907, the sign on the station was changed to “Carl” by the railroad to distinguish it from a city by the same name in New Mexico. It remained this way for 10 years until enough protest from the citizens convinced the railroad to change it back.


Florence Shipley Magee

The Shipleys (one of the founding families of St. Michael’s) lived in Samuel Church Smith’s former cottage home. Florence Shipley married Hugh Magee and moved away, but eventually she returned to her childhood home. When she passed away in 1974, the home was willed to the city. It is now the Carlsbad Historical Society in Magee Park, across the street from St. Michael’s.

Mrs. Magee would also later give the land on which the modern church was built along with considerable other property that has made it possible for St. Michael’s to be a debt-free church.

For more information on the Carlsbad Historical Society, visit their website, or stop on by the museum on weekend afternoons.

The Kelly family (prominent land owners at the time) at South Carlsbad State Beach in 1909.

Text Sources, Photos, and References:
• A History of San Diego North County: From Mission to Millennium (2001) by Lola Sherman
• Carlsbad: Images of America (2009) by Jeannie Sprague-Bentley
• Windows on the Past: An Illustrated History of Carlsbad, California (2002) by Susan Schnebelen Gutierrez
• The Carlsbad Historical Society
• St. Michael’s History Booklet: From 1894 to 1983